One sunny afternoon I set out to meet my friends.
They had promised an evening full of fun at the county fair.
I walked down a dirt road, crossed a busy highway, endured the whistles of the men working at the local mechanic shop, stopped at a corner market to buy some bottled water, and then walked down one more road - this one cobblestone, to reach my destination.
My friends were veterinarian interns, and had come from all over Mexico to the tiny town of Irapuato.
Their boss, my surrogate father, was well known throughout Mexico, and my friends knew they were lucky to be working with him.
I pushed open the heavy wood door that was the entrance to their home, and found my friends sitting around a table. I had walked in on the middle of a meeting.
"Hola Guera," my surrogate father said. "Your friends can't leave until we solve this problem. Pull up a chair. It may be a while."
It didn't take me long to realize what the 'problem' was, and I was at once nauseated and disgusted.
All over the kitchen/living area were buckets and wheelbarrows full of baby goats. Dead baby goats.
I opened the fridge to put my water inside, and found it full of the body parts of dead baby goats.
Something was killing the goats, and my friends, the veterinarian interns, were trying to figure out what it was.
Even I could tell, with my limited Spanish, that they knew not what they were talking about.
But being the good friend that I am, I moved a bucket-o-goat off of a chair, pulled the chair up to the table, and said, "Let's get to work." They laughed and then continued their very serious conversation.
Every few minutes I would pipe up with a suggestion. "Maybe they got sick because of the water. I get sick because of the water." "Maybe they ate one too many meals of beans and tortillas." "Maybe they have failure to thrive because they don't like where they are living." "I think they died from the stench coming from the animal pound."
My 'dad' didn't think I was very helpful and after several of my suggestions, he let me know as much.
With love of course.
I put my head down on the table and took a little nap.
I woke up from my nap and whined, "...but today is the last day of the county fair. You don't want me to leave Mexico without experiencing it do you?"
Juan, the boss, came up with a plan. "Guera, you can leave as soon as dinner is done, and you've all eaten."
It was then I noticed a big pot simmering on the stove.
"What's for dinner?" I asked.
"Goat stew," Juan replied.
I waited for the smile, for the laugh that would indicate he was joking.
There was no laugh. No smile. It was not a joke.
I sputtered and stammered and said, "You can't be serious. You have a room full of dead goats, dead by a cause you can't determine, and you expect me to eat one of them now?"
"Guera don't be dramatic. The goat we used for the stew was not sick."
"How do you know that? You don't know that! And you can't make me eat that stew."
We argued, Juan and I, for as long as it took my friends to dish up and eat their own bowl of goat stew.
"Guera, I'm going to tell your dad you are a difficult child," Juan threatened.
"And I'm going to tell my dad that you are CRAZY!" I threatened right back.
He laughed and pulled me in for a hug. "You don't have to eat the stew. Go to the fair and have fun."
I rolled my eyes and told him that I loved him even if he was crazy.
As it turns out...I would have probably been better off eating the stew.
What I thought would be a nice tram ride turned out to be a ride from you know where.
And now that I think about it, I'll bet that's where my vertigo issues began.
I was so sick. So, so sick. And my friends thought it would help to feed me the worst tasting cotton candy I've ever had.
When I finally dragged my poor body into the house later that night, Juan was there in the kitchen.
He took one look at me and laughed.
And laughed some more.
"Guera, I can't let you go anywhere."
And at that moment, I was only too happy to be grounded for the rest of my stay.