Hello Vida en el Valle readers,
I am visiting Mexico City for the first time in my life. It’s been a dream of mine to be able to travel to this amazing city for two main reasons: its rich cultural history and personal connection to my ancestral past. When I was in college, my interest in visiting further developed after I took several religious studies courses on the history of Mexico, but one specifically entitled: “Spiritual Violence and Resistence in Colonial Mexico.” Among the many things I learned, it taught me that the history of Mexico has two very distinct versions: one that was written by the accounts of the Europeans/Spanish and the other, by the indigenous population. But, on a more personal note, it challenged my personal beliefs on Catholicism and the church’s true role during the conquest. But alas, all this is an interpretive history I have yearned to explore. Well, I am here in Mexico City now- “el centro del universo” as the Aztecs believed and I have visited a number of historical places so far (which I will elaborate upon on a later post). I’ve had the pleasure of being personally guided through the city by a pretty awesome tour guide who happens to be a history expert who studied and graduated from UNAM (one of the best and leading universities in Mexico City) and who recently gave the Chicano actor/activist Edward James Olmos a personal tour of the city not too long ago (among many other well-known social, popular and political figures living in the United States). He is well versed, intelligent, educated, and most importantly, an expert in Mexican history. Truly impressive, to say the least.
But I am here writing this post for one main reason: to share that there are no words to really describe how amazing this place truly is. My best attempt to explain it is to say that coming here is like deciding to go on a pilgrimmage, a quest, an adventure, an exploration: a serious look at the historical events that unfolded hundreds of years ago that shaped what Mexico looks like today. I’d like to name this place the ‘Mecca for Mexicanos’.
For those of us who are Mexicanos and were born in the United States, this place is a must-see. We have our roots here. The very reason for our existence is because of what happened here 500 years ago and there is no greater feeling than to be able to come to this country and re-live, re-discover, explore, visit, learn and inhale every piece of history that belonged to our ancestors whether they were indigenous, Spanish, French, a blend of the two or three or more. To be able to say one is Mexican is to understand our history, our culture and our very own being. The only way we can experience it is to come here and see first-hand what has survived and what remains of our ancient culture and our duty is to share that history and our own personal experiences to loved ones, friends, children and great grandchildren otherwise they may run the risk of being lost…forever.