A Week of Discovery

After being missing in action for the first 6 days with no internet working on my laptop, I am finally able to post at the airport on our way to Tijuana. This will be quite the post with lots of new discoveries!

While in Mexico City, we were joined by a wonderful local crew: Monica Wise, our DP, Rodrigo De Vega, our Field Sound, Monica Araiz, our fixer/researcher, and Samuel, our driver. We started the production trip off to find my mother’s first home, which, after a lot of digging, we found the address for in her parents’ marriage certificate. Upon entering the apartment-complex-turned-computer/electronics mega-building, my mom instantly recognized where her father’s tailor shop was. The building was absolutely beautiful, and after speaking with the landlord, we were able to see her old apartment #4, which was completely renewed and stacked with computer equipment. 

We then went to the Mexico City Civil Registry, where one of the staff has been trying to find any records of my mom and her family. She brought out these incredible, hand-written logs of birth and marriage certificates. It was such an incredible building, with records dating back to the 1800’s. 

The next day, we woke up early to take the bus to the Pyramids of Techoacan. We wanted to film the journey to parallel the bus ride that my grandmother and mother took to escape Mexico City towards Tijuana. The mountains were absolutely beautiful; each house was painted in bright purple, teal, pink, which will defintely differentiate Palestine and Mexico in the final film. 

We got to explore the Pyramids for about 30 minutes, which was more like an ancient city. There were mini versions of the large pyramids along the path towards the main one. 

We still had no internet at home, so we went to get a portable router, which took about 2 hours longer than we had imagined. We had planned to go try and find the second home after the pyramids, but ran out of daylight. 

The next day, we started off by visiting my mother’s elementary school, which we figured out by the emblem on her uniform in a school photo. We met the nuns that currently run the school, and got to walk around and see the classrooms. We were amazed at how beautiful the courtyard was. 

Then, the search for the second house began. For over 6 hours, we talked with business owners and elderly neighbors to try to figure out where the house was. My mom knew the name of the street, but she had no idea the house number. It was unbelievable to see all these neighbors come out of their homes to try and help and sharing their own old photos of the street. Did we find the house after all? That piece of information will be revealed at the premiere of Traces of Home!  

Yesterday we interviewed my Tia Nena, my mother’s aunt, who is 92 years old. She lives in a suburb of Mexico City, and we hadn’t seen her in over 15 years. It was a very intimate, special interview with her. 

We are now sitting in the CDMX airport waiting for our flight to Tijuana. While there, we will film along the border, as well as with Border Angels, an organization that supports migrants and asylees at the border. We have Wi-Fi in this Airbnb, so I will thankfully be able to post along the way.

Thank you again for your patience for this much-delayed blog post, as well as for your support to document this once in a lifetime journey for my family.

Un abrazo,

Colette 

Director, Traces of Home 

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