back to el D.F…

I travelled from Puebla to Mexico City (a two-hour bus ride) Wednesday to give a lecture Thursday at the Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría (INP). Coming down the mountain pass into the Valle de México, the highway makes its way through increasing urbanization until all you are surrounded with is concrete, asphalt, and city. Despite the smog and the traffic, I felt very nostalgic about being en el D.F. again – I lived there for more than a year, twelve years ago. The city doesn’t seem to have changed much — still filled with activity, movement, large boulevards, the metro, graffiti, high-rise hotels, el estadio Azteca, crowded neighborhoods and commercial districts, green hills peering up somewhere beyond the cars, buses, and green-and-white “Rutas” below. [The taxis have changed (from the green and white VW bugs that circulated the city streets twelve years ago to maroon and tan sedans…).] I gave a talk at the INP on research methods for the students in the Mental Health Research Training Program I am working with — they are working and living in México City – taking classes at the UNAM and doing independent research projects on issues as diverse as health care system restructuring and male sexual identity. I had a feeling that, somehow, my past work with a residential treatment program (a ‘comunidad terapeútica’ – run by Fundación Ama La Vida – that was 1999-2000, the program is no longer in existence, unfortunately) would mean my path would cross with someone I would meet at the INP; and indeed it did, as the woman directing the INP research site for our MHIRT students took the same Diplomado Course on Addictions at UAM-Xochimilco as I did back in 2000. I remember that year in my life as one of intense work and engagement with issues of substance abuse – on personal, community, and intellectual levels. I think now about how life journeys are like trails we make with our steps, our work, our energy, and our commitments. And, eventually, following our passions may lead us to loop back and reconnect with the past in our present endeavors, even as we’re unsure where our paths lead us in the future…


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