After my last week at school, I took the bus to Mexico City to met Marcin at the airport. After 67 days, and some challenging travels it was wonderful to see him again. We had a brief tour of the center of México City then headed back to the house we had rented in the hills of Oaxaca with friends for the week of dia de los muertos.
The week is one of the most important for the people of Oaxaca. Much time effort and money goes into preparing for the festival, and as the people believe the return of the dead to their homes and cemeteries over the week.
In the homes and shops they prepare amazing alters to the dead, littered with the favourite food of the departed.
Over the week we saw many parades with incredible costumes
Danced with marching bands, with more tubas than I have ever seen in one place
Visited cemeteries where the families crowd at the richly decorated graves throughout the night feasting and playing music for the departed.
It was lovely to be able to sit down with the families in the cemetery and speak to them about the evening with my new improved spanish!
It was a deeply touching experience, and strange to reflect my own culture where I don’t think I have ever visited a grave of a family member after their death. Stepping only into cemeteries, with a kind of voyeuristic historical interest. Never relating personally to those that lay beneath the stones. Here I was touched by the Mexican relationship with death, not seemingly scared by the at times gruesome imagery that plastered the churches and the streets, but the threat of their own mortality reminding them to live each moment. I was also moved by their deep connection to family, both the living and the dead. Amazing really.
After a fantastic week with Marcin, and the others as they headed back in the wee hours of the morning to Mexico City on flights to Seattle. I rode of towards the lovely town of San Cristobel de Casa with Dan and Sara, where I left them 2 days later sipping coffee and eating delicious French pastries on the cobbled streets of the beautiful town.