It’s been a long weekend, and a hectic day, but all is set and it’s time to leave. Leaving is always strange. I expect it to be like the movies, all tears and pain, but it’s not. Just one step forward, a vibration anticipating what is to come, and I knowledge that I may never eat perfect Mexican food again. I know I have changed, but it’s not always easy to see the change. It’s not just the language that I can now speak, that I have laughed in and found family in. It’s not just the memories, or the pain, or the times I laughed until my face hurt.
The Russian once said she was always amazed by what she had lost when she went home, not what she had gained. I can see the edges of what she meant, but I doubt I can predict what I will find missing. I take a kind of pride in my lack of attachment to the world around me, but I also realize that’s what keeps me alone. There is something comforting about being alone, something safe. You never have to worry about the chaos of other people’s lives interfering with your own, no matter how involved you get. At the end of the night, you still go home to peace and quiet. But I didn’t move out here for comfort and peace.
I’m sure there is a balance to being close to people without suffering, I have read a lot about the concept in philosophy and religion. The idea of loving with an open heart, living life like an open wound. I have been playing it safe most of my life, even here, with all I have done, I am still playing it safe. The first place I chose was close to home, in a culture that is nearly as familiar to me as my own. The surprises were never mind altering, and the change was never difficult.
Mexico is a place filled with wonderful people, where family is more common than friends, where good food can be found in the most surprising places, and where a good person can make a life. It is also a place where many people have no respect for property, no conscience about stealing, and rules only exist to be broken. The culture here is amazing, a mix of the ancient world slowly being corrupted by the modern one. There isn’t much merging of cultures, and the Americanization of Guadalajara is all of the worst of American culture, consumerism and greed.
That is the strange thing about this place, it is a mirror of home, showing the truth of what we are. In Mexico, laws are blatantly broken by the powerful and the weak, all striving to get what they want. In America, it’s subtle, systemic, and slow. We change the laws so that we are not doing anything illegal. They break the law, then change it to match their actions. We tell stories about the horrors of Mexico only to help hide the horrors of our home.
Mexico is a country on the border of greatness, held back by fear, the corruption of the government, and the US anti-drug policies keeping the Narcos rich. They need a leader to set their path, but everyone who stands out gets executed or disappeared. They are free enough that they can live their lives relatively safely, doing whatever they want, as long as they don’t get the attention of the powerful. They are happy, but everyone has been hurt by the crime or corruption, usually directly. They laugh, until someone mentions the sorrow of the country. People in the US are only beginning to realize how power can be abused by some people, here, it is abused by everyone in power. Sometimes it’s the only way to survive in that world. If you don’t abuse your power, your peers rarely trust you.
I know there is more to see, and I know my view will change as time passes. Before I came here I understood the war on drugs, I knew it was the right idea to protect people. Now I see what the cost is, and that all it does is criminalize people who are addicted, and people who are forced to produce the crop by the heavily armed Narcos. The war on drugs doesn’t serve the function it was created for, to make lives safer and better.
As for the people I leave behind, the modern world provides endless ways to keep in touch. Our paths will cross again, in this life or the next. I don’t worry too much about finding new people to laugh with, or to cry with. Here I found the same personalities I befriended back home, just with a few cultural twists. Nerds, fighters, philosophers, douchebags, and so many more. I believe that we bring into our lives the people that we want and we need. That who we are decides who our friends will be. If you have problems with who your friends are, or the type of person you date, look at who you are to understand why they are in your life. Looking, at me, myself, personally, I can definitely say I’m awesome.
There are a lot of pictures this time. I took a trip to Queretaro and Xilitia over the weekend. There are ruins of the home of Edward James, a wealthy man who moved to Mexico and built a home in the mountains. It makes me think of Lothlorien.