Over at SB Nation’s Longform, here’s a good one by Jorge Arangure Jr:
No kid who grew up near the border in either San Diego or Tijuana was unaware of what that simple line in the sand meant. It was the great divide: the difference between the land of opportunity and the land of ambiguity.
Tijuanenses, as we called ourselves, loved our city, but we were fully aware that the town served more as a passageway than a destination. Many of those who stayed in Tijuana had no choice. They couldn’t cross the border, either legally or illegally. Tijuana became the city of the stranded.
The border shaped everything around us, and although we may not have realized the extent of it until some of us moved elsewhere, being a border kid was an experience unlike any other in the United States or Mexico. There is a duality of life, a duality of identities, and a duality of geography that permeates everything. Every Mexican kid who grew up on either side had relatives who crossed the barrier every day, who wanted to cross it, or crossed it themselves. The border was as familiar as a sibling, a part of everyday life, never too far away, and sometimes just plain irritating. Rarely did a day pass by without someone mentioning the length of the wait at the border.
Yet despite the hassle – or perhaps because of it – those who live on either side of the border, and the people who live near it, are unique, sharing an identity only with each other.