During the summer vacation season, I catch myself daydreaming of being somewhere other than work or home and everyday life. I think of being at a spa or touring landmarks in a new place. As my mind wanders, it leads me back to Mexico, where I was privileged to visit in January. I know why.
On a Wednesday evening in Oaxaca, a crowd gathered under lights in the town square. Couples of all ages danced to live music. Citizens of Oaxaca gather weekly to dance and watch each other accompanied by a marimba band. This originally Cuban tradition is referred to as danzón, which is a stately dance with syncopation. It’s a treat to witness and participate in — as I ended up doing.
The people of Oaxaca don’t get home from work and turn on the television or computer. They actually spend time with each other sharing traditions and preserving their culture in the process. They are also a devout people who incorporate their faith in everything they do. I want to be a part of that community and I long for that here at home.
As nice as it is to vacation at a resort or popular tourist spot, you miss a huge part of the traveling experience — meeting people and experiencing their culture. Because I wasn’t secluded on a beach or in a museum, I was able to walk the streets, shop the local markets, attend Mass with regular parishioners and spend time getting to know and experience the people who ARE Mexico. They are beautiful, kind, welcoming and fully genuine. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?