Luisa and The Missing Eagle


Once upon a time, there was a woman who came from the other side of the world, whose flag was missing an eagle devouring a snake on top of a cactus, but nonetheless shared the same colors. Their land did not have the same smells, or tastes - the air did not  feel the same. She did not speak much Spanish and still came to Guadalajara with the hope of completing a high specialty in medicine at a renowned hospital in the city.

This is her story.

The morning after my arrival, I went for a walk around the neighborhood where I stayed, and the first thing that amazed me was the smell of wet earth. I arrived in June, the rainy season, when so much water fell that I no longer knew if the meaning was from top to bottom or from bottom to top - hail, thunder and deafening lightning. Even so, everything is light, people smile, there are flowers everywhere;  people go out to water the garden on Saturday afternoon and greet you without knowing who you are.

On Monday, when I arrived at the hospital, everyone greeted me as if they knew me forever.  Although I asked everyone about the poor Spanish I had, I always found someone to help me understand. Will it be for me? Or will they always be like this? The truth is that they are like that with all foreigners - warm and friendly. I fell in love with Guadalajara because every day was a surprise, every day was different -Mexico welcomed me. Everything surprised me, everything seemed incredible to me despite having already traveled the world. Mexico had an energy that tied me as if I were a lover.

One day, while I was finishing my internship at the hospital, I told some of my colleagues that I had a toothache and asked if they could recommend a dentist. A resident of the hospital told me, “My wife is a dentist, you should go to her!”

With all the fear in the world thinking of the worst, I made the appointment and went to the dentist. That day changed my life forever. Upon arrival, the doctor immediately came out to greet me; she was a doctor with black hair, green eyes, and a beautiful smile. I fell in love with her treatment; she gave me confidence and security. I never imagined that she would become my best friend, my sister, my most emotional link with Mexico.

My friend's name is Graciela. She received me at her house to introduce me to her family - her parents, her sisters, and since I was alone, she invited me to eat at her house every Sunday. They made me part of their family.  Now I have a Mexican mom and dad, and although more than 13 years have passed, I still feel at home every time I visit them. That is what they told me - this is your house, too. In the morning, they have huevos con tortilla for breakfast and in the evening, they have pan dulce.

I learned to eat tacos al pastor, with chili and pineapple, tortas ahogadas but not much chili, carne en su jugo, and agua fresca of Horchata and Jamaica.  I bought a bicycle and then a car and toured the entire city. I also got to know Tequila and Tlaquepaque and fell in love with Lake Chapala and Ajijic. In Guadalajara, everything is colorful and everyone is friendly.

I have returned to Mexico every year, to Guadalajara since then - I love going to the Santa Teresita market to eat gorditas, and practice my Spanish. In Italy, they ask me, why do you keep going back? You are no longer a student. They just would not understand it - Guadalajara is a magnet that constantly attracts me, I simply enjoy being there. I feel full, safe. I feel at home.

I love Mexico, I love Guadalajara, and I live waiting for the moment when the world returns to normal to take a flight and go straight to the tacos, arrive with my family that I left there, hug them and have pan dulce con leche for dinner.

After my first trip to Mexico, I concluded that the stork was wrong, was drunk or distracted or perhaps the majesty of the eagle scared her, and left me in a country without an eagle. I love my country, but my heart now belongs to two nations and the other half is in Guadalajara.


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