The Not-so-Sucky Things that Happened in this Annus Horribilis

January 7, 2020: Capturas antes de la pandemia…

I was going through my photo album of 2020 and found the above pic among the first ones I took in 2020. It was taken on January 7 from my hotel room in Las Vegas during a business trip. It was an intense week of work, but also filled with good memories and fun times with my colleagues, including a spectacular party to wrap up yet another CES. One could say the New Year was looking… peachy.

Barely nine months later, though, in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, I found myself unemployed; unable to visit my family in Mexico or my partner’s family in France and pretty much uncertain about what the future might bring.

In 2020 I attended not one, but two Zoom funerals of friends who lost their fight to Covid-19. I wasn’t able to be with a friend when she lost a close relative to a non-Covid related illness.

Oh, and I wasn’t even able to say good-bye to my colleagues of 7 years. My office stuff was boxed and shipped to my home via FedEx, but the one thing I needed to recover in one piece –a beautiful Made in Toluca Darth Vader statue– arrived in a million pieces. (I really loved him. Look how great he was!)

To put it bluntly, this year sucked. BIG TIME.

At the same time, while writing this I feel ashamed for even complaining. After all, I have my health and my family in Mexico is fine (a miracle, considering the mess the government has made in dealing with the pandemic.) I got a couple new gigs with people I truly admire and who –for some reason– really really want me to work with them. Yay!

So….in the spirit of the moment, and in an effort to not feel so depressed, I decided to write a sort of TOP TEN list of the “Not-So-Sucky” things that happen this year.

So, here goes.

Jan. 31: Friends’ Reunion in New York City

Miami, Cuba, México, DC meet in the heart of NYC

Feb. 15: A Beautiful Hike Upstate

Feb. 28: Family Reunion in Temixco

March 19: Made a Meme that Went Viral

April 2: Wine & Liquor Were Always at Hand

May 25: Finally Learned to Finger Pick

June 2: Left the City and Did Pierre’s Hair (oops!)

Yes, I fucked up the side burns but it was my first time!

July 7: Found the Perfect Place to Spend Summer

Aug. 10: Outdoor “Happy Houring” with Pierre

Sept. 15: Mexican Independence Day in NYC

Oct. 1: Bought a Car, Moved Upstate

Nov 3: Need I Say More?

Nov. 5: Perfected the Art of Baguette Making

Yes, I make those. All the time…

December…?

I decided to leave this month open for now. There are still a few days left in 2020 and we can only wish for the best. Or something not so bad.

In the meantime…

What were the most wonderful things that happened to you in this Annus horribilis?

My Blog Just Turned 11 Years, and I Can’t Believe it’s still around. So… ¡Gracias!

It was exactly eleven years ago when, after losing my dream job and feeling a bit disoriented as to what to do next, I decided to start a blog.

It was originally called Mi casa es tu casa, but it quickly morphed into Mi blog es tu blog (¡Gracias, Carlitos!) and 11 years later (yes ELEVEN) and despite the advent of Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, Facebook et al, it’s still alive and kicking. Well, sort of.

Looking back at my very first post, it is clear I had no idea what I wanted to do with with this space, but I did know that documenting the silliness of what marketers and media “experts” call the U.S. Hispanic market could be a fun adventure, especially if it were to be done with a sense of humor.

And, boy, was I right!

From hundreds of ridiculous television commercials (like that Tostitos one using a sevillana to peddle salsa, or that of a 36o-degree action camera that will help you spot a mariachi sneaking through the U.S. border) to those ubiquitous ethnic Halloween costumes and Hispanic paraphernalia, I’m sure I’ve made some of you spit your morning coffee more than once.

And that is why it’s interesting that this blog’s most popular post ever (in terms of both clicks and reader comments), was one that was barely a paragraph long; didn’t really say much and was not really funny, funny: It was an image of an Absolut Vodka print advertisement I saw in a magazine at the Mexico City hospital where I was — hopelessly — watching my mother die of lung cancer. The image made me smile (something I had not been able to do for several weeks, after learning my mother’s Stage IV cancer was incurable) mostly because I was positive it would never run in a U.S. publication. It showed a colorful map depicting what the Americas might look like in an “Absolut”  (i.e. perfect) world: The U.S.-Mexico border lies where it was before the Mexican-American War of 1848.

I ripped the page carefully, trying to not wake my mother and put it in my purse so I could write something about it later, in my blog, you know?

That plan was all but forgotten as my mom passed away on the morning of March 20, leaving me in a profound pain. (The story of how that apparently innocent ad crossed the Mexico border and made a ruckus in the U.S. was later published in Advertising Age, where I later became a regular blogger as well, and you can read it here.)

Anyhow, I mention all of this, because blogging has been a very important part of my life this past decade. It is true that I’m not exactly blogging every single day and that the new social media channels have made the very survival of bloggers really tough.

However, some of my writings here have taken me to very exciting places, including authoring my first book*, becoming a regular contributor to magazines, radio and TV shows and — of course — raising the ire of countless non-Mexicans who throughout the years have asked me — repeatedly — to go-back-to-where-I-came-from.

Eleven years later, I plan to continue using this space to vent and muse about “Hispanic Stuff” (whatever that means.) But be warned: Given the current political climate, I might also use it to try to give a voice to many who might feel threatened, scared and unwelcome in these dark times. I might not be the voice of reason, nor the most influential blogger out there, but I can yell pretty loudly –and I know how to wield my Mexican power charm when needed.

So here’s to another eleven years of this, my blog, your blog…

* OK, OK, the only one.