Long Day, Soft Landing to Oaxaca, Mexico — City Mouse, Country Mouse

Life is bimodal. I’m a city mouse in Durham, North Carolina, and a country mouse in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Federico says I’m an honorary Zapoteca although I can only say hello and raise a toast in his native language. For the time being, I travel back and forth, with roots in both places with small spaces.

Durham condo life in a restored tobacco warehouse downtown

This is my second day back at the casita in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. It was perfect timing to return. North Carolina was becoming so hot and sultry that it was impossible for me to walk just a mile to the downtown from my loft condo and live without air conditioning. I’ve only lived in the South for 30 years, unlike my native Tar Heel friend Hettie who can’t stand any temperature under 72 degrees F.

Country mouse comes home to Teotitlan del Valle

For the last two nights here, I’ve been sleeping with windows open, fresh air, cool breezes, temps in the mid-70’s. Close to heaven, so to speak.

Tia and Mamacita, always happy to walk with me

The three dogs didn’t skip a beat after my being absent for three months. I was greeted with licks and nudges for petting. Yesterday, I spent most of the time taking photos and nesting in the terrace hammock looking at views, pinching myself.

First limes ever this season, rooftop garden

My house sitter and dog caretaker Janie surprised me with an amazing cactus garden she designed and planted in front of the casita, and vases everywhere filled with fresh flowers. Quite a homecoming!

Fresh flowers everywhere, a welcome home gift from Janie

This is my thirteenth year here. For some reason, I expected culture disconnect but I eased right back into being here. I took the dogs for a two-mile walk out to the far reaches of the village borderlands.

Toros resting in the shade, walk through the campo

Today, after an hour stroll around our daily morning farmer’s market, I set to work in the kitchen making Korean kimchi, adapting the recipe to locally available ingredients.

In the country surrounded by green mountains, fertile valleys

I am far from the craziness of US politics but BuzzFeed keeps buzzing and the New York Times online is within reach. There will be a march here in Oaxaca on Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 2 p.m. at the US Consular Agency to protest government zero tolerance policies that ban Latino immigrants and separate families — starting at IAGO. I’ll be there.

Efficient city kitchen, Durham, NC — Mexico touches everywhere

Country kitchen clutter, Oaxaca, Mexico — US touches everywhere

I wondered when I entered Mexico through Immigration on Thursday night if I might be treated differently, more disdainfully and with suspicion because of these US policies. But, Mexicans are kinder and gentler and I was welcomed back, again.

South Bend, Indiana friends of more than 30 years

This past week was a time of reconnecting with long-time friends in South Bend, Indiana, some of whom I haven’t seen in 30 years. It’s where I lived, raised my family and started my university career.

In the Teotitlan market, $2 USD for a dozen roses

After taking a bus and then taxi from South Bend to Chicago O’Hare, I boarded Aeromexico to connect in Mexico City and take the last flight of the day to Oaxaca. This was a smooth and easy way to get from the US to Mexico. Thankfully, there were no hurricanes.

Mex dogs chilling on the patio. In Durham, outdoor life is on the streets.

My only advice in Mexico City is get to Gate 75 early and watch/listen for the boarding announcements. Most commuter flights within Mexico leave from this gate. They board and depart faster than you can say Buenas Noches.

Janie helps Juanita make fresh beet, carrot, pineapple juice cocktail, 30 pesitos

At the South Bend Farmers Market, breakfast for $4.95 … still

15 responses to “Long Day, Soft Landing to Oaxaca, Mexico — City Mouse, Country Mouse

  1. LOVE this post, and all of your comparisons between life in MEX and life in the US! I’m looking forward to experiencing the “sweet life” in Mexico as more than just a “visitor”. I just purchased a casa in San Miguel de Allende, but will keep roots in WA state, and property as well.

  2. Dear Norma: You are ALWAYS welcomed back in Mexico. This is your other home and you are a part of us! Hope to see you one of these days.
    Big “abrazo”, my friend!

  3. Oh, Norma
    Beautiful, beautiful post.
    XO

  4. Your life in Oaxaca looks very appealing. I look forward to getting a taste of it when I spend a week in the area after the tour .
    Linda

  5. So beautiful there, Norma! Glad you can get away from the craziness here. I pray and hope that we can change things and recognize how much Mexicans contribute to our ease and comfort in this country. It just blows my mind that people don’t see it and honor it. Enjoy your time there!!

  6. Norma, I’m so glad it was a happy homecoming for you. Seeing the pictures makes me homesick ( for your home!) and for the dogs along with the incredible scenery, people and places. And last but not least, the wonderful artisanry there. Enjoy the heck out of it! What a wonderful life you have in both places!

    Sylvia

  7. Norma,
    I’m pleased to hear your return to Mexico was smooth. I was almost certain of it. The Mexican people are always kind and gracious.
    I envy you your cooler weather and quieter life in Oaxaca. I dream of doing the same one day.

  8. Oh Norma! I loved your essay with photos of Teo and Durham! You can tell the same person lives there! Oaxaca looks heavenly!!!!!!!!
    You are a real adventurer, and the life you’ve built for yourself is the prize!
    Congratulations!
    Love Lynn

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