Wow, I can’t believe the time has come to say goodbye to Mexico City. The last six months have truly been a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience that I will cherish dearly. Mexico City has both been everything I expected, and yet better than I could have ever imagined. While I will miss living here so much, I am surprisingly at peace with leaving. I credit this to the amazing friends and coworkers I made here. My coworkers made me last few weeks so special and made me feel valued and appreciated. Knowing that I have made quality friends who will remain important to me despite the distance is helping treat my departure as a temporary goodbye. I know at some point in the near future I will be back, and that I will have a family of friends waiting for me here when I do.
The last few weeks have been filled with wrapping up the year with work before the holidays. We introduced new artisans this year, and I helped translate their stories from Spanish to English. Someone Somewhere does an annual impact report, demonstrating quantitatively how they are supporting artisan communities in Mexico. It has been amazing to see how much they have grown just in the last six months that I have been here! The 2021 impact report was what made me become intrigued with the work that Someone Somewhere does. It is easy to have an ambitious plan to help people, but tracking data, holding yourself accountable, and sharing the information transparently takes hard work that should be recognized and celebrated.
In my last week, my team took me out for dinner. I felt grateful to have a team that accepted me and included from the moment I arrived. I can’t wait to continue to watch them succeed and grow in their roles.
In Mexico, Christmas celebrations are mostly held on the Christmas Eve, Nochebuena in Spanish. A friend invited me to spend it with his family and I had a great time! I tried two dishes that I had never tried before: bacalao and romeritos. They are staples for Christmas dinner in Mexico! Bacalao is cod cooked with a red sauce that includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, olives, and capers. Romeritos is another savory dish consisting of a tender plant that is similar in shape to rosemary but with a much more earthy flavor. It is cooked with mole and shrimp. It quickly became one of my favorite meals in Mexico.
A cute tradition many families have on Christmas Eve is to give each other hugs at midnight. I felt grateful to have been invited and included in my friend’s family traditions. They gave me the honor of choosing the music for the night, and I did my best to find great cumbias (a genre of music) to compliment the delicious food.
For the last few weeks, the Zócalo (Mexico City’s central square) has been filled with Christmas decorations and markets. What I love about holidays in Mexico is going to public spaces and seeing families enjoying time together. From grandkids to grandparents, people enjoy sharing these moments together.
In the not so glamorous side of living abroad, the last week has also been a week of appointments with different government agencies to make sure my visa status is clear and that I can come back to Mexico with no issues in the future. So glad that’s all over!
Overall, I just want to reiterate how grateful I am to Someone Somewhere, Mexico, and the Lumos Travel Award Fund for helping me realize I dream I have had since graduating high school. I hope to pay it forward anyway I can. For those interested in Lumos, do not hesitate to contact me. I am excited to be back in Nashville and share what I have learned and to connect with the Mexican community in Music City. Thank you for reading, and happy New Year to all!