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  • I was on a family trip in Jalisco. The whole idea behind it was to be there for a relative's birthday.

    In the last few days of the trip, we made frequent trips into Guadalajara's city center. On one of those days, we ventured into the marketplace. In it was a myriad of shops filled with things spanning a wide spectrum of usefulness. There were cell phone accessories, wedding dresses, children's toys, fruit vendors. Anything you could think of was in this place. The only thing that was off-putting was the vendors themselves.

    In quick Spanish, they asked, "¿Que necesitas?"
    "What do you need?"

    I was always caught off guard by this, as I needed nothing, and the phrase was always thrown out in such a hospitable way. Of course, they were only hoping for my business. I wished I had the heart to tell them "I need you to be real with me, and just ask me to buy something."

    After my mother and aunts finished their haggling and walked away with their purchases, we made our way to the government buildings.

    As soon as we walked in, I saw a sign that showcased the murals of José Clemente Orozco. Being of that mind, I was quick to build my excitement. I was in awe as a tour guide showed the walls to a group of tourists. The intensity of the paintings showed on my face, I'm sure of it, because one of my aunts approached me and whispered, "¿Te gustan los murales?" I looked over and nodded. With a grin, she joined in the tour group as it walked into the main chamber.

    In it was the highlight of the place. It was like the Sistine Chapel, only darker, grander, more accurate to humanity and its place in the world. I walked underneath El Hombre de Fuego, the centerpiece of the chamber. I looked straight up, unable to break my gaze on the inside of the dome and the burning man inside of it. As the tour guide droned on, my aunt reappeared. She leaned in close and whispered once more, "¿Sabes Que? Este hombre, Jóse Clemente Orozco, es tu ancestro."

    No longer hypnotized by the ceiling, I turned to her and said, "What?!"
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