El Nevado de Toluca
I haven´t felt like writing in a while. Partly because I used up some of my creative inspiration in this guest post for Anglo Info´s expat blog (http://blogs.angloinfo.com/mexico-city-is-my-home/2015/02/24/hello-world/ ) but that is just an excuse I made up for myself as to why I haven’t written. It’s certainly not for lack of things to talk about. Since I returned to Mexico in January I have climbed to the top of el Nevado de Toluca and part-way up la mujer dormida (Iztaccihuatl), visited a handful of museums in Mexico City, attended Endeavor Mexico’s High Impact Party, and wrote 3 company profiles for Endeavor’s next national selection panel. But the real root of the reason is just that I just haven´t felt particularly inspired. Until now.
El Nevado de Toluca
Waterfall at Iztaccihuatl
View of el Popocatepetl
Museo de Antropologia
Visiting family in Orizaba, Veracruz (Tías Lupita, Coco, Kachon, and Chiquis)
View from el Cerro de Borrego, Orizaba, Veracruz (where my grandpa was born)
With Tío Luis and Tía Lupita at el Cerro de Borrego, Orizaba, Veracruz
I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro to celebrate an uncle’s 75th birthday. I hadn´t seen any of my family members in months since our January trip to Orizaba and it was so refreshing to reunite and be reminded of how wonderful my family is. I especially enjoy what is called “sobremesa” here: basically that moment in the night when you have eaten dinner and dessert and are just sitting around the table talking and laughing and sharing stories (I love that Mexicans have created words for things like this). Hearing all of the old stories about my grandpa’s sisters and their children firsthand is a moment I will always cherish. Yet this large family event (a party with over 100 guests, friends and family alike) also reminded me of the equally caring family I left behind in New York. Seeing everyone made me miss my cousins and uncles and grandparents so suddenly that I shocked myself. And then I began thinking…
Happy 75th Birthday to Tío Raymundo!
Part of the reason why I haven´t felt particularly inspired to write is because I find myself at another crossroads in my life: searching for the next opportunity once my fellowship ends in July. Not only is it difficult to fathom this transition, but it is also making me realize that the lives of my family back home and those of my family here in Mexico are not the life I will lead nor the life I necessarily desire for myself. Traveling is an incredible privilege, and once you realize how much bigger the world is than your tiny reality you can easily become addicted to further exploration and discovery, setting the stage for a nomadic type of lifestyle. Yet I have always been someone who values strong relationships, and those two interests seem to be at odds. I realize that while I miss my family in New York, I do not want to move back to Long Island. And while I love my family here, I do not envision myself staying in Mexico for the rest of my life either.
I spent 18 years developing strong family relationships on Long Island, 12 years building close-knit friendships in the suburban town I grew up in, 4 years building more close friendships at college, and recently 9 months nurturing new relationships with extended family and new friends here in Mexico, only to wonder: what is the point of all this relationship-building? I don´t see myself being geographically near to any of these people for any concrete period of time in the foreseeable future. And there is something simultaneously discouraging and liberating about this realization. It seems I will always be missing someone, and yet I will continue to meet new people and develop new relationships. My future is uncertain, yet filled with possibilities.
Spending these last few days talking with my great aunts and uncles and cousins, I began to appreciate individual moments and stopped worrying about the future. I am blessed to have been able to get to know my Mexican relatives, and to travel across the country and learn more about my grandpa´s culture and family history. It dawned on me that it was not just chance that I decided to come to Mexico: I was drawn to better understand my roots. And this experience has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.
With Tío René and Tía Esperanza at the party in Tequisquiapan
With Tía Charín at the party
I also have surprised myself by the number of close friendships I have formed with people who were complete strangers just 9 months ago. I have shared wonderful memories and laughs with friends not only from Mexico but also from all over the world, purely the result of my outgoing nature and value of relationship-building.
Regardless of where the next chapter of my life leads me, I know that I have many homes: the one on Long Island I grew up in, the one at Villanova I discovered myself in, the one in Mexico that continues to embrace and challenge me to be my best self, and the potential for future homes that I carry with me, creating a new home wherever I go. And this is just the beginning.
La Peña de Bernal, Querétaro