girl modeling at desert
photo: Raul Aguilar

Growing up in a border city I always felt lucky to be in two places at once, but it wasn’t until I studied abroad that I realized how unique my hometown of El Paso, Texas truly was. I’d always lived at home and I’d had never had to tell strangers outside El Paso/Juarez where I was from. So when I explained it to new friends abroad it was often confusing to them that I was Mexican-American. Yes, I was born in the U.S. but I was raised in a place where Mexico and U.S. are practically known as one. To those abroad I was either one or the other, and they were almost always surprised I didn’t have an accent in English or Spanish.

Learning to speak fluent English and Spanish wasn’t only one of the many advantages that came with growing up in the border. I also had easy access to authentic and delicious food!  Although I was born and raised in El Paso, my grandparents and close family have always lived across the border in the city of Juarez and for that reason I’ve always felt part of both cities.

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If you grew up between the north and south then you’ll probably relate with this list of reasons of why growing up in the border is awesome.

1

Partying at 16

Spending the night at a friend’s house was the classic tale you told your parents when you were actually crossing the border to party in da clubs.

2

Getting caught and grounded

Till this day it’s a mystery who snitched on you that one time you crossed over and got grounded for a month.

3

Being bilingual was no big thang

Between speaking English at school and Spanish at home you practically learned both languages at once.

4

And sometimes you mix ‘em up!

Which eventually led to Spanglish problems.

5

Delicious Mexican food

Authentic Mexican food is just a car ride away and every day can be Taco Tuesday.

6

You get the best of both cultures

Growing up with both cultures allowed you to become open minded and be twice as cool.

7

Double your network

To your white friends you’re their Mexican friend and to your Mexican friends you’re a gringa, but in the end it’s all good.

8

Huevos con migas

Tex-Mex scrambled eggs with tortillas. Yum!

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9

Cheaper meds and doctors

Medicines and going to the dentist or doctor can be so much cheaper and you won’t need health insurance.

10

Learning to drive

If you learn to drive in Mexico, you’ll be prepared to drive anywhere else in the world.

11

You take travel to your advantage

Traveling to Cancun and Playa del Carmen is so much easier and cheaper when you fly out from Mexico.

12

Quinceañeras at the mall

You know you’re in a border city when you see quinceañera parties arrive in a limo at the mall.

13

You’re totally set with candy and chucherÍas

Mexican candy, papas locas, and corn in a cup are sold everywhere.

14

You have access to twice as many concerts

Both cities offer their best in concerts. You get a diversity of Latin bands and artists that you might not often get to see if you don’t live on the border, and it’s always a completely different ambiance and crowd.

15

Double the patriotic holidays

Whether you’re in Juarez or El Paso both cities celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Dia de la Independencia even though Texas doesn’t officially recognize, Mexico’s Independence Day celebrations are all over the city.