I’m a first-generation Latina. However, I would consider myself Americanized. I speak English, and my Spanish isn’t the best. Growing up in Southern California, I experienced snippets of Hispanic, Asian, European and Middle Eastern cultures through friends and through travel. Even though I grew up with so much culture, I never truly experienced my own roots.
That changed this summer. For the first time, I was going to travel to Mexico for a family trip. However, it was more than just a family trip. I was going to see where half of my genes came from, I was going to meet some family members for the first time, and I was going to a place where English was not the primary language. People here valued different things.
Aguascalientes, Mexico, or Aguas for short, is sort of similar to Los Angeles in that it is a center for business, tourism, and night life. Deeper into Aguas is Pabellon—a smaller city that lacks the urban feel of the center of the state. Despite this, it was everything you would want as a first impression of your roots.
If I could describe this place in one word, it’s humble. It is small but lively. The architecture here is old but simple. The people here are generous, despite not having tons to give. The food is high quality, and super inexpensive (in American currency).
This place was nothing like anything I imagined. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I looked like the people from here, but at the same time, I didn’t. My clothes were different, my style of interaction was different, but even with my differences, everyone was accepting and no one intentionally made me feel out of place. I spoke broken Spanish, but the residents of this city made every effort to understand me.
One thing I learned from this trip is that family is extremely important. The unity between my newly introduced family was unreal, and frankly very respectable. The bond between this family is unbreakable, and I felt like I was inducted into this life-long bond during my week-long stay.
Another lesson I learned was the value of our surroundings. Getting to know my familial roots was incredible, and getting to know my geological roots was a sight to see. The buildings here were so vibrant and simple, but breathtaking all the more. The land was green and healthy. Mother Earth surely takes pride in this area.
The photo above says,”Proud of this land, its people, and its history”. There are many wonders of the world, but one of the most valuable and heartwarming experiences is getting to know your roots. Take the opportunity if it comes your way. You won’t regret it.
Have you ever visited family out of the country? Let me know where in the comments below!