I carry Mexico inside me in a way I’ve never known before. It’s half longing, half comfort, I think, as though the country is part of my bedrock now from my short stay–unexpected, surprising, constant. Other places reside in me, too. The open fields of Sonoma County, Sebastopol’s apple orchards alive in the white of full bloom. But they live quietly, rich moist earth breathing peace. I loved it there. For the first time I thought, I could spend the rest of my life here. But I don’t dream of going back, not like with Mexico, though I don’t rule it out. I dream again and again of going back to Mexico. I imagine really moving there this time, not just going like I did before, for a year or two, maybe forever, not returning in a rush to the United States. I can see myself there, sitting in my walled garden, sparrows and white-winged doves in the bougainvillea, daily walks along the malecón, the boardwalk, watching my volcano across the lake. I can picture myself older, taking extra care moving across the cobblestone streets.
Day to day, I hold the longing to return, to make Mexico my own. It lives in the crook of my elbows, hides behind my knees. And yet I wonder if I will ever make that choice. Questions rise in me, yeast in the dough. Can I live again with spiders the size of my hand? What about feeling like “the other” there? Would I grow used to it, morph into new skin, my roots sinking deep in foreign soil? Would my life in the United States fade like a dream? I think it might. I can imagine missing people here, urging them to visit me there. I can imagine missing the conveniences, Trader Joe’s, the rules of a bureaucracy where I can know what to expect. But I can’t picture me living in Mexico and carrying this same longing for life in the United States. When I think of living in Mexico again, I only picture being home.