This past winter break I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and visit family in Mezquite, Sinaloa. A little about Mezquite: a small town in Northern Sinaloa, near the cities of Guasave and Los Mochis, where my dad grew up. For those of you who knew about the capture of El Chapo, he was caught in Los Mochis about two weeks after I left. This is kind of mind boggling because there’s a possibility I was very close to him at one point in time.

Since I was there over Christmas, it really felt like a true Christmas. What I mean by this is that Christmas is about giving not receiving. Over the past 19 years of my life I never experienced the giving part. While my dad and I were there, we built my grandparents a new garden, repainted the walls and cleaned up around the house. Christmas Eve was one of my favorite memories. With all my family there, we went to the church at midnight and sang and danced throughout the night. It felt like a traditional hispanic Christmas.

After spending 10 days there, it was very eye opening. I first-hand experienced the living conditions and many of the differences between the US and Mexico. It’s crazy to see how happy and lively they are with what few opportunities they have. Although I wasn’t able to fully communicate with them, I could still feel the joy and how pleased they were to see me, since I see them so rarely.