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I am from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, right beneath Arizona and only three hours away from the border. Growing up so close to the US border means that I have always admired our neighbor country, and been familiar with US culture and customs. I’ve attended bilingual schools, so I learned English in school, but the US was also an important part of my life growing up, outside of school. Part of this is because growing up, trips to the US were very common, whether it be for shopping, skiing or trips to Disneyland. Just like people from the US might go down to Mexico for a short vacation, my family and friends would travel into the US. This is true for a lot of northern Mexico, to a point where the whole Northern states of Mexico adopted some of the culture and customs of the US.
Recently, I got the chance to come to the US to work for a few weeks with AIESEC. It was different, because I haven't been to New York before, and because I've never spent so much time in the US in one trip. I’ve been living in New York City for two and a half weeks now and it’s even better than I imagined. There’s people from all around the world, you can hear all kinds of languages while you walk down the street, and everyone seems eager to help the ones in need (or at least I’ve always been given a helping hand when lost in the city). And the thing I like the most about being here is how much I get to appreciate my country from a different perspective. I can see how the US sees Mexico, and get a better understanding of how to improve Mexico's image.
It's a big task, but one that I am excited for, because every time I talk to someone about Mexico, I feel like a very proud Mexican ambassador. And even though I'm going to have to leave soon, and I won't be able to speak with everyone in New York, I want to leave a message for those people who I haven't met, and who don't know much about Mexico. I want them to know about the country that I grew up in. So here's my message, after the tone:
"Hello! My name is Ivana, and I just arrived in New York City. I want to let you know a few things about me. Now that I'm in the US, I realize that for most of my life, I took Mexico for granted. Living somewhere else, I can finally see Mexico as the magical place it is, where people are warm and welcoming, the city is full of colors, the food is amazing - and oh how much I miss the food! - , and the customs of Mexico shine. Mexico is an enormously diverse country from North to South, and you can find different ways of speaking, different meals, different weather, different environments, differences everywhere, depending on where you are. However, we're all united by the same love for life. We are a country proud of its history, embracing it every day. Mexican people just have the most amazing sense of humor but they are also aware of their surroundings and try to make it better on a daily basis.
Mexico cares, Mexico speaks, Mexico, inspires, Mexico acts, Mexico loves.
And yes, I didn’t ask to be born in Mexico, I guess I was just lucky."