Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Motherland

Jalostotitlan, Jalisco, Mexico February 21-27 2014

My trip to the Motherland couldn't have come at a better time, than just after turning 24 and at the start of the Carnaval in Jalos! (Yes... I know... I should have stayed for the main days of Carnaval...trust me I know!)  But regardless, it couldn't have been better because the people I was with, the family I was visiting, the home that we have there made it amazing.

Los Cerros de Tecua
That Hill 
A lot of people believed I was going to Mexico to sit on a beach and get a tan... yes I got a tan... but not sitting on a beach... I hiked a hill which hides ancient ruins and literally roughed it up! (yes, this princess walked through cow dung and weeds and rotted trees and rocks!)  Truth is there was no beach at all.  But plenty of hills! Thats for sure!  And if you have been to Jalos, there is no doubt you know about the glorious hill that leads up to El Santuario de Guadalupe (you know that pink church at the top of the hill).  Well basically lets just say I owe a huge thank you to that hill for the loss of 10 lbs. of fat and maybe a 3 lbs. gain of muscle in my legs.  Going up and down that hill a good 2 or 3 times a day, and sometimes in my cute little black boots which do have a heel.... was not easy... well it was easy going down... coming up was ok until the last block before the church!  Why did I walk up and down that hill so much... well my dear interested reader... my house (our house) is precisely at the end of the block you get to once you have actually made it up the hill and to the church.

La Plaza de Jalos
One of the bars
The Jalos House

Now let me tell you about this place!  The outside is a "golden rod" yellow with white and yellow tiles along the bottom 5 feet of the two story house.  You walk in and see these ginormous plants! They are said to have been there since my great grandmother, Valeria Gutierrez, lived there and that the day of her funeral the plants actually bowed down to her as they carried her body past them.  (this may sound weird... but I don't know, being in the house and witnessing some of the things people may consider "miracles" if you are of faith, or haunted if you are not, I think that this bowing plant theory is definitely true) Anyways... to your left is the "forbidden room" aka the living room with the nice couches that I had never sat in before until this trip, straight ahead is the dinning room and kitchen area, to the right is the master bedroom which used to be the room of my great grandparents.  But to cut to the chase we have 4 other bedrooms which include a total of 4 full sized beds and 3 twin sized beds.  A bathroom outside as well as our wash area. and in the upstairs we have the patio on our roof! I love this patio! Let me just tell you its the perfect place to just sit, watch kids play soccer in the campo behind the house, have a drink or two before heading to the plaza at night, sit and read a book, get some fresh air and be surrounded by the beautiful plants.  This patio also doubles as our clothes dryer...lol yup we hang our clothes to dry!  Though the house furniture may be outdated and cover just about any space there is to walk in the house, and that just about every surface is covered with something and the walls full of pictures from almost everyone in the family (I counted 4 old pictures of myself alone... I was a cute kid),  the tile a little...ummm psychedelic... I love this house and am so happy we have it.

Santa Ana Padre Toribio
Santa Ana
So enough of the house! What did I do while I was in Jalos... well essencially visit my beautiful family which I hardly get to see, walk up and down that damn hill, eat all the foods I love so much from there... and last but not least... I saw churches... a lot of them!!  But in reality I feel like I got to do just about everything I had wanted to do in that one week.

Avenida de Martires Santa Ana
Avenida de Martires Santa Ana
Padre Esqueda en Tecua
Padre Esqueda en Tecua
The trip started off with a nice long nap as soon as we got to the house.  After the plane ride from hell, no sleep, man talking all night, 4 hour flight... let me tell you... those 4 hours of sleep made a huge difference. Best nap ever!! We then spent time with family till we got ready to go out that night... which I guess shorts aren't used so often at night there...even though they were dressy ones, but I got a few looks.  That was the first walk of many down that hill.  We celebrated my uncle's, my cousin's, and my birthday with some cake, street tacos, and later a few micheladas and beers.  Yummmm! The next day pretty much consisted of the charriada, a tradition Jalisco is known for with some handsome charros and beautiful horses.  Though we came out with a nice thick layer of dirt just about everywhere, it was a good cultural experience.  But the highlight of that day.... a Reik concert after the certamen (a beauty pageant if you will).  Not only was it amazing because they sing beautifully... but to watch a group as famous as them for only $3 is seriously like WOW!  We sat together with some family and it was great getting to catch up with my uncle (who is actually younger than me) and listen to his plans after graduating law school this summer!

Shopping in San Juan
La Virgen de San Juan de Los Lagos
Catedral Bacilica de San Juan de Los Lagos
Plaza de San Juan de Los Lagos
Pretty much the rest of the trip was hanging out with family, going out with them just about every night to Taurinos or Rampante and the new bar that overlooks the plaza.  Of course when we weren't out and about in the plaza or with family, my grandpa pretty much guided us through the towns that have all the churches that we had to see.  From Santa Ana with Padre Toribio, Tecua with Padre Esqueda, and San Juan with the Catedral Bacilica de San Juan de Los Lagos.  Beautiful churches, let me tell you, if you want to see something that marvels you, see the churches in Mexico.  The people's dedication to make something for their religious beliefs is truly something.  We even walked around San Juan and looked at all the artesanias that are sold on the streets, all the color, the beauty, the candy... it was hard to not want to take it all. But of all those churches, I think one of the highlights for me was seeing the little capilla that we were taken to after our hike to the cerros in Tecua.  This church is one of the first churches in Jalisco... and it just happens to be in our town!  though it was simple and small, it was great being able to walk inside and see the church and then to be able to climb to the roof and see the church bell.  On top of the church there was a slab of stone with a cross etched into it.  I couldn't help but take a picture, it was beautiful.

Oldest church in Jalisco


A trip to where my roots come from is always an amazing journey.  It always helps me appreciate where I come from, what I have, who I am.  I hope that through reading this you all realize how special the experience is to me.  How much I love this place, to see my family, to experience my roots, I hope it is rubbing off on all of you and that you also want to embark on the same journey.  Mexico has so much beauty to offer to the world.  From the people who come in many skin tones, shapes and sizes.  With the culture, the food, the music that just captures you and pleases your every senses.  The beaches, the hills, the lands that just show such a natural beauty.  I mean its just beautiful.  It's something that everyone enjoys, but we need to really appreciate it!  I couldn't be prouder of who I am and where I come from.

Charriada/Coliada
For those from Jalisco, and those who aren't.... here is a little article that was shared with me about the women in Jalisco.  Now it's in spanish... but the title says it all, "The Most Beautiful Women in the World  are in Los Altos de Jalisco"
"Las Mujeres mas Bellas del Mundo Estan en Los Altos de Jalisco"

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