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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.