Border Town Boy

Border Town Boy

With blood flowing in my veins from the land of the free and the beautiful country of Mexico, I often find myself in the midst of a multidimensional way of life. At any given moment I could have the Mexican flag on my shoulder, hand at my heart, singing the star-spangled banner. Each day is yet another to reason to be proud of America and to be proud of the country that was once at the hands of the Aztecs. I’m a product of both, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I was born in a dot right in the middle of two great nations. One would never fathom a small dot could bring good spirits, cradle sacred memories, or much less impact a life, yet if I open a map and point down in Southern Texas, I find one that does.

Del Rio, Texas

Hidden amongst other tiny dots sparkles one called Del Rio: a humble border town, modest in size and relatively unknown. To some, its paradise. To others, it’s purgatory; a paradox I’ll never quite understand. There, less than 40,000 reside where making worldwide headlines and attracting sumptuous franchise is still an unreached dream; nonetheless I call it home. Some claim the town to be spiritless, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every morning I’m reminded that only some miles separate me from another country: my other home. Being so close to my roots ignites a burning fire of pride that flaunts my identity. I am neither a Mexican or American but rather a Mexican-American. It isn't about compromise for me. It is about loving both countries more than anything in the world.

From enjoying the Texas treasure Whataburger to devouring my grandmother’s enchiladas, I take full advantage of both cultures. Strumming guitar chords and country dancing is no more different to me than enjoying the rhythms of cumbia at a quinceanera. Spanish is spoken at home and English at school. This small border town taught me to embrace every single fiber of both countries. Cruising through the town takes me back in time. My laughs and cries still echo, recollections flood the streets, and now I can only reminisce. It is bittersweet. I owe everything to this little dot I love. For many years it provided a home where I was brought up by my family. I learned to be grateful for the small things in life and to appreciate the simplicity of a devoted town. Living on the border inspired me every day to deepen the passion for both my countries and embrace every single fiber of them. Here, I lived many moments that took me from my childhood to manhood. Wherever life decides to take me, I'll never forget what I've been given by my hometown. It will forever remain a part of who I am.

Marco Fuentes

Marco is a neuroscience major at the University of Texas at Austin. He is passionate about social change and empowering communities and people into improving their life standards. He aspires to be a doctor someday and is from a small border town in Texas.