Breaking Open in Mexico


I spent a month in Mexico and it was magical.

The purpose of my trip to Mexico was to learn the ancient technique of gilding but I learned more than I ever could’ve imagined. I spent three weeks at an artist residency program in Puebla and then I spent my last week exploring Mexico City. I’m still processing everything that I learned but the biggest takeaway was a new appreciation and respect for the tenderness that comes with breaking down barriers.

In Puebla, I shared a space with seven other artists who were all talented and intelligent and passionate. We had vastly different backgrounds but we were all kindred spirits who shared (and valued) vulnerability. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by people who weren’t afraid of sharing their truth - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being vulnerable allowed us to form close connections quickly and it was amazing to experience. In Mexico City, this practice of vulnerability expanded and I made some really great connections there as well.

There’s nothing that compares to the energy you create when you’re doing something with passion and honesty. It fills you up and you radiate inspiration. This was the energy that I was surrounded by all of the time while I was in Mexico and it’s why it was so easy to break open.

Ending this post with a journal entry from one of my days in Mexico. Photos at the end : )

xo, G

September 25, 2018 - 9:15pm CT

Today was my first full day in Mexico City. I got up at 7:00am to get some work done before I had to get ready. It was 8am by the time I finished work and I ended up having to wash my hair after all. I didn’t plan on doing my hair which sucked. I was outta the AirBnB by 9 though which was a fucking miracle. It took about 40 minutes to get from Roma to Coyoacan because of traffic. Mexico City is by far the worst city I’ve been when it comes to traffic and I will try not to complain about the traffic back home again. Drivers here are wild, especially the taxi drivers.

Anyway, I met this filmmaker named Susana at Starbucks and she took me around the neighborhood. I instantly felt a connection with her and it felt like I’d known her for years. We shared our lives - what drives us, our family history, the relationships that taught us lessons, the relationships that taught us about real love. She shared stories from projects that she worked on and I shared my work. We talked about kids and raising them and family dynamics. We talked about moments in our lives that scared us and we talked about moments in our lives where we were lucky to make it out safely. We talked about sex trafficking and church and faith and government. We shared stories of travel. She was so easy to talk to. We ran into one of her old high school friends and after she introduced us, I realized how much I love how Mexicans show their affection. They are so warm and inviting and there is a level of respect that is unmatched by Americans.

After hanging out with Susana, I went to La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s home that has been turned into a museum. Thanks to Susana’s advice, I bought my ticket online the night before and I am so glad that I did. When I arrived at the museum, there was a long line for the box office but I was able to stroll right in. Anyway, the compound was huge and the most vibrant blue and it had a beautiful courtyard. There were soooo many people there and I wished I had the entire compound to myself to explore. It was still really cool to see her beds and paints and decorations. As I walked through her house, I imagined I was her and I was overwhelmed with thoughts. I sat in the courtyard for awhile and I drew in my Moleskin notebook. I observed a few people sitting in silence, taking it all in, but there was an overwhelming number of people who were there only to get those “lifestyle” shots. haha!

I left Frida’s house and walked back towards the main square where I ducked off into a restaurant and sipped on tequila. The owner gave me a few free drinks, which was nice. I’ve been getting free tequila almost everywhere I go. I wonder if that’s common practice to welcome foreigners. I don’t know but I love it. As I sat there sipping tequila, I doodled in my notebook. After I was done, I wandered through the market and bought a handful of gifts from a few street vendors. I ended up at a restaurant called Luna where I sat outside and had a few drinks while I listened to live music. It began to storm while I was outside but I didn’t mind and neither did the people around me. After a few hours, I hopped in an Uber and talked with my driver the whole way back to my AirBnB. I thought to myself that I should probably drink some water and eat something before I settle in for the night. The next thing I knew we were at a red light and there was a guy selling water and snacks. I just had to roll down my window… haha!

I fell in love with Mexico City today.

Gina Tyquiengco