UPDATE: I have since left Tijuana. I moved to Colorado in 2009 to get married and spend time with my family. In 2010, I moved back to San Diego where I now live with my husband and dog. If you have any questions about Tijuana, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is what I wrote when I was 26 years old and living alone in Tijuana:
It’s month 30. I’m living in Tijuana and lost as hell. I can’t figure anything out, especially the damn border line. It’s an unpredictable beast. The city itself is a chaotic maze, but it’s filled with networks of some of the most amazing, talented and resourceful people I’ve ever met. I want to be fluent in Spanish. I want to learn more about the culture and history of Mexico. I want to, if it’s at all possible, make Tijuana my own comfortable home.
It’d be cool if I could get more people to come visit me, too. I want to show them the city outside of Revolucion, the infamous party street that cuts through the middle of downtown like a thick, ugly scar. Every day in Tijuana teaches me something new. This blog will help spread the word. Tijuana is more than street tacos, pharmacies and prostitutes. It’s more than painted donkeys and Mexican wrestling masks. That’s what it’s not: I’m still figuring out what it is.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why this thing is called “Stairs to nowhere,” it’s because it’s a recurring phenomena in Tijuana. If you walk up and down a city street, you might find at least one or two old sets of staircases running into a newly plastered wall. The architecture in Tijuana seems to be constantly in a state of flux—people building and rebuilding again and again. The image of a staircase running into a wall is striking and sort of symbolic of what it’s like for many people in Tijuana. On the other side of the border fence is the land of opportunity, but then there’s that wall, and all that the wall stands for.