After 10 Years


Estella Plancarte

View of Lago de Camecuaro National Park located in Michoacan, Mexico.

My first time out of the country was when I was 4 years old as I went with my grandparents to their hometown of Patamban, Michoacan in Mexico.

It’s a rather small ranch town with a predominantly indigenous community and well known for it’s “Fiesta Cristo Rey,” a festival that celebrates the day when Christ was embraced as the son of God. During this festival, the whole city is intricately decorated with mounds of beautiful flowers in every which way.

Although I was fairly young, I vividly remember the events that occurred on my first visit to Mexico even after 12 years. I recall the big party that was thrown for me and how much fun it was to be around that much family.

Something that stuck out in my mind was how everyone knew who I was and I had no clue who anyone was. I think this is a common occurrence for anyone visiting extended family, but after not visiting for more than 10 years, I began missing the faces of my family members that I was once unfamiliar with.

About a few months ago, my mom mentioned that she was planning on going on a trip to Mexico. She had to get dental work done and she suggested I go along with her so I can get to know her side of the family.

At first, I was hesitant. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and I thought that taking a trip to Mexico wouldn’t be the most responsible thing to do. However, my mom assured me that we wouldn’t be going out and about, and the town that my grandma lives in had been in the clear for a while. So after some convincing, I agreed.

We visited for approximately a week and I quickly remembered why I loved visiting so much in the first place. I got to meet a huge part of my family that I had only ever heard stories about and I got to see the town that my mom spent half of her childhood in.

During this trip, I also had to actively participate in my zoom meetings which turned out to be a little bit more difficult than I expected. I wanted to go out and see more family with my mom, but due to the time change, I was stuck inside until 2:40 pm. The wave of tiredness I felt after school constantly hit me and sometimes all I wanted to do was sleep.

Despite those circumstances, I still managed to have a great time and even fit in a trip to visit my grandparents in Patamban.

Seeing everyone after so many years was kind of surreal. The faces of my younger cousins had morphed into the faces of mature young men and women. I could now see the slowly aging faces of my aunts and uncles as they developed prominent smile lines and Crow’s feet wrinkles. But, one thing remained the same, it felt like home.