- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- The Latino Who is Gringo
On December 16, 2021, I woke up a little bit earlier than I wanted.
Waking up on the first day to a new place I just moved to in a area of Mexico City called Pedregal de Santo Domingo, I heard the sound of roosters outside my window.
Over the last few days, I’ve noticed that I have neighbors across from my window in the next house who have their own little farm from the looks of it.
Well, it’s not much of a farm.
No cows or corn.
But they got chickens and roosters!
In fact, I got several neighbors on this street who seemingly have roosters!
And lots of dogs.
Over the last few nights, the dogs have decided to bark together at around the same time for several minutes at a time.
Almost like a chorus of dog singing.
The roosters like to engage in it also it seems.
Their favorite hours to make noise are seemingly around 2 to 4 AM and then sometime right before noon.
So the ideal time to sleep, if I had to guess, would be around 4 AM to noon.
As far as I can tell so far anyway.
Well, I got woken up by roosters on the first morning of my time here.
As I’ve going through my stuff and learning that I need to buy an adapter-converter, I left the building to get some stuff done.
When I got back, I was in my room messing with my laptop when I got a knock on the door.
It was from a Mexican neighbor named Jimmy.
That’s Jimmy with a y.
I asked him actually how does he “spell his name” and he asked funny enough “you don’t know? It’s common in the US, no?”
Which, as a side point, I can’t remember the last time I met someone named Jimmy in the US.
It’s a name up there but nobody I know in my generation has it.
But there is this cool movie called Goodfellas with a character name Jimmy here.
Maybe that's where he got the name?
Anyway, I asked him how does he spell it because I was curious if he adjusts his name somehow to make it better suited for Spanish maybe?
I have no idea how that’d work with Jimmy but I assumed it was spelled “Jimmi.”
He spells it “Jimmy.”
However, I did find it slightly strange that he changed his name.
His original name is Sergio from what I saw on Facebook as Facebook recommended him as a friend (likely due to exchanging Whatsapp).
Out of curiosity, I asked him “why did you change it to Jimmy?”
He let out a little laugh and said “I like it.”
OK, fair enough.
And, while it does seem odd to me, it’s not entirely odd.
I’ve met Latin Americans before in other countries who either had their parents give them foreign sounding names or they themselves changed either their first or last name for no reason other than “it sounds nicer.”
A topic I wrote more about here.
These folks, for perhaps various reasons, find it beneficial to change their name to something more “foreign sounding.”
And, to be fair, I actually have no idea if “Jimmy” is commonly used in Latin America.
Though I’ve been here for some odd years now, I’ve never met anyone else who is a local named Jimmy but it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s an uncommon name that has been adopted by some.
Like how the name Kevin, Brenda, Jessica and others have been seen down here.
Still, yet to meet another Jimmy down here.
As we got talking anyway, I figured he was a nice guy.
Some computer nerd who seemed very nice and “wanted to practice his English” with me.
At any rate, we got talking about a few things regarding the apartment like the issues with the toilet and then carried on separately.
Still, over the last few days, I’ve noticed a few other odd things about Jimmy that are worthy of mentioning briefly.
A Love for America
Yesterday, I was in the kitchen making some black tea as usual sometime during the afternoon.
I had plenty already made before I moved in but decided to make a little more.
As I was doing so, Jimmy walked in.
When he opened his door, I could hear The Beatles playing from his room.
In fact, it hasn’t been uncommon for me to hear English language stuff coming from his room quite often these last few days whenever we’re both in the apartment.
Haven’t heard any Latin music playing – only English language music.
The Beatles being his favorite it seems.
As we got talking, it started out with the usual boring subjects.
How long you in Mexico for? Oh, you live here? What do you do for work? What do you like most about Mexico?
So on and so on.
Thankfully, he didn’t ask me if “I like Mexico more than the US” as some Mexicans do as I wrote here.
I think it’s a dumb question but it doesn’t bother me too much. Just kinda weird to ask.
But, in hindsight, maybe it wouldn’t have been a question to cross his mind either.
During our little discussion, I asked if he’s ever travelled either.
He said “no but I’d like to go to the US someday.”
“Oh ok, cool. Why’s that?” I asked.
Keep in mind, while we were talking, it was almost entirely in English.
As I said before, he REALLY wants to practice his English as he has told me several times over since I’ve met him.
Even if I walk up to him right now and say “que tal,” there’d be a 50% chance he’d respond with “please, I like to speak English.”
At this point, I’d say it’s slightly annoying because his English is very basic.
Sometimes I do switch back briefly to Spanish in case he is struggling a bit.
I’m mostly down to help out though because he’s a neighbor and I don’t really give a shit.
Sometimes this treatment annoys me but, for some odd reason, it doesn’t with Jimmy.
And so, as we were talking, I’d either have to switch back to Spanish briefly or repeat myself several times to get the point across.
Which, to be fair, is fine.
It is hard to learn another language.
Still, from what I could understand, he “would really like to live in the US.”
The reason being “better opportunities, nicer place to live” and all that.
Now, keep in mind, it doesn’t seem to me like this dude is overly poor.
He doesn’t come across like a millionaire either but I don’t want to paint him as some dude living in a rural village who is super desperate.
In my brief conversations with him over the last few days when they have happened, it comes across to me like he simply sees the US and everything to do with the US as “better.”
For lack of a better word.
With his career incentives as I imagine that, while he likely makes alright to decent money as a computer dude in Mexico as other Mexicans I know do, we all know his computer skills would probably pay a lot more up in the US.
But, beyond those career incentives, everything about the dude and his demeanor comes across like one of those Latin American types who crave to be something else.
From the start, I could sense that given his name change from Sergio to Jimmy.
As I said before, it’s not entirely unusual for a Latin American to change their name to something that “sounds better” because it “sounds more foreign.”
And I assume it must sound foreign to even Mexicans because when the landlord told me that there’s a neighbor called Jimmy, I was pleasantly surprised because I never knew another foreigner would be living in this neighborhood with me.
But then she said “no no, I also thought he was a foreigner when he told me his name over message but he’s Mexican.”
And, beyond his name, you have the vibes I’m getting that he really values the US over Mexico and seemingly only or mostly enjoys English language music.
Among some Latin Americans who prioritize the foreign, that’s not uncommon either.
For example, with a gringo hunter, it’s not unusual for one to claim that “they don’t like much things culturally in their own country” and claim to like all things from what I would call “the anglo world.”
Favorite music? The Beatles.
Favorite movie? Star Wars.
Favorite book? Harry Potter.
Or something like that in those examples above.
Usually mixed in with some vibes that you are getting that scream “I don’t like where I come from.”
The whole “saquenme de America latina” shit as I wrote about here.
Anything to Add?
There’s a few other things I could add but this article is long enough for the small topic that it covers.
It’s a topic I’ve already mentioned before in other articles but decided to write about as it was a funny introduction to life again in Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
And also, more importantly, it gives us another recent example of this type of Latino who comes across like they wish to be a gringo.
Though, to be fair, as I wrote here, you got gringos who try to “be Latino” when living in Latin America.
It goes both ways.
Thankfully, the example of Jimmy isn’t too extreme.
A simple name change, insistence on only speaking English, only listening to English language music and the occasional attempt at giving me a 5 minute monologue about his love for America with some “I hate where I’m from” vibes.
At least the guy hasn’t busted through the apartment building like Apollo Creed wearing a Uncle Sam uniform yelling “I WANT YOU! I WANT YOU!”
At any rate, it’s a small topic about life down here – some locals giving off strong vibes of wanting to be more like a gringo seemingly from my perspective.
Reminds me of this song here.
Frank Zappa -- You Are What You is
But that’s all I got to say.
Maybe in the coming months, there’ll be more situations that emerge that are even weirder than the ones above.
Maybe he will show up one day in a Uncle Sam uniform?
Fuck, I don’t know.
Anyway, if you got anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.
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Thanks for reading.