Monday, March 16, 2015

Birthdays Abroad

Jalostotitlan, Jalisco, Mexico and puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - February 14-22, 2015

I've reached a quarter of a century of living this life.

The hills of Jalos and the beautiful sky
 Being that Jalos Carnaval falls in February around my birthday most years, I decided to travel to my roots for a little celebrating!  Why not party it up with my people!? Anyways, since you have all seen my previous post, The Motherland, I'll tell you now that this trip was a bit different, more cultural experiences that were specific to the festivities of this time in Jalos.  That is, I write more of the things I've come to appreciate in my culture and the things I've come to realize as I came into my 25th year.

I've never quite paid so much attention to the cultural differences when comparing the American ways to that of the traditional Mexican culture. I would consider myself to be a cultured person. Someone who still keeps practices and traditions of the Mexican and catholic cultures. However, being on the verge of 25 and being around women of my age group (and younger) who's lives are and have been completely different from mine, I began to realize exactly how different life styles in the two countries actually are for women in their 20s. Now I know it is not so distinct for everyone and that there are, to a certain extent, "exceptions to the rule" if you will, but I write from my own observations, my experiences.

I spent time around some beautiful young women.  All with similar lives, and very few with a life similar to mine.  I see 15 year olds walking through the serenata, just hoping for a boy to throw confetti in their hair and ask her to walk around the plaza or to dance to one of the many bandas out in the terazas.  I saw 18 year olds with their boyfriends, some with boyfriends who were much older than them and others that were of the same age.  In the terazas I saw couples and groups of people at tables with bandas playing to them and bottles of Tequila to share.  Yet the more attention I paid the more I realized, all of these girls were younger than me or about my age, and the closer they were to my age, or the older they were, the more likely they were to be married and have children.  Yes, I could be generalizing, however, from the ones I met and knew, they were pretty much ALL married and had kids, or were engaged!  Those who were within my group however were no more than a year older than me or younger than I was and already at a different level in their life, one that I and most of my closest friends and cousins are nowhere even near picturing for ourselves.

But I can admit it's not a bad thing, the traditions of my culture.  Just walking through the plaza/terazas I was handed a few roses from men who didn't even know me but simply would offer the rose and a compliment. Nothing more, nothing expected in return, just a smile.  Where is the chivalry young men of America? Where?!  It was nice.  It was a change of pace.  And not only that, to be singled out, in a town where the women are gorgeous, where every woman puts in effort to keep herself up (talk about competition... no wonder they marry young), well it felt nice. Enough said.

I was in a bit of a culture shock.  I guess I could say the same about my group when they found out about my age.  We were clearly from two different worlds but still had so much in common.  As bazar as it felt, it helped me appreciate the opportunities I've allowed for myself in life.  The opportunities my parents encouraged me to take, and those "opportunities" they taught me to know better than to.  I absolutely loved watching these women in their element. One in particular.  A year younger than me, married for about 4 to 5 years, and three kids in.  She was an absolute wonder to me.  A great wife and best friend to her husband, and attentive and loving mother, yet she owned her own business in the town and still had a great time drinking (but not too much) and celebrating with us all at the concert and terazas a couple of days of the Carnaval.

Now the celebrating.  I've already pretty much described it all, so just picture a ton of people in one town square, a ton of music (like 20 different bandas spread throughout), a ton of Tequila!, a ton of confetti all over the floor, some of the pretties people you will ever see!!! And for the first time ever, I saw really tall, handsome men in Jalos!!!!! (however I was surrounded by the Entourage aka like 5 uncles, the bro, and a friend, oh and the uncle's friend.... cool yay me)  Still a great time over all as obvious from the description I've written above! haha.

Pepe Aguilar ladies and gentlemen
This party, we like to call Carnaval is a nonstop activities kind of week.  From the time we landed on Saturday morning till Tuesday night, there was something to do.  We attended the parade where they present the queen of the town pageant.  They have concerts every night! And I was able to see Pepe Aguilar again in amazing seats and sing the night away to music that touches my heart to the core! We attended Charriadas which is a Mexican rodeo, and the Charro (a mexican cowboy if you will) is what Jalisco is known for.... well besides the women, the tequila, and the legendary Vicente Fernandez of course! Anyways, side bar back to those Charros, you know how here in the U.S. there is something about a man in uniform, well they have that equivalence! Man in normal clothes... not bad, but same man in a Charro suit, whole other level of good looking! Now moving on, another tradition that involves a man in a particular suit, Bull Fights! Now I know a lot of people do not appreciate the art these matadors practice while in the ring at the Plaza de Toros! But its pretty exciting! There is no Carnaval without the Carnaval Taurino de Jalostotitlan!  These men put their lives in danger, if they do a quick and percise death, they are rewarded with the ear.  But thats for an official to decide, which I guess is what makes it a sport... maybe.  Well anyways, we went that particular day because of Pablo Hermoso.  He puts on his whole show on his horses, which are beautiful and brave, and even give you a little dance as they tease the bull.  It's quite a sight!

Speaking of a sight, I spent my 25th birthday on a beach and got to watch the sun begin to set on the infinite horizon.   Now let me tell you, I love the beach. So this was ideal.  Birthday, beach bumming, and buzzing.  After all that constant moving it was nice to be at the beach and soaking up some sun... maybe a little too much sun.  More than my poor fair skin can handle...but thats a moot point.  A better point is that I was able to share my birthday trip with some amazing people and had a great time! With that, here are some pictures... enjoy my journey!


My Crew!



Mexican Arts

Jalos Hill
Plaza de Tecua/ on top of ancient ruins in Tecua


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