Sheridan Su

Monday, June 7, 2010

Love and Hate in DF

"Love is a given. Hatred is acquired". -Doug Horton

There are millions of contradictions that exist in life. My life here in DF, Mexico is a contradiction. I recently cut the umbilical cord to my home life in the US. There, I have my family and friends. I am engaged to a wonderful woman, I am a homeowner, have a dog, a car, been blessed to cook at some great restaurants and had everything I needed. I was comfortable, maybe too comfortable. I desired to see more of the world. When this opportunity came along, it was time to turn my life upside down and make the move.

Being an Asian American kid born in Chinatown LA, growing up in the 'burbs, then moving out to the East coast via New York and Boston, and then settling in Vegas...I thought I was ready for anything and everything. Heck, I've even spent weeks at a time, living in different international mega-cities. However, settling in has not exactly been simple.

When I tell people I'm in Mexico City, I get many different replies (mostly negative) like:
-It's dangerous! Thousands of people die in drug wars each year.
-Beware of pickpockets. People are poor, so they cheat and steal.
-There was an earthquake in Baja. I don't think I'll visit anytime soon. (Baja is about 25 hrs away by car)
-You'll have trouble at work. People are lazy there and take siestas all the time.
-Mexico City is awesome. It's like, if you took Barcelona and Tijuana, and jammed it together.
-Why? Why would you want to go there?

My first month here, I was robbed. I saw gunshots fired a few feet away at the metro station. I had trouble communicating with the locals. People have refused to help me because I was of the wrong ethnicity. I was somewhat frustrated because the project that I came out here for wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Although public transportation is efficient, I don't like another man's shoulder touching mine and sharing a bus packed with 200 passengers. I heard many racists comments directed towards me, behind my back. I still get the comments, but I don't allow it to bother me much now.

Now I find that I live among many gracious people. I love the sound of Spanish being spoken. I don't mind the stares anymore, because people find me interesting and want to know my story. I've met other expats and locals alike, and find their stories fascinating as well. I understand how to get around using the bus and subway systems. I like walking through the neighborhoods with different districts. I've climbed Aztecan pyramids, visited a few historic Mexican towns, and seen many galleries. I enjoy the art and food. All this does not mean I don't struggle with "living la vida" here. I still do, on a daily basis. Now, it's more of an adventure than a painful experience. I have accepted the love/hate that I have with DF.
I feel like my time here will mold me into a better person. Although I have a strong growing desire to rediscover my heritage in China, I love the character and culture of this city and wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.


art a la mode said...

Love your blog, and find it incredibly interesting. Good writing as well. Good luck in your venture through Mexico, and can't wait for other entries on both your experience and restaurants the city has to offer.

petaler said...

I am so glad that you have learned to love Mexico City. I heard this city has much to offer. I look forward to more of your blogs. Your blogs all make my mouth water.

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