Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last day in Mexico

I woke up this morning contemplating my last meal in Mexico, like a condemned prisoner. Will it be Cochinita Pibil at Dona Chayito's restaurant way up past the end of the Guadalupe Andador, across the street from the Chicken Ranch, home of the best roasted chicken in town? Or will it be the sheep barbacoa at that tiny place off the beaten path to Chedraui, Mexico's homegrown Wal-Mart?

I spent much of yesterday giving stuff away. My favorite red & black velour jacket went to Arunulfo, along with a blender, an iron, and a long piece of red, turquoise, and black material made into a reboso but used periodically as a curtain, table cloth, and wrap. All the girlie stuff: nail polish, combs, hair barretts, eyeshadow, and mascara, went to Yesi and Malena. Dishes, kitchen stuff, everything but the really good Henkle knife and knife sharpener that I brought with me stay here at Margarita's.

Arunulfo just moved into an empty house. He was house sitting for Theresa for almost three months, so even though he's been here almost as long as I have, he moved in one taxi ride with his rolling suitcase and a back pack. He plans to build a house, so he'll be buying everything shortly, to furnish his new place.  I loaded him up with food I know Margarita probably won't eat: canned soups, dried garbanzo and pinto beans, lentils, Cajeta sauce, soup bases and oatmeal.

A foot high stack of clothing has gone to Casa de las Flores, a day-home and school for street children. It was hard to believe that a suitcase full of clothes has almost disappeared to be replaced with scarves, handmade goodies, and coffee. Some things I brought with me, like a pair of old black jeans, simply wore out and had to be thrown away. Some were shabby to begin with, like an old sweat shirt I slept in, and a yellow tee that was anything but flattering. I purchased several pairs of pants and shirts that were more suitable for this climate at second hand stores, and then donated them on the way out. One beautiful teal shirt had to be modified. I shortened the sleeve and moved the pretty trim up. I couldn't get Margarita's sewing machine to sew that slick fabric well, so it was done by hand. No wonder clothes in the old days were so valuable! It took me an entire eventing to accomplish that relatively simple task. With a scarf over that shirt I look almost elegant.

And still it's iffy about getting the rest of the stuff packed. In the bag now are about 12 scarves, a reboso, clothes, some painted wooden objects, and a handmade pipe with Pakal's face for my son who says he doesn't smoke, a bag of coffee and another of chocolates. It weighs a ton and not everything is packed. Three boxes of books, clothes, and kitchen items are now stored at Malena's with all of John's junk.

The landmark cross
in the plaza in front of
the cathedral.
So in spite of my vow to keep life simple and not buy much, I bought stuff. The big money was spent on jewelry and I'm leaving none of that behind! Smaller amounts of money went to street buys. I bought a couple of little headbands, knitted by a Chamulan girl who used her sweet smile to lure in soft hearts like mine. One went to Sophia, Damian's daughter, the other to Violeta, Edith's daughter. Both looked very cute and seemed to like them.

It feels like it was a productive trip. I wanted to learn Spanish better and I made a lot of progress, though I'm nowhere near fluent. I have had some wonderful conversations with people. Like yesterday, while waiting for Malena in her little restaurant to give me a cooking lesson in making green mole. A man was there having breakfast and while he waited for his change, he struck up a conversation with me. He's a veterinarian who, like most Mexicans, has relatives in the states. One sister has become Mormon and lives in Utah. So that led us to discuss religion. He's Catholic, and I told him about my own Unitarian religion, which of course he knew nothing about. I understood him, he understood me, and we had a very nice chat. Neither of us were in the least interested in converting the other person, and instantly saw our shared values. When I left I felt a bit stunned. I'd just discussed religion, not an easy subject, and did it all in Spanish. Progress has been made on this trip, in spite of having American room mates, John, Derek, and Margarita, the entire time. I really have Edith to thank for that, and the multitude of opportunities to practice in this land of patient kind people.

The other goal was to write. Not just this blog, but a book. So far, two sections (7 chapters) down and two more to go. That's huge, and I need to focus hard on it when I get home. But that won't be for a few days. Tomorrow is all travel, then a few days in Albuquerque, then Monday - home to Lost Almost.