How it feels going back to my small town in Mexico


Julian Alvarez, General Editor

On January 16th, 2023 my family and I flew from San Francisco, California to Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. We flew at 11:40 pm and landed at 3:50 am local time. From Guadalajara international airport my family and I had to drive an extra 4 hours just to get to a town with a population of 900 named San Diego. Visiting a town that small coming from a town that has more than 200,000 people in it can really give you a taste of what small towns are about and how different it is living there.

This town was originally named Lazaro Cardenas, but recently changed its name to San Diego. On some apps and on the internet it is still called Lazaro Cardenas. My great-great-grandma and grandpa moved to San Diego and from there everyone lived there, until my grandparents took my mom when she was 6 to move to California.

San Diego is where my parents first met each other as my dad was visiting from New York at the time and my mom was visiting from California. From there my parents got married in San Diego and later I was born in New York with my 2 other siblings.

We usually go once every two years to San Diego, and when we visit it is always beautiful and it was fun when we were younger because we would visit my cousins that still lived there. Now most of my cousins have moved to the United States but I still have family that live there. When I visit my town San Diego it really shows how different things really are. It also tells me how easy I have it here in Modesto.

For example, to tell you how different it really is, most households don’t have access to the internet. The closest place to get internet is an hour away which shows you how small and different it is compared to Modesto. Since the city is so small everyone in our town knows where everywhere is, and who everyone is. Usually everyone walks around because there is no need for a car. Visiting my family back in Mexico really feels different than visiting my family from New York. Its just a different vibe and atmosphere and when its time to go back to California you don’t want to leave.

A good reason why I love visiting is seeing my grandparent’s and my uncle’s grave. My grandparents passed when I was younger and I never got to have a good relationship with them as I got older, so it is really nice seeing my grandparent’s grave and how beautiful it is every time I visit them. I love to come back to visit my uncle’s grave who recently passed away not too long ago, I was really close to him because he lived here in San Francisco. Once I see his grave and all the beautiful flowers and music they play for him it really makes me think about the great memories I had with him and how he really was a special person.

Usually when I go to Mexico my family from New York also comes at the same time and visits everyone. What is really cool about being there is almost all of my aunts and uncles live on the same small street so it’s really easy to walk to their house to see my cousins and talk to them. I usually find out while i’m there all the stories my parents and my uncles and aunts have about their childhood, and they would take me to the plaza where they would play, and the soccer field where my grandpa would play and watch our local soccer team play against another local team.

It’s always a fun and amazing experience going to Mexico, because for me it puts a pause on everything else in my life. Being in San Diego, Mexico is special because it is so fun and amazing to be around my family again and eat together as a whole family in one house in the backyard. To see my family and walk with them or ride a quad everywhere and try out their food and how it’s different – and let me tell you, it is way better than American Mexican food.

Going to Mexico is amazing, and when I get older, hopefully I will be able to take my family back and show them how amazing and peaceful it is to go to San Diego, Jalisco Mexico.