La Tierra caliente

By Julie Vargas, Staff Writer

I was born in America, but initially, I felt no connection to this country. After I was born, my mom returned to Mexico and we lived there for three years. Since then, we have stayed in America. Fourteen years later, I finally returned to Mexico. It wasn’t until my trip that I noticed the importance of family, cultural background and gratitude.

When I arrived, everyone I saw recognized me, but I didn’t remember them, not even my brother. When my brother and I saw each other for the first time, we embraced for more than five minutes. As he held me in his arms, our aunts, uncles and cousins watched us with tears in their eyes. At first, he was a stranger, but in that moment, I knew exactly who he was.

Still, the fact that I couldn’t remember my family hurt me because I knew that they cared about me. It especially hurt that I couldn’t remember my brother. I should have contacted him more frequently when I was in the United States, but I didn’t. I should have traveled to Mexico sooner, but I didn’t. These actions I didn’t take cost me years of separation from my family.

All the cheer and laughter made me wish that my mom and I never left Mexico. They have a different lifestyle. There are many holidays that celebrate the small but significant things in life like Children’s Day and Day of the Dead. There are children playing on the streets even when many of them have TVs and electronic devices. I like how everything is so family-oriented. Some of my relatives meet up at least three times a week to eat together or just spend time together.

However, going to Mexico also made me realize that I have so many opportunities and advantages. As I walked past houses, I saw that many children didn’t attend school. There is an image of a six year-old girl carrying her younger sibling in her arms ingrained in my mind. While some people manage to make ends meet, there are still thousands of people living in poverty. For these reasons, my mom thought I would have a better quality of life in America. The skills and lessons I would learn in America would someday allow me to help my family and troubled country.

I will never again forget my family and homeland. This trip helped me recall why my mom traveled to a country that she does not call her home. She left everything behind so that I could have a better future, so I will pursue a higher education and obtain a good job so that one day I too can help my family.