Have you ever thought of quitting your job and moving to another country?
I did it in 2002.
I left my job as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and moved to Mexico, country of my ancestors, a place that called me home after more than a century.
I moved to Guadalajara where I found a job teaching at a local private college. I wrote, I traveled and I connected to a part of my culture that had never left me.
Consider that my great-grandfather migrated to the United States in 1890 and settled his family in a small town in Texas.
Yet how could 100 years later Mexico still feel like home to me?
It is in part because I see myself in the story of her people, in the struggle to dream for a better life, in the beauty of her culture from the pyramids to Teotihuacan to the markets of Oaxaca.
How is that you can feel like home in a place where you were not born?
Yet Mexico she calls me back often to her mountains, to her beaches, to my friends that I have made there over there years.
To me Mexico is not just a place of drug wars and conflict. I understand why many people leave because there is no economic opportunity.
But it is also is a place where a total stranger can invite you into their home for dinner and then welcome you into their family.
It is home to me for so many reasons and when the winter rages on for months on end en el norte de Chicago, I miss her.
I miss the women who sell mangoes on the beach. I miss my friends who gather at a moment’s notice. I miss a place that speaks to my heart.
I also know that I am privileged to be able to travel between here and there.
I wish that more people could see Mexico as not just a place of extremes but as a place where poetry, music and life speak to my heart.