Photo: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Why I Love You, Gringos

by Laura Bernhein May 14, 2014
You have this sense of humor.

You don’t mind me calling you gringos (right?) or laughing at your “no problemo,” “un otro,” or “soy embarazado.” Your self esteem is so high it allows you to laugh at yourselves unlike any other culture I know.

You have the greatest breakfast.

Bacon. Sunday bacon. Sweet bacon. (Vegan bacon doesn’t qualify, sorry.) There’s nothing else to say.

You have this innocence.

Growing up in a culture where almost everything said — and heard — may have a second, third, or fourth sense, I appreciate your ingenuousness. Although I have to admit it hurts my pícaro heart when my supposedly funny comments aren’t even noticed. And I definitely can’t laugh about that!

You’re always on time.

Well, not that much in the South I have to say, but it’s true that, in the US, time’s as valuable as money.

You’re concerned about my employment.

“So, what do you do for a living?” is usually one of the first questions my fellow Americans ask me at any party, while I’m munching on my apple pie with cream. I find that so…wait…do I really love that?

You have this ability to get organized and help others.

Whether calling a nurse-in to protest against a store that gave a mother a hard time for nursing in public, or supporting a local family going through hard times, or creating a community garden, you’re always ready to help and do it in a very professional way. Kudos!

You have an openness that welcomes others.

Of course there are a couple of (million) assholes, but I only got welcoming, loving words when I came to the US as an immigrant, and I still get interesting questions about my country. “Is Argentina close to Russia?” “So you guys speak…Portuguese?” Don’t worry, I know you’re just trying to learn more about me and my country!

You hold personal freedom as a virtue.

I appreciate the freedom to get to choose how to educate my children and what to do with my body. I didn’t have those chances in my home country. And if one day I need to smoke pot, I can just go to Colorado or Washington and buy some organic kush.

You place a boundless emphasis on comfort.

I used to feel so inadequate in Argentina, where those awfully beautiful women dress up and wear high heels for almost everything. In my adopted hometown of Asheville, nobody looks twice if you wear pajamas and mud boots while shopping at Trader Joe’s.

You have true diversity.

Or should I say we have true diversity? When I took my pledge to become an American citizen seven years ago in Seattle, people from 15 countries were there, and 18 different languages were spoken. You’ve created a nation that welcomes and celebrates diversity. The best news: You can live here your entire life without having to eat American food (except breakfast).

You’ve shared so many good times with me.

My students, trying passionately to learn my language. The lovely Southerners giving me smiles and making me feel closer to my culture with their warmth. My lovely friends around the country. And the amazing gringos of my bicultural family.

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