Mia Tia (My Aunt)


I am pretty enamored with this sweet little girl named, Britney. She is three–and Victor’s niece. All day long Britney stays with her grandma at the house while her mom is at work. She becomes another girl (so the family says) when her mama arrives home. I witnessed this side of her when she woke up Blakley style: growling and snapping at anyone who dares to talk the first fifteen minutes.

Tia she calls me–as if it were my first name. I kinda love it.


As the children arrive to the common area, they greet the adults by touching their foreheads to the back of the adult’s hand. As an adult, you hold your hand out (palm inward) and the kids approach you. I haven’t seen this tradition where I am living, but apparently it is very common where Victor’s family lives. Perhaps amongst the indigenous people of the area. When Victor was younger, apparently it really bothered him when someone ignored him, and he would pick up their hands and move them to his forehead. “Some child forgot to greet their uncle,” it was told, “Only pigs go about their day without paying respect. Greet your uncle, Pig.” Unaware of the true meaning of that command, the little boy approached his uncle and said, “Good morning, Uncle Pig.” This of course was told when Britney Bear refused to sayBuenos dias to us.

It didn’t take long before she warmed up to me again (I bribed her with a stuffed animal the first time I visited…), and soon she followed me around like my own baby chick. Victor gives her a hard time about everything under the sun, and last time she told him that HE could leave, but Tia could stay. She went with us as we visited the market to buy meat for the day–and chatted and danced away like a carefree little girl!


That afternoon was trip one to the brand new pool. I was a bit nervous: I knew that my new bathing suit was inappropriate for Mexico. I knew that people swim in clothes at the river. But what about the pool? Was I going to stand out as the only person not wearing a bathing suit? I should have known better… This is a new pool in a rather poor community. The fifteen peso admission as well as a pricey menu for a full service restaurant attached makes it a narrow clientel. The little boys sneak in the side gate and watch the other children swim–but really, who has time to take their kids to the pool in Jaltenango?

Just me and Victor.


And it sure was fun. Britney was a champ! She dunked her head under water–and blew bubbles with the best of us. She even knew that pushing someone else under water could be quite the comic event. It’s a good thing that she’s three, because that little girl is merciless!


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