By Christopher Grow
My original intention on going to Mexico was for language immersion; however, I gained so much more on my trip.
First off, driving down to the little ranch of San Rafael in Jalisco, Mexico took over 30 hours because of the large amount of traffic. I did not realize how many thousands of people drive to Mexico every year for the Christmas season. Why? To visit their families! The familial pull on the Mexican population in the United States is strong. How fortunate I was to find myself experiencing that, even if I was not going to see my own family.
Upon arriving at Jose Flores’ house, I was immediately welcomed by his family (in Spanish!) almost as one of their own.
I spent most of my days either staying home and playing with the kids (the best way for someone at my level to learn Spanish) or traveling around to the nearby towns to visit the churches and experience the “plaza” life.
Every little town had a church and a plaza, where street venders sold all sorts of food and items, where children ran around playing and where the locals spent a lot of time interacting. Compared to the Type-A, go-go-go atmosphere of even smaller towns in the United States, this more communal, leisurely pace was new to me because it happened every day.
The highlights of these excursions consisted of the beautiful old baroque Spanish churches and tacos. I would be in the wrong to not attempt to illustrate the seemingly indescribable deliciousness of the authentic tacos! If you haven’t had such adobada or chorizo tacos, they are in themselves worth the trip to Mexico.
I was fortunate enough to be able to drive down to Zapopan, a suburb of the massive Guadalajara, to spend a couple of days with fellow seminarian Rodrigo and his cousins. We both look forward to the day when he can be united with the diocese and us seminarians.
I grew a lot more comfortable with the little Spanish I know so far and gained a lot of insight into the Mexican culture, both of which I hope will better my formation toward the priesthood!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.