In 2000, I went back to the place I used to call my hometown, San Luis Potosí.
I went back to visit friends and family although when you are young and lacking wisdom all you care about is having fun, laughing, and living in the moment. At that time, I didn’t have the desire to spend time with my grandmother who still had good health. I also didn’t care much about spending time with family members.
I did however, manage to spend a nice afternoon with my older cousin, the one who grew up with me from my earliest days, all the way until my family and I left the country. I asked my cousin if she would go with me sightseeing through Historic Downtown of San Luis Potosí and she agreed. I was always interested in history, folk stories, legends and the stories my grandmother used to tell us, she was a great storyteller.
It was a nice summer afternoon, as shown in the pictures. Summer in this part of Mexico is dry and desert-like, similar to the pleasant weather in California here in the U.S. The weather is so pleasant that most people choose to walk rather than use public transportation.
I wanted to take pictures of places that were important to me such as various churches, the main cathedral, the oldest university in the city, museums, theaters, and city hall. I wanted to photograph anything that would remind me of the places I used to stroll around with my Mom and sister in those long-ago afternoons from when Mexico was still our home. I wanted to one day look at those pictures and reminisce about the beautiful time we spent in San Luis Potosí.
I did reminisce about these particular places from time to time, whenever I leafed through my photo album. After a while though, it remained closed for a long time.
Now when I look at these pictures, almost twenty years after I took them, I no longer look at them the same way I did before. Now, I think more about that afternoon with my cousin and about the sort of conversations we were having, what did we talk about as we strolled around the city taking pictures? Did we get a chance to catch-up on the time that passed during those last six years apart? Did we laugh together? What stories of ourselves did we share?
The wisdom that I have now is not mine, it comes from God, I can’t take the credit. And what I learned from Him is that although traveling and seeking to be a cultured and well learned individual is important to some, it is more valuable to spend time with people. People you care about, people you love, people you grew up with and are part of your most treasured memories. This is more important to me now.
I still feel nostalgic sometimes, and reminisce about a nice afternoon strolling around Historic Downtown eating a yogurt ice cream while window shopping in the streets of San Luis Potosí.
I will go back one day and walk around the same streets and the same historic landmarks I walked that summer afternoon long ago. This time I will appreciate the times spent with friends and family more than the buildings around me.