I tend to have very romantic and often unrealistic ideals; I go around hoping to have transcdendant experiences. As an adolescent, I read Latin Literature and internalized it like it was biblical–to this day, everytime I see ants I think of Cien Anos and get a little afraid. I wanted to live in a liminal world like the one described in those books, a world that seemed more rich and engaging than my own.
So as I prepared to leave for Mexico, the country developed in my head as a sort of amalgamtion of magical-realism and the heady surrealism so important to modern and contemporary Mexican art–instead of focusing on books, now, it’s ex-votos and angelitos. In Mexico, I imagined, lines would be blurred. Maybe I would catch a glimpse of my long-dead, half-Mexican mother at the market, or meet a curandera in an Mayan village. I imagined feeling something wake up in my blood that had been waiting a long time, as soon as I set foot on my ancestral land.
I have been here over a week and I have not had any real surreal experiences except for the occasional, and continually shocking revelation that I am actually in Mexico. But I am not disappointed. Instead of the unreal, I am getting to meet and experience real people and places. Ideals are fun, but I think reality can tend to be more incredible–little kids throwing confetti in the street after the Chispa, women wearing traditional hupils, swimming in an ancient Mayan cenote with bones and shards of pottery beneath me–it is easy to see how the country and culture inspired such compelling art and literature.
I have come to terms with the fact that Coatlique is not going to rise out of the ground to greet me as a long-lost Mesoamerican princess. No problem, she would be pretty scary anyway. Mexico is awesome, just as it is.