Article 13: Going back to the pueblo

I live in Mexico City, where a beautiful chaos holds everyday. But it’s Christmas time which means holidays and for a lot of people it means “obligatory family time”, so even if I enjoy living in what we still call “DF”, blood reclaims me and I go back to the town where I was born.

After seven hours in the bus I finally arrive in Huejutla where my brother comes for me and takes me to Tempoal, where I’m from. One hour is the distance between each place and along the way you can see the mountains, the green of the trees and the thickness of the morning air. When I feel we’re starting to get close I roll down the window and as I inhale the air I recognize I'm home. There is just that feeling of your land that makes it so special, you see those streets that you have walked, driven, you know what you´ll see next, you know the colors, the shapes, you feel your land with all your senses and you know you were born there. You know you are part of it.

My brother parks the truck and we carry the suitcases through the garage that hides my house, and I pass my aunt´s house and in the last window I shout: “tía!” hoping she answers, she does and she waves at me smiling and saying hi, she´s on the phone. And I continue walking that path of wood and rocks that no one likes because when it rains it gets slippery and everyone is always falling. But it always reminds me how I used to play with my cousin, we would just wait until it rained enough so a waterfall could be made and we could play in the water. And from there I can see the old “horno de barro” - “wood stove” - where my mom and my aunt used to make zacahuil for the new year.

Three little steps continue to get to my house and I start to see my mom’s garden, and I know I’ll see the red playground where I used to balance and then jump to the green grass, but now there is no more grass and it looks sad. Beside it now is my brother´s coffee roasting machine and the air smells quite nice, everything else is green and I continue to my door, where I knock so my mom can receive me and hug me. And right away she leads us to the kitchen where already she has made breakfast for us. She has made us meat with enchiladas with tortillas from her own hands and she has just put them in a salsa with that fresh cheese that my mom probably just bought that morning from a person screaming at the door “queso fresco! queso fresco!”. This is the cheese that I have missed, because it has an unreplacable flavor, it tastes more fresh and real than any other, it tastes like nature and you enjoy every bite of it. Tempoal is known for its cheese and its meat, and as little as it is -- 38, 839 inhabitants, though thats what a sign has said even before I was born -- in Mexico people know meat or cheese is good quality when it's from Tempoal.

Those are the moments that I feel thankful to have been born there and I don’t care about the lady who took half of my seat and didn’t let me sleep the whole night on the bus, or the nausea I felt almost the whole way because of the mountain's curves. The rooster will sing and the cats will ask for food in a cute melody of hunger, love and patience, and we’ll all laugh at the moment mom talks to them and they just seem to understand her.

--Celeste Navarrete