For the past six days, I've been without the internet and without television. I've been without news and without connection to home. At the time I left, I knew that would be the case and I had to accept it as such. I had to put aside the mixed feelings over the timing of this trip and the devastation at home, and get on the plane. And once I got on that plane, I had to allow myself to fully be where I was.
What I found in those six days is, for the most part, blue skies, fat white clouds, enormous Pacific waves, a heat that makes Houston in August seem like a cool and reasonable climate, and an occasional night rain storm with a lightening show across dark waters stretching to the horizon.
I traveled on the back of a motorcycle along Mexico's coastal highway, with the wind in my hair, my belongings in my backpack, and my camera at my side. (There was also a pesky wasp that decided to travel with us for a spell and was quite content to sting me and completely freak me out, but that's another story for another time.)
I was far away from my native language, getting reacquainted with my Spanish. I saw faces and friends I've not seen in years, and again heard my name pronounced, Aleesone. I've looked out over green mountains and walked along uneven streets, turning my head from the enormous Estrella Blanca buses belching black clouds of smoke as they climbed up the hills. I've fallen asleep to the sound of the crashing surf to the west, and awakened to the drums from the military base on the mountain side to the east.
I've been far away from the American tourism but still strolled past stall after stall of tee shirts and sea shells, sandals and belts, woven bags and hammocks, necklaces, postcards and suntan oil, the vendors unseen sitting in the shade but heard whispering like hissing snakes, borato, borato, BORATO, as we passed by.
I've had Modelo, Corona, and Dos XX. Each day as cold and perfect as the day before, with the best limes in the world.
I've strolled the neighborhood that used to claim me. I've stared out at the Pacific that used to be my view every day, and I searched for shade from the cruel heat. I remembered why siesta is between 2:00 and 4:00, and that the town shuts down between those hours. There is no air conditioning; there is no choice.
I've had my feet in the Pacific water, my eyes following the flight graceful Pelicans dangerously close to the cresting waves, and my ears on the breeze through the great Palm fronds above me. I've watched puesta del sol, as I have a hundred times here, and had it steal my breath away just as it did the first time.
I returned to the place where my father brought me ten years ago. We went then for the fishing. I had no idea that day we left Mexico City that my life was about to change. But I knew when we arrived. And I knew again when we arrived this time. I had returned to the place where I first learned to calm the storms, to be perfectly still and let peace inside. Though not earth moving, the change this time was in the return, was in the simplicity awaiting for me to be reminded of. It's ever-present and always true.
I returned to a place I'll always call home, and just as I thought I would, I found a piece of myself there. And left a piece of my heart behind.