During the months before I left for Mexico, many people warned me that my husband would not be the same man I left outside the secure area of the airport one and a half years before. The idea was that when people go home, they re-adapt to their own culture; who Sal was in the United States is not who he would be–or should be–in Mexico.
Now that I am here, I wonder if anyone bothered to warn Sal that his wife would not be the same woman who disappeared behind that security checkpoint one and a half years before. When he left, I barely had the chance to adjust to being a new wife. Then, instantly, I was living as a single woman–an unmarried daughter in her parent’s basement. I was very reliant on my family; certainly, I was not as independent as I had once imagined myself to be. I was scared, uncertain of myself, and often felt incredibly nervous.
The truth is, who I was in the US was who he fell in love with, but it wasn’t who I wanted to be; I certainly hope he loved me in spite of these bad qualities and not because of them. I became better when I met him, but at the same time, I felt a greater distance between myself and the life I had imagined for myself since I was young. Slowly, I was giving up pieces of myself so that I could mold into this new dream of suburban Missouri, family, and quiet contentment–I am not certain from whom this dream even came, but it became a part of our shared vision. It was not the dream from when I was young, not the dream that I could fall asleep thinking about and wake happy and rested. From adolescence on, I wanted to have adventure in my life; I wanted to live somewhere new and be someone else. I wanted to do something more than just become another generation growing up, working, and raising a family in their hometown.
Pachuca is not the most exciting city one could choose to relocate to, but there is a lot here for me. More than any time I can remember in my life, I smile and I laugh and I feel good about what I am doing. While it goes against reason, I feel more independent here than I did back home–without a car and without the language. Without anyone to help me, I explore the city and my neighborhood. It feels as though there are a million new experiences before me, waiting to be snatched up and treasured. Somehow I am closer to what I want from my life here than I was in my hometown.
I am different. I am happier, more independent, less fearful than I once was. Even tiny inhibitions I never realized were part of me are starting to shed. I am not who he left behind–I have left her behind as well.