As a kid, going to the season-end banquet for Jr. Guards or Track was always an interesting event. Not so much because of all the awards given out or the yummy food, but mostly because you got to see the sweaty people you had worked out with for months all showered and dressed up in "real people" clothes. It was a similar thing visiting with my friend Aileen after we had returned from Mexico. While the weather down south had been a balmy eighty degrees everyday, here it was blustery and cold, and we were dressed accordingly. Aileen still wore her signature and lipstick, and I had was technically still wearing the same clothes I had been since I'd left Mexico (having left all my stuff behind before knowing the program was cancelled), but still, we looked different. Aileen was wrapped up in a scarf, a grey sweatshirt and pants. Long gone were her dresses and bright-pink party pants.
Not only had our clothes changed, but so had the people on the Berkeley streets in comparison to those in our colonia in Mexico. My observation was that they looked a lot more polished. "They look like sluts!" was Aileen's analysis. It was true, people here have a lot more, let's call, body expression freedom. Despite the cold weather I saw a fair amount of skin.
Like old men pining for the good old days, we discussed our time in Mexico over some sushi on Telegraph. It was all very frustrating. And over all we were worried about changing back to our old selves, leaving our Spanish and amazing experience behind. Our clothes showed that this process had already begun. But something makes me think we we'll never completely forget our time in Mexico. Heck, I'm going back at the end of May.