Newman sophomore unites with family on trip to Mexico

Aug 15, 2022
Newman sophomore Alondra Valle and family on trip to Mexico (Courtesy photo)

This summer Alondra Valle, a sophomore majoring in social work with a minor in business, traveled to Mexico for the first time.

Valle, her parents and her little brother spent two and a half weeks in Mexico from July 15 to Aug. 3. 

The trip was a first for Valle and her brother but not for her parents. Their visit to Mexico wasn’t only a vacation. It was also a reunion for Valle’s parents, who were born in Mexico and reconnecting with their families for the first time in more than 20 years.

Mexico City experience with Newman sophomore Alondra Valle (Courtesy photo)
A photo from Mexico from Alondra Valle’s perspective (Courtesy photo)

Reuniting with family

At first, Valle was a bit unsure about meeting the family members and said she felt awkward at times.

“We would go three days with my mom’s side then three days with my dad’s. They live two and a half hours away from each other so it was definitely a lot of driving back and forth. It also didn’t help that Mexico traffic is something else and the roads aren’t as great as they are here in the United States,” Valle said.

“It was a bit weird but cool for me to see everybody that I haven’t met and I found out I have like 10 cousins on my dad’s side. My brother got along with them perfectly fine and I did too, but I was very shy. It was a culture shock, ‘Like where am I? What am I doing here?’ But it was pretty cool and I definitely had a lot of emotions.”

Alondra Valle (far right) with her cousins
Alondra Valle (far right) with her cousins

Holy sites in Mexico City

In Mexico, the Valles visited many different places while making memories and enjoying “every part of it,” Valle said. Valle’s favorite part of the trip was going to Mexico City to see the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the world’s most famous holy sites. 

The six-hour drive from her mom’s side of the family to the site was worth every minute. Valle was so moved by the experience that she cried when standing in the shrine.

“The Virgin Mary plays a very important part in my life. Whenever I’m feeling down I always pray to her and seeing a real image that is such a big image in the Catholic world just opened my eyes, because I realized ‘I’m really in Mexico.’ I finally got to see my family that I’ve never met and it hit me that I’m just very blessed.”

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe wasn’t the only monument Valle and her family visited. They also went to see another monument called El Pionono. Valle said she was fascinated to stand by it.

While Mexico City was Valle’s favorite destination of the trip, she enjoyed several other places Mexico had to offer, from different towns and cultures to the history behind each one. 

“Visiting definitely opened my eyes to realize where I come from and it was also really interesting to see how each town had its own church,” Valle said.

Souvenirs for the road

Valle enjoyed her stay and had lots of highs with her family and cousins, but she also experienced a few lows.

“My least favorite memory was when I got sick there. It was just a cold but I didn’t know that in Mexico you don’t just take medicine, you have to get a shot,” Valle said. Thankfully, she started to feel better within a few hours of treatment.

“I also began to be homesick,” Valle said. “I really like traveling and it was fun, but I have a breaking point. I didn’t really complain about it though, because I didn’t want to be the party pooper. My family was there to see their family so I wasn’t going to take that away from them.”

Despite her feelings of homesickness, Valle said she can’t wait to go back.

“I’m very thankful for the experience. I feel like I know a lot more about my culture and my family. I’m just very happy and I’m for sure gonna go back in the future,” Valle said.