I have an interesting relationship with Mexico. In my late teens I visited with my sister, brother, and my brother’s best friend. I ended up trying to find my way through the Pacific Coast of Baja California, and endeavoring to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Fast-forward seven years, and I was about to get married, had finished my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and had found my purpose.
These two trips are like bookends to a time period. I’ve heard it said that every seven years, there is a fundamental shift in who you are. Was this true for me?
When I was 19, just looking for something fun to so, heading down to Rosarito (because friends had said how great it was) I was pretty lost. I knew that I wanted to do something with my life, but I didn’t know what. I had been to University, and changed majors twice (I would change twice more before I was done!)
This was supposed to be a fun time with family and a close friend. As we entered Mexico, and headed south, we sang to silly songs on the radio, talked, and laughed. We practiced our Spanish, and tried to understand all of the traffic signs. Once we arrived at the hotel, we looked for some activities, but found that the town was pretty dead. We’d arrived a while after Spring Break, and before summer, so there weren’t too many people around. We went to a blowhole, tried to go to the beach (it was still cold!), and hung out. On our last night we sang Karaoke, and walked the streets well into the night. I was happy to be in a different world, and wondered if my life looked better in the shade of another culture. On our final day we got to know some locals who shared a delicious buffet lunch. Then we headed home. Back to reality, and I was no closer to finding out who I was.
Seven years later, I was a completely different woman. I’d lived in Spain and Costa Rica, finished University, and found my passion: education. I’d taught in different countries, and along way had met the love of my life. As we chose a honeymoon destination, we looked at Africa, Asia, South America, and the Mediterranean. For some reason, Mexico pulled at me. I thought about my first time there, how I was that lost teen. I thought it would be nice to return, for a sort of redo.
So we chose the Yucatan Peninsula, and spent 10 glorious days enjoying the sun, food, surf, and each other. This time it was so different. Fluent in the language, we truly got to know the place and the people we met. We connected with some of the history of the place, learned some Maya, and saw things through the eyes of people who weren’t searching for meaning, but for what meaningful to others.
What I eventually learned was that to live a life filled with a purpose, a deep love, and internal joy was what meant the most to me. Why I had this experience of being in Mexico at two very different times in my life is still unknown to me. But I do have to thank Mexico for the good times, the reflection, and the people. So as they say , “Viva Mexico!”