my trip to oaxaca

Last night, I showed my kids videos I took in this little village that made me feel like I had walked right onto the set Coco (which is impossible of course, being that it’s animated, but it’s my favorite kids’ movie and it just felt so real).


I was in southwestern Mexico last week exploring the city – and state – of Oaxaca with my close friend Vanessa, just the two of us in celebration of her 50th birthday.




 

You know when a long weekend feels like two weeks? Our days were filled with short trips to artisan towns where my mind was blown by the talent of people who spend hours and hours on crafts we buy here and too easily take for granted (more on that in my next post.)

Our nights included giant Mexican-themed parties with costumes, colors, music, tequila and really good people. (We were also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of another friend’s clothing company, @livanna_be_the_change).



 

I had heard about the magic of Oaxaca in early November, and knew it was one of the country’s largest celebrations of Dia de los Muertos or, Day of the Dead.

But I had no idea just how meaningful, celebratory, spiritual and FUN it would be, all at the same time.

At first, I was kinda freaked out by celebrations of the afterlife on every street corner. I mean, I used to be afraid to even say the word death and now I was doing high kicks next to skeletons on the sidewalk.



 

But as the days went on, I began to understand why every home, store, and restaurant had an altar set up in honor of Dia de los Muertos. It made me want to create one in my home too.

Las ofrendas, or offerings, are set up in early November every year to welcome home the souls of the dead. Each altar is a happy, colorful celebration where death is honored and the deceased are remembered.

Marigold flowers, skulls, and butterflies merge into a kind of spiritual and celebratory place where it’s hard not to pause, smile, remember your family or friends who have died.

It also forces you to contemplate your own afterlife.


I mean, just because science can’t explain where we go doesn’t mean we don’t go somewhere.


Of course, I really hope it’s that same town in Coco filled with music and parties, giving me the chance to finally become a professional dancer.


And drink (good) tequila until the end of time.


The truth is, not one of us knows when the end of our time will be.


Nor does a single person truly know where we go when it ends.


These are the unanswerable questions that the younger me used to avoid thinking about in fear, but the older me now embraces with curiosity and wonder.


Why not celebrate death, if only to make the most out of life?




 

I sometimes ask myself these questions and I wanted to share them with you.




  • What effect will you have had on the world and those you loved?

  • At whose altar will your photo be placed and how will they remember you?

  • Did you accomplish your goals or do those things on your bucket list?

  • Did you play enough and have fun?


I highly suggest you visit Oaxaca – or anywhere in Mexico – next November (but make your reservations now).


You may be surprised at the number of skeletons on the streets, but I promise, all that talk about death will force you to celebrate your one life.


Plus, there’s no better place to drink (good) tequila.


With fierce love,
Alison


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