The turbulence of the plane woke me from my dreamy state. I had been staring out of the plane window for what seemed like days. I did not exactly know what to expect when I stepped onto the ramp that led into the outside world. I was in Mexico City, the capital of my mother’s country, the country of my blood. When I headed out into the six-lane traffic, little did I know what adventure was lying before me.
We embarked on a week-long journey that would help me form an empowered bond with the history of my roots. I visited antique buildings of great age, some going back as far as the sixteenth century. My entire life I have gone to Mexico to visit family, but I never realized the expansive and profound depths of my culture.
Although the Spanish destroyed much of the legendary empire of the Aztecs, their history and spirit remained alive throughout the years. The pulse of its heritage beats in the veins of its descendants and archaic ruins. The beauty of Mexico’s antique Spanish ancestry is undeniable, but I was drawn into the profound depths of its ancient history. The more I saw, the deeper I was pulled into the mystic realm of Aztec legends. I had the opportunity to visit TeotihuacÃ¡n, an expansive city for its time, which actually belonged to a group of people older than the Aztecs. The Pyramid of the Moon stands facing the city, while the Pyramid of the Sun is to its left. As I walked toward the Pyramid of the Moon my gaze was drawn to the right, up toward a massive figure silhouetted against the grey overcast sky. The people at its base were like ants in comparison. Rails and ropes led up its slanting face, reaching toward the heavens, the home of the gods. I rushed to the first step and began my climb towards the top, to see what it would be like to touch the sky. I reached a section of steps that became significantly narrow, so that I had to turn to my side to continue moving forward. I pictured the ancient people who once lived here, making their way up these steps, with offerings, potential sacrifices, and planned prayers, their sides facing front, so as not to turn their backs on the deities who dwelled above. I entertained the idea that I was following in the footsteps of my ancestors. Eventually, I reached the top. I experienced a certain sense of glory staring down at the microscopic persons exploring the city’s perimeter. I was in awe that any civilization could construct such a massive edifice by hand, without any beasts of burden or metal tools. I was more in awe of the possibility that I had any connection with such majesty of the ancient era.
That day my sense of pride became truly acute. Learning about our past not only gives us a sense of identity, but a sense of wonder. It is beautiful to know that I am a living and breathing part of the history of Mexico. I can say that my experience there has instilled in me a new kind of respect for it. You cannot really understand a place you have never been to. When my family gave me the opportunity to see it with my own eyes, I took it and discovered a place where different ages merge together. I became intimately connected with my heritage and I hope to carry that with me the rest of my life.
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