My relationship with my Mexican culture has been complicated for most of my life. I have struggled to love my skin color for as long as I can remember, I constantly wished my mom would speak English and I detested the yearly summer vacations to Mexico. When I say detested, I mean it was a yearly loud argument with my parents. Eventually they started letting me make my own decisions and suddenly 12 years had passed and I hadn’t seen my Grandma or my aunts and uncles in that amount of time. I have many regrets in my life, but that may be my biggest one.
A few weeks ago I got to spend 5 incredible days in my mother’s hometown and suddenly I appreciated every inch of the tiny place. It’s amazing what a few years of self-awareness can do to your perspective. I mean, Penjamo is where my mother grew up, it’s where my parents met, it’s where they got married and it’s where my family lives. I stepped foot in that town on August 2 and suddenly it felt like home.
My mother made sure that I got the most out of my 5 days and my first official day in Penjamo she threw me a surprise “Welcome Home” party. She hired a singing group, she decorated my Grandmother’s house from top to bottom and every single one of my family members showed up for me. I have never felt more loved in my life. A few revelations came to me during this trip, the first one being that I got my love for music from these beautifully musical people.
Every single one of my aunts, uncles and my Grandmother sang me beautiful songs. They interpreted my favorite music, they dedicated sweet songs and they made me cry a lot. The day was full of dancing, singing, crying and eternal amounts of love. I went to bed that night hoping to never forget the amount of love I felt and wishing that I took more pictures.
The five days were full of adventure:
We visited San Juan De Los Lagos
We explored Guanajuato
but the most important part of my trip was my time with my family.
The people that I least appreciated when I was growing up. You see, most of our family is in Mexico (even on my dad’s side) and I am constantly forgetting how big my family is. I find myself yearning for this place even now, having been back for a few weeks. I miss my Grandmother’s hands on my face, I miss my Tia Rosa making me laugh until I cry, I miss my Tio Martin singing to me and I miss my Tio Ramon pretending to speak English to me (dad jokes, they never get old).
I am grateful that despite my constant need to dislike everything she tried to do for me, that my mom kept insisting that I have a relationship with her family (my father did not do the same). Now, I have this group of extraordinary humans that I appreciate more than I ever thought imaginable. I have officially made a promise to myself, that no matter what, I will visit Penjamo at least once a year because life is too short to not spend your time with the people you love.