We’re all American.
In the first month I first met my husband, a South American, I asked if I could tell people in Argentina I was from “America” (California, to be exact), or if it was offensive. I had been living in various countries in Latin America for a few years and clearly knew that any North, Central or South American is a technically American. But I also clearly knew that in many parts of Latin America people still use the word, “America”, to mean simply, sadly, “North America.” I wanted to be non-offensive, but I also didn’t want to be absurdly politically correct.
My husband immediately told me it was fine to say I was from America. He then added that if any South American was truly offended that was, well, dumb.
The next week, we were at a dinner, and I was talking with an Argentine. When she asked where I was from, I said, remembering my then-boyfriend’s words, “America.”
And then, well, she flew off the handle. “You think I’m not from AMERICA?!?!! etc. etc. etc. #sadface”…
Now, depending on where you’re from, you may or may not agree with my South American husband’s declaration that a North American (in this case, his wife) can say she is from America without offending folks. And that’s fine. Goodness knows, I won’t be doing that again. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today.
Today, we’re here to talk about my in-laws.
My parents and my in-laws are both American. In the sense that two of them are from North America and two are from South America. I’ll let you guess which. The bridging of the cultural and language gaps between our one-and-only-one America can be quite a doozy, however, and my mother (from Ohio) and my mother-in-law (from Buenos Aires) are always excelling at new and exciting cultural icebreakers. Christmas, of course, should be no different.
This year, my mother sent a Christmas ecard to my in-laws that featured this video of Mexican mariachi singers belting out Feliz Navidad. Her note to them read,
“This card was probably meant for someone who lives in Mexico pero Merry Christmas anyway!”
I found this description of the video series also helpful:
♫ Santa dedicates this to the many different cultural traditions of Christmas. He wishes you all a Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas. This is part of a series of videos that inform children about Christmas traditions and cultural differences in the way this holiday is celebrated around the world.
Since neither my parents nor my in-laws are Mexican, I am confident that the overriding message here (both from my mother, and our culturally informative Youtube channel), is that these mariachi singers can teach us all a bit about (another) American culture this holiday season.
As they say in California, Feliz Navidad!