By Iliana García
1. You’ve been asked if you’re angry because of the tone of your voice.
“Are you mad?” “Why are you screaming?” These are just some of the questions you may get while having completely normal and quiet conversations with other Spanish speakers. But of course, you’re not angry, it’s just that we hablamos golpeao.
2. You probably say you don’t like banda music.
But every party comes to a point where the mood specifically requires banda.
3. You know all the characteristic sounds of every peddler that passes by your house.
All those people riding bikes in front of your house selling corn, tortillas, ice cream, bread, gas, miracle creams…They all have a recognizable phrase or melody.
4. You’re not easily impressed when it comes to hot weather.
Monterrey is a desert, summers last forever, and we basically only get one month of true winter. Most of the year we live happily under the sunshine with 35ºC weather, but then there are some hellish days when the temperature rises above 40ºC, and yet it’s common to see people wearing black and complete suits to their offices. We are survivors!
5. You feel unprotected when you travel to cities without mountains on every side.
Monterrey is the city of mountains. They’re everywhere you look, so you probably can’t help feeling a little weird and exposed when in cities where you can look up and see only sky.
6. You know how to barbecue.
Monterrey people know their beef and give it a special place in their hearts as a way of bringing family and friends together. Barbecues are perfect for celebrations, but sometimes the barbecue is the celebration itself.
7. Barbecue + beer + sports = the perfect combination.
We don’t always need a reason to barbecue, but when there’s a sports event, these three things are probably going to come together in 90% of Monterrey homes.
8. You know quesadillas are made with cheese.
The name says it for itself, so when we think of quesadillas the picture in our minds is of a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese. We like it simple, which is different from other cities where they get creative and make quesadillas with everything but cheese. If you are a regio in Mexico City for the first time, you’ll probably have a confusing and frustrating conversation with the quesadilla lady while ordering your food.
9. You know that the greatest rivals in soccer can also be the greatest friends, members of the same family, or even lovers.
In other places round the world, two rival fans often hate each other or can’t even stay in the presence of one another. Not here. Followers from UANL and Monterrey’s teams coexist happily in schools, jobs, malls, parks…sometimes even under the same roof. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the team that’s best positioned doesn’t joke at expense of the other one. They do, but everyone knows it’s just for fun.
10. You still miss partying in Barrio Antiguo.
If you were old enough (legally or not) to go to Barrio Antiguo when it was still in operation, then you know the bittersweet feeling of “being happy because you enjoyed it, and being sad because it’s gone.” Barrio Antiguo was a place in downtown that covered 10 square blocks. It was where all kinds of nightclubs were located, and they were all open almost daily. Crowded streets, all music genres, “no cover” bars, all kinds of drinks, nowhere closing at 2am — those were the good days.
11. Your vocabulary includes a huge number of English words.
Most people in Monterrey are bilingual, but even if they aren’t, English expressions have made their way into their daily conversations. It’s super common to say “thank you” instead of “gracias,” “sorry” instead of “disculpa,” “as soon as possible” instead of “lo más pronto possible.”
12. You have a USA visa.
And 90% of the times you’ve used it have been to go to McAllen, Texas to shop.
13. You’ve been to Tampico or Isla del Padre.
There’s only one thing missing in Monterrey to make it the perfect city: a beach. But that didn’t stop you from enjoying summers with sun, sand and sea, right? Every regio has adopted the two nearest beaches for spring or summer breaks at least once in their lives.
14. You call all of your friends compadre (godfather) and all your friends’ moms, or mom’s friends, tías (aunts).
Just because you love them so much!
15. You are used to paying the highest prices in the country for everything, but you never complain about it.
Compared to the rest of the country, life in Monterrey is expensive. We pay more for school, gas, food, public transportation — in some cases the difference is insane. Sure, when you found out for the first time that you’ve been overcharged all these years, you felt angry and frustrated, but then you just learned to live with it and even took a little pride that you can survive in Monterrey.