Being Mexican-American comes with a great advantage. Here is the thing why it is so great; I get to travel to Mexico annually. I am one who is fascinated by culture, religion, language, you name it. In the dictionary it says, “trav-el: to go from one place to another, as by car, train, plane, or ship; journey.” In my head, travel means to open your eyes and experience new things and customs that you cannot at home. Although I love home and to see familiar faces; there is always pure joy when you see something majestic or experience something completely new for the first time.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Each year I fly down with my dad and brother on Mexicana Airlines to Mexico City. We stay at my grandmother’s house in an ordinary neighborhood like any local. Although I mentioned the word, “ordinary,” I cannot compare it to my ordinary neighborhood. The houses are all connected but distinguish themselves by different tiles, paint, and décor. There are metal bars on each window. The bars are shaped into their own unique design, distracting people for its real usage; to prevent crime. The walls, floor, streets, even the sky looks stained from the pollution. Around the clock there are always vendors trying to sell their goods to you.
When one travels, I think people become more aware of politics, religion, history, and ways of life. For example when I mention politics, I can see the difference clearly in the streets. In the U.S. the starting age to work is around sixteen. In the streets, I saw children coming up to car windows trying to sell gum, or riding the metro for hours to get someone to buy nuts. The level of poverty is a disgrace. I also saw people being greatly influenced by religion. I always heard the church bells ring when mass was ready to begin, “Our Lady Guadalupe” figurines would be on the side of streets with décor and lights surrounding her, and some people would even crawl on their knees in front of the Basilica to show their respect. The history comes to life when you visit Tenochitlan and climb the ancient Aztec pyramids. Even gestures are different. When greeting someone, it is not uncommon to say hello with a kiss on the cheek, even to people who you are not familiar with. It really comes in handy when there is a handsome looking person, because then you can say later that you gave them a kiss on their cheek. My daily meal items that I would usually have are replaced with new ones such as tacos and posole. The markets are incredible, filled with fresh food and meat.
There are many places to visit, but Tenochitlan is the one I would go to every time without a doubt. The Aztec pyramids are a wonder and mysterious since they found ways to align the pyramids according to the sun, moon, and stars. The steps may seem intimidating, but once you reach the top there are no regrets. It really is spectacular and breath taking. To have the people of our civilization to be exploring and standing on the ruins of the Aztec civilization is magnificent. What did not make this trip so great was the struggle I saw on the streets, but it made me grateful for what I do have.
Even though I have not been many places, just knowing that there is so much out there that the world has to offer makes me joyful inside and eager to look for it.
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