It doesn’t take much to send me flying down memory lane about the good old times we used to have in Mexico. Life there has always seemed so much simpler than life here, at least for us who have always gone down there to visit only, never to live permanently. Every time we get to reminiscing about those times we can’t help but compare how carefree everything is in Mexico. What to eat and what to eat next are about all the hustle and bustle you have to worry about when you’re there… and even then, not so much because usually your family will get deeply offended if you don’t accept their offer to eat at their homes.
¡No me vaya decir que no, porque me voy a sentir mal!
The air feels fresher. The water looks cleaner. It’s like you’re literally one with mother nature there! Por lo menos, in the serros of El Sauz it still feels like that. We’ve gone back to Mexico a few times over the last couple of years, and after talking about “the old country” over lunch today, I couldn’t help but want to share these pictures with all of you. They always just put a smile on my face!
[wpaudio url="http://www.include-music.jp/av/cielitolindo.mp3" dl="0"] (you have to play this track before reading)
This is the entrance to our ranchito in the serros – quite literally the mountains of Cerritos, San Luis Potosi. Until a couple of years ago all the roads were dirt and rock. Those paved streets are brand new!
As you drive in you start seeing houses on either side, but everyone has at least one third of an acre of land for their houses. Electricity and running water are still pretty iffy, though, going out sporadically for hours at a time.
Here is our family home, which our parents have had since they began their lives together over four decades ago. We used to have a stick kitchen in the front of the bloque rooms, but we tore it down after we got a propane-powered stove. The room on the right is the new addition.
Had my mom had the opportunity to live longer periods of time in Mexico as an adult I know for a fact we would have all kinds of fruit and vegetable trees in our terreno – lemon, oranges, aguacate, etc. Since she hasn’t… we do have lots of matotas de nopales like this one.
Anyone that comes to El Sauz from el norte can easily be spotted if they’re driving around in trucks like this one. I will say, though, that a lot of people have much nicer trucks now than they did when we were growing up.
Downside to only visiting Mexico every couple of months or years: your property starts to look like this. As a kid this is what I hated most… having to help my dad clear the brushes from the land with talaches and machetes.
It’s still not my favorite thing to do, but I can make myself enjoy it now… and it’s easier now to handle those tools. That’s me in the gray sweater and the cap. Those fires in the early morning smell so good.
Well, it’s not like they have dumpsters or dump sites for this stuff in El Sauz.
Heating up cold water for your bath is still regular practice in El Sauz. At our place we use a water tank at the top of the house to run the shower, but there is no water heater connected to it so the water is cold. I learned the hard way why taking a bath with only the shower is a bad idea. Uuyy, I still get shivers thinking about that cold shower I took in record time.
Once night falls it’s all about hanging out with family and getting ready to sleep by relaxing. Some of my fondest memories of Mexico are of staying up late with my cousins, sitting around a fire, and telling each other tall tales and scary stories.
Boots are probably a good idea for El Sauz. While we do now have some paved roads, most of the rancho is still nothing but dirt roads and walkways. I can’t tell you how many brand new pairs of shoes I ruined over the years as a kid.
I hope my brother doesn’t kill me for sharing this picture. It’s one of my favorites of us together because you can really tell how well we have always gotten along. Though it doesn’t seem like it, we were actually working, digging a hole to make barbacoa before heading back to Texas.
My mother, on the left here (notice the rebozo), recruited the help of my uncle to prepare the cabrito. She obviously didn’t trust any of us to prepare it. ¿Porqué sera? Notice the serros in the background off in the distance. Ahh!
Last, but certainly not least, this is one of the tanques de agua in El Sauz. The one that used to be right next to our house was dried out when we went for this trip. That’s my oldest nephew laying on the ground with the shades. My brother added the cool yellow graphics. ¿Apoco no les gusta la foto?
We should definitely make this into a post card!
Now it’s you’re turn. Share your stories and/or memories of Mexico, or your own country. I would really like to hear them!
This is encouraging. I do understand how you love the place. And I understand how things like heating the water in buckets is part of what makes it what it is. You want it to get easier for people there but yet you will mourn something when it does. I hope my son and stepkids feel this strong affection like you. Mexico is not my home, rather my husband’s home, and I take the kids because he cannot. I would like to say I just love it completely, but the honest truth is I am not “over” my hot showers and things like that. I just try to keep that to myself though. First and most importantly, the whole thing is about the kids, not me. Secondly, I have a feeling it’s going to grow on me, anyway, whether that’s logical or not. And then any complaining I would do now is definitely going to come back and haunt me — just fodder for the family to make fun of me. And maybe by then that will still be driving me crazy. But I do love them for it, strangely enough. Hard to be too full of yourself around these people… Hm, maybe I am already getting into the idea of it.
Beth, thanks for that very honest and poignant comment. Let me let you in on a little secret, LOL, most of us have always and still do hate the act of having to heat up water for a bath 🙂 We’ve been spoiled with running hot and cold water here for way too long. I think it’s great that you are taking your kids to Mexico because those trips are very impactful and really make one see our world here differently. For me, they grounded me, made me realize where I really was and what my place was as the child of my parents. I hope your kids make their own connections with Mexico!
Cabrito, yummy (that and machacado, the best from la tierra que ve vio nacer, well, the State :D).
Did you got some queso de tuna? ¡No me digas que no!
Judy, sadly… no we didn’t get any queso de tuna on this trip, lol! It was a quickie trip and we barely had time to cook the cabrito before heading back to the states. So much goodness in Mexico, ahh!
i miss to the beaches of Altata y Tambor, where the only tourist are us who come from Culiacan for the weekend. There were tiny mariscos stacks set up along the road and along the costa, and we could watch the fishermen bring in their catches. A few minutes later we’d be eating fresh-as-it gets aguachile, o campechano y tomando unas cervezas until muy noche. If we were lucky we could find empanadas de calabaza y piloncillo after dinner.
Now this is all gone, or rather no-one goes because the roads to get there are isolated and controlled by the cartels. This year was the first Christmas we could not go, as there were too many reports of dead bodies turning up in the area. It makes me sad.
Graciela, te entiendo… this last year would have been the first summer we would have taken my son all the way to the rancho, now that he’s old enough to actually remember things, but because of the stories and danger we decided not to go. It makes me sad that we aren’t able to travel back to this place of innocence and fun like we used to anymore… and yes, the piloncillo and calabaza empanadas are the bomb!