Mexico City: Mujer, amante del punk y delirio

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Alistándonos para salir de fiesta, tomando mezcal, The Cramps resonando por todo el depa. A dies minutos para la media noche, la ciudad nos apresura, le damos fondo a nuestras bebidas mágicas y vamos rumbo a alcanzar el último metro que nos llevará a las pistas ultravioletas infundidas de punk.

Ser jóven y amante del punk y todos sus derivados, de querer y poder bailar sin importarte en lo minimo quien o que te rodea — hombre, muxer, chavx, fresa, goth y todo lo que cabe en medio: bailamos. Entrega completa al fuzz de la guitarra y hondura del bajo, a la desesperación de las batacas y el delirio colectivo de cuerpos aplastando, empujando, moviéndose.

Ser mujer, amante del punk y delirio, y vivir en el DF. Las desveladas, los slams, lxs amigxs nuevos y las pistas de baile, innumerables como las botellas vacías de jumex y tequila. Memorias derramadas y esfumadas en calles sin nombre. Nada se compara a los slams de surf y garage punk de mis favoritas bandas rápidas frenéticas y chilangas. A los círculos de chavos banda chocándose enérgicamente en el corazón de Iztapalapa. A bailar rodeada de gente que dicta su movimiento colectivo a una música subversiva y alucinante.

Fui chavita, amante de punk por primera vez en la secundaria. Los CDs de The Clash de mi hermana y mi primer novio, que me dio la credibilidad necesaria para asistir a tokines en el barrio de Los Ángeles, me iniciaron en un viaje irreversible.

Avanzamos ocho años, surgiendo del metro Niños Heroes, cruzando Jardin Pushkin y reviviendo mi amor por el delirio musicalizado en la pista del MultiForo Alicia. Al llegar, agotó mi energía bailando al compas del caos. Y cuando los efectos de mi última chela se desvanece de mi cuerpo, bailo totalmente sobria, alentada por una energía inagotable, espíritu agitándose, ojos entrecerrados, cuerpo y alma libre.

Mandar a un chavo dos veces mi tamaño volando a través del slam. Pierdo los aretes, rompo mi reloj, me tumban me revuelco me levantan del suelo, delineador y pelo hecho desmadre.

Amante del caos, del desmadre, bailar, perder y encontrarme en el centro de la pista de baile, soltarlo todo.

El punk en la ciudad de México me hace mujer libre, loca, y delirante. La mujer combativa que siempre he sido.

Mexico City: Añoranza

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¿Como nombrar este sentimiento que me paraliza de tristeza al contemplar sus amaneceres desde la memoria? ¿Qué es esto que me agobia de desesperanza de cerrar los ojos para abrirlos y encontrarme parada a la altura de uno de sus innumerables cerros, a la altura de todo su caos? ¿Qué es esto lo que siento, qué es esto que me a afligido por cuatro largos, hermosos, increíbles, dolorosos años?

¿Como y porqué nombrarlo?

Este amor, este sufrimiento, es el principio y fin de mucha poesía, mucho silencio, mucho mal entendimiento. Fuente inagotable de inspiración y principal tema de debate. Con el fin de racionalizar la poesía, de teorizar acerca del laberinto que es el corazón, me entorpezco con sentimiento, con nostalgia, con añoranza.

Lo que sufro, siento y no pienso, es la poesía encarnada y sollozada. Evidencia de que he sentido un amor inigualable. Que por haber partido por primera vez hace cuatro años, estoy conectada eterna e ineludiblemente con la ciudad. La partida, la ruptura en pleno amor, justo en los más intensos y hermosos momentos, cuando duele más. Cuando es imposible regresar.

Si me hubiera quedado…si hubiera vivido, amado, habitado la ciudad ininterrumpidamente, ¿hubiera bastado el tiempo? ¿me hubiera sentido plena de amor, satisfecha de sentir?

Pero me fui. Y siento. añoro. amo.

Nunca dejare de extrañarla. Nunca dejaré de pensar en ella cuando me encuentre muy lejos. Pese a una felicidad distinta inspirada por otros lugares, pese a la tranquilidad meditada, pese a la sabiduría de los tropiezos, de las distancias, del amor. Nunca.

Siempre me va a doler no estar allí. Siempre me va a doler aunque regrese. Siempre.

Mexico City: Muse

Chad Santos Photography

It is difficult to explain this even to myself.

A wave of emotion overcomes me upon admiring this beautiful picture by Chad Santos of the Valley of Mexico. Burdened with euphoria and bliss, I am surprised to deeply feel and validate a truth that’s lived inside of me for such a long time, a faithful companion in all of my journeys in the past four years.

In my frantic desire to be within and be surrounded by this city, I realize that although physical proximity is and will always be a priority for me when in comes to DF, what I have deeply yearned for is to absorb as much of its essence in order to mold my spirit and being after the beauty of its vastness and its absolute singularity.

A mujer in love with a city. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of people in love with Mexico City. Out of so many of us, constantly growing and multiplying, sharing and encouraging, I wonder how many love it so deeply and so differently as to want to imbue their life and their being with some of its best, most spiritual, most haunting and thus most human qualities. I find myself contemplating how many of us begin to think and feel that this overwhelming love is the beginning of a process of root shaking growth, of emotional and spiritual cultivation.

I entertain this new revelation: I love Mexico City in order to become more like it.

To imbue each detail, each part, each morsel of my days with the qualities and characteristics that have irremediably enamored me. Its restless nature. The love and warmth of its public space. The millions of opportunities to share a smile, a drink, a poem, a sunset with absolute strangers. The sonorously rich cadence of twenty-seven million people rising with the sun and moving through the entirety of its surface, swarming in beautiful choreography of the every day bustle both above and below its concrete lake bed. The opportunity to share anything and everything with it and with its inhabitants, relishing it all in the solace and solidarity of solitude. The scenes, the films, the music, the sunrise, the Sunday strolls, the Saturday café con leche y chocolate croissants, the freedom inspired while on the brink of a kiss, on the brink of a taxi collision. The marvelous of the everyday, the quotidian of the surreal. The fluidity of life within chaos, hope comforted by unpredictability, resting and growing within the unfamiliar, expansion of the self and of the spirit within endlessness.

All of this has inspired me to write profusely and ceaselessly. It has inspired fleeting and soul-searing love affairs. It has inspired my activism, my journalism, my voice, my political and spiritual commitments and expressions. It has inspired such a shift in my cosmovisión that not one thing I do upon rising and upon laying to rest has remained unaffected by my connection to it. It has inspired such profound irreparable change. An unleashing of an incessant river within me, that nourishes my spirit and sprouts the creative projects that serve as ode and poetry to its inexhaustible capacity to inspire this sort of love in us.

What I carry with me, what nourishes me on my journey that is this life, is the affirmation that I am as great and expansive as that city. Of looking within and seeing a reflection of that which I love without measure. A reminder to live and love in homage to this gift: I am serendipity. I am unpredictability. I am vast. I am endless. I am alive. 

Mexico City: Performativity a lo Chilango

In Mexico City, everything is performative. The dress of denizens reflect social positioning, sub-culture loyalty, political affiliations and both economic privilege and injustice. The majority of Mexican people, like individuals and entire communities globally, use clothing to express themselves – fresas flock to the gigantic malls of the city that house transnational clothing chains like Zara and Bershka, rockeros punkeros and goths do their shopping on Saturday mornings at El Chopo tianguis, and autonomous and revolutionary minded students and people opt to thrift, recycle and trade clothing in direct resistance to the mass spending that characterizes Mexico’s consumer habits.

But there are also people who are not given this option of personal and social expression through dress: a large population of Mexico City lives in severe poverty, surviving off the pocket change of the millions of transients that pass them by on Metro station entrances, intersections of major avenues, and important pedestrian streets in the city’s center. Meanwhile many people live without the choice nor the ability of economic consumption, their presence is an important part of Mexico City’s collective identity. It is a city of contradictions, where abundance and scarcity live in the same neighborhood, walk the same streets, and struggle to make themselves seen, heard, and noticed.

Performativity encompasses not only dress, but many aspects of cultural expression such as language, social relationships and especially in Mexico City, corruption. Just like people work on sidewalks to gather change, many police officers, underpaid and unscrupulous, often ask for mordidas or pay-offs from young folks caught drinking out in public, from motorists accused of traffic violations and from unsuspecting denizens identified as srewable. This performance is intimidating as they menace people with arrest and if you’re a foreigner, deportation. Witnessing the performativity of corruption and poverty of Mexico’s police force is not cool at all, trust me.

Yet for me, the most aesthetically pleasing and insightful example of urban performativity in Mexico City remain to be the hundreds of street performers, mimes and movie characters brought to life on weekends in el Centro Historico. Panhandling is turned into a ritual that involves entire families and public life in the city and is a view into this society’s perpetual hunger for constant entertainment, a direct result of unceasing consumption of television and mass media.

The pictures that follow, taken by the talented photographer and chronicler of Mexico City, Chad Santos, illustrate the faces that both symbolize necessity and epitomize the happiness of many of the city’s children: the Joker, Neyteri, the Rocker, el Payaso, y la Catrina.

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The Joker, impeccably cynical, attracts both young and adult boys alike. The eery shadows and contrasts between grey, blue and black hues of the growing night in El Centro frame his stage: limitless urban space.

 

 

 

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The research, time and artistry of DF’s public and street side celebrities represents the DIY attitude that characterizes DF living. Yet there is something deeply beautiful about it all, the crafting of the faces of Mexico City, los rostros de la ciudad, adapting and transforming them, the limitless possibility of becoming something and someone else.

 

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Their faces, perfectly crafted and painted, pay homage to contemporary norteamericano culture, a lo Chilango. But it seems that even street performers themselves are capable of believing that they can become these idols. For minutes, hours and entire evenings, he is Gene Simmons.

 

 

chad santos_payasoLos payasos, clowns, are among the most widespread streetside musers in DF. Exhausted and often overwhelmed faces are costumed in bright colors. They share jokes in the metro, juggle on Reforma and offer balloon animals and smiles in el Centro. Happiness to momentarily lighten the ceaselessness of everyday life of an often overwhelming city.

 

chad santos_catrinaLa Catrina is a quintessentially Mexican expression of beauty, immortality and pride. It is an aesthetic inspired by Posada and appropriated worldwide, especially on Nov. 2 (Día de los Muertos). In Mexico City, children gaze upon el rostro de la catrina,  an admiration and assertion that lo Mexicano, us mexicans, us too, are beautiful.

Mexico City: Hope

Silent Protest for Ayotzinapa 43 El Zócalo, Nov. 9, 2014
Silent Protest for Ayotzinapa 43 El Zócalo, Nov. 9, 2014

Silent Protest for Ayotzinapa 43 (with translation):

Guerra es cuando tu gobierno te dice quién es el enemigo. Revolución es cuando te das cuenta para ti mismo. Ya basta México, NO te quedes callado.

¿No te da pena que nosotros dos estudiantes de 15 años tengamos más huevos que tu para alzar la voz? Por que en estos tiempos es más peligroso ser estudiante que delincuente. Ya basta Mexicano, NO te quedes callado.

War is when the government tells you who the enemy is. Revolution is when you realize this for your self. Enough Mexico, DO NOT remain silent.

Does it not embarrass you that as two fifteen year old students, we show more bravery than you in making our voices heard? In these times it is more dangerous to be a student than it is to be a criminal. Enough Mexico, DO NOT remain silent.

In this city, I fully and deeply exercise my emotions on a daily, even one block basis. Walking through El Centro to get to a coffee shop a few minutes ago, I made sure to walk past the Palacio Nacional to see the aftermath of the protest and civil disobedience I was able to see in the flesh last night. The graffiti is gone, the police are present, the palace stands impeccable: absence. I walk east, and all along Madero, and witness the presence of people who live hunger, necessity and poverty and beg for a few coins to feed their family: helplessness. Jazz notes flow from a sax and drum duo, and this strange and out of place sensation is born in me: joy. But then I continue to walk and find a pair of fifteen year old students, who in their thirty minute demonstration of pure and sublime resistance inspire a warm and healing feeling inside of me that nurtures me in the city and the country’s perpetually cold night: hope. I thank them, deeply, and keep on my way, rejuvenated.

Mexico City: Descenso

Alex Neyra

Peaking through the window, I searched for signs of life as we lowered deeper into the abyss of pollution and morning fog.

As we penetrated what appeared to be an endless sea of grey foam, I began to discern patches of light. A million spheres of light suddenly peaked through the thick layers of pollution and I realized that the enormous slumbering creature had been tracing the trajectory of our plane as soon as we began our descent over the fringed edges of its endlessness.

I suddenly realized Mexico City slumbered below me and my heart jumped. It was five in the morning and I had finally arrived to the city that has been my destination ever since I first arrived almost four years ago.

It is precisely that moment of exaltation inspired by my palpable proximity to it that characterizes its entrancing nature. I arrived to Mexico City two days ago and I find myself adjusting to how it awakens, its palpitations, its breath, its restlessness. Returning means a natural and fluid synchronization, matching energy and breath.

Regreso al monstruo, y me arrojo a su mar de luz, de caós, de vida.

Mexico City: An Ode to Self-Love

This is the city where I first began to appreciate solitude as a necessary fortifier of self-love. In waking all over the city, enjoying a late evening film screening, and reposing on a park bench on a Sunday evening by and with myself, I began to appreciate the importance of abounding within my own company: of enjoying my whole being within the greater scheme of existence.

Through witnessing and participating in a city characterized by poverty, disparity, excess, beauty, resilience and ingenuity, I spiraled down a path of introspection and self awareness. When I began to navigate through the city I was struck with semiotic, verbal, and silent affirmations of injustice. I noticed how the hierarchy of race and class informed the ways in which people interacted and existed in the city. Indigenous and non-Spanish speaking people beg for food and work for incredibly low wages all over the city meanwhile the richest people lavished in lifestyles of excess and leisure in the secluded, almost segregated, neighborhoods. The colonias would be divided and organized among patterns of class and social positioning – walking from comfortable upper middle class living to poverty was only a matter of about six meters. Although I was familiar with racism and discrimination from within the U.S., as a person of modest and comfortable urban poverty in Los Angeles and as a brown bodied muxer, it was a different matter experiencing this in Mexico City.

These silent and withdrawn observations intersected with how the urban locality interpreted and contemplated my existence. In my navigating and moving through the city, I have experienced how my own body and existence has been codified and measured according to the social codes of race and class. As a daughter of rural and poor northern Mexican roots, my skin color is the shade of what the racial and political elite consider poor, naca, chaka: a dark and luminous shade of brown. And as soon as I broke the corporal silence muted by my skin shade, something interesting would happen: my Spanish oscillated between the perfect chilango spanish and my English that of the “typical American” accent. I was stuck between literally being too brown to be a U.S. citizen and possessed too strange of an accent to be an authentic Mexican. Yet my social positioning as a student and my economic comfort of being what some may consider middle class in Mexico allowed me to lavish and enjoy the privileges of a comfortable apartment, a university education, and many nights out on the town.

This first year in Mexico City proved to be a challenge of my well established understanding of myself, of the existence I had worked hard to reconcile over the expanse of 21 years. As a womxn of color with migrant histories and completely conscious to the injustice and oppression imposed on my communities in the U.S. as a student and activist, living in Mexico I was challenged and questioned for my assertiveness and self-love. I learned to see myself in a different light and in a different context, and I learned to deeply value and appreciate the reflection I discerned as a testament of my own history and my belonging to greater and more vast history of migration, of resistence, and of love. It is thus that through the experiences of living and interacting with the city and the people who inhabit it that I learned that people also navigated and struggle with social, cultural, racial and economic codes and barriers like people do in the U.S.. Racism and classism is very present in the national subconscious and is seen plastered throughout the city in advertisements, nightlife social dynamics, street side encounters, and public transportation systems. Yet discerning the ways in which the lack of self-love and the imposition of self loathing are as violent in Mexico as they are in the rest of the world, is a lesson still remains with me to this day.

Although it was painful and challenging, I was able to understand who I was in the slightly greater scheme of things, being flexible with that understanding, while retaining my lived experiences as markers of my history and everything that those symbolize. It is the deep meditation of interacting with people, being a silent spectator and participant in the public life of the city, and being a lover and friend that have taught me to love and be who I am and am meant to be.

Because I have also met many people and forged both romantic and amicable relationships. Meanwhile many of these I have been able to keep and nurture others have fallen victims of the circumstance of distance and time. Meanwhile my past and my memory and my present self will always be informed because of them, I am still able to discern Mexico City as the city that taught me to love. Mexico City is the city that taught me to love myself. That in light of so much existence and so much excess, I was able to become more intimate with myself: with what angered me, with what inspired me, with what filled me with so much energy for life. This is what has thus inspired my journey to find the words to communicate the anger, the inspiration, and the love.

As I write, I prepare myself to return to the city in a few weeks. And as I conjure memories of my favorite streets smells and tastes, a love and excitement bursts within me. It feels as if I am returning to an old friend, returning to someone who has seen me grow and has seen me change. It is the city that taught me to listen to my deepest and most forgotten desires, to contemplate who I am within the endless and expansive and throbbing existence that is life, and has taught me to love and appreciate my place within it. It is the city that taught me to become the poet I was always meant to be.

Mexico City: Presencias Urbanas

Chad Santos Photography
Chad Santos Photography

Unos de mis recuerdos más tempranos de la Ciudad de México es de una mañana en el sur de la ciudad, caminando sobre Avenida Universidad hacia Metro Quevedo, contemplando y asombrándome del ajetreo de aquella mañana de sábado, del flujo de gente y de auto. Conforme me iba acercando a la entrada del metro percataba como la vida fluía sobre planos contradictorios. Los autos, la gente, la sonoridad y los tempos se movían y expresaban en corrientes que chocaban, necios y tercos en su fluir.

Dentro de este ecosistema caótico se suponía que teníamos que coexistir. En estas condiciones extremas muchos agrandamos nuestras necesidades, ignorando los sufrimientos ajenos.

Estos silencios y ausencias los he vuelto a ver y sentir a través de todo el tiempo viviendo en el DF. Caminando y reventándote de alegría en una noche de fiesta en la ciudad, tienes todo a la mano, unos chicles unas rosas unos cigarros. En el metro te venden todo lo que ofrece un OXXO a un cuarto del precio. Gozas de entretenimiento de clase mundial de malabaristas, tragafuegos, payasos y acróbatas en cualquier intersección de la ciudad.

Esto es el paralelismo y contradicción del mundo chilango. Diversos especies de chilangos quedan relegados a los distintos planos que dividen y conforman la panorama citadina. En las colonias a donde algunos acuden por un buen café, orgánico y muy local, debajo de las terrazas cubiertas de los edificios, gente degusta de una ensalada de quinoa mientras que a sus pies una persona pide en silencio el apaciguamiento de su hambre. Por las calles del Centro, en donde la grandeza del legado intemporal se mezcla con la decadencia y la pobreza urbana, la gente camina entre los edificios maravillándose del esplendor del espíritu humano mientras ignorándolo en su peor y más olvidado estado.

En mi travesía por la ciudad, viajo ensimismada, pues me ocupo con resguardar mi confort y supervivencia, evitando el contacto visual, fingiendo apatía y fastidio, apresurando el paso, e ignorando y suprimiendo la tormenta que brota dentro de mi. Al fin, me resulta más cómodo aguantar la culpabilidad y evitar la mirada que enfrentar el rostro del hombre trabajando de tragafuegos, del niño que toca el acordeón en el Centro todas las noches, de la pequeña niña vestida de payasita, de la madre que se sienta, todos los días, por la entrada del Metro Quevedo con sus pequeños hijxs a vender dulces de amaranto.

Contemplarlos, como si su hambre y necesidad se fundiera con el paisaje urbano, convirtiéndolos en abstracciones urbanas, notas de pie en la crónica de la ciudad que cuenta con los centros comerciales y la trasplantación de la cultura yankee como protagonistas.

Pues, el hambre y la pobreza sí tiene rostro. Son niñxs, gente, humanos que agrupamos con millones de otrxs bajo la etiqueta “chilango”, miembro humano de la población urbana de la Ciudad de México.

Mexico City: Días de lluvia

“Parece que va llover, el cielo
se está nublando, parece que
va llover ¡ay¡ mamá me estoy
mojando”
Pedro Infante, fragmento de la canción “Parece que va llover”

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary  © Chad Santos Photography
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary

Es verano en Los Ángeles, tiempo y clima que agobia y fastidia y que a menudo nos hace perder toda paz y calma. El tiempo muchas veces determina nuestro interior, nuestra conducta, nuestra paz. A cambio me pregunto y contemplo mi afinidad por el frío, por los otoños e inviernos.

En Los Angeles, mi más temprana comunidad y hogar, gozo del confort que me brindan los rayos de sol que penetran mi ser, que calientan el alma. Pero el calor también trae desequilibrio, como si su exceso me alejara de mi contacto con los demás, como si su sofocante presencia me alejara de la intimidad conmigo misma. Pero en los tiempos de lluvia encuentro una intimidad con el entorno, con las ciudades que habito.  Las lluvias, que tan a menudo abruman la Ciudad de México, es lo que extraño y disfruto.

Es el tiempo de lluvias torrenciales, aquellas que te sorprenden a media calle desamparada y sin paraguas. Para mi, el agua es algo especial y espiritual, algo casi tranquilizante.

Es por eso que la lluvia llega a significar fuerza. La ciudad de México ha sobrevivido siglos de estas lluvias y sin embargo su suelo, aunque agobiado por tiempos de exceso y escasez de agua, persiste como si conservado por esa violencia fortificante.

Aquí comparto algunas tomas de los días de lluvia del fotógrafo Chad Santos junto con algunas reflexiones suyas acerca del DF en tiempo de lluvia:

“El capitalino promedio suele usar paraguas, otros más botas y lo más despistados que salieron desprotegidos suelen adquirir capas de plástico por 10 pesos, éstos últimos portan un look de muñeco de Lucha Libre de mercado, los niños se sienten superhéroes con ellas.”

 

 

 

“Conforme las lluvias van siendo más recurrentes se debe salir de cualquier sitio con una hora de anticipación y sobre todo encontrar asiento para dormir ya que el camino será largo. Ir escuchando música en el celular o jugar al Candy Crush es la distracción de algunos, otros tantos ya evolucionaron para dormir de píe.”

 

 

“Cuando Tláloc el dios de la lluvia hace acto de presencia en las vialidades del Distrito Federal todo se torna en un concierto de smog con claxons, sobra decir que bajo tierra el metro es una sinfonía de vendedores ambulantes con transeúntes mojados que luchan por llegar pronto a casa. De algún modo la naturaleza reclama un poco de su pasado, vivir en lo que fuera un lago conlleva resignación en los habitantes.”

Mexico City: Mujeres Que Viajan

As I travel through life I am met with subtle blessings and encounters in the form of lovers, friends, and cities. As my most recent reality and context, Mexico City has been the incubator of many friendships and conversations woven amongst mujeres pajaros, womyn poets and travelers who defy borders to find themselves and others in a city that is both hostile and nurturing.

Throughout the last three years I have met many mujeres who have fallen in love with Mexico City. As I reflect and contemplate each story I realize that this group of mujeres have individually and collectively nourished an energy for life that sustains my personal hunger to return to the city. They inspire me to contemplate what it means to return and how returning is a journey that I have the power to perpetually reinvent and remap, as if each return takes me in the direction of a renewed and different sort of love.

As I write this to them, I am writing to myself. Because reflected within all of them I recognize all of my dreams for happiness and fulfillment in their excitement and their anxiousness. In this way, todas somos una mujer, mujer que espera y mujer que trabaja, mujer que anhela y mujer que alcanza:

Mujer, con alma que canta, espiritú de viaje, sueños imperturables, who dreams of creation and expansion, from you I learn that patience and dedication is what sows the strong roots of our creative projects. That although time may pass and distance resembles borders, our imagination coupled with the encouragement of transbarrio pen pals serve to give life to our dreams of returning. That our hunger for creation and growth make our dreams within reach.

Mujer pajaro who dreams of connection and innovation, of returning to a love born out of one of her first encounters with the city, I recognize your energy and constant strive to occupy your own place within every city, every circumstance, every challenge. You are one of my earliest inspirations, mujer who first described the marvels of the city, of the lessons and the passion to defend and live up to them. 

Gran y hermosa mujer that dreams of the sights and landscapes most sincerely adored, who dreams of family and antiquated love, you teach me to recognize that love does last, that the city always welcomes back those who have loved and known it. That nostalgia is something to nestle my best memories in  and where I can incubate my most sought after dreams.

Mujer, amiga que piensa y que ama, who dreams of love and companionship, perpetual viajera que transita fronteras por amor, de justicia y de libertad, you teach me that love has never succumbed to borders and conventions, and that distance is not a border but a circumstance. That love can overcome it.

Ultimately, the yearning to return and to visit is inevitable, as it is a residue and remnant of all things beautiful and inspiring in life. And returning and visiting can mean many different things to each one of you. But it is part of the journey. In between our going and returning, we grow and are nurtured by a journey that serves to inspire all who dream and who live collectively. In that way, we all serve to encourage each other’s coming and going, each (re)encounter with the smallest and largest examples of life and love. It so happens that each and every one of us have been given the opportunity to intimately come to know one of the largest examples of love. Mexico City is this, or has been this, for us in the past. May our journeys to and from it be filled with more opportunities for growth and love.