Correo del Otro Lado

Correo del Otro Lado

21 March 2007 Interviews & Editorials 16

As Working Gringos in Merida, we have enjoyed the good fortune of meeting Yucatecos from all walks of life as well as other gringos who immigrated to Yucatan before we did. Their support and advice have been invaluable as we adapt to our new home and assimilate into this unique culture. When we started the Yucatan Living website, our aim was simple: to create a place on the Internet for gringos who lived here or were considering moving here that would be as helpful and interesting as our experiences. In short, we expected it to be an online expatriate resource.

Well, sometimes in life, things don't always turn out as planned... sometimes, they turn out even better! Almost since the beginning, Yucatan Living has (unexpectedly) attracted English-speaking Yucateco and Mexican readers who have provided even more help to us new arrivals and better insights into their culture.

What's more surprising, however, are the many Yucatecos living in el otro lado (the other side of the border), as well as those who live with one foot on both sides, who are frequent readers and commentators. These readers are our role models, because they have already achieved what we are striving to become: bilingual, cross-cultural North Americans*. They enrich our lives in ways we could hardly begin to explain, especially when they live in our former home state of California (el otro lado in more ways than one). It is like seeing a reflection of ourselves through Alice's looking glass. One way to explain how it feels is to share this correo electronico (email) we recently received:

It is funny how things fall into place at times. I had been reading about President Bush’s visit to Mexico last week. It was then that I discovered that he was going to be staying in Merida. A quick Google search for the president in Merida brought me to your website.

I guess I should start off by saying that your website is probably the best I have ever seen when it comes to documenting the daily life of Yucatan.

My name is Roque and I am a son of two Yucatecos. My parents immigrated to California at a very young age. My father left Merida with his father at a very young age, perhaps due to the fact that my dad was attracted to the stories he had heard about America. My mother is the daughter of a real estate developer. My grandfather was an entrepreneur at the time. He developed more than half of Jardines Miraflores in addition to being involved in the growing textile industry. During my father’s adventures in Los Angeles he managed to get himself enlisted in the Army. A few years later he returned to Merida to marry my mother and bring her to California. They stayed in California, but ever since I was little, my parents have taken me and my brothers to Merida to learn our culture and remember where we came from.

I am 26 years old, the eldest son of three. My brother and I have graduated from different universities, myself and my youngest brother both were in the military.

Most of our family is in Merida, we plan on returning soon. We have a house in Chelem and the rest of the family is in Merida. Although, there is a small group of Moguel that still live in Hoctun. I invite you to visit there sometime. One of its main attractions is its colorful cemeteries.

I share all this with you as testament that Yucatecos end up in all parts of the world. Los Angeles might be far away, yet Yucatan is still in our hearts. Reading your observations of Merida only brings that closer to us.

We have plans as an entire family to return to Merida for my parents 30th Wedding Anniversary this year. Perhaps I could introduce you to my parents over some

botanas de relleno negro. My father studied Anthropology of that area and he could tell you all types of stories and histories of Yucatan that will make you love the place even more. It worked on me!

Best wishes with the website and your time in Yucatan!

Roque Joaquin Moguel

Muchas gracias, Roque, for your kind letter (and to all those Yucatecos who have written us or left comments on this website). We look forward to meeting you and the Moguel family the next time you're in Yucatan. But upon further reflection, why don't we bring the relleno negro and you bring the tri-tip and sourdough bread? ;)

Nos vemos (y saludos a La Peregrina),
Working Gringos

* Note: Although gringos are often called Norte Americanos in Spanish, we use the term "North Americans" here to refer to people living on the North American Continent, from Canada to Panama.


  • Amy Ricalde 12 years ago

    Dear Ana,

    I would be delighted to hear from you and to speak about my great-grandfather Graciano Ricalde Gamboa. My email address is Amy

  • Ana Rechtman 12 years ago

    I'm a mexican mathematician currently living in France. I'm looking for information about Mauro Graciano Ricalde Gamboa. I will like to contact Amy Ricalde and share information with her.


  • Elvi 12 years ago

    I just went on a cruise to Progreso, a very nice port, a very hot town, it was 107F the day we arrived and few places to cool off. I was very happy to find a soft yogurt place about a block and a half from the malecum (near the beach) they have soft yogurt from the U.S. and filtered water. The little place was air conditioned! It really helped my family to stay there for a few moments as we had small children. Thank you for such a great dessert.
    Elvi and family

  • Amy Ricalde 13 years ago

    Dear Moguel Family,

    I have been researching my father's side of the family since he past away about 6 years ago. His family was from Merida (originally from Hoctun). I write because he is a descendant of Ricalde, Gamboa and Moguel lineages. I have been very fortunate to find a good deal of information about Ricalde and Gamboa living in Yucatan and have even found first cousins. I would be grateful to learn more about the Moguel name and see if there is possibly a direct family relation. My great grandfather Graciano Ricalde Gamboa was born to Don Ambrosio Ricalde Moguel and Doña Insidra Gamboa. That is the furthest back I've been able to trace the name. I think they may have been the first of our branch to leave Spain in the 1800s and arrived in Hoctun before moving to Merida.



  • Jason 14 years ago

    I visited Yucatan for the first time in the summer of 1997 on a mission trip to the pueblo of Sotuta. I fell in love with Yucatan even after only being there 10 days. I returned with a buddy of mine the following summer (1998) to stay in Sotuta for 6 weeks. During the 3rd or 4th week, I met a lovely, sweet young lady who lived next door to where I was staying. I practiced my limited Spanish with her and her friends, playing basketball daily and visiting afterwards enjoying a Coca Cola (by the way, much better than Coca Cola in the USA). It was very difficult to leave in July.
    Some friends and I returned to Sotuta for a week or so in December '98/January '99.
    After finally graduating from college in May '99, I returned to Sotuta, and the sweet young lady and I started dating. I played semi-pro baseball on Sunday afternoons and taught English in two Merida schools for a year and a half. In August of 2000, we got engaged. By November, we realized I wasn't making enough money to pay for a wedding and fiesta, so I returned home (Louisiana) to teach in a high school and to petition INS for her visa. In June, I went back to Yucatan to get ready for the wedding. We got married on July 15, 2001, receiving the first visa approval letter from INS just days before. A few weeks later I had to return to Louisiana for the new school year. At the end of August, my wife and I met again in Ciudad Juarez for her visa interview; she was approved!!! She entered the USA on Sept. 1, just 10 days before 9/11. We now live in Kinder, Louisiana, with 2 beautiful children, right next door to my parents. We return to Yucatan to visit her family every 2 years, and it's time to go again this coming summer (2009), God willing.

  • tusreba 15 years ago

    This is a great web site. How else can I keep track of the Working Gringos, my own son and daughter-in-law?

  • Genny M/La Peregrina 16 years ago

    Hello Compa Dave:
    For all of you who are reading this, my compadre is the best person and the nicest of my husband friends, in couple of months will be attending his daughter's wedding, Rebekah, she is our godchild and brought her to Chelem when she was 16, she is also graduating and becoming a Doctor, can we be more proud? Congratulations again compadre, you and lovely Sherri and all of your family are always welcome to Peregrina/Chelem...MI CASA ES SU CASA...
    Love you and thanks again for being our friend.

  • Roque Joaquin Moguel 16 years ago

    Plan is for us to return in late August for the Wedding Anniversary. So the Californian based Moguel family will be back in Yucatan for a few weeks! We'll be staying in our home in Chelem the "Peregrina".

    Isn't interesting how even houses and property have names? The property next door to our house in Chelem we called "Chichi" in honor of my grandma that has always instilled that pride in our culture, family history and traditions. Never will my brothers and I forget about the summers when she would (and still does to do this day) make us our "Caldo de pescadito" that we had no choice but to drink if we wanted to go to the "feria". I always will have in my heart the good memories and happiness she has brought me.

    Let’s keep in touch and maybe we can all get together some time for some ceviche, cervezas and even better, the sunsets in Chelem! Just look for the sign, "Peregrina" ;-)

    - Rocky Jr

  • CasiYucatecan 16 years ago

    Hi Peregrina,

    No, this Rocky and I went to Fort Hays State University in western Kansas. (Custer's last outpost before the Little Big Horn for trivia buffs).

    Sorry it's not the same Rocky, but how many people have that name anyway. Sounds like a good enough reason for us to get together over some good chips & dip and tell some tall tales! heehee ;-)

  • David Burns 16 years ago

    Mis Compadres! What a wonderful story! For those reading this, my family has been friends with the Moguel family for the last thirty years! I met Roque, Sr in the US Army. He and his wife Genny are the Godparents of my oldest daughter Rebekah.

    In 2006, my current wife, Sheri, and I traveled with the Moguels to their home in Chelem. Sheri had just undergone surgery and we went to the warm culture and environment of Yucatan to heal.

    The Moguels are truely representative of the Yucatecos as they have been true friends for many years and have opened their hearts and their home to me and mine. During the trip to Chelem in 2006 we got to meet the extended family and found them to be just like Roque and Genny and their children.

    Yucatan and the Yucatecos now occupy a special place in our hearts. David "Doc" Burns, Northern California

  • CasiYucateco 16 years ago

    Ooops! It has been pointed out to me that the Red Pill is the one that allows your eyes to be opened. I always get confused about movies...

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