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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Toursd are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids
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- WEAVE Podcast: Oaxaca Coast Textiles & Tour
- NY Times, Weavers Embrace Natural Dye Alternatives
- NY Times, Open Thread–Style News
- NY Times, 36-Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico
- Cooking Classes–El Sabor Zapoteco
- Currency Converter
- Fe y Lola Rugs by Chavez Santiago Family
- Friends of Oaxaca Folk Art
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca Hikes
- Living Textiles of Mexico
- Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca
- Oaxaca Lending Library
- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
Expatriates in Mexico
Why do Americans and Canadians flock to Mexico? Is there more than an economic incentive to making this decision? What are the motivations and desires behind choosing to move to Mexico? Were expectations met? Was the vision of a life imagined reality or romance? These are some of the questions we will ask of several expatriates who make their home in the village of Teotitlan del Valle as one topic to explore during the documentary filmmaking workshop we are holding in the village starting January 31 (there are still three spaces open).
When I first visited Cuernavaca in the early 1970’s, I was vaguely aware of wealthy expatriate communities living there in gated communities. Now, many retirees are choosing San Miguel de Allende and Ajijic on Lake Chapala near Guadalajara because of lifestyle and affordability. These are isolated, gated communities, enclaves of expatriates who live separate and apart from the local people.
This is a different experience from the one I know in Teotitlan del Valle, where the few Estadounidenses residing there are fully integrated into the lifestyle and commerce of the village, living simply and sustainably in small homes or apartments on land or in family compounds owned by their Zapotec hosts. They keep a low profile, walk softly, pay attention to local customs, participate in local observances, give English classes or Shiatsu massage in exchange for food or services, and are friends and good neighbors. Most have come for the natural beauty, the peace and quiet, the call from a traditional culture that is family centered and respectful of the earth. Their expatriate status does set them apart (it is difficult not to stand out when you are a 5’9″ anglo woman, for example) but this is not a deterrent. These expats I know worked as social service or education professionals in the U.S. for many years, accumulated a small retirement fund, and determined that they could live a better quality life — for a longer period of time — by moving to Oaxaca. They make one or two visits a year back to the U.S. to visit family and friends. Most often, the family and friends come to Oaxaca to visit them, too.
It’s a relationship and a system that works well for a few. There is a significant expat community in Oaxaca city. I’m told that more than 300 people from countries outside of Mexico live there. You will find expats who own restaurants, bed and breakfast lodges, who write and make music and create art.
The key to enjoyment and satisfaction for this life, I believe, is integrating where you have come from with where you have chosen to live now — exploring and adopting the culture and people of your new home and making it your own.
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture, Teotitlan del Valle, Travel & Tourism
Tagged Add new tag, Americans and Canadian emigres to Mexico, expatriates in Mexico, living in Mexico