The plan for September 19th, 2017 was to get organized and to be productive. After much dilly-dallying with my affairs, weekend escapades to paradise lands and loafing around, that Tuesday was to be devoted to completing long-avoided errands. By 1 pm, I made the decision that in 15 mins I would begin arranging after I showered. By 1:13 pm, I was in the bathroom, when I noticed a change in my vision. For many years, I have “suffered” from low blood pressure and mild dizziness is quotidian. The swaying rapidly gained force and in a slight second I realized, this isn’t a flaw in my circulation, but rather a grievous adjustment of the Earth. I held on tightly to the sink, calming myself by repeating the sole mantra I will never forget, “this will end soon,” concentrating on the small window drowning the shower in white light. I paled at the sight of the walls moving like elastic, back and forth like a slow-motion video of gelatin on a plate. Somewhat late, but just in time, my reflexes to remove myself from a potentially crumbling building kicked in, and I ran down the steps. Everything after those estimated eternal twenty seconds and the days that followed can only be described as a helplessly confusing and a dreadfully long nightmare.
In the ’80s, the Italian journalist and author Tiziano Terzani, after many years of reporting across Asia, holed himself up in a cabin in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. “For a month I had no one to talk to except my dog Baoli,” he wrote in his travelogue A Fortune Teller Told Me. Terzani passed the time with books, observing nature, “listening to the winds in the trees, watching butterflies, enjoying silence.” For the first time in a long while he felt free from the incessant anxieties of daily life: “At last I had time to have time.”
Mexico is the intense fervent lover that leaves you gasping for more sultry flavors and exquisite pleasures. The lover whose every word you hang onto so desperately, hungrily searching for a hint of affection or an ephemeral wisp of attention. Mexico, you are the passionate lover whose slightest brevity of touch can send anyone into a whirlwind of ecstasy.
Like any romance, lust fades when you truly open your eyes and discard the cardboard cutout your being so easily swallowed.
You left me aching. You left me wanting to entrench myself further into your jungle, succumbing to the enchanting Mesoamerican rituals and the eternal exploration of my inward and outward universe. I left when I had already accustomed myself into making my daily customs learning about you, about your past, your present, and future. I left at the peak of my excitement, returning to the mundane reality of working to stay barely afloat within my societal constraints.
But the truth is, you agonize more than any of us could imagine. Your resilient culture and nature is in a constant battle within itself and with others. You struggle to live and stay upright upon the millions of dissipating ashes of the suffering and pillaging you were built upon.
Yet, what keeps you alive is the unsung hero of many other Latin American countries, tu gente. Your people fight internally until no end, enduring the constant frivolous games of the rich and powerful, whose hunger for money is insatiable. They protest and revolt to defend your natural and cultural beauty. El pueblo endures until the straw on their backs can no longer be borne. Your people transverse arduous territory into a gluttonous country who ultimately seeks to exploit you to your bare bones. But you stand, with each aggressive push and shove you stumble and stand up stronger.
I envy your richness. I wanted to consume all of your rare art, interlaced with decades of mesmerizing folklore and incomprehensible beliefs. The intelligence and creativity of your past cultures shocked me, igniting a premature pride in your innovations and advancements way ahead of the white aliens who simply superficially suppressed you. My five senses were appetent to explore you, for my mouth especially experienced delicacies which quickly convinced me to forget all about “beautiful” stereotypical body standards. I laughed, I cried from laughing, and I felt your pain radiating from your diverse ecosystems you so easily welcomed me to visit.
I’ve left you, for now, knowing that this present isn’t our time. But I know I will see you again, in a much more mature state and clarity. I thank you for permitting me to delve into your vulnerabilities and simply giving me more than I could ever return.
“The most traditional style piñata looks a bit like Sputnik, with seven points, each with streamers. These cones represent the seven deadly sins, pecados – greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath and lust. Beautiful and bright, the piñata tempted. Candies and fruits inside represented the cantaros (temptations) of wealth and earthly pleasures.
Thus, the piñata reflected three theological virtues in the catequismo (religious instruction or catechism).”
“As with so many iconic dishes in a country’s culinary heritage, Mexican mole has a creation tale.
The story goes that in the late 17th century, the Dominican sisters of the Convent of Santa Rosa in the city of Puebla heard that the archbishop was to pay a visit. The sisters had to scramble to put a meal together and gathered the ingredients they had — dried chili peppers, chocolate, old bread, nuts and more — to make a sauce for wild turkey. The meal was such a hit with the archbishop, legend has it, that mole became a symbol of Mexican cuisine (up there with the taco).”