Ugh. I spent two and a half hours writing yesterday and decided just before clicking “publish” to delete it all. If you want to know about the Juárez Theater, Jardín de la Union, Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato in Plaza de la Paz, The University of Guanajuato, The Mummy Museum, Callejón de Beso, and Diego Rivera’s childhood home, you can look them up on the internet. No more boring history lessons from me on this trip! Don’t get me wrong. All of these places were beautiful and absolutely amazing and make Guanajuato the unique and special place that it is. Historical facts just do not adequately express how much I loved being here.
In fact, I was so taken with the city that I soon as I returned home, I immediately started fantasizing about returning to enroll in Spanish classes. Never mind that I have a teacher here in Guaymas. Or that Steve would probably miss me for the two to six months I planned to be gone. Or that it would cost a lot of money that we do not have. Or that we had family coming to visit, and they were expecting to see me. My dad suggested that Hermosillo, a bit closer to home, might be a more realistic option for my Spanish immersion. It was not really about the lessons. I wanted to be back in Guanajuato: exploring the nooks and crannies, mastering public transportation in the tunnel system, enjoying festivals and performances, sampling every flavor of ice cream offered in the corner shops, and then maybe, improving my Spanish.
I loved stepping out of a narrow alleyway into a small plaza, surrounded by brightly painted homes and businesses. I was constantly making that little surprised “ohh” with my mouth and murmering “wow”. The blues, purples, pinks, greens, and yellows added a depth to everything I saw. I have tried to describe what I felt using words. I just cannot. The city was vibrant. It was cheerful. The cobblestone streets made me feel as if I had stepped into the past. I saw more people walking than I saw cars. I excitedly followed the curves in the streets as they wound their way between buildings and eventually became staircases, climbing the hillsides. Papel picado was strung between the balconies of homes across the street from each other. I loved that as Guanajuato grew, no one attempted to change it- -make it move in organized, right angles or straight lines. Being on the streets made me happy. I felt lighter here.
It was impossible for me to photograph what I was seeing well. I mean, honestly, I
struggle taking good pictures of Caleb opening his presents Christmas morning, never mind doing justice to what Guanajuato offered. I tried though. I really did. And I was incredibly grateful for the stranger who reminded me to put my camera down, to look- -with both eyes and remember. “Your memories are better pictures,” he said.
Before this trip, I had no idea just how many beautiful places there are in our world that I had never seen. I mean I did, but I was not spending a lot of time thinking about it. It is funny in a way. Guadalajara, Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Atotonilco, and Guanajuato have been here all this time. Had I not been gifted with this opportunity to live in Mexico, would it ever have occurred to me to visit these cities? How lucky I was! What else is out there waiting to be discovered? What other surprises will I find that I am not expecting? Do not worry. I am not going to start a list- -that actually might depress me. But I am definitely going to use both eyes a lot more once I get there.