Monday, June 6, 2011


Friends. I just absolutely love climbing shit. I really do. Today was absolutamente incredible. Just. Wow. Okay, first, I never finished telling you about yesterday so: Linet and I went out for lunch with Jim while Molly went to meet her internship lady for a while. We had the best time. Linet is just hilarious and chill and smart and great, and I think I might be obsessed with her. We realized today when we were eating food off of each other's plates and sharing a Coke that we seem to be just a little bit married. Whatever. So this lunch - we just walked through another cool neighborhood with Jim. This one wasn't as nice as Coyacán, but nicer than our neighborhood, so a good balance. It felt clean and safe, but not "chi chi" as Jim seems to call everything that's fancy or hoity toity... wow, I've never written that word(s?) down before. They are also weird. But okay. We found this little restaurant he likes, and ordered delicious food and beer and lemonade. We joked around a lot, but the conversation ended up evolving into this whole other thing - lots of reflection going on about sort of how one can use time, and values, and perspective on time and life-planning, and the option of failure as an important learning tool, and allowing ourselves to fail with the understanding that, not only will the world go on, but we will still be able to be our best selves and do great things in the world even if we don't do as well as we want to on papers.

It was interesting - I felt like Linet might be having moments similar to those I had in Spain. A lot of what was said I had heard or thought about before, but I liked hearing it again and witnessing Linet hear it for the first time. I feel like I've become okay with a certain kind of failure for myself, but maybe not failure in the broader sense... I feel like I failed to do my best in school this semester. There were some good reasons for that, but there were also some not-so-good reasons for that, and wasted time is unacceptable... Whoa. I wonder what Jim would say about that. I mean, I don't mind if I waste time by working really hard on something that turns out to not be great, but I mean I can't waste my time just doing absolutely nothing, right? That's just unacceptable, and I'm pretty hard on myself about that. Anyway, I feel like I'm looking at my personhood and my life experiences through a wider lens now... or really, from a longer perspective. I'm looking at my past year as a whole, and the ways in which I've grown, and contemplating the subtleties of what further growth might look like. I feel a lot better about myself than I did a year ago... but there's still a long way to go in some ways. Who knows.

So okay. Lunch with Jim. Then I suggested ice cream (it was just the perfect breezy summer afternoon), and of course we all had to try the others' flavors. When Linet and I reflected on the afternoon later that night, Linet said with a big smile, "That might as well have been a blood pact. We are clearly BFFLs with Jim," which I think is great and I feel pretty good about. As comfortable as I am with professors, that moment really did hit me: "Wow, I'm about to share ice cream with a professor... damn." Huzzah. Later that night we all went over to Nico's house for beers and talking.

So this morning. Oooohhhhh god, we got up so early, but it was so worth it. Linet and I made super plans to go out and get granola bars, breakfast, and bottled water before we were supposed to meet the van at 9, and Linet likes to have extra time to hang out before we go, so we set that alarm for 7:30 GASP. I thought I was going to die. But what seems to be happening is that Linet gets up, I hear her go shower and then come back, and THEN I start thinking about trying to open my eyes. Fifteen minutes later, I try sitting up. She's all dressed and perky by then, so I stumble to the bathroom to shower or brush my teeth, and then she hangs out on her bed and helps me remember the list of things I need while I get ready in time for us to be about 6 minutes late to whatever we're trying to get to. It's a good system.

ANYWAY. A driver picked us up in a large suburban type deal (after Linet and I stocked up on pastries for breakfast, she discovered Quaker granola bar things, and I failed to convince her that, yes, she probably would want an entire liter of water for the day. I learned my lesson in Cabo de Gata), and we first went to the Basillica, the shrine of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. So that was pretty cool. I was a little wigged out by all the Catholicism, but Linet is Catholic so she's helping me process things. It feels like the final frontier - Spain brought me into close contact and confrontation of my fear of conservative protestant Christianity, but I sort of forgot slash didn't realize how scary Catholicism is/can be. WHOOPS. So yay learning curve. But okay. Basillica to PYRAMIDS. Oh yeah, and poor Jim seemed to have gotten sick with whatever Linet and I had (all that ice cream sharing maybe), and he just seemed SO unprepared for pyramids. I was all decked out in hiking boots and painty shorts and straw hat, and he had no water bottle or sunscreen or anything. We made him take some of ours though. Ugh, what would he do without us? He would have been able to sleep when he was sick instead of going to the pyramids, that's what. But also he would have gotten horribly sunburnt and dehydrated, so who knows. Anyway, I was so excited to drive to the pyramids!

Before we get to that though (I know, SUSPENSE), I want to talk about the houses we saw on the way to our destination. I finally understood why Mexico City looked so crazy when I flew over it. There are these grey houses built all over the hills. Like it just looks like hills made out of these houses that look like they're made out of cinder blocks or something, I can't understand them. Because you'd think the farther out things go, the wealthier - suburbs close to the city, but not dealing with the grossness of a city, right? I don't know. This didn't seem like poverty, but maybe something like it. Every once and a while, a brightly painted yellow or purple or blue house would pop out from the tidal wave of grey. Does that family have money amidst a settlement that looks like it doesn't have any? Those houses usually had flowers and potted plants on a terrace. The others seemed to have rusty chairs, old bicycles, and I wasn't sure, but sometimes missing parts of walls and ceilings? I just couldn't believe it though - these houses went on for miles, they were almost constantly in view during the whole drive. Did we ever even leave Mexico City? We obviously did, but they all seemed connected. I don't know, I was just really confused about what they meant and who lived there. So that was an interesting drop of social justice in the middle of a day that was really about feeding another part of myself - clean air, blue skies, and mountains to climb.

PYRAMIDS! Aaaahhh I love old things and I love climbing and I love marveling at what human beings can do and at how many people probably died creating these hugely impressive structures that are simultaneously a ridiculous achievement and a concerning abuse of human rights... But mostly I really did just freak out about the oldness and the height, two really excited thinggggssss aaaaahhhh. I love touching a rock that I know another human touched ten years ago, a hundred, a thousand. The Sun and Moon pyramids were built around 200 BCE by the Nawaht (definitely spelled wrong) -speaking people, the civilizations that the Aztecs conquered and made into a short-lived tax-paying empire before the Spanish came and ruined everything. Ugh they were so high. I was so excited from the moment we got out of the car, sooooo ready with my hat and boots. Ah. We took absurd amounts of pictures because we'd been restraining ourselves to spare Jim the boredom or awkwardness of silly poses and multiple photoshoots. We climbed up both pyramids. Linet was strugglin a bit, because she doesn't like heights, and the altitude challenged everyones' lungs in a pretty intense way, but DAMN. I love climbing things and being up high, and feeling my muscles work and being exhausted after a day of genuine effort.

At the top, amidst conquering photos and catching my breath, I had a few quiet moments with my legs dangling over the edge of the platform. I was reminded of all the times in Spain when I realized that I could so easily have slipped and fallen from the high places that bring me so much joy. I know Sasha was kidding when she said something about going to the pyramids to get our cosmic energies back in order, but there was definitely something about being at the top that made me feel rejuvenated, and I wanted to go to the top of the Moon in pursuit of balance. The wind up there was incredible, and the sky and the view of the second pyramid and the surrounding mountains. Definitely a moment of connection and energy and love. I want to chase that feeling... need more climbing, more dirt. The clarity from YALD has yet to dim. It stays with me.

We got back in perfect time to go to El Tigre to get tortas. I didn't even feel tired, really, but more peaceful and calm, my body having worked hard and my spirit fed. I thought I wanted to shower, but when Linet said she was going to wait I ended up really enjoying feeling the dirt and sweat on me for a little while longer. We got the most delicious sandwiches, went to get some saltines and whatnot for Jim, and came back to loll around and watch Modern Fam while we ate. I'm always reminded of watching that show at Pendle Hill and in Paris, with super different but super cool people, and I marvel at how rich my life is. I was pretty wiped after that, and went to help make various dishes for the Sunday potluck. The crowded kitchen and bustle and stress of it all put me in something of a mood. When some kids shouted to us on the way back to the Casa from buying tostadas, I just looked at Linet and said, "I am so not having this." She got it. We ended up sitting with weird people again, and finally realized that we have to sit at the other end of the table next time. But so we decided to leave a little while after eating, but did end up staying a little longer to talk to some cool new people talking to Hayley and other Casa people, got a bowl of desserty things for later, and went downstairs to wash our fruit, where we got to hang out with Licelot and Hayley and Nico for a while. Nico talked to Linet/us about her internship, which sounds like it will be so great, and he didn't seem so tired as usual so I didn't feel like I was overwhelming him with my presence like I usually do. That made me feel less intimidated and also hopeful for connecting with him more this summer. Licelot is just totally great, and I'm looking forward to getting to know her too.

Finally we made it back upstairs to collapse a little bit. I finally showered and reveled just as much in feeling delicious and clean as I had in feeling hard-working and sweaty. We skyped Linet's friend for a bit, and then I had a Skype date of my own with a friend who is just always great to talk to. Affirmation and jokes and good questions and care and concern all happened, and my spirit felt full from a day of old temples and good friends.

The schedule for next week looks great. I'm feeling more and more connected to this place. Today was really important. Can't wait for more.

Lots of love,

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