Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homesick Blues #1

It is amazing the way that homesickness can wash over you when you least expect it.

On Tuesday afternoon I was wandering through the market in Cuernavaca, in the shadow of the Palacio de Cortes, when I saw some t-shirts with images of Emiliano Zapata on them. They reminded me of the Barack Obama t-shirts sold by tourist stores and roving salesmen in Grant Park. And then the pang of regret that I am not there, that I am no longer a part of something big that is going on back home, that I am no longer a part of that place, at least not in the same way, and then more as it all came rushing back:

The big blue of Lake Michigan, where we would go to breathe fresh air, the place where the city exhales, and how we would follow the bike path all the way up to downtown, pick up a Chipotle burrito or two and watch the kids playing in the fountains at the park and laugh and laugh and laugh and soak up the sunshine on a clear Chicago summer day.

And then it was gone, and I was back in the Cuernavaca market, alone, surrounded by a hundred people trying to sell me things, all the cacophonous noises of that place and not the cacophonous noises of my place. I sat down at the edge of the square and tried to read a book, but all the stories I read in it were tragic, which of course only made me more unhelpfully contemplative than before. I sat there and tried to find something to enjoy, but I kept coming back to the traffic, the traffic, even in this town that is a fraction of the size of Mexico City there is traffic, traffic that seems to strangle the zocalo it surrounds, traffic that seems to strangle everything. There is drumming in the distance, indigenous drumming, probably put on for the tourists, but the rock band on the other side of the square is louder…it doesn’t matter. Neither can overcome the continuously repeated sounds of a thousand cars driving two feet and stopping, driving two feet and stopping, the squeal of the tires, the smell of the exhaust – no, now of fresh coffee beans, the coffee shop nearby, hold on to that smell, close your eyes and forget the cars, imagine you are back in Bloomington, or Chicago, or anywhere that I have loved and been loved, anywhere, anywhere that I have called home.


mom said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling a little homesick. I'm sure it is really hard not having Chris with you. It sounds like you are doing really well in your spanish and have a great home to stay at. We have a place reserved in Puerto Vallarte for the week before Christmas. Something to look forward to!!!
Love Mom

Zach Parris said...

This is an example of why your blogs make the newspapers and mine get read by my mother-in-law. I promise there will be an electronic postcard for you today.