I Met My Grandmother in Chichen Itza.

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We visited Chichen Itza on our vacation to Mexico a few weeks ago and it was nothing short of spectacular. Those Mayans were some pretty smart people and the ruins were extraordinary. If you’ve never been, you should add it to your list–this pyramid is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World!






I met my grandmother (not my real grandmother, as mine have all passed away) as we were touring the ruins with our guide. She stood in a shady spot away from the other vendors. I desperately wanted to stop and talk to her then, but couldn’t lose our time with the guide, so I vowed to find her again later. And I did, with my friend Tiffany’s help.

It turns out her name is Francesca. She spends her days roaming around the ruins selling her handmade linens and napkins like these:





She didn’t speak English, but Tiffany’s husband David is fluent in Spanish, so we were able to talk with her a bit. Her voice was low and soft. Her feet and sandals were crusted with dirt. I felt drawn to her like a magnet and was grateful our friends and my husband indulged me while I posed with her and selected my purchases.

Francesca and I in the shade





Francesca, my grandmother







I don’t know what it was. It’s hard to put into words…a sudden surge of something like love you can feel for a complete stranger?

The vendors whistling, calling to us, trying to bargain or get our attention every two steps was grating on my nerves.

Not Francesca. She simply held out her linens and spoke to me with her eyes. She had her price and I gave it to her. She asked for nothing. She said little. Her granddaughter stood off to the side protectively and helped with some of the translation.

Tears pricked my eyes and I swiped at my nose. It was so hot I was sweating through my clothes and felt like passing out.

But Francesca was my last stop. I met her for a reason. There was something there. Something I can’t quite explain. And it was more than the magic of Mexico.

I wanted to hug her, but she was so tiny and I was so big. I likely would’ve smothered and/or scared her to death.

My heart overflowed that afternoon. I will keep Francesca’s linens someplace special forever.

**I was lucky enough to have three grandmothers. My dad’s parents divorced and his dad remarried. So I had Grandma Betty (mom’s mom), Grandma Frances (dad’s mom), and Grandma Mytch (dad’s stepmom). They were wonderful to me and I hope someday I will be a good grandmother, too.**

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  • http://twitter.com/GDRPempress Mrs. Pitt

    Feeling so happy, that now you know the magic, and will always be able to feel what I mean, when I write of my Abuelita.

    Love to you, Erin–thank you for this!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I don’t think i can at all compare this experience to yours with your abuela/abuelita….but it was magical. And this wasn’t even a real family member.

      I love you. and I need to take some pictures of our origami efforts!!! xoxoox

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Grandparents are wonderful. I miss mine. I was lucky to have at least one grandparent until I was 42. Your trip sounds like it was great. I really want to go see those pyramids.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      THe whole place was phenomenal. I was blown away.

      Yes, grandparents are wonderful….mine weren’t fantastic, but they did the best they could under their respective circumstances…I wish I’d gotten to know them all better.

  • http://www.fromtracie.com From Tracie

    I have had those magic meetings when there was an immediate connection. Such a blessing.

    Her creations are beautiful.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Thank you!! I’m so glad this made sense to someone other than me! LOL. Other people probably thought this was ridiculous…

  • http://withjustabitofmagic.com Jackie

    I wish that I still had my grandparents around… I miss them all the time. I do have my husbands grandparents on his moms side and I don’t think he realizes just how lucky he is to still have them around.
    Meetings like that are so rare and special. Definitley something to hold on to for many years to come.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I wish for that, too. I didn’t get to know any of my grandparents very well…I regret that and I miss them…

  • http://twitter.com/ashleytaylor76 The Dose of Reality

    What a beautiful story. I genuinely felt like I was there as I was reading. :)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      Thank you, sweetie!

  • Lady Jennie

    Wow – she IS tiny! But I completely get how you felt with her. I have felt like that too.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin


      I know! we took the one picture of me crouching next to her and then my husband made me stand all the way up for a 2nd pic to compare….but even then i was still very slouchy b/c i didn’t want to look so big!!!