So I’m in Mexico. Its been several weeks already and I feel pretty much acclimatized. The first week was a bit crazy though…Mostly because…I felt so at home. It was like, from the minute I landed in Mexico City to the moment I arrived at the remote village in the North of Oaxaca where I intended to stay, EVERYTHING reminded me of home!
the landscape…bustling Mexico City reminded me of Lahore or Rawalpindi…the mountains, valleys, rivers and pines in the North of Oaxaca reminded me of Khairagali, Thandiani and Murree and maybe even of drives up the Kharakorum highway…so beautiful, breathtaking creation – I praise God for mountains =)
the weather… warmth and sunshine one minute – fog and rain the next; although the rain was mostly very gentle rain and only a couple times did we have a real strong downpour accompanied by lighting and rolling thunder!
the power cuts and internet problems…had that quite a bit back home =)
the feeling of standing out kind of A LOT – white skin, “blond” hair and I’m just about a head taller than a lot of people!
the megaphone announcements all over our small town – reminded me of the call to prayer
the improvisation, relaxed attitudes and flexibility
the food – spicy chilli in everything and LOTS of flat bread, the tortillas – different from roti because its made out of corn flour instead of wheat flour. You can eat it with every meal and there is great variety!
the trying to get clothes dry during the rainy season with sunshine being repeatedly interrupted by rain showers – its like a game of hanging up the clothes and quickly taking them down again =D
the buying cloth and bringing it to a tailor in the village for it to be made into a traditional skirt
the animals around the place…be it cows, goats, donkeys, cats, stray dogs, chickens, coyotes, eagles, frogs or giant grasshoppers and butterflies
But then even while all these things reminded me of my childhood in Pakistan…I also realized that it really isn’t all the same – that I needed to be open to discovering a new country and culture and willing to observe, ask questions, listen and learn. Sometimes its so easy to just take a glance and think – oh I know that. But then you miss out on the opportunity to grow and be taught and to discover new things or a new perspective. I think what fascinates me most about getting to know different cultures is that new perspective – just because things are often done in a way different from what you’re used to, doesn’t make them worse or wrong. Often times its actually enriching when you let other people’s customs challenge the way you think…and maybe you end up with a little bit of both…