Mexico vs. Poland

Bishop Plácido Rodríguez and Pope John Paul II

A few years back, there was a soccer / football / fútbol match at Soldier Field between Mexico and Poland. The game sold out almost as soon as the tickets went on sale. Why? Well, because Chicago is the fifth largest Mexican city and Chicago is also the second largest Polish city. Chicago has a lot of people of Polish and Mexican descent living here.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had Polish friends. In Chicago, it’s just inevitable. In many Chicago neighborhoods, Mexicans and Poles live and work side by side. Despite the language barrier, they get along quite well because they have so many other things in common.

First of all, many of them have strong connection to their home country because they are either immigrants or they know recent immigrants. Most speak English as their second language. Both Poles and Mexicans are mainly Catholic and have a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. They both come from rural areas and adapt to a major city like Chicago. Both groups are known for being hard workers. So, there are many couples that are Mexican / Polish, or, if you prefer, Polish / Mexican, in Chicago. And they, too, get along just fine.

How they meet often remains a mystery since both Mexicans and Poles prefer their own people. But they have plenty of opportunities to meet each other in Chicago because they live and work together. Sometimes, only one person of the couple is a U.S. citizen. Usually, gaining U.S. citizenship has nothing to do with their becoming a couple. There is a genuine attraction between the two because they have so much in common. I’ve been to many Polish parties for baptisms, weddings, birthdays, and family gatherings, and I always felt like I was extremely welcome there. In fact, many times Poles would approach me with a friendly smile and immediately begin talking to me in Polish. I’d have to shrug and tell them that I didn’t speak Polish and that would end our conversation since they didn’t speak much English. Considering how many Polish girls I have met, I’m amazed that I’ve never had a Polish girlfriend.