Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Semana Santa

With all that goes on during Semana Santa in Mexico, I should have probably spent my first one here experiencing the festivities, but instead, I went in search of cooler climates, fresher air, and some peace and quiet. So to Northern California we went (though with all the Spanish speakers around, we didn't feel too far from home). We road tripped our way from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, down to Muir Woods (apparently not the right woods where you can drive your car through a Redwood), to the city by the Bay, and finally down Highway 1 to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur. Oh, and ate my way through every conceivable type of Asian cuisine there was, including something called 7-course beef. Highly not recommended for those with cholesterol concerns. 

Amongst it all, I saw Mexicans working, working, working the land--the grapevines in Sonoma, the lawns of the Bay Area, the artichoke and strawberry farms in Castroville and Watsonville. One gardener I met was from Jalisco and has been away from his family for six years. Obviously a choice he made and possibly an illegal one but still a courageous decision to leave his family in hopes of a brighter future for his children. 

In Texas, it's the same, and I've seen it for years, but what's now different is me. It's been about eight months in Mexico, and each time I go home to the States, I feel myself siding more and more with the plight Mexicans face. Why stay in your own country when a better life is not too far off? You can't blame the human spirit for wanting better (and you can't build a wall high enough or a fence long enough to keep it tamed). So while the debate on immigration continues, I think what Americans can start doing more of is being appreciative for what Mexicans do for the US economy. Balance out what the media shows about a nation of drug thugs and illegals with what really happens on a day-to-day basis in your restaurants, front lawns, construction sites, and on farms across the US. And if you can, take a trip down here to see for yourself.

The landscape of Northern California is so beautiful that I am impelled to share a few photos with you. 

Muir Woods' Coastal Redwoods, the tallest living things in the ENTIRE WORLD!!

Biked this 'lil bridge

Where the land meets the sea in Big Sur

Migrant workers in Watsonville picking strawberries

1 comment:

  1. Hey Alice,

    Totally agree with you. I never really had that strong of feelings on the immigration debate prior to moving here. Now I have a new appreciation for just what the forces are that inspire Mexicans to head north for a better life.

    When you're making $4 A DAY here (if you're lucky enough to have a job paying minimum wage), it is hard to envision much of a bright future for you or your family.
    Should give a new perspective to all the Americans worrying about retirement & the reduced-value of their 401ks...