Author “on top of the world”–Tlaxcala’s La Malinche volcano.

I am writing this after being stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. Who ever thought that closing a main avenue, from five lanes to two, must be the biggest son of … a good mother.

It was dark, I was tired, and I was trying to reach my home, after another day at the university. Cars all around me, full of frustrated people, without any consideration other than for themselves–this was the scenario that Puebla was giving to me. During that time, I didn’t have anything better do than think about a subject or some topic in which Puebla would be the best of the best.

Nothing comes to mind.

My dream has always been getting a job in a different country and just live there instead. I don’t even think I can live better in another place than here. But I just imagine myself walking down a street on a cold night, surrounded by huge buildings, illuminated only by the lampposts and the moon. That sounds so much better that being here.  In Puebla. There’s nothing wrong with this state but It doesn’t grab me.

Instead I was thinking how much better this place could be if there were some small changes. Something I love about the US is how all their electric cables go underground, so you can see the clear sky. Here you can’t even do that; you; see tangled cables everywhere. There’s a huge volcano and mountains on the horizon and we can see them between the cables. It’s like looking through a prison cell.  But nobody cares about it. Everyone is thinking about anything else and that’s okay, I guess.

We also have a river that goes through the city. A river, un pinche río. I can’t even imagine all the opportunities the river would bring if it was clean. This blows my mind. I don’t understand how it is so hard to clean up our streams? Why are people still contaminating it? Puebla would be more interesting with it.

It’s boring here. You want to go out? There are limited options between getting drunk, going for a meal or just watching a movie at a cinema. I blame YouTube for showing me awesome places around the world. I’m in a complicated position right now. I’m in the process of applying for an internship in the US. In the long run, hopefully, I can stay there after or get a job in another part of the world. I’m not really attached to Puebla, but it has taught me things I can enjoy elsewhere.

Most people may think that by leaving a place you’ll have a fresh start. That’s clearly a mistake. All the ideas, laughs, worries you had come with you in the form of your experience and shape the way you see life. Even if I move to the US, I will never leave Puebla behind.

I like to run, and this bring me back to the stinky river. In the last few years the government has created a path, where you can run alongside the river. It’s cool. You escape the city for brief moments and you run through nature; the only problem, however, is the smell of the river. The smell must be dangerous for your health. This experience took me back in time. It was the summer of 2018 and I was in Kyoto, Japan. Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan–full of museums, history and parks. The best part of that beautiful city was the experience of walking alongside their river. That river was an invitation, full of options with things to do: people having picnics, talking, playing instruments,. I ran alongside the river in a hot day. When I got tired, I hopped into the river. The cold water was so refreshing and clear that I could see perfectly the rocky bottom. In the afternoon I went to a supermarket, got some treats, some alcohol, and later had drinks with friends beside the river. I’m pretty sure we sang some songs from Jose Jose really loud that day.

I wish I could do the same in Puebla, but I know there are other options around the world. I have been unfair to Puebla. My city has taught how much I value in hindsight. Running took me to one place in Puebla that isn’t the best but made me appreciate this kind of stuff. One time, I was running near my house when I found out a little lookout on a hill. It was surrounded by nature and extended a little on the hill. There was a bench in the middle of the corridor. At the end you could look out over Puebla, from the cathedral to the newest mall. I was amazed how I had never known this place existed, and how beautifully the city extended from East to West. There were volcanos in the background, with a sun that didn’t wanted to surrender to the clouds. Since then I have decided to not abuse the beauty of the place. I just go there when I need a time for myself. I been there three times.

This landscape motivated me to keep looking for amazing views to enjoy. I have only found two. The first one was in Kyoto. One day my friend who lives there told us that he was taking us on an adventure. At this point in the trip my feet were killing me from walking, but I couldn’t say no. The worst part was that we had to walk there for like an hour or two, and then we had to start climbing for like another hour. I remember when we finally made it to the top. I almost cried out of happiness. I was so proud of myself having achieved what seem impossible for me. I wasn’t in great shape. Everything was worth it after watching the sunset descend on the city of Kyoto.

The second landscape was near Puebla, in the nearby state of Tlaxcala. One day I was bored in class and I was thinking “I should try to climb La Malinche.”  I grabbed my phone, texted my friend and the next week I was 4000 meters over the sea. This summit was by far harder than the one in Japan. It took six hours to ascend and four to descend. I’m sure I had some heart attacks while climbing. I had been above the clouds, but it was worth every blister that I had on my feet. Everything started when I discovered how peaceful, rewarding and beautiful a landscape was.

I should be grateful to the city of Puebla. If the town did not suck so much, I would not appreciated as much that little hide out by the mountain.  Even if Puebla doesn’t have many places that I can say I love, it has taught me things that I can enjoy all around the world.

Thank you Puebla. See you in a year.