Lost and Found
By Summer Intern, Connor Steppe
When one pictures the lost and found, I imagine they picture a box or a bin full of miscellaneous items never to be claimed again by their owners. You could liken it to the Island of Misfit Toys from one of everyone’s favorite holiday specials Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. A collection of dusty and forgotten items destined to spend the rest of their days untaken and unappreciated. I, too, used to hold this same image of the lost in found in my head, that is, until I arrived here in Bucerias.
Coming to Mexico this summer has meant making a lot of sacrifices in different shapes and forms. There has been lost time, which would have been normally spent with friends and family members. By working for Human Connections this summer I have lost the opportunity to earn money that would go towards my college expenses. There has been the loss of basic luxuries such as air conditioning, cable television, and consistent internet. When someone looks at this laundry list of lost opportunities one might question why I decided to come to Mexico in the first place. However, they would simply be overlooking the countless things I have found here in Bucerias.
What if instead of lost time with friends, I spoke of new friends found. A group of friends from all over the country and the world with incredibly different backgrounds and life stories. Individuals who have provided me with newfound ideas and perspectives on my very own life.
While I may have lost some valuable time with grandparents and members of my extended family, I have found incredible individuals here in Mexico whom remind me of the loved ones I left back home. Such as Doña Elvira, a woman so warm and akin to my very own grandmother that giving her a big hug seemed almost second nature to me. I then found Leonarda, a woman whose work ethic and desire to see her children succeed in life is truly inspiring and rivals that of my very own parents.
Perhaps I lost the opportunity to earn a little bit of green this summer. Maybe I lost my chance at striking gold this summer but I have found an entirely new source of wealth. I have found it in the rich Reggaeton songs such as Hasta el Amanecer I hear playing in El Patio Azul on a daily basis. Instead of finding fortune in the number of zeros at the end of my paycheck, I have found a sense of inner affluence in the way I feel about the value of my work at the end of the day.
I have lost my access to simple luxuries such as air conditioning, cable television, and reliable internet. However, this temporary seemingly inconvenience has led to my newfound and permanent appreciation of nature and its beauty. I have found peace and tranquility in the unremitting rise and fall of the waves upon the shore. Instead of my mind being lost in the constant allure of television ads and social media, I found my thoughts focused on introspection and where I hope to find myself in the near future.
My previous notion of lost and found revolved around the image of a negative place in which unclaimed objects and belongings met their demise and were never heard from again. However, after arriving here in Bucerias my negative perspective on the concept of lost and found has been greatly altered. I would undoubtedly be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little lost when I landed here in Mexico. On the other hand, I cannot begin to put into words the incalculable value of the people and experiences I have found since coming to work for Human Connections. Kellie Elmore says “Sometimes the only way to find yourself is to get completely lost” and I believe I am finally starting to agree.
Photo credit: Kiersten Rowland, Prema Photographic