“In Mexico, I was, am, and always will be a welcome guest in a rented house, one I can never fully own.” —Ilan Stavans
Clearly the woman who questioned my background, diluted and misguided as I take her comment to be, irritates me to the point I begin to ask questions. What truly makes me a Mexican if I am American-born and speak English without a trace of an accent? Can my only connection to owning my "Mexican-ness" be by skin and blood? And although I love and treasure my heritage, I've hardly set foot in my ancestors' country, so I feel no allegiance outside of rooting for Mexico's national soccer team during the World Cup, an allegiance that so many Mexican-Americans feel strongly about. I often wonder how many of these Mexican-American soccer fans can recite the Mexican national anthem, let alone "Mexico Lindo Y Querido," besides during a drunken stupor? I can't. Recently, I watched Mexican actress Salma Hayek recite both Mexican and American anthems on Letterman—Dot. Dot. Dot.
I begin to understand that I'm just challenged with the same notions and difficult questions Ilan Stavans puts forth in his memoir.