Our paradise is not a sandy beach on a far distant ocean. It is Teotitlan del Valle, a small Zapotec village about 15 miles outside the city of Oaxaca. Today was like most days that we spend here that are unplanned with nothing special to do. The repeat visits each year means that we don’t need to pack eight days of tourist sightseeing into four days of being here. It also means that because this is our repeat destination, we can “go deep” and experience life as it unfolds before us, focusing on the relationships rather on the “to do” list.
At 8:30 a.m., when Fede and Lola went to the daily market to buy breakfast ingredients, Stephen and I took a hike into the campo (countryside). After chicken, black beans, steamed choyote squash, fresh deep yellow tortillas, salsa, Oaxacan hot chocolate mixed with coffee (we call it choco-cafe), and fresh papaya, Fede went to an 11 a.m. meeting, I did the dishes, Stephen and Eric took a walk, and Lola went to her loom.
We spent the afternoon on the rooftop overlooking the valley, gazing at Picacho, the warm sun on our backs, breathing deep, talking together about our dreams and wishes, our hopes for the coming new year.
After comida, our bigger afternoon meal, we hopped in the car and went down the road ten minutes to catch the tailwind of the Tlacolula Sunday market. As vendors were packing up, I got to the hammock maker in time, and then picked up some tangerines, avocados, fresh roasted peanuts, and limes for the house. While I waited for Stephen in the church plaza, families gathered on the garden walls, a convenient meeting point. Brightly dressed women in indigenous clothing from the mountain villages, head scarves printed in bright red, blouses over-stitched in lace trim, crossed the square with baskets balanced on their heads. It was a great day of doing not much of anything, just watching the world go by.