March 24, 2012

Big Announcement!

I’m finally on my way home from a delightful and transformative winter in Mexico.  And I’m returning South as soon as possible.

The majority of my time was spent volunteering for Isla Urbana, the rainwater harvesting NGO in Mexico City.  There is a tremendous water shortage here.  Families in some regions often go several weeks without water from the city grid.  I am  blessed to have worked on a wide variety of projects, including installing systems, photographing and documenting events, translating, creating a fundraising campaign for the US, and building connections within the NGO community.  At the same time, I integrated myself as much as possible with those in my neighborhood.  I am blessed to have made friends with all types of travelers and locals with a wide variety of education and socioeconomic statuses.  My life is much richer for knowing them.

Thank you to those of you who helped offset my cost of living while volunteering – This was essential to me staying as long as I did!  And thanks to all who gifted me “play money” for Christmas – I had a blast exploring on weekends and over Christmas. A $13 bus ticket brought me to a nearby warm paradise.  What a blessing.

I changed much as a person during these months.  I learned that I love México deeply, and that this is my home.  Specifically, I feel most alive in Oaxaca.  This is my seventh trip to the country. 

March 17, 2012

Right place, right time.

Today was beautiful.

I attended the perfect wedding of my delightful and beautiful friend Katie Brubaker and her dude Cody.  Don Pike was my hot date.  I saw many treasured friends.  I am blessed.

I left early, too exhausted from travel and reverse culture shock to function.  It was raining, and I was in my antique leather coat.  I slipped into Great Harvest for a slice of bread (I sure do miss "real bread" when I'm traveling!).  The gal told me if I danced an Irish jig for three seconds, she'd give me a cookie.  Their cookies are amazing, and you know how I like American cookies...  I danced.  And earned a walnut chocolate chip cookie.

The rain continued, yet the low sun was casting a bright evening glow on the old downtown buildings.  I decided to go for a short walk in Riverfront Park despite the rain, wind, cold, and my vulnerable leather jacket. The raindrops clinging to the blades of grass twinkled.  And a rainbow appeared.

I thanked God for bringing me home safely, reveled in the pleasure of my cookie and the rainbow, and knew that at this moment in my life, I'm in the right place at the right time:  Exactly where I need to be.  And then I stepped in a big puddle.  :)

March 11, 2012

Musings - Journaling in Oaxaca

(free-flow thoughts just as I jotted them down in the moment)

Hair, clumpy and tangled, blows in the pulsing breeze.  My small triangular table barely fits in the cage jutting out of the café - Café los Cuiles.  

This trip to Oaxaca is so full circle, I worry I may never return.  (I first visited in 2003)
The church bell rings incessantly.  The evening sun is still hot on my back.
The lime water is too sweet.  Warm, except on the surface where a single ice cube floats.
I'm almost entirely drained.  My feet throb, my back aches, my glutes feel torn and burn.  I'm walking a good number of miles every day.

It seems surreal to watch the humans interact with one another as the sun kisses the avocado green trees on the artists' park.

One thing I do know - I've loved these last days, visiting hotels, spas, gyms, and everywhere else, familiarizing myself with the city in a more intimate way than I've ever met any city - the wealth and the poverty, the nightlife and the tranquil silence, hitchhiking and on city transport, knowing I'm not a tourist and finding myself carrying an attitude toward them... 

I see my reflection in the class panel door as I stretch up on the bars - I look elegant, I feel beautiful. 

Warm lime-aid and tired muscles
I stopped writing and took a picture.  Scott said to take one every time something caught my eye.  I've taken a lot of photos of beautiful moments I'd otherwise only hoped to remember.

I inhaled my avocado stuffed with tuna salad while watching a white, balding guy with a semi fancy looking camera take a picture of...  My eyes followed the direction of his lens.

Why do we care what fancy photographers see, but not what captures the gaze of small children?

I caught him later; he took my photo.  Chilango, and he hoped I liked his shots.  Encantada.

Behind the bars
My mind is still in a frenzy - what a busy day!  Still physically drained.  DF, USA, MOM!, friends, medical bills, racing racing to make money -

The sun is almost done kissing the trees; my back is no longer warm.

And...  And I started to write a thought for someone reading this, but right now I'm only writing for me.