Slightly delayed, but this is something I wrote after the Mexican Independence Day celebration in Queretaro, September 15th. More detailed update of my Mexican teaching life to come.
In the midst of cheers, chants, and patriotic song, I stand ignorant and outside the crowd. I hear, without understanding, motivated and encouraging words of history. The unmistakable translation to “freedom” hits me and I yell “viva”, a word that brings me inside this crowd.
I am reminded of celebrations of this sort in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere around the world. It all resembles the same basic format – music, people crowded into one square or circle, a big-name speaker, and the event’s people overcome with excitement and cheer. One might notice small differences in the security: tough looking guards ready to diffuse troubles with their words and hands, or cops with guns discretely hidden in their holsters, to cops with rifles held firmly across their chests, and riot police fully suited up, including shields for protection. Differences are also noted in music selection, obviously languages spoken, the types of drinks being drank (while beer is certainly common across the board, the difference comes in how the beer is garnished and mixed; and while tequila is certainly common in Canada, it is a necessity of life in Mexico!). But we are all human beings, and our cultural differences reflect how we have evolved as a result of our geographic location in the world.
As I look through the trees above and beside me, I see glimpses of glorious colours shooting through the sky in an organized chaos of finality and closure. I hear the ever-familiar bang of fireworks, only this time, I can see its magnificent product. Once the fiery colours begin their decent from the sky, I feel as though they are falling on top of me. The trees are my protection. I stare up in amazement, mesmerized, taking it all in with a huge smile on my face.
As the final blow of lights signals the end of this celebration, I feel at peace with my evening and my life. I stand in my place, not sure what to do. As crowds of people make their way for the exit, I feel like there is so much excitement that has yet to be experienced. A very familiar feeling, felt after every big event of this sort. And just like many other events I’ve been to, there was a short gathering of friends post-show, then the evening was over; home to sleep I go. This is one disappointment I was happy to have when my internal alarm woke me up at 7am the next morning.