We are in a time right now where the Earth feels mad.Two massive earthquakes, in Central Mexico, in as many weeks.Many people dead, missing and without homes.
Hurricane after hurricane pounds the Atlantic destroying Puerto Rico and Dominica, making the powerful hurricanes Harvey in Houston and Irma in Florida feel like a distant memories.As Florida and Houston recover other communities suffer.
Mighty are the forces of nature that remind us we are small.Is the earth mad?Is global warming making things worse?The ocean waters are warmer than normal making the hurricanes mighty.
Mighty is the Orca Whale in the Miami Seaquarium.Lolita/Toki has been in captivity in a small tank for 47 years.Yes, 47 years!She was captured in a brutal human act of domination in the waters of Puget Sound in Washington State on August 8th 1970.She has survived Irma the storm, the winds and the tidal surge.Her tank is a mess with intake valves pollutedby a massive sewage spill. caused by the storm.It is time to send her home.There is a plan.A good plan.Here is a link to the plan.Please learn the plan and make up your own mind if she belongs in her home waters or in a shallow bathtub like tank in Miami.#FreeLolita #Blackfish
Earthquakes likely have nothing to do with global warming.Likely??
Mighty are the people of Mexico who are surviving 8.2 and 7.1 earthquakes within two weeks of each other. Both Mexican quakes occurred on the Cocos tectonic plate.Five states and thousands of people are devastated by the latest earthquake which happened on September 19th, thirty-two years to the day from the massive earthquake that killed thousands in 1985.32 years to the day?The earth is mad and we must listen to her voice.
As we watch the news in Spanish here from San Miguel de Allende we are un touched physically by the devastation.We see the mighty people of Mexico by the thousands pitch in to help the over worked rescue workers.Thousands of people, in Mexico City, line up to help clear the rubble of collapsed buildings with hope of finding someone alive.The line of volunteers work to clear ruble, gently bucket by bucket.Rescue workers raise their fists as a sign to the crowd for Silencio!Silence so they may hear the cries of trapped men, women and children under the weight of totally collapsed buildings including schools filled with children and teachers.The crowd goes silent. Thousands of people go quite as hope of someone alive grows.Next, cheering as they do find someone alive and pictures captured by a brave photographer show a small child crying being pulled from between broken concrete slabs.We are un touched physically but we are touched emotionally as the people of Mexico suffer. Families here in Mexico and the United States will be touched by these earthquakes.
Mighty are the people of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Houston, Florida and more.Mighty are the people.Mighty is our earth.Please mighty people guard our mighty earth like your lives depend on this duty.
The opening sentences of Juan Rulfo’s Perdro Paramo.
‘I came to Comala because I had been told by my father, a man named Pedro Paramo, lived there.It was my mother who told me. And I had promised her that after she died I would go to see him.I squeezed her hands as a sign I would do it.She was near death, and I would have promised her anything.’
We were given this book to read to help understand the culture of Mexico.Caroline and I devoured the book;it scared us and helped us to understand the culture of Mexico.Carmen, our friend here, gave us a copy in english to read and also blessed us with it for our own collection.It is a prize and if you find it you must grab hold as it is 139 pages of emotion, surrealism and frightening Mexican culture.
We live most of the year in San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico.The beauty here is hard to describe but easy to see and even easier to feel in your heart and soul.The town is said to be built on giant beds of crystals.The way the Churches line up with the sun and moon is not an accident. The sun sets right down the middle of Calle Umarán as color and light simply beam as the bells of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel ring through the city with the throaty melody of a baritone singer.
Cañada de la Virgen is an Otomi archaeological site that has been recently excavated.(Started in 1995) The site was ruled by the Moon, the Sun, and Venus, as demonstrated by archaeoastronomical studies conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Its main features are: Ceremonial Avenue, House of the Wind, House of the Longest Night- scientists believe has some relationship with the Otomi’s belief in the duality of the heavens and earth (Sun and Moon, Man and Woman), and House of the Thirteen Heavens.
Rick Climbing with Andrea
Cañada de la Virgen
Andrea Jewett Climbing the Steps
Our fantastic guide Albert Coffee tells us that archeologists believe it took 500 years to find the location and another 500 years to build the pyramid.Perfectly designed archways and man made mirror pools line up exactly on the first day of Spring with the sun and in October the moon sets directly in line with the doors of the Pyramid.Off in the distance is San Miguel de Allende and the beautiful Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel that also lines up with the Pyramid.When Spain conquered Mexico, Coffee tells us, they attempted to crush the Mayan culture.Part of Spain’s strategy was to build their own buildings, and Catholic Churches right over the top of of the Otomi, Mayan and Aztec Indian sites which were brilliantly positioned and built to respect and honor the earth.Building over the top of these sites to crush a culture only protect and honor it even to this day.
My own history in Mexico touched down here in 1978 while in college I studied Spanish in nearby Morelia.The moon and stars lined up that year as I learned that one of my best friends that I had not seen in over two years had lived in San Miguel de Allende.Pre cell phones and email.Only hard mail letters, phone calls from parents and friends led me to San Miguel with zero communication with Tia.
I took a bus alone from Morelia to San Miguel de Allende in search of a friend and love.I walked to the Jardin that night and asked an American student if she happened to know a young woman named Tia.She said, ‘yes and I think she is right over there in that bar playing congas in a band’.Excited, I walked in to the bar and found my way near the front of the stage and stared quietly at Tia as she grooved on the congas.It took Tia 15 minutes, as I thought what am I doing here?, to notice and recognize me and her rush off the stage and in to my arms was one for the movies and especially my memory.Thank you Tia for showing me San Miguel and teaching me the importance of travel and learning.
Here we are now in San Miguel studying at the same school Tia studied 40 years earlier.Seriously?How could it be so long?We walk the same streets of the Jardin that I walked when I was 19 years old, when my thoughts were, like many of my friends today, ‘how far away is the beach or where is the beach?’The beach is far and Mexico is so much more than beaches.
We do have a few adventurous friends that have visited us here. John and Miriam Larson. Laurie Flynn, Laura and Lorna Shirley and Andrea Jewett. Make the trek friends!
Andrea, Caroline and Rick
Laurie and Caroline
When you do come to San Miguel you will meet people.People like Gabby.Today we took a vegan cooking class with Gaby Green.We chopped, cooked, laughed, shared stories and listened to each other and learned from each other.We learned to cook traditional Mexican food which Gaby taught us from Mayan history is vegan.We cooked Chiles en Nogada, Cebiche de Verduras, Green Mole, and Nopales Jengibre-soya.All 100% vegan and delicious.
We sat to enjoy this beautiful meal with Gaby and our friends from the States Laura and Lorna Shirley they are here visiting us, getting away from the stress of the US, learning and laughing as a mother daughter duo.Mom and daughter cherish the gift.Moms and daughters cherish the gifts.A cooking class, a horseback ride, a shared glass of wine and a kiss on the head goodnight.Cherish the gift of shared experiences.
Lorna, Laura and Rick
Daughter with Mom!
Caroline and Laura
Gaby is brilliant.A film study, an artist, a chef, she speaks German, Spanish, English and is working on French.Gaby’s heritage is Mayan, Jewish, Russian, and Austrian.She told us people often ask her if she wants to live in the US. Her answer:‘I’m Mexican and Jewish, I have tattoos and a girlfriend.In the US I would be considered derelict; here in Mexico I can be me!’It feels, to me, that in the US we used to think this way.No?
These are a few sentences from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a famous writer from Colombia in the forward to Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo:
‘I felt like I had many novels in me, but I couldn’t conceive of the convincing and poetic way of writing them.That is where I was when Alvaro Mutis climbed with great strides the seven storeys up to my apartment with a bundle of books, extracted form this mountain the smallest and shortest, and said as he laughed himself to death:
-Read this shit and learn!
The book was Pedro Paramo.’
We are learning, learning so much about language, culture, people, and ourselves.Thank you Carmen, and thank you Gaby for your guidance and friendship.Thank you Caroline for your love.
“All journeys begin at home.That moment when you pull the front door closed behind you is one to relish…like the “glug” sound when you first pour from a bottle of wine.”
I read this line this morning as I was getting ready to write.It’ s from International Living and Eoin Bassett.Thank you Eoin it’s perfect to get me rolling.
When we started our journey in January our goal and dream was to live in three or four places each year.Traveling is one thing but having the ability to LIVE somewhere foreign is why we are out here.
Traveling is so much fun but you always go “home” in a few weeks.Back to work, back to the comfort zone.This blog is titled “Our hearts” our idea is to document our travels and truly sink in somewhere and feel like we are home wherever we are in the world.
Comuna 13 in Medellin
The past six weeks we have lived in Medellin, Colombia.We went to school to continue our study of Spanish.Going to school five days a week, four hours a day is a routine, a structure of sorts almost like a job.It gave us a chance to learn not only the language but the culture as well.
Andrea our teacher at Total Spanish
We shop and cook our vegan meals and explore the wines of neighboring Argentina and Chile.Eating vegan in Colombia is a challenge because the culture is set up around carne, pollo and camerones.Part of the culture shock for us is; here to eat meat is a sign of wealth and success.When we say “sin carne” they look at us like we are crazy.
Here is a description of Colombia from a website called InSight Crime. InSight Crime is a foundation dedicated to the study of the principal threat to national and citizen security in the Americas: organized crime. You can follow them on Twitter as well. @inSightCrime
“Colombia has been in a civil war for over half a century and the rise and fall of drug trafficking empires, Colombia has made huge strides in improving its security situation in recent years. However, it remains beset by guerrilla rebels and criminal networks, and the Colombian underworld is a potent mix of ideological organizations and their remnants and organized crime where the boundaries between war and crime are fluid. These armed groups and criminal networks are involved in an extensive range of activities including drug production and trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion and illegal mining.”
One of our friends told us that as she grew up everyday was marked with tragedy as a family member, friend or neighbor was killed by gangs either by gunshot or bomb.Even now she said as celebrations of holidays are marked with fireworks people still cringe, duck and wonder when the fireworks could actually be a car bomb exploding someones life because of a line crossed.
The bottom line is Medellin and Colombia are still dangerous. Pablado, where we lived, is relatively safe but outside this little bubble you can find yourself in harms way. Somehow though it does all work for the Colombians who live and work here. The gangs, cartels and drug lords work together to create a sense of normal in a city that is still recovering from anything but normal.
If you travel to Medellin you will find beautiful people inside and out.This modern and thriving city is full of young people going to work, dressed to the nines in high rise buildings with women wearing high heeled shoes attached to legs and bodies that will make your head spin.Caroline turns to me with her big beautiful eyes and says…”Where does that booty even come from?”
You could wake up, look out and think you are in Seattle, Vancouver or Denver.Justlike these fine cities you will have the pleasure to smell the distinct smell of Colombian Marijuana.No, we didn’t taste it but the smell is distinct bringing back memories of another day.