The day finally arrived! I have been really looking forward to this day for so long because it's my chance to show all the crew a little part of my lovely country. ¨Mi México lindo y querido¨.
Obviously, the day couldn't have been possible without the help of my ¨paisanos¨ Nico, Sebastian, Ximena and all my non Mexican friends that helped.
We started planning this day since the moment teacher Sue asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations. May 5th commemorates the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces at La Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla), under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza.
Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo has taken on greater significance in other parts of the world, such as the United States, than it does in Mexico. The date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial. Either way, we as Mexicans always look for the tiniest excuse to party and celebrate. Cinco de Mayo provided the perfect opportunity to show all of my friends, teachers and the maritime crew a little bit more about my country's culture, history and the exquisite gastronomy that México has to offer.
Nico, Sebastian, Ximena and I had started preparing some sopes two days beforehand with the help of Esme and our medical officer Kristine. The morning of Cinco de Mayo, we started our day earlier than usual in order to start the day off in the right Mexican way. We decided that chilaquiles, huevos a la mexicana and frijoles refritos is always a good idea as it's something that every Mexican often has for breakfast. This consist of a base of ¨totopos" (a tortilla cut in triangles and then fried) covered with green or red sauce, with a side of scrambled eggs cooked with tomato, onion, green chilli peppers, and refried beans. They're perfect together!
I also had the idea of making some posters on the wall explaining what everyone was eating. This way everyone could read about the dish while they were in line to get their food. The posters detailed how the meal was made and some fun facts about the plate. We planned to do the three Mexican meals as well as snack which all had their own poster!
Don't think that in Mexico it's all about food (well it kind of is, but that's beside the point). I also planned showing this amazing movie called ¨Coco¨ made by Pixar about the Day of the Dead ( El Dia de Muertos).
The Day of the Dead is a very important holiday in México that we celebrate in remembrance of all of our family members and friends who have died. This includes making an altar to honour them with some ofrendas, using calaveras, flores de cempasúchil and their favorite foods and beverages. This movie came out at the end of 2017, so none of the crew had seen it before. It's incredibly beautiful the way in which they project our culture and history in such a creative way - it is very colorful and amazing how everything is so similar in the movie as it is in México. ¨Coco¨ does such a good job representing my country and it makes me so happy.
The day continued as normal with our typical schedules, but with some Mexican joy and music! After breakfast, everyone was pretty excited for lunch and seemed to really enjoy the meal, even the vegans.
It was day 2 so that means it's my least favourite day. I'm really busy that day but at the end I made it work! I started my day with Pre-Cal class. We solved some fun math problems and it went by really fast because I was so excited and I couldn’t stop thinking of what was coming next. For the second hour, I had my English class which went even faster!
After the class, I ran to galley to help finish the last details for lunch. We planned ¨Molletes¨ for lunch. It's a very easy plate to prepare and it's usually something we, as Mexicans, would have for dinner because its ¨light¨ (not really) and easy to make. But here on the boat, things go a different way as lunch is lighter than dinner. In Mexico our daily meals look like this:
- Breakfast: big, big, meal.
- Lunch: big, big, big meal.
- Dinner: big meal.
The day was really cold. So what's better than some ¨arroz con leche¨ (Mexican rice pudding) to keep us warm and cozy? This treat is something our grandmas would make to spoil us. The whole day made me feel homesick in a good way. It felt like home but with some heeling and water around haha. It was one of my favourite days on board!
We left the best for last. We wanted to shock everyone with the magical, exquisite and unique flavour of the ¨sopes¨, a plate that every single Mexican on earth has tried and loves it. In my opinion, it's impossible to not like it. And after that, to close our beloved Mexican celebration day, we were planning to enjoy the amazing movie that I was so excited for. Unfortunately, something happened with iTunes so I wasn’t able to show everyone the movie, but I'm not losing hope! I'm planning to fix it in Dublin so we can watch it during the sail to St. Malo.
I really enjoyed preparing all these meals, singing, dancing and laughing the whole day around all my friends. I'm in love with my country and I felt so happy to see how everyone appreciated the little part that we showed from it. And I really hope I did a good job representing México as it deserves to be represented. Full of culture, colours, traditions, history, unique gastronomy and joy. I will remember this day for the rest of my life! Viva México!
Written By: Class Afloat Student, Maria Luisa Fernandez de la Rosa