Laughing in Tixmehuac by Kathryn Mitchell

I have had a lot of funny experiences during my stay in Mexico – many that have had me doubled over in that tears-streaming-down-my-cheeks kind of laughter. One instance in particular, however, lasted an entire weekend and not only did I cry laughing, but also I learned something about Mexico and the world in which we live. Traveling to the tiny pueblo of Tixmehuac was an invaluable experience in which I discovered more about myself, created friendships that I believe will last forever and laughed more than I have in a very long time.

Upon arrival, we found ourselves wandering the town in the dark, not knowing exactly where we were, who we were staying with or what to do next. We found our one-room, cement-walled house and surprise! The lights didn’t work and we were left to hang our hammocks in the dark. The hammocks themselves sent us into additional fits of laughter – trying to find a way to sleep comfortably on knotted string is far more difficult than it sounds. Not to mention twisting and turning throughout the night, inevitably tumbling to the floor or at least having several very close calls. In addition to clothes-lining yourself eight times on the hammocks of others while trying to make it to the bathroom, these Mexican-style beds provide both a lot of laughs and a lot of pain. I’m sure you’ll never believe that in all seriousness, it was the best night of sleep in my life.

The following day consisted of playing games with tiny children, having my Spanish torn apart by an eight-year-old and teaching English to 30 kids by means of musical chairs and the Old McDonald song. If watching them learn wasn’t both hilarious and as eye-opening, I don’t know what is. Mexican children laughing and pushing each other in jest in order to throw themselves into a tiny, cramped school desk was the happiest, most innocent scene I have witnessed in a very long time.

These kids taught me through humor that I am a very, very lucky person. I have a solid roof over my head, parents that can can afford to send me to college and food on my plate three times a day. Sometimes, the citizens of Tixmehuac cannot say the same. I learned that no matter the cards you are dealt, it is entirely possible to live with a smile on your face and make the most of what you do have. I laughed a lot while adventuring in this pueblo, but more importantly, I discovered a totally different world.

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