Not quite there yet

Stopped in Mexico City for a day before heading to Puebla — mostly for cost efficacy (a $146 direct flight!!), but also for a chance to get a peek at the capital, which I hope to revisit in more thoroughness later on.

The city is beautiful, and I’ve loved walking around seeing monuments and city parks, trying new foods. It’s also nice to feel a little anonymous — nobody looks twice at me in this big city. But I also feel kind of like I’m in a dream…kind of cloudy and disoriented. It kept catching me by surprise that I’d need to speak Spanish outside, that I have to check a map to figure out where I’m going, that I’m a foreigner in a place I’ve never been. 

Usually, I’m all about this —  and in particular, the chance to hear and speak Spanish is a highlight of being in a Spanish-speaking country. I love the chance to practice and use something I’ve learned and want to get better at, and I also associate the sounds with being at Mama Tina and Papa Chilo’s house (my great-grandparents) as a child. I was always so happy there, listening to them talk to each other, playing Double Solitaire with Mama Tina, running around the garden, getting to take a candy from Papa Chilo’s special drawer. But here in Mexico City, even all the Spanish just feels like part of the cloudy dream. Part of it may have to do with the red-eye flight I took to get here (see: cost efficacy above!), but I think it’s also something else. Although I’m absolutely so excited and grateful for this time in Mexico, I also spent a lot of time before this trip in denial that I was leaving at all. Facing the reality that I would be leaving my Chicago friends and especially my partner with no real idea of when I’d see them all again — it was too much. And I think that’s part of the reason I feel like I’m not all the way here yet. Denial is powerful! 

I take the bus to Puebla in about an hour, and I think it’ll be nice to unpack my things, make the space a little my own, and know that at least I’ll be in the same location for four weeks. I think there, my brain will get the chance to catch up to my body. I’m also really looking forward to spending time writing. I’m nervous about it, but also so ready to see what comes out, and what it feels like to write most of the day. I’m feeling especially bolstered after starting Your Art Will Save Your Life, which a friend gave me right before I left. It’s been a good way to calm the little voices that come up, saying “you’re being self-indulgent and impractical!” or “you’re not a real artist and you’ll never make anything worthwhile!” So that’s nice.

Okay, off to Puebla. Already feeling a few of the clouds lift from my mind, thanks in part to sweet, sweet coffee hitting my brain after an actual good night’s sleep.

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