Betwixt and Between: Mexico On My Mind

The reality is that my feet are planted squarely on North Carolina soil, yet next Thursday I will be on an airplane returning to Mexico, first to Mexico City, then to Puebla, and then to Oaxaca.  I’ll be traveling with my artist friend Hollie Taylor Novak who is participating in the summer Oaxaca Photography Workshop: Market Towns and Artisan Villages that starts on June 29 (still one place left).  Hollie hasn’t been to Mexico and it will be a joy to introduce her to Puebla and Oaxaca.  Hollie wants to use the experience to inform her work as a mixed media visual artist, potter, sculptor and art instructor.

Time has escaped me, and while planning is underway for a Street Photography workshop in February 2013, and a summer 2013 Memoir and Fiction Writing Workshop- Conference, my preparatory lists feel incomplete.  There are not enough breakfasts, lunches and dinners left to visit with friends.  Yes, I have refilled prescriptions, made and kept routine medical appointments, and received delivery on a new projector for our photo workshops that I’ll take to Mexico with me.

Making it up as I go along:  What I am learning in this first season of my retirement is that creating a mobile life is not always easy.  It means being able to leave things behind, leave people behind, travel and live lightly.  This has not been my natural style, and is one reason why I created the Artisan Sisters — to stretch myself to appreciate the beauty of handwork and craftsmanship without having to possess it.   Lifestyle changes come with making it up as you go along, which is one reason I subscribe to The Improvised Life.

This betwixt and between time is difficult for blogging since I’m not present in Oaxaca to photograph and report on daily events.  I read the NY Times just like you do and know that there are controversies surrounding the upcoming Mexican national elections for president.  The biggest question is how the next president will form policy to deal with the drug wars (or not).  I will leave that discussion for another moment.

What I am able to share with you is this feeling of passage from one time zone to another, one sense of place to another, and the transiency of living with temporary roots.  As this year passes and I cycle into next, perhaps a routine will develop where I feel more firmly planted in both places.

Abrazos a todos.  -Norma




6 responses to “Betwixt and Between: Mexico On My Mind

  1. Hi Norma,

    I’m still reading your regular blogs from Sydney and I’m still coming to Oaxaca in July for 10 days. I just can’t wait!

    Anyway, I wondered if you’ve read The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver – because I’ve just finished it, and your posts betwixt and between the USA and Mexico are somehow reminding me of Harrison Shepherd. If you haven’t read The Lacuna, well, I can recommend it!

    I do enjoy your posts, so thankyou,

    David Ninham

    • David, thanks for keeping up with my musings, whereabouts, and state of well-being! Yes, I read The Lacuna a couple of years ago and loved it! I’m such a fan of Barbara Kingsolver and I did a book review about the book that appears on this blog. Harrison Shepherd settled in Asheville, NC, as you know as his betwixt and between Mexico. She writes so sensitively about that 1930’s era of social, artistic and political upheaval in which Mexico plays a key part in providing asylum for Leon Trotsky, who was a hero of my parents whose own parents emigrated to the U.S. from Russia. One cannot help but sympathize with that struggle and yearning for social and political idealism that we seem to have lost today. So, thanks for triggering this response. I will be in Oaxaca through July 27. Hope to bump into you. Don’t miss Guelaguetza if you are there on one of the last two Mondays of the month. You will see lots of Frida look-alikes! -Saludos, Norma

  2. Your travels Betwixt and Between sound oh so familiar. Yet you describe the journey, and a love for Mexico, with words so much better than those I find on my computr keyboard. Best wishes for your continued journey.

    • Thank you, David. I’m just trying to tell it like it is for me, now, as I sort through how my life is now taking shape. I’ve said to my husband and friends, this is all an experiment. Who knows what next year will look like. I can only predict where I will be in July, August, September and October this year, and even that is expecting a lot. Be well, and thank you for reading. -Norma

  3. Adios — It’s been wonderful to see you create this new life and share it with the world. Someday I’ll get down there to see you!
    I’m enjoying the approach of only 40% work — and the freedom it brings. Will be in Michigan from mid-July through August….ahhhh….but some of the same betwixt/between feelings.
    Take care, and best to you always,

    • Linda, you are easing into retirement graciously and gracefully. One week I was working, the next week I was in Mexico! Trying to figure it all out. I am so happy that you have the Michigan shores to soothe you this summer. Being on “the other side” is a glorious blessing that I could not predict or even anticipate would be so much fun, so joyous, so exhilarating and creative. What I am learning is that one can live on far less and have the freedom of choice and time. A much better bargain, I think. Hugs to you and S. Norma

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