Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Processing these feelings.

Well I have been back from Mexico for a couple of days now and I still feel like I cannot process all the emtions and feelings which have taken over my body, heart, and mind. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had. The people which we encontered were the nicest people, they treated us like we were family. The group we were traveling with were also so nice, we all got along really well which was great.

Before I left for the trip I was extremly nervous because I have never been to Mexico and I really was not sure what to expect. This was not a normal vacation, and I think that is what had my nerves going, because although I had an idea what we were doing, I really did not know. However the people make you feel so welcome and open up their hearts and lives to you. They make you feel like a part of their family, and they are so welcoming to you and happy that you are there to help and that you yourself are open and willing to open up yourself to them.

This experience for me was amazing becasue it is one thing to talk about these topics with people, or evern to see the peple doing the jobs, like we saw on the first day when we took our walk around the area and saw Oscar working on his Nopal field. I thought it was amazing how dedicated he was when I saw him working, but when we got the chance to work right next to him and do the work that he does I gained a whole other respect for him. It was also such a wonderful experience how much they appreciated us. Oscars mother brought us juice and cookies and was so kind to us. She even said that before Americans began coming here she had a very poor opinion of us. She thought we all had our foots on the Mexicans. However now that she sees us here her mind has really changed. It is great that her mind has changed, but so sad that she thought these thoughts at all.

What really surprised me was how in the United States people are constantly obsessed with their outer beauty. Constantly looking in the mirror, trying to by the best clothes, putting on lots of make up to cover up. During the week I was in Mexico I think I looked in the mirror only three times. And the mirror was the smallest mirror I have ever seen hung on a wall. It rarely crossed my mind how I looked on the outside because it just did not matter. What mattered was what we were doing. And no one ever commented on how we looked, or made us feel bad for not looking perfect. The people were so accepting of us, so loving, and so caring. They saw past our face and clothes and really saw the true beauty we all posses inside of us. What an amazing feeling.

It was really so great to work with these people as one. The day we worked in the Mixzteca was great. It was a whole different type of work experience. Everyone worked together, no one was complaining, no one was yelling, and everyone got along. Nothing like working here in America. It was also great because Celastino and I worked as a team, which definitly made it easier. It was more motivation than trying to accomplish these difficult tasks alone. It was also really nice to get to kow these people. It makes the experience more personal knowing these peoples past experiences, hopes, and desires.

My mind is still trying to process all these thoughts. Still trying to process what I experienced. Still trying to fully understand how it has changed my life, and what it means for my future. I am so grateful for this experience and so grateful for everyone who has made this one of the most amazing experiences of my life.


Daphne said...

Isn't that incredible? Whenever I travel I find that I forget how I actually look, and I don't really care. And as a result, I usually look happier in photos. There is something to be said for losing yourself in something bigger and better than you expected.

Marilyn said...

Jennifer, I'm here from Michelle's, but I can tell you right now that I'll be back. (I'm adding you to my Bloglines.) First of all, look at what you started with the traveling journal. How amazing to have so many of us all over the world connecting around one project! And all because you took the time to send one email.

This is a beautiful post, full of insight and understanding. Spending time outside the mainland U.S. on something other than a typical vacation is SO rewarding. (My mate and I moved to St. Thomas for five years, and even though it's a U.S. territory, it is NOT the U.S. and I learned so much about West Indian culture.) As for mirrors, in this (American) culture, when women begin to age we fork off in two distinct directions: either we become obsessed with fear over it and do everything we can to avoid it...or we realize it's an inevitable part of the life cycle and start caring more about grooming our inner selves. I'm in the latter group...and I suspect you will be, too. ;)

luzie said...

I found you via Tangled Wings..

I can so relate to your post. It reminds me of my trip to Burma in September last year, and how all of a sudden the things we worry about seemed so.. trivial, unimportant and shallow. I came back from that trip a changed person, and all those experiences I've had, the locals I've met and talked to, the things I've seen and the beauty of this country are etched forever in my heart.

Jamie said...

What an amazing experience and a beautiful post. There's so much in here, no wonder it took time to process it!

I was really taken with the whole idea of not really even being conscious of how you're looking on the outside. That one's going to sit with me for a while, I think.

And I love, love, love, what you said about how that woman's perspective was shifted by her experience. It reinforces my belief that the world can change for the better when we share ourselves with each other.

Thank you for sharing you.

And thank you for reinvigorating the traveling journal project!