Saturday, December 7, 2002
This being my last day here in Montemorelos I reluctantly get ready. After getting ready, we arrive at the hotel; Kristen and I ride to our breakfast with the Mayor of Montemorelos in the Rincon’s car. I enjoy their company and try to take it in for all it is worth.
As I am sitting here to a smorgasbord of steak, eggs, tortillas, refried beans, melted cheese, and salsa. I face the Mayor across from me. I am honored just to be here and for him to take the time to meet us. I sit next to my new friend Crystal and we have a discussion with the secretary who says he deals with their economics and is hopefully looking forward to the arrival of a new factory that will bring over a thousand jobs to the area. The M&M candy company would be a great blessing to the community, and I hope that it is in the near future. He then asks us how our mayors are and tells us how we will benefit the community after our graduation; deep down inside I hope that I don’t let him down.
At the end of the meal we are given hats, a t-shirt, bottle openers, key chains, pens, pencils, and beautiful baskets of Mexican candy. I feel like the children that we saw in the schools. I am so honored and grateful because these are people I have never even met before. They are so loving and kind. After I get my picture taken with the Mayor I give him the wonderful kiss on the cheek and a hug goodbye.
I have been putting this off and have tried to make time stretch out because now I must say goodbye to my family. I look at Magaly and we both begin to cry. As the tears swell in her eyes and cascade down her cheeks, first her left and then her right, my heart breaks in two. We hug and kiss with bittersweet words of love and goodbye and painfully separate. Next I move to QuiQue, he is strong and looks at me with a broad smile and tells me not to worry. I tell him I love him and his family as I give him a hug and kiss good-bye; saying thank you for all the love and care they provided. He tells me goodbye with glassy eyes.
As we load up into the van I see QuiQue and Magaly waving goodbye as we leave. Magaly puts her right hand into a fist and places it over her heart. It is a sign we have been using to wordlessly express “with love.” I begin to cry again but hide it from the group to the best of my ability. My feelings are divided because I don’t want to leave my new family behind, but I miss my husband and son that await me at the end of my journey ahead.
As we leave the town we see the statue of Morelos and he seems to be waving goodbye to us. We stop along the way at a cemetery to see how they remember loved ones. The cemetery is encased in a large concrete wall, a foundation that is common in Mexico. Instead of headstones all lined up in a row, we see what appear to be small houses, but they are actually rooms built to mark each gravesite. Flowers and what look like glasses and vases of water cover the small buildings. Their gravesites are much more elaborate than ours and large statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus are often encased in glass at the head of a grave. I can tell that some had a lot of money to bury their dead and others did not. Those that didn’t had modest graves and only a small cross with the deceased’s name on it to remember their passing. After this somber visit we are again on our way home and I see signs everywhere saying in Spanish for us to have a safe trip. I can’t think of a time I have seen this many in the states.