Cozumel is my home.
“Playa can be seen so close!”, I say while looking afar, inhaling the breeze that smells of my sea; the sea that witnessed my growth and has given me so much. That sea that can suddenly take away everything, but that also gives back abundantly. That sea that takes my breath away, but also fills me with serenity. My safe haven, my stability, my space, my home, my sea…
“One can really live well here!”, this thought comes forth in my mind while I caress the sand with my bare feet remembering that many yesterdays ago, only palm trees could be seen in the distance. Today, I see buildings and concrete, and I am filled with longing. I look for the town’s roadstead that watched me grow, and find infinite buildings inexistent in that childhood. Once again, I feel the longing of what is no longer there; of times that are no more but still hold dearly in my heart.
My ocean!!! There is nothing better than the adrenaline rush with the tank on the back while plunging backwards, holding the mask with both hands. When the current tugs you in, during that first instant not knowing if there is an above or a below, flying into a wonderfully spectacular world. My father who loved the sea, diving and adventure, brought me here for the first time when I was 7. Diving is actually what first brought me to this place. To this place that since I first set my foot upon, it has always remained in my heart.
This sea filled my heart; this place… my mind wanders along the coming and going of the waves… I remember a sunset 40 years ago. One of those enrapturing sunsets. A sunset that one never gets tired of watching. A sunset vacation in Cozumel. A sea in perfect calm, not one single cloud in the sky and the sun being swallowed bite by bite in the horizon. The only thing that caught my attention was that boat, that LAFFITTE and the silhouette of a woman that zigzagged from one end to the other. I was wide-mouthed by the perfection and elegance of its movement. Who would have thought this would become my family and that that sunset was the beginning of a great affair both with the love of my life, as well as with this place that watched us grow, watched us laugh, watched us cry, that became the accomplice of a thousand mischiefs.
When leaving San Miguel Archangel church, on January first of 1971, I heard “I invite you to go for a scooter ride”; at the same time my grandmother pinched my arm so I would decline the invitation. Naturally, I accepted the invitation of those killer eyes. I married to the man of the scooter in that same church on August 28, 1982. I married dressed as mestiza: with the terno (three-piece embroidered dress), shawl and three-coiled necklace. That was my way of honoring and thanking my beloved town that watched me grow – this, my sea and my jungle – my roots as a Mexican woman and the noble Maya people that taught me how to passionately love this land.
We remained here and our daughters learned to call Cozumel, home – here we live moments of great joy and great sadness. This sea that watched us grow, now feeds us. Here we found strong friendships, siblings and soul family. Always grateful to my father who showed me this place for the first time. He taught me how to love it, understand it and work it.
My jungle – the one that keeps my childhood and youth secrets, as a child and as a woman – my home in the middle of the jungle and next to the sea – the one that invites me to watch the waves time and time again – the one that invites me to lay on the sand feeling the sun and watching the stars over me – the one that invites me to hear the roaring sea before the rough black, sharp rocks – each with a history and testimony of what was and what will be. That, my house in the middle of the jungle, asks of me: WHEN DID I BECOME YOUR HOME? I breathe in deeply and cannot find the answer; this place runs in my blood and I hold it in my heart; I do not know if it was a vacation, or when I fell in love with life and love; I do not have a precise moment – I don’t know – don’t know… What I do know is that I will remain my eternity in that cove looking at the sea – next to my jungle and over rough black, sharp rocks, amidst the jungle and next to the sea I will spend my eternity.
Rebecca Rangel de Iturbide, originally from Mexico City, DF, has spent many happy years on Cozumel with her family.
This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island! Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…
Una ex yanqui de Connecticut quien llama hogar a Cozumel desde hace más de 15 años. Laura escapó al Caribe hace años, desplazándose de una isla a otra dando clases de BUCEO. Se dedicó a perder el tiempo en Jamaica y finalmente se detuvo en Cozumel para pasar unas vacaciones de 2 semanas que aún no terminan. Convenciendo a sus padres que pagaran una elegante universidad privada, obtuvo su título en Periodismo y Laura crea semanalmente Cozumel 4You, medios sociales y artículos promocionales sobre la Isla y también es moderadora en el grupo Cozumel 4 You en Facebook que actualmente cuenta con 25,000 miembros. Fabián, s umuy tolerante marido, desde hace mucho tiempo se resignó a no tener vida privada, pues se ha visto implicado en los diversos proyectos y planes que urde Laura. Son orgullosos padres de diversos perros y gatos rescatados. Mientras contempla su paso a través de la vida en el Caribe mexicano,Laura continúa siendo la pesadilla en la existencia de su muy tradicional suegra mexicana.