Everything seems at once familiar and foreign. Returning to a place that you once knew well, that was dear to you... It is not something I'm practised at. It is strange, walking through streets that were once familiar, remembering isolated places but failing to recall how they interconnect. A giant and unrelenting case of déjà vu. Knowing places but not how they are situated in space. Stumbling over words in a language left dusty. Seeing phenomena that feels as though you had watched a documentary on it a year or two ago, not as though it were a reality you lived.
That is the unsettledness that has plagued me since returning to Mexico. And while it is dissipating more and more everyday, it is slightly unnerving that it was ever there: almost two years ago I fell in love with this country. Shouldn't it feel more natural, being back?
I arrived shortly before Día de muertos, and on going out to celebrate...it was not how I had remembered it. I had forgotten that Oaxaca, where we had celebrated Día de muertos the year before, was very different to Guadalajara. Where Oaxaca was indigenous, superstitious and extravagant in its celebrations, Guadalajara seems to treat the occasion as more of a big costume party. Guadalajara takes the holiday and dresses it up in a cosmopolitan outfit. Maybe the surprise of this was exaggerated for me because I was still getting used to the idea of being back in Mexico. I think I had been dreaming of reliving my memories instead of making new ones; that was a mistake. Nothing stays the same, even less when it is on the other side of the country. Mexico, I'll give you another chance. No more biases. Lo prometo.