“Mira, la Luna. She is dancing.”
The night settled like ink and the moon weaved through the cobweb clouds. Yaya arced her neck towards the sky and chuckled.
I had arrived in Guadalajara; a ragged backpack slung across my shoulders and a forced expectation of desert and cacti. Instead, the Mexico I found was a lush, green cityscape. Fig and lime trees lined the streets; their roots cracked and crumbled the pavement. It was the rainy season; the days stretched on and remained hot but when it rained it poured. The roads would flood under the obese clouds, becoming impassable rivers. The sky opened during those storms, rumbling and splitting the silence with luminous veins.
Yaya picked me up from the airport and we shambled along the highway in her pickup. A beaded crucifix and miniature Caballero hat swung side by side from the rear-view mirror. We chortled in broken Spanish on our way to my new home.
“How you say your name? Es Mickel, no?”
“Nah, just Mitch.”
“Si, porque no?”
“Ok. You are Canguro now. Bienvenido a Mexico Canguro!”
“Si, ok. Gracias mi hermana!”
It was a mannered meeting but I had never felt so welcome. Yaya would soon become one of my closest friends in Guadalajara, helping me find a place to rest my bones – in her house – the aptly named Casa Luna. There, we would eat when hungry, drink when dry and chill outside my rooftop room in the evenings.
Amid the steady flow of tequila and cheap cerveza I have found myself settling into the heat and beauty of Mexico. University has served as a temporary recess from tumbling sombreros and evening mariachi trumpets.
While the clichés of Mexico echo in the background, I have managed to hit the highways and explore the country between classes. The green hills roll into open grasslands; the splintering streams belch into wide lakes or spill into an ocean with shores shared by Australia, a world away.
I helped Yaya gather her things and we hightailed further inland, halted endlessly by freeway toll booths. It was a long road to Puebla – Yaya’s new home – but we were kept entertained by my fervent consumption of the sights and sounds. My eyes darted from agave plantation to thick maize fields to storm shrouded mountain. Yaya grinned at my exuberant movements.
“Mira Canguro, that mountain es for you.”
Guadalajara has continued to raise its curtain and I am attempting to keep up with the performance. It has become my ever evolving home. Itchy feet will keep me wandering the rest of Mexico, even if it’s just for the people I have met. My experience has been only a stolen glance so far and I think I will remain here for some time to come. Six weeks in and my Spanish is verging on intelligible thanks to daily exchanges with curious taxi drivers.
“Donde eres guero?”
“Soy Australiano, mi nombre es Canguro.”
– Mitch Fuller/11429091