|teaching, learning, laughing, thinking & writing on the road|
Casa Karmina seems empty without Donna & Cheryl here to laugh and plan our day's adventure. Baggans misses Cheryl holding up the squirt bottle to "threaten" her if she nips. Pooh Bear wants to know where her walk-to-the-park-buddy is....and I'm busying reviewing verb cards for my tutoring sessions. And so we're settling into our non-routine life in San Miguel de Allende....waiting for our next visitor....anticipating the next unplanned adventure. After the late night chats and giggles over stories of our past escapades, silence seems louder than the jostling on the streets.
in these rooms there is silence
it caresses my face
in these rooms there is silence
friends are gone
but not lonely
in these rooms there is silence
it whispers above
here silence speaks all languages
in these rooms there is silence
it speaks of old-new-friends
names colored with crayola brightness
outside and inside the lines of remembrance
silence melts into rivers of remembering
exchanges of reflections
into the corners of my heart
in these rooms thre is silence
oblivious to stirrings and storms
the quietest part of silence
Defying news reports of death and drugs south of the border, friends continue to visit me in San Miguel de Allende. Probably has something to do with "our" generation. Risk takers. Fun seekers. Reconstructed hippies. Friends taking the fast lane...not the check out lane. JUST SAYING NO to age-limiting laments, they walk, run and saunter on down the road to the next adventure. Laughing. Loving. Cheering. Consoling. Remembering.
Two long-time friends, Donna [NCHS] and Cheryl [WWC] visited me for almost 3 weeks. Together we explored every street in San Miguel, took every tour available, ohhhed and awwwed at every park and pyramid, dined at every restaurant, shopped at every tienda and mercado. Then, as a reward for our stellar tourist accomplishments, Donna passed out 3 chocolate-covered almonds at the end of each day.
Laughing out loud we treaded carefully on cobblestone streets...sometimes going some place...sometimes not...just taking in the sights and sounds of a new city with new and interesting people. Chatting with them in English, Spanish and pantomime. Learning as we explored. Remembering why we are still friends after all these years.
The day Donna arrived we went to a favorite tienda up the street from Casa Karmina. Donna is a big Halloween fan. Perfect fit...Donna and Day of the Dead. This store is filled with all sorts of fun stuff for Day of the Dead. Donna reached for her credit card...MUY RAPIDO! We both found a "perfect" T-shirt for us. First and foremost it came in XL...remember...we are two-thirds of the "Boobsy Trio" from NCHS! It had a really cute Katrina [skeleton dressed in vintage clothes]. Glancing at the text on the T-shirt, I asked the clerk: "What does SOY COMMO LA CHINGADA mean?" He said: "Oh, it's just a Mexican expression for GO TO HELL." Well, seems like an appropriate sentiment for a Day of the Dead T-shirt. Right? Read on.
We bought 2 T-shirts with a promise to return with our friend Cheryl when she arrived. The next day Cheryl arrives and we go first to the MASK MUSEUM [email@example.com]. There was one other couple from Seattle, Jim and Martha, and us. Bill spent 3 hours spinning stories of masks and ceremonial dances and filling our heads with lots of information about Mesoamerica. Awesome. Our new friends invited us up the hill to see heir fabulous house and the even more wonderful views. Then, off to la comida at a great restaurant by the Jardin. Seated on the rooftop patio overlooking the mountains that surround San Miguel, we were greeted by our young waiter. He took our drink order and quickly returned with drinks AND 5 other young waiters who formed a semi circle around our table. Our waiter stood staring at my boobs for a too-long-second, grinned...glanced sideways at his buddies. All were grinning. Finally, I got it! "OK y'all...what does this T-shirt say? Really?!!" The waiter's attention-getting behavior was not boob-directed. Our T-shirts were the focus of the grins. With a bit of coaching, the waiter-chorus laughed and the-one-who-spoke-English stammered: "It means--"I'M A BIG FUCKER." We laughed with them. Double checked the translation with our new best friend at the travel agency. Yes, she said, "that's the translation...but it's sorta positive." Later, on our tour to Guanajuato we discussed this with our guide Dali. "Yes, the verb is CHINGAR...it has all the various meanings as your word in English." He referred me to GOOGLE [see wikipedia.org/Spanish profanity].
On the topic of Spanish profanity...some of my teachers at the WARREN HARDY SPANISH SCHOOL will translate profanity, some change the subject. However, Warren has a segment on his website. We listened and laughed as Warren explains the various uses of the Spanish word for "asshole"....about the same as in English! Check out http://warrenhardy.com/learning/videos/don-juean-de-la-voce Asshole-Cabron.php ]
All good things come to an end...but in this instance, not without plans for our next adventure. So stay tuned for "Adventures with Mis Viejas Amigas." Now, I must sit and listen to the silence!
Pooh, Bill, Donna & Cheryl at Mask Museum
Donna and Bill search for just the right mask
Cheryl tries out public bath
Pooh at B and B Hotel close to Parque Juarez
Cheryl, Donna, Dali, Martha, and Pooh tour Guanajuato
Hiking to La Canada de Virgen with EXTRME hikers, Donna & Cheryl
Tres Amigas at Mercado
Tres Amigas Dining at Harry's New Orleans Bar
Three months in San Miguel de Allende have whizzed by at the speed of light. Three months left. So much to do...so little time...PERO...more adventures wait.
Some random thoughts that flitted around my head as I sat in the Jardin today....
On my way to
Roaming the highways
Of my mind
Taking mental pit stops
Hung up in detours
On the the road
On my way home
My 1st Sculpture: Male/Female Duality
"So much to do, so little time" is my refrain while I enjoy all that is offered in San Miguel de Allende. Last week really bumped up my juggling act a notch or two. The Spanish class, STORY TELLING, stretched me with loads of homework each night AND I had a four hour sculpture class each day! Oh pero...que divertido! Sharon, the artist-sculptor-instructor has lived in San Miguel de Allende for many years. She seems to know every one in San Miguel...made for very interesting conversation as we sculpted. Her studio is filled with examples of her work. I especially like the pots with faces. Currently, the economy has inched its way south of the border. Sharon is the lone artist in a very huge industrial building that two years ago had all workshops filled. Nevertheless, her enthusiasm, optimism and creative spirit are contagious. The other students came from all over. Rae lives in San Miguel and she too is an artist. Her watercolors are bright, bold and interesting paintings of people and plants. You can see her creative edge in her sculpture of a woman. All during the class, Rae regaled us with stories from her days in Hollywood working in various jobs. As she moves toward 90, there is no indication that she will slow down...except to smell the flowers she paints! George is back from New Mexico where he has a design business [interior & landscape]. He ponders a move back to San Miguel full time but is still on the mental fence. You can see his designer's eye in his pear sculpture. Ken is from Washington, but his family headed west from Tennessee to set down new roots and start orchards. He jokingly refers to his redneck heritage...but with much west coast pizazz! Ken sculpted; revised; sculpted; revised....and created a piece that would make his 2nd grade teacher proud. All this talent with clay while maintaining a continuous comedy routine that brought smiles and belly laughs to each of us. Beverly returned to the sculpture class for a second inning. She took the class in November. I met Beverly in Level 2 Spanish class and she's the one who gave me advice about the "next steps" in the sculpting process. I'm not sure it helped much since the head fell off my piece as I scooped out the clay from the inside. We made "slip" and glued it back on. The firing will be the test! If my sculpture survives, I'll have a male/female sculpture for my garden. Beverly finished her sculpture and added "negative space"...new vocabulary word for me. Beverly is from Galveston Bay and has retired to San Miguel. Her cousin lives down the street from me in La Aldea. Beverly & her family have been visiting SMA since she was 10. She, too, knows everyone. It's been great meeting her because she has introduced me to people & places and helped me figure out how to get around & get along in this wonderful town. We all plan to meet for dinner next week at the FAT MERMAID, one of a gazillion fabulous restaurants. Sharon will have news of our sculptures and we can touch base on everyone's comings & goings. I started Level 3 Spanish this week and I'm determined to focus on Spanish ONLY...do my homework & habla Espanol. No wandering off on tangents. No other competing classes. NADA! Just study Spanish. My reward is a 2-week break the first of September when my friends [Donna from Florida & Cheryl from Indiana] arrive to play in San Miguel. Donna is a friend from high school and Cheryl is a friend from college. Que divertido! Las Tres Amigas! Sounds like a story waiting to be written!
Rae's Sculpture: Woman Beverly & Rae ponder negative space
Check out Sharon's Pot with a Face in upper R of pic with Beverly & Rae
George waits for his pear to dry P gets pic of George in mirror as he sculpts
Sharon fixes George's pear Last Class Comida @ Cafe Carmen
A recent encounter in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at the Warren Hardy Spanish School [visit www.warrenhardy.com ] amplifies the phrase "it's a small world." Last week friends visited me here in San Miguel. Their home is Spartanburg, SC. I invited them to come to class to hear Warren talk about "What Mexicans Want." In his talk, Warren shares insights about the values of Mexicans and Americans. I thought they would be interested in his point of view. After introductions, Tuli told them there were others from SC taking classes. Did they know Marshall Chapman? [visit www.tallgirl.com ] "Of course," they replied.
Today during our break from Spanish classes, I asked Marshall if she knows Billy Ed [visit www.billyeddwheeler.com ]. Sprawled on the patio on her back, basking in warm San Miguel sun rays, Marshall yawned. Then, she drawled: "Yea. Sure. From Warren-something...in Swannanoa."
Connections intrigue me. So, I wandered with a friend down to the Jardin last night to listen to Marshall MC a tribute to her friend at a Literary Sala. During the break, I bought her new CD--BIG LONESOME. I listened to lyrics [Down to Mexico] that capture reasons for my travels here...
"I'm goin' down to Mexico...to San MIguel de Allende where the cool wind blows..."
Glad I'm here...temperatures are 90+ degrees in NC! It's that itchy-sticky-take-off-your-clothes kind of heat. Heat that makes you flop down with your dogs and pant. Glad I'm here.
"Nobody there's gonna know my name."
Anonymous. Invisible. Solitary. This is what I need to transition from a workaholic-no-time-to-smell-the-roses life. Perfect place to wander. Think. Study. Pray. Play. Write.
"I'm gonna let my soul fly free...find out what's inside of me."
Soul-nourished self...searching and seeking...untangling the snarls...walking the forever-road to self-completeness. Change of pace. Change of place.
Sometimes we need to slow down...amble a bit...stop...make connections...take a chance...enlarge our world...this world grows global...smaller...moment by moment. Now.
Carolina Crowd @ Warren Hardy Spanish School.
[L to R] Ron, Marshall, Robin, Warren, Paulette
Marshall Chapman @ La Literary Sala
Singing "Riding with Willie" from BIG LONESOME
Instructor: Sr. Jimenez, Instituto Allende
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 8.3.2011
Amazing! I finally finished mi tapete... with lots of help from a very patient maestro and lots of encouragement from fellow weavers. Now, on to my next project....clay sculpture. I'll keep you posted on my progress.