At times, Mexico City can be overwhelming with emotions. When you’re on the street, exposed and vulnerable, you are aware that anything can happen. You literally thank God and your angels for keeping you safe, and they seem more real than ever. Sometimes, you are surprised that you made it home with the camera you left with and pesos you stuffed in your bra. Sometimes you think you’re just being paranoid or uncultured American, but then you remember that the week before you got there, the neighborhood guys almost killed man who tried to car-jack a neighbor, and the week before that, the lady down the block had her jewelry ripped from her neck as she was parking her car.
So, the safety and comfort you find are inside the home, where your friends and family are. In the home, I felt love and hospitality as strongly as I did darkness on the outside. I saw a household made up of three generations and three marriages come together to make a place that is inviting and full of love even through regular struggles. The family welcomed me in ways I never imagined, in ways I’m not sure I could return. They so unselfishly gave of themselves, their time and literally gave their beds.
But it’s not just within the home that that you feel that, but within the tiny neighborhood communities they live in. On our first night in the city, the neighbors made the family a huge pot of paella with seafood. We feasted on rice (thank God Sheryl plucked the seafood off of my plate), bread, fresh tortillas and Coca. When you think people are going to mock your light skin or gringo accent, you find that they smile and give you a hug and ask how they can help you have a better stay. Oh, and then they draw you and let your caricature hang above the dining table all week.
Muchas gracias, mi familia.