Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, MX-- Halfway through my trip I am finally able to sit down and write. Most days I am exhausted, but happily so. Besides enjoying my family's company, practicing Spanish, and learning to do things just a little bit differently, I am also learning how to cook and prepare food and drink that my family eats.
Some of the juiciest conversations I have been a part of have been over ice-chilled Tecate, with lime and a pinch of salt. There is something fitting about the taste of sour lime combined with the bite of salt and cold cheap beer to explore memories and emotions that are painful. Speaking openly is often accompanied by such a beverage, and as a result I am inheriting stories of old wounds.
Without sharing details of what I have learned, the pain and hurt I am observing is universal and we can all relate to it. I think these feelings exist in all of us, of course with different words and expressions, but in English may be described as some of the following: resentment, shame, jealousy, nostalgia, sorrow, anger and fear.
By deciding to leave myself open to learning whatever I might on this trip, I have left my own wounds vulnerable to re-opening, especially ones that I have experienced together with my mother. This trip has been about exploring the root of my identity through my mom, so it is fitting that both of our wounds might be re-opened, but also opened to healing. As a result, an important thing I have learned is that our relationship and our story was impacted greatly by her decision to leave past pain behind. But this is a story will have to wait for another day.
Most importantly I have learned that the recipe of cheap beer with salt and lime can not only re-open wounds, it can also be a remedy.
When I get back to California my hope is to initiate themed conversations around family story, culture and identity shared over the meals and drinks I have learned from my family here. I plan on providing food prepared by me and a topic for conversation. If you're interested in participating or hosting this kind of event please let me know.