I don’t know what age it started at but I do remember how it started. I remember looking at pictures that people took from around the world, I remember the scenery photos of grasslands or city life of other countries and I was hooked. I remember thinking, even as a young soul, “there is so much more” and I still think that today. At first a small town was all that I knew, everything else just seemed a little scary. I remember taking my first plane ride by myself to meet up with some friends in Kansas when I was in 5th grade and my second plane trip to Colorado.
I felt this serenity that filled me. I’ve always had a hunger for traveling but at that moment, it grew. When I finally was able to drive and had money to do my own travels, I would take last minute trips to Los Angeles or the beach- pretty much anything to get a little taste of something different than my usual surroundings. Sure it wasn’t far but it was still something. Then I took another plane trip by myself but this time it wasn’t to another state but another country. It was more nerve wrecking than any trip I’ve ever taken, not because I went alone but because I was going to a country where I only could speak half of the language.
Once I did that, my next trips to Mexico was a breeze including my 11 days in Mexico with my dad this year in April.
Day 1 -2(Guadalajara):
My father and I arrived at Guadalajara Airport then we were off to my aunts house. We went out for dinner that night and spent more time talking about what was going on in our lives back here in the States. This time around, I knew more Spanish however talking to my cousins was still a task. Thankfully my cousins new a little of English so whatever I didn’t know, I was able to say in English.
The next day we woke up and headed our way to visit my mothers side of the family. I haven’t seen them since I was about 6 years old but I still remembered many things about them. The nerves were creeping in and I wasn’t too sure if they still remembered me. When I was younger I remember always hanging around the plaza and in that plaza my family owned taco stand(which is still stands there today). We walked up to the stands and instantly my aunt put on this huge smile in her face for she knew exactly who we were. We stayed and chatted with both my aunts who were working. We ate and talked(that is pretty much what we did the whole trip). The smiles that I received and the feeling of being welcomed from my family was amazing. It was great to know that I am able to feel at home in a place so far away.
Day 3-4 (Uruapan, Isla De Janitzio):
Day three me and my dad headed to Uruapan to visit, wait for it, more family. But this time, it was a little more difficult for me because they did not know any English so it was a bit of a challenge. Then my dad took me to the centro there to look for shoes and maybe find some things to take back to my friends. It was more packed than usual given that it was getting close to Easter. After the centro, we went to a national park located within the city. It was a beautiful park filled with trees and waterfalls. We did a ton of walking . Once we exited the park there was men doing a traditional dance called “Danza de Los Viejitos”.
The day after we headed to Isa De Janitzio, an island located in the middle of a huge lake. We took a 30 minute boat ride to get to the island and had to walk up steep steps to make it all the way to the top which had a museum.
The first day we settled into my dad’s hometown, said hi to everyone, and of course ate more food. I kid you not, I’m practically related to the whole town. My uncle and aunt who have lately been coming to visit the states more recently were happy to see me visit them in Mexico for a change. They had tears in their eyes and gave me tight hugs.
The following day I went out for a run a little bit outside of town with my aunt. After the run we went back to the house and went off to the beach and relaxed most of the day. Of course we also took a dip in the ocean and walked on along the shore.
The last day was by far the laziest day. All I wanted to do was lay down on the hammock and for the most part that is exactly what I did. Then my dad convinced to go get out and see this Mexican Easter tradition in which they have a group of people, mainly boys, walk around town dressed up in masks asking for donations. Then they hold a ceremony that is called “The burning”(in English translation). The whole town gathers to watch a paper based Manichean and burn it in symbolism to Judas betrayal. After the ceremony, once the sun sets people gather again to do a silent walk to honor Jesus.
Now to my favorite part of the trip. Thankfully my dad was up to visit a place that I kept asking about(mainly cause my aunt and cousin kept talking about it and ya girl is a curious soul). The town was amazing, the architecture, the food( great now I’m craving the food from there), and the night life. I would 100% go back and recommend everyone who is able to go- go! I was definitely enamored with the city.
When we arrived back to Guadalajara we went straight to my uncles house and they held a barbecue solely to celebrate our visit. The day was mainly filled with adoring family talking and laughing together. Then someone had suggested to go out for drinks and dancing. So we went from a family barbecue, getting ready, to ending up at a night club.
Day 10 was hard, at this point I just wanted to go home to cuddle with my cat. I know it sounds like something a typical cat-lady would say but homesickness was hitting me hard. We lounged around the house, went to the bank, walked around, and by that time, we went to have dinner with the family once more before our early flight the next day.
The final day was definitely a bittersweet. I was happy to go home but I know I would miss my family dearly. This trip was great and I broadened my Spanish vocabulary( I mean it’s still not the best but way better than what it was). I was able to see the Mexican traditions in a way I have never seen and I was able to see family that I have not seen in a long time. It has to be one of my favorite trips up to date so far. I am very grateful for my family in Mexico and I’m looking forward to the day I can go back.
Going to places that I never have been to made the trip much more exciting and I cannot wait for my next trip: Scotlond, England, and Ireland.