I recently came back from a two week “vacation” in Mexico on New Years Eve. When I got back to L.A. it was like I had crossed a finish line, I made it back safe and sound (and not because of the dangers of the cartels, they were the least of my worries).
However, my trip was not really over…See everyone at work and in my life was curious about my trip “How was it?” everyone asked with wide eyes and waiting for me to tell them all about my experience going back to my “homeland.”
I am not knocking those who asked, because I would too, unfortunatley that question caused me to feel stuck about how to answer it. Which version did they want? The sugar coated one? After all this is water-cooler talk so I can’t get all detailed.
Usually I would say, something to like “It was good, I got to spend quality time with my family and relatives and ate delicious cheap food!” However, after they left I would still feel uneasy. I didn’t know how to honestly answer that question myself.
I then realized that it is because my connection to Mexico is so complex. (Quick history: I was born in Mexico and raised there till I was 2 yrs old when my parents emigrated illegally to the U.S I then became a resident at age 8 and then a citizen at 15).
I know what I am supposed to feel, a deep connection, a feeling of being with my peoples, a sense of being “at home.” But when I am there I am counting the days until I come back to the states. Enough said, I felt like a bad Mexican.
It wasn’t until I was texting with this new friend Mel (who is also a Latina) when I just let it all out… the un-cut version of my trip.
It means having to go to a tiny town in Mexico where people still subscribe to ancient ideas of what a womans role is and when I go I stick out as the unmarried (which is questionable in itself) girl from ‘el norte.’ and having to explain to them why that is.
Instead of having that close bond with my cousins who when your there go out with you and party, my cousins are distant and or married.
I guess I could try to focus more on the positive but sometimes I don’t see what it is. I just spend all my time with my immediate family by eating out a lot and watching tons of pirated movies, in Spanish.
However, that was just one side on the same coin because every year in December I find myself wanting to go back. Why?!
Well Mel said it best, “All that aside (the b.s. of being unmarried and gay and the family disapproving) it is so reserved and rural that I can get lost every easily and the speed of life there is really what heals. The location is very close to my heart so I feel a deep spiritual connection there I feel nowhere else. It’s strange and I don’t tell many people to avoid sounding new agey.”
I guess I’d have to agree with Mel on that because the things I do remember that bring me peace are the sounds of the gallos in the morning, the wind chime in the afternoon when I am laying outside in the hammock and the delicious smell of guava trees in my backyard.”
I can’t say that when I am older I will go back to take my kids, after all it is complicated because I am a lesbian and my little town isn’t so welcoming to queers much less their families. However in the meantime I’ll continue to go back because it keeps me grounded.