I spent my two-week New Year’s vacation with family in Mexico. When I got back to L.A. I felt like I had crossed a finish line and, thankfully, made it back safe and sound.
My trip was not really over, though. Everyone at work and in my life was curious. “How was it?” people asked, waiting for me to tell them about my “homeland.”
Which version did they want, the sugar-coated one or the uncensored version? Normally, I would say “It was good. I got to spend quality time with my family and relatives and ate a lot of delicious cheap food!” But that hardly touches the surface.
I know that I am supposed to feel a deep connection, a feeling of being with my people, a sense of being “at home.” But when I am there, I count the days until I come back to the States. I feel like a bad Mexican.
It wasn’t until I was talking with my friend Mel, also a Latina, that I felt comfortable enough to say what I really felt.
Here’s the uncensored version of my trip:
Mexico for me means having to go to a tiny town in where people still subscribe to ancient ideas of what a woman’s role is and when I go I stick out as the unmarried girl from El Norte. Over and over, to my annoyance, I have to explain why.
Instead of having that close bond, we are distant because we did not grow up together and know very little about each other’s lives. I guess I could try to focus more on the positive side but sometimes I don’t see what it is. I just spend all my time with my immediate family and watching tons of pirated movies in Spanish.
Nonetheless, like clockwork, every year in December I find myself missing Mexico, the food, the people and even the dusty rancho.
Why?! Well, Mel said it best: “All that aside (the BS of being unmarried and gay with 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.”
This resonated with me 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, and the smell of guava trees when I am lying outside in the hammock.
I can’t say now that when I am older I will go back to take my kids. It is complicated because I am a lesbian and my little town doesn’t welcome queers nor their families.
But in the meantime, I’ll continue to go back to my ranchito because it keeps me grounded.
– Special Correspondent Jacky. A version of this essay originally appeared on MyQulture.com.
Photo by Wingstonruballos.
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