Biggest Differences Between Growing Up American and Growing Up Mexican-American
If you or anyone you know grew up Mexican-American, you know that there are several key parts of growing up that are completely different to the standard American experience that others were having. The traditions and culture are very different, and if your family members were from Mexico, then they made sure to instill these traditions and culture on you. Even if you didn’t grow up Mexican-American, and are just curious about the difference in experience, here’s a look at some of the biggest differences.
7. Birthday cakes
Having Cake at Birthday Parties: American
In the American culture, having a cake at a birthday party is a nice, calm ordeal in which birthday candles are lit, wishes are made, and then the candles are blown out. Then the birthday person cuts the cake (sometimes with ice cream, if you’re lucky), and everyone eats. No big spectacles, no debacles, no problems. Easy, yummy cake!
This is not the case for Mexican-Americans…
Having Cake at Birthday Parties: Mexican-American
Every cake experience starts off normally at Mexican-American birthday parties. Again, the candles are lit, wishes are made, and the candles are blown out. But that’s just the beginning! Upon removing the candles from the cake, everyone starts chanting “Mordida! Mordida! Mordida!,” which translates to “Bite! Bite! Bite!” This is the cue: the birthday person’s face is then shoved into the cake to the amusement of everyone. #mexicanbirthdayparties
6. Ice Cream Trucks
Ice Cream Trucks: American
Look at this cute, quaint ice cream truck! American ice cream trucks are large and, well, actual trucks. They drive around and play the cute little kiddie tunes, and American kids everywhere are happy.
Now let’s take a look at Mexican-American ice cream “trucks.”
Ice Cream Trucks: Mexican-American
So… yeah. Mexican ice cream trucks aren’t actually trucks. But they do sell ice cream! In Spanish, these are called “paleteros” and are the biggest hit of the summer… or any season, really. The paleteros walk around in their little carts ringing a bell, then anyone can go up to them and buy their favorite ice cream.
5. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the Cob: American
American corn on the cob, compared to the way it’s served in Mexico is, frankly, boring. Look at it! It looks fresh, healthy, and yummy, but there’s nothing much to it besides the corn itself and some butter. I’m sure it’s delicious, but just wait till you see the Mexican version of corn on the cob.
Corn on the Cob: Mexican-American
Voila! Mexican corn on the cob, with all of the works. Mexican corn on the cob isn’t complete unless there’s cheese, chili, and butter on it. Additionally, sometimes oregano and sour cream are also added, along with various other toppings. This type of corn on the cob never gets boring!
4. The Word Bimbo
Ask any American what they think of when they hear the word “bimbo” and they’ll say something like ditzy. For Americans, “bimbo” is an adjective… or sometimes a noun that means a type of person. But never a food item, like it is in Mexican culture.
“Bimbo” for Mexican-Americans is the holy grail of sliced sandwich bread. This bread is sold at every grocery store and supermarket – it’s a Mexican staple.
3. Being Bored at Home
Being Bored at Home: American
We’ve all heard the tales of endless hours of boredom with nothing to do except sit around and twiddle your thumbs… gee, I’m bored just writing that sentence. There’s so much to do at any given moment, I don’t know how anyone could ever be bored, but apparently it’s a thing that plagues the American youths.
Being Bored at Home: Mexican-American
If you’re a Mexican-American and bored, you won’t be bored for very long. In fact, being bored in Mexican culture is practically non-existent. The second the words “I’m bored” come out of your mouth, mom will be at your side, giving you a gigantic list of chores to do. Don’t you dare complain, because she’s doing you a favor. If you didn’t have any cleaning to do, you’d be bored still!
Whether you’re a DC or Marvel fan, American superheroes are all similar enough – they wear some sort of fancy suit (usually involving spandex and/or tights) and have any of a slew of superpowers. Whether you like Superman, Spiderman, or any of the X-Men – these superheroes won’t be anything like what you find in Mexico.
In Mexico, superheroes aren’t anything like they are in America. Just take a look at this popular Mexican superhero, called “El Chapulin Colorado,” which translates to “The Red Grasshopper.” This superhero is sorta old, kinda chubby, and altogether not that impressive looking. Yet, his shows are super popular and a lot of fun. I know I sure loved them as a kid!
1. Watching Television
As a kid growing up in America, if you weren’t watching Cartoon Network or the Disney channel, you were probably watching something on PBS. Either way, intellectual children’s television was something we all encountered as children. “Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet…” Yep, still got all those theme songs memorized.
Growing up in Mexican-American culture, there was no such thing as children-friendly educational programming. Instead, we were all stuck watching telenovelas with the older members of the family. That’s right, we’d watch telenovelas – complete with all the drama, action, sex, and bad acting.
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