Around thanksgiving of 2015, my family and I traveled to Zacatecas, Mexico. I’ve been to Mexico before however, this time I learned to enjoy another liestyle. After five hours in a cold plane flight and two hours in a small, crowded taxi we finally arrived En El Pueblo Mágico, in the magical town of Teul, Zacatecas. This small cobble stoned town isn’t our final destination. Thirty minutes away is the farm where my great grandparents live.
My family and I piled into a truck and began driving up the bumpy road of the mountain. On our way there I could feel my father’s excitement. He began to recount all the times, before there was a street, when he would ride a horse up and down the mountain. He chuckled and said that a horse ride would take an hour to reach my great grandparent’s farm. My father rode a horse for an hour when he was young and now he’s in a truck that takes half as long.
We finally reached the farm. We parked in what would be a driveway but, it’s actually a patch of grass with tire marks. We surprised my 94 year old great grandfather who was basking in the sun barefoot. He smiled at us and quickly put his shoes on. Around the corner my 92 year old great grandmother was tending to her herbs and flowers. We greeted them and we set up chairs in a circle so we could converse with each other. Soon, my great aunt arrived and suddenly all the women were in the kitchen cooking. My great grandmother, Juanita, was the head cook. My aunt and my mother were assistant cooks.
My sister Marlene, and I were on dishwashing duty. Washing dishes is definitely a two person job in Mexico. Marlene and I alternated between washing and traveling to get water in a bucket. Going back and forth for water is one of the many things that isn’t the norm for me. We spilled water here and there but, the cement floor soaked it up so, it didn’t become a problem.
Back in the kitchen my great grandmother Juanita took out this rustic looking machine that was older than everyone in the kitchen. She took out the plastic bag of pumpkin seeds and began to put them into one side of the machine, a fine powder came from the other side. This was the essential ingredient for the curry-like food dish we were making. She traveled an hour to get seeds, I have never needed to do that. Once the food was done and everyone was sitting down eating, I looked around trying to take it all in. I noticed many things. The doorway to the kitchen is framed with wood, the dent in the bottom log has been made by every passerby. My father is one of many passersby , now I’m one too. The roof of the entire house is made by branches compacted together. The walls, floors, sink, and firestove are cement. I really like the story their house tells.
My grandparents have a different way of life than mine, although I spent a short time on the farm I learned to enjoy their lifestyle and appreciate my lifestyle. I didn’t mind doing extra work to do a simple task. This is how my great grandparents, grandparents and father lived. It’s not my job to criticize their lifestyle but, rather enjoy the experience and connect with my family. For me this wasn’t a trip to the farm but, a trip to the past.
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