Its been a year since I left you. I can’t believe it has been so long. It seems like just yesterday when I was kissing you good-bye as the van kicked up dust, and we wheeled away, far, far away from beautiful you…
I remember when I first arrived, a bit nervous, feeling sick, but still bright, and passionate to meet you and sure that I would make a difference. It seems like just yesterday that I believed in myself and the myth that you were poor and the fairy tale that I could bring you through. How wrong I was, and how quickly you changed my view.
I can recall that pain that I felt the first day. The utter sadness that surrounded me, and how I wanted to escape. I loved you though and I think that is part of what held me through. I’ll never forget Joshua 1:9 and the feeling that God gave me through it. It seems like just yesterday that I learned to be strong and courageous no matter what the strife.
I still get flashbacks of that day of many firsts spent under your hot sun, and in your beautiful mountainside. I remember the sweat against my back as I picked up garbage, my first conversation in full Spanish, my sudden out-going nature, and the wonderful friends that I made. I can still see those girls and their mothers crowding around me for something as simple as hair elastics. I can feel the pressure, the tension, and the heat. Some would say that it was the first time I saw poverty but I call it the first time that I saw true love. It may sound strange to others, but I know that you understand. There was something so beautiful about that moment and the whole day, that I cannot call it poor. It seems like just yesterday that I learned about love.
I can’t forget Cadira or those other beautiful children that we met on our second outing. I can still feel their little bodies on my back, and their sweet voices clamouring in Spanish for a piggy back ride. I remember what it felt like to be really, truly exhausted…but still happier than ever before. I can still see their little faces, fading in the dust and feel the tears creep back into my eyes. It seems like just yesterday that I fell in love.
And I remember the afternoon spent in the market, haggling with people and laughing at my own foolishness. They were some of the hardest business people ever but the nicest ones, too. And I can still taste my first, real Mexican taco and see the beauty of your city from the mountainside where we sang and talked. It seems like just yesterday that I learned that people are people wherever you go.
No one can ever take away my memory of Jorje and his family and the build. I can still recall the nervousness, the hard work, and the love of those two days of sweat and labour. I’ll never forget Coolio’s words, “I love you Elizabeth.” He showed me that love is not a foreign language. I can still see Besenta’s strong but caring face as she painted alongside of me, and bound my wound. She taught me that sometimes, there is no need for words though love can still be felt. And Jorje runs into my mind daily, with his beautiful, brilliant smile and flashlight shining against your yellow sun. He showed me that indeed you are not poor. It seems like just yesterday that I was a fool learning all of these things…
This year has been a long one, full of grief and disappointment though not without its rewards. It seems strange to me that you still feel so close and near after one whole year but I guess that is what happens when you are in love. And do you know that I never got over you, no matter what anyone did or said? I always stood up for your beauty, despite what others thought and tried to make me agree with. I wept for you, Mexico. I love you and I am coming back. Just wait for me, keep waiting. Tell Jorje and Cadira and the others that I love them. I’m coming for you again. This time I know that I’m here to bless and be blessed, to love and be loved.
I wish it were tomorrow that I were coming to you but I’ll just hold on to yesterday to see me through…