Home at last
I’m officially home! The last week in Mexico was a horrible whirlwind of emotions. On Wednesday my host sister’s baby Sylvanna was born (5.5 lbs). I got to be there for the birth which was very exciting considering I have never seen anything like that before. It was interesting because she had a natural birth while most women in Mérida have cesareans. I think they are afraid of the pain during childbirth but the pain of the cesarean afterward is way worse. Evermore, a cesarean is 2.5 times more expensive than a normal birth so really I don’t understand why so many chose the surgical route.
Another adventure. My friends decided they wanted to celebrate the end of classes by going to a cantina. I told them “DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. I’ll take you and you call me when your done and I’ll pick you up.” I got a phone call early evening and went outside only to see a tormenta like nothing I have EVER seen before. It was pouring, not buckets, but bathtubs. Ni modos. I got in the car and started slowly making my way to the centro where the cantina was located. There were at least two feet of water in the streets that sprayed up on either side of the car, even though I was only going about 5 mph. Big black bags filled with trash floated down the streets that had quickly become fast moving rivers. By the time we were pulling out of the cantina to make our way home there was at least three inches of water sitting on the floor of the car that sloshed around like one of those wave pools every time I hit the breaks. Needless to say, it was definitely an experience.
Saying goodbye to the grandkids and my friends was the hardest part. Christian, one of the nietos told me, “Leah. When you come back from the United States to visit, can you bring me something? Something cheap. Like $7.” It was so funny that he already had his price limit picked out and everything. I told him we’d see but that he’d need to update me in November to tell me what had become the coolest new toy.
My friends gave me a sweet goodbye. Some of their moms got me little goodbye gifts (example: a bag shaped like a hammock) and many of my friends wrote me beautiful letters that still bring tears to my eyes when I read them. However, by the time Saturday rolled around I was more than ready to be gone. I hate drawing out goodbyes and drawing them out for a week is just TOO long and painful.
Being home has been nice, but it helps to know that I will be going back to Mérida in December (flights from Chicago only cost $100 bucks round trip). I have gone back to working at the restaurant before I figure out exactly what I’ll be doing for the rest of the summer. I was originally going to have an internship in New Mexico, but I decided I really just needed to digest everything at home. I’m hoping to find some kind of health based job/volunteer project that works within the Latino community. So far I have talked with someone from Mexico every single day I have been home. However, it really isn’t the same as talking in person. I miss being able to watch their facial expressions, hit them when they say something that deserves hitting, laughing along side them…
So what have I noticed about the United States? Well, sitting in church on Sunday I realized how cold Americans are in comparison to Mexicans. In our culture there is a space boundary that rarely gets crossed. I do not believe such a boundary exists in Mexico. It’s nice not to have a million topes that ruin your car when you don’t see the bump in the road. And I can cross the street without being overly scared that a car will 100% not be willing to stop and let me cross.
And what will I miss about Mexico? Obviously my friends and host family there, but also just random normality’s of life. I will miss the viene viene men who wave their orange rag at me to help me back out in a completely empty parking lot to earn a few pesos. I will miss my botana lunches at Eladio’s—buy a drink and get plates and plates of food free (I really do think it would be a hit in the U.S. if we used that concept for dinner instead of lunch). I will miss walking past the late night food stands with their bacon wrapped hotdogs. I will miss my hammock. And yes, I will even miss waking up at six AM only to find myself already drenched in sweat.