Piedras Negras, Mexico is exactly what you would expect of a Mexican border town, nothing too fancy, quite a bit of dust, hot sun, and friendly people.
I first visited Piedras 12 years ago as a senior in college. I was nervous about my first trip out of the country and excited to be participating in a medical mission trip. Little did I know that I would return to Piedras again and again, that I would meet my husband, fall in love and get married in that same town.
Crossing into Mexico for the first time with our 3 year old daughter we were both a bit nervous. Though I had crossed dozens of times, often alone and at night, this was all before the recent uprising of violence in Mexico. I hadn’t been to Piedras in 5 years and it was Zenie’s first time out of the country.
Once we entered I was immediately put at ease. Piedras felt as calm, even sleepy, as always. Our friends let us know that the violence had stopped. In fact, any sort of violent crime was once again almost unheard of, making it feel much safer than most cities of its size in the US.
At the end of the trip I complied a list of my favorite things about Mexico. Here is what I came up with.
1. Mexican’s love to celebrate. It seems to me that Mexicans have managed to work more holidays into their calendar (which I think is awesome, we all need a reason to celebrate and when you live a hard life sometimes a special holiday is the best thing to brighten spirits). We happened to arrive on Dia de Los Ninos (Children’s Day, which is actually an international day to raise awareness for the needs of children around the world). We visited a small school in Nava run by our friends from Manos y Pies Ministries are running. Their school reaches out to the poorest children in town and provides them with a quality eduction. Not only did we get invited to join in their party but Zenie got her first shot at a Pinata.
2. Mexicans make you feel welcome. We were greeted with hugs and kisses by many friends whom we hadn’t seen in 5 years. For some I gave no warning but simply knocked on their doors and I was welcomed in as if no time had passed. Whenever we left we were repeatedly told. Esta es su casa, this is your house. Come back any time.
3. Mexico still feels a little wild. Maybe it is just because we are foreigners, but there is something a little exciting about being in Mexico. It still feels a bit like the wild west, you never know when someone is going to ride down the street on horseback or climb up on the roof swing a pinata.
4. Mexicans take their time. It seems like we always do a lot of waiting in Mexico. Some has to do with inefficiencies sure. But there also just isn’t the rush to get things done like there is in the US. Mexicans tend to take their time and live in the present.
It has certainly been too long. We will be back soon. Love you Mexico.