Friday, June 27, 2014

the sister city.

Did you know Chicago and Mexico City are sister cities? They are. Two places so different from each other, two places that I treasure so much, two places that both mean "home"…turns out they are related after all and it somehow shortens the distance between them when I'm living in one and away from the other. 

This week, my family went to the graduation party of some of our good friends. They had Mexican food catered and I was pronounced the official judge of the tacos al pastor. I took one bite and I wasn't standing in our friends kitchen anymore. I was transported to around the corner from my apartment in Mexico, sitting at a small square table in the restaurant with orange tile on the walls. 

Mouth and hands full, all I could manage was an enthusiastic "mmmmm" and head nod. 
In other words, two thumbs up. 

My dad pointed to the guy in the back yard diligently packing away the spit (oh yes, this was after the dog had rolled around underneath it and caught all the grease that had generously dripped beneath). He walked with me out the back door; he wanted to hear me speak Spanish to our Mexican chef and tell him I liked the tacos. 

I gently tapped him on the shoulder, and as he turned around, jumped right into a conversation about Mexico City's tacos and how his were the closest match in all of Chicago. He told me that he used to live there too and we talked about my neighborhood and his neighborhood. And the corner of Monterrey and Insurgentes…did I know where that was? Of course. I walk past it almost every day. 

He said, "My sister sells tacos there. Go! And tell her I sent you." 

We shook on it and said goodbye. I found a little group looking on, waiting expectantly, and I smiled as I relayed the story to them. 

This weekend, I'll leave Chicago for her sister city once again. And you can bet I will track down Mario's sister and take a seat at her taco stand. Maybe we'll talk about our families and how it's tough being away from our brothers. Or maybe we'll just talk about tacos. Who knows.