Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Madness and joy at la Casa de los Amigos.

Dear friends! WHAT a mad two weeks it has been. Whoops! So sorry for leaving you all out in the relative cold like this. Oh my goodness. Well, you can all take comfort in the fact that no blog entries means I'm too busy with being happy and occupied to write much. Okay so, what can we say about the last couple of weeks?

My babies and me doing some super fun English learning.
Actividades at Barrio Activo wrapped up, and we're almost at the end of their week of relative vacation before their curso de verano (summer camp, essentially) starts up on the 18th. I had a great last couple of classes. The kids are super amazing, and they learned so readily and with good honda. When I told them what inteligente and wonderful students I had, they replied that they had a good teacher :) Oh my. So it went super great, and I came up with more games for us to play, and they asked to learn some things I hadn't thought of like months of the year and all that. Super fantastic, and I can't wait for the next time I get to do something like this. Tee hee. Brenda and Joey's dance class went super well, too. I love that really, for the most part, the people of Barrio Activo just don't embarrass easily. Everyone goes for it, just for funsies. I need to loosen up I think. Anyway, that was tons of fun.

So let's see. That weekend and the following week (Saturday July 2 through Thursday July 7) was pretty chill. I made some new friends in the guest lounge, worked in reception, and taught my class at Barrio Activo. Oh - so it was actually really busy, okay. But yeah. Something pretty cool that happened is that I met Juan Carlos, un salvadoreño who had gotten out of three months of internment at migración about three days before I met him. We talked for like a while that night, I don't even know about what. What El Salvador is like, and trying to explain about my Spanish host family, and doing a bunch of English clarification, looking at a map of the world, explaining about how I live at Haverford and my fam lives in State College, why he left El Salvador... tons of things. Pretty cool. Still felt like I should keep him at an arm's length, but it was a cool night. We ended up talking a lot over the next few days, and he's become, yeah, a pretty good friend over the last couple of weeks. I find myself wanting to hear all of his stories. He comes from a pretty different place, with a pretty different set of experiences. I find myself pretty distracted from the rest of life at the Casa, mostly just wanting to hang out with him, learn about his life and his country, practice Spanish, and walk around the citay. So yeah. Pretty cool new connection. I've also become friends with his friends who are here (they were all in migración together), and we've all shared food and cooked together and it's been pretty awesome.

Best margaritas in the world.
So my mom got here last Thursday afternoon. WOW can't believe it's been a whole week since then. Time really flew by when she was here, and then it felt like it was time for a weekend, but really it's just been a full work week. Crazy. So it was AWESOME to have her here. I felt like we got a lot done in what a lot of people thought was a pretty short amount of time. I went to pick her up at the airport on Thursday (almost an hour late, of course. I told her that the third time will be the charm - I'll actually be on time to pick her up when visiting me in a foreign country), and after a few minutes of worried searching, found her walking towards me in international arrivals. Yaaayyyyy what joy! Easy and safe taxi ride back to the casa, quickly dropped her stuff, introduced her to a bunch of the crowd, and heading right back out to the cierre de actividades at Barrio Activo. She met a bunch of the team, and I was pretty stoked to witness her and Linet meeting for the first time. There's a lot of mutual appreciation going on there between two incredible ladies, and I was so happy to see as much excitement between the two of them as I'm used to witnessing between my mom and Robin and Mesa. Oh, Linay, my wonderful wonderful wifey.

La cierre de actividades.
SO. We went to BA, and it was pretty awesome. A little rough because we hadn't gotten a chance to eat, and todo el mundo seemed to assume my mom would understand them when they started speaking to her in rapid Spanish. But obviously that community is just so wonderful, I think they made her feel pretty welcome. I still marvel at how loving and accepting they are of me - I was asked to talk a little bit about what we'd done in my English class, and was pretty nervous for a second before I remembered that I know how to speak Spanish. Ha. But so it was super cool. My kids introduced themselves to the crowd in Spanish and English, and I was super proud of each and every one of them. Joey and Brenda's dance class did their thing, and brought the crowd up to dance in a bug grupo after they finished their number. Sandwiches, joking around with Erick and Edgar, and exchanging some really sweet words with Patti rounded out the afternoon. We got home to community dinner in the Casa.

Chatting with some niñas on top of the Sun.

Mom and the Moon.
Next day we started off with fancy breakfast near the Zócalo with Hayley and Sasha, then hit up the Templo Mayor and the Palacio Nacional before encontraring a bus to the Anthro Museum. Met up with William there to walk around and look at cool old stuff that he told us stories about. What a long and full and great day it was. History and delicious food and MOM. Yay. Saturday we hit up the tiangees before making the trek to the San Angel market. Super fun, loved that Mom seemed to like is as much as I hoped she would. We obviously then had to go to the fanciest little place to get the most delicious margaritas in the whole wide world, and then check out Diego Rivera's and Frida's houses across the street. Later went out for soup with basically the whole Casa team. Nom. Sunday was awesome, starting with breakfast with my wifey (Linay), and full of pyramids with Mom. Basically it was great to have her here. I thought it would be weird in the sense of worlds colliding, but she fit right in in the most wonderful, enriching way. Also, it was obviously great to be able to snuggle in for a head rub pretty much whenever I wanted. What an incredible lady she is, friends. If you aren't friends with my mom yet, you should be.

Okay, so, my mom kicks ass. That much is clear. What else have I been doing with my time? Well, I worked kind of a lot this week, receptioning and breakfasting and things. It was coooool. I'm really trying to hang out with Lydia more, because she is also ridiculously awesome. She and Linet and i have had a couple of great outings that seem to always end in ice cream. What else? I mean, there's been some drams at the Casa lately. Last week was chock full of some weird harassment from one of the refugees, an incredibly obnoxious guest who was eating everyone's food, and the ongoing conversation about what we should do about harassment in the Casa in general. I mean, it's kind of exciting to me in the know about all this business, also pretty exhausting and kind of draining after a while.

On the way to fancy breakfast with mah ladeez.
Anthro museum with the Vanilla Gorilla.
Just chillin at Frida's house.
But it's been a super awesome weekend. Friday was pretty relejado (relaxed). In the evening Juan Carlos and I went out to the monument, which is cool anyway, but even more exciting at night apparently. It was totally full of families, kids running around through this fountain with all these cool lights, and couples being totally inappropriate and hilarious amidst the choas. We just stood for a while, talking, taking it all in. Pretty cool. Then we hit up Noche y Día and had the best time tomandoing beers and joking around with the waiter. Generally a kick ass night. Then Saturday Linet and I basically did a repeat of what mom and I did last weekend - tiangees first to stock up on food supplies, then a couple of errands for Nico, then the MetroBus out to San Angel. Suuuuuuper awesome. We just had the greatest time walking around, trying on pretty much everything we saw, etc. Hit up the San Angel Inn for those legendary margaritas, only got a lil tipsy, you know, and headed home with various mission accomplished and a list of things to do once we regrouped.

So, we gathered up more of a group (added Sasha and the Vanilla Gorilla to the mix) and headed out to the Alameda to search for sandals, take in the view from the Sears café across the street from Bellas Artes, and generally enjoy the Saturday evening madness that happens there. Back to the Casa one more time for everyone to change and get ready, then a bunch of us went out to a pretty awesome bar that is a favorite among the Casa team. Pretty much an awesome night with all kinds of friends and delicious cervezas. Today's been pretty relejada - finally slept for the always-desired ten hours, made some lunch with my centroamericano friends, and attended a chat with some ex-guerilleras exploring how to process and express the role they played in Mexico's history. My goal now is to commit to some solid me-time (I have yet to write those postcards I've had in my drawer for the last six weeks), get a bunch of sleep tonight, and be rested and present for the first day of Barrio's curso de verano tomorrow. I also promise you all more insightful, relfective, and interesting entries to come. Like I said, I've become crazy busy with Casa stuff, and also pretty distracted from my previous commitments by super fun new social things. That's left little to no time for myself - something I'm really bad a prioritizing. But I have plans to get better at it, and I've made a date with the blogosphere for tomorrow at 9 pm, so we'll see how that goes. For now, just thought I owed you all a much-delayed update on the general activities that have been keeping me away form you all. I super hope everyone's summers are going well, and I sent you lots of love and light across the miles.

Big hugs,