A Love Letter to Oaxaca

Most of us have a place, somewhere in the world, that so entices us and draws us in that we return to it in our mind over and over again. For you, it may be a beach on a faraway island. It could be your hometown. It could be a city you lived in or only passed through for a day. Perhaps you have returned to that place many times, or maybe right now returning is a dream, something that you keep on the back burner, so to speak.

The other night my husband and I were having one of our many travel chats, and I asked him, “If you could only take one more trip for the rest of your life, where would you go?” He paused and said that, well, there are so many places out there…he’d have to do some research.

Before even finishing my question, I realized I knew what my answer was: Oaxaca.

El desayuno perfecto
El desayuno perfecto

Right now I’m in the middle of the book My Own Country by Abraham Verghese. Verghese, a doctor specializing in infectious diseases, was at the frontlines when small-town America began to face the AIDS crisis. His book chronicles his time living and working in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was a long way from India, where his family is from, and Ethiopia, where he grew up. And yet, the small town began to feel like home. He writes, “I suppose this is when you know that a town has become your town: where others see brick, a broken window, a boarded up storefront, you feel either moved to tears or to joy. The map of the town becomes the map of your memories, the grid on which you play out your obsessions, on which you mark your great loves and your enmities; its geography becomes your destiny.”

El Jardín Etno-Botánico y el ex-convento de Santo Domingo
El Jardín Etno-Botánico y el ex-convento de Santo Domingo

I read this the day after my Oaxaca realization, and it couldn’t be more true. I’ve had wonderful moments there – weaving through Abastos and spending time with dear friends in Teotitlán del Valle. I’ve also had sad times, such as a very specific melancholy that hits me when it rains there, or needing to catch a flight and not being ready to go. And all this, like Verghese says, makes up my map of the place.

Haciendo tapetes de lana
Haciendo tapetes de lana

So, with Valentine’s Day in the recent past, I send loving thoughts to a place that will always have my heart.

Oaxaca de noche
Oaxaca de noche

Thanks to the following sites for lovely pictures: www.tripomatic.comwww.eluniversal.com.mxwww.seccionamarilla.com.mx, www.thelittlemarket.com

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2 thoughts on “A Love Letter to Oaxaca

  1. And I share your love of Oaxaca from our trip there together…memories of the dance festival Guelagetza and having dinner at a corner cafe in the heavy rain…moles and chocolate…Arizola carved animals and a car ride to Teotitlan…meeting your rug weaving friends and purchasing gorgeous textiles in the markets. I could go on forever, Mom

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