Querida hermana,

Author with plaque outside Caesar’s Restaurant, Tijuana, home of the famed “Caesar Salad.”

Some years have passed since we moved from Tijuana and to the small town of Irapuato. And I don’t know how many memories you have of Tijuana. You were only four years old, and I was six, so maybe you have fewer memories from back then. And I honestly think I know how you felt about moving away from the northern part of Mexico, so close to the USA, to be in the center of the country. It was (and is) a great change, not only because of the area, but because the whole reason we moved.

When we moved to Tijuana, just on the border of California, it was for dad’s job. And it was not that big of a change; I think we got used to it quickly. It was not a pretty city, but it had so many perks: crossing the border to the States every other weekend to enjoy an afternoon in the park, shopping, reading books at Barnes and Noble, etc. That was something unique that we got to experience.

The most memorable memories I have of living in Tijuana is going to the USA each weekend. I took it for granted while I was living there. Now that we are living in the center of Mexico, I can see that it was sort of like a privilege. Every weekend was different; there were a lot of family friendly things to do together so that made us more united.  Instead of only being family Sunday we had a family weekend. Not only did we get to live out childhood dreams — going to Disneyland, Seaworld, Legoland and the San Diego Zoo and Safari — but we also got to travel a lot in California, thanks to our mom’s love of marathons.

Remember when mom started training, and how she rapidly started going to half-marathons that later became marathons? This opened doors and excuses to go visit different cities. One of my favorite ones was San Francisco; when we went, I was about eight or nine years old and it was the rainy season. Thanks to the weather, as soon as I set foot in San Francisco, I got a cold. So I did not enjoy the trip. I think that is why I want to go back there really badly. Other places we visited were Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Napa Valley, Chicago, and so many other cities that I cannot recall.

Besides getting to go on road trips and creating a love for travel, we also went to many parks and libraries. I think I enjoyed those spontaneous trips to Barnes and Noble at noon, just to scout for new books. We would spend hours in the bookstore, either going to read Fun Facts, Amelia Bedelia books, or playing with the plushies. We would lose track of time until one of us got hungry, then we would call it a day and head back home to eat.

As I am writing this letter to you. All these little pieces of memories make me really nostalgic for the place we once lived. We moved to Irapuato because our parents got divorced, so of course, it isn’t the same to go back to Tijuana during breaks. I am longing to go back to my life back then. Even though we still go back to Tijuana during the breaks, it is not the same. I think that in the end we do not know what we have until it is gone.