I have a beautiful image in my mind, a warm recollection of one my fondest Christmas memories from Mexico. In 1998, I went back to visit my relatives in San Luis Potosi, where I am originally from. This would be the only Christmas I got to spend in Mexico in the twenty-five years since my family and I moved to the U.S.
At that time, not much had changed in the four years since I had left Mexico. Sure, my cousins and relatives had grown a bit older, but in most regards, they were still the same. The neighborhood where I grew up was the same as well. My old neighbors were also still there. However, and most importantly, my grandmother was still in good health. I was happy during this Christmas; I saw everyone and took a picture with all the people I wanted to see.
I spent that Christmas Eve with my relatives from Mexico. However, the next day, I made a long journey, accompanied by one of my cousins, to visit one of our aunts, who lived near the Historic Downtown of San Luis Potosi. She was my favorite aunt. Sadly, she has passed away since. I still remember this nice stroll, walking around with one of my favorite cousins from my childhood. We visited churches, historic monuments, landmarks. We wandered the same old streets that watched me grow in San Luis Potosi taking pictures of the area at night.
I am very fond of the Historic Downtown of San Luis Potosi, because it is the place where I grew up. It’s where I see myself as a little girl with many of my relatives, including my Mom, in our family pictures. This is why I find myself coming back here every time I visit Mexico.
The pictures shown here are from that Christmas evening, when my cousin and I strolled around Historic Downtown after visiting our aunt. We must’ve talked a lot during those hours because the journey was long.
Looking back at the pictures from that evening, it is interesting to see what I thought was picture perfect: I took pictures of the churches, cathedrals, historic monuments, landmarks and of course, a picture of my cousin and I at Calzada de Guadalupe; one of the most famous and oldest streets in San Luis Potosi.
As we neared the end of our journey, heading back to our grandmother’s house, something caught our eye and we stopped. It was a beautiful, gigantic Nativity scene in the middle of Plaza Fundadores in Historic Downtown. The city of SLP had decorated all the streets in preparation for Christmas season. And a Nativity scene was a view I dared not miss as part of my Christmas visit to SLP
Now, after 25 years, I am getting ready to once again visit my relatives and celebrate the Christmas season in Mexico. As I close bags and ready my passport, I pondered on all the great changes in the lives of my relatives from then to now. I reflect how my city has grown and changed a lot. Above all, I brace myself for the space left by those important members of my family who won’t be there waiting for me this time around: my dear grandmother and favorite aunt.
Deep down, and though I treasure all those memories of the Christmas past, I know that this is a time to create new memories, reconcile with the things that I cannot change, and make peace with my past.