I am heading off soon on a long awaiting walk down memory lane! Those who know me personally know my story and reason for going. My guess is many of you don’t.
In 1979 this little 15 Year old country girl from Australia took an incredible adventure as an exchange student sponsored by Wentworth Rotary Club to Mexico! It was very difficult in my small town of Wentworth to find information about this country! We didn’t have internet or google. My small home town library had 2 books I could borrow! Our Population in Australia at the time was around 16 Million in total. There was that many in Mexico city alone! I was bound for a culture shock.
I knew I had to learn Spanish and would be discovering that taste of chili and that was about it. I was supported in this journey by three host families and the family I grew closest to through a close bond and friendship with a rather cute Mexican guy. The experience left me very humbled as I discovered what a privilege it is to be born and raised in a first wold country and not have the issues of third world poverty, unstable politics and no healthcare system for the disabled and ill.
Really, while we might moan and groan at our current government (yes I am one of those) being in a country like Mexico reminds us to be grateful we have a system called medicare, we have social welfare and we do not have vigilantes running across the north of the country (with the governments blessing) trying to put a stop to illegal drug and sex slave trading. Puts it in perspective right? I was horrified in 79 to see police moving about our very peaceful town of Cordoba with machine guns for weapons! Really?? Yes – and I doubt that will have changed given the presence of issues like drugs and ongoing poverty.
What I loved was that in spite of the poverty, political unrest, poor health, Mexicans, privileged, middle class and poor were friendly, devout and made the most of what they had. They taught this 15 year old a lot of lessons about life. I also fell in love with the music, the dance, the language. I fell in love with Mexico, and upset my parents greatly when the first thing I said when stepping back on Australian soil ‘ when can I go back?’
It was a dream I came to believe would never come to reality. As I scrapped it 30 Years on I wondered if I really would get back.
10 years ago I made more defintie plans to return. It became a goal – one day. Fast forward a little and through Facebook I have reconnected with the one family that I connected with the most! I became even more sure a return to Mexico was needed. I am now 51 and my ‘one day’ Day is just 2 days away! It has taken 36 years, and my one day opportunity came this year.
Close To My Heart celebrate 30 years in the business this year and this is the first year that they have expanded into Australia and New Zealand. This is the first big event with northern and southern hemisphere consultants! The invitation to join the US and Canadian consultants at convention celebrating 30 years was irresistible! I had to go and then the idea struck me. This is it – the opportunity is now and I have to run with it! Mexico is a short hop over the border from LA!
I took ages to give myself permission to go. I mulled over the costs, the treat to myself, and fought the little voices in my head who argued with me about it but eventually I decided I could and should go. If you know the black dog of depression, you will know how hard even that step can be.
I am heading to Mexico for a month, spending a week in the town I am familiar with – Cordoba. Then I will revisit some of the places I have seen as a child, and go to places I didn’t get to. I am sure this trip will be very different, not because it is shorter but because now I will rediscover Mexico as an adult. I cannot wait for the sounds of Mariaches, spending time with families and people I knew, the beaches of Vera Cruz and Can Cun, and all the other flavours of Mexico. Then I have the excitement of the CTMH Convention in LA and Disneyland – a first for me. My dream trip is about to happen – watch this space. I will blog about it if I can. Here are some digital pages I did when I paper scrapped my first trip. Can’t wait to try and get the 30 years on photos side by side!
Till next time