Octavio Paz quote

In addition to being National Poetry Month, this is also my final month for my current stay in Oaxaca. I will return to the States for a wedding of a good friend and for family. And file my extended taxes and defend my dissertation (kind of important). And… start to look for a job with reliable income. That will allow me to live in Mexico, of course. I did not know Octavio Paz before a man I met almost immediately before leaving the city introduced me to him. Why does it seem to be the most interesting ones are those with a short shelf life?

How did I not know Octavio Paz?

The same way I didn’t know Juan Rulfo or Carlos Fuentes. At least I knew Laura Esquivel, and even that was because of the movie before I found the novel.

Octavio Paz is prolific in his writings and his work is beautiful. I lament not knowing Spanish better to be able to appreciate his prose in the language originally created. For now, I must rely on the translation. Outside my dissertation and faculty work, reading a book on the history of Oaxaca protests, and sleeping through siestas, I’m trying to translate a Spanish copy of The Alchemist.

It’s not going well.

But I try!

In time, perhaps….

I love this quote, though. Deserve your dream. Because, yes, right?! Shouldn’t we be required to work for what we want? I think it is a piteous condition, indeed, if one were to get everything he or she wanted without knowing denial or work.

Wind, Water, Stone by Octavio Paz

Water hollows stone,
wind scatters water,
stone stops the wind.
Water, wind, stone.
 
Wind carves stone,
stone’s a cup of water,
water escapes and is wind.
Stone, wind, water.
 
Wind sings in its whirling,
water murmurs going by,
unmoving stone keeps still.
Wind, water, stone.
 
Each is another and no other:
crossing and vanishing
through their empty names:
water, stone, wind.

Make this a great week!

XO, Jennifer

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Something to Enjoy: A Round Up | Music Sounds Better With You

I haven’t hit the something to enjoy sequence in a while. Quite a while! To say I’m distracted is a most obvious observation.

While I would rather be in Oaxaca than anywhere else at this time, I have been contending with rather significant challenges and frustrations with this final dissertation process. The short: it’s written. The good: it’s written. Yay! The bad and the ugly: my chair and I don’t see eye to eye on the result so I’m  – still writing.

Which means I haven’t been to Spanish classes in a month. So, in other words, my language only improves by the few instances I force myself out of my house and peel away from the computer to interact with locals. I’m most familiar with the ladies in the mercado. I’m hiding from the yoga instructor who, to his credit, tried to lead the class in English for me but that just didn’t go great.

I transitioned into my new community with as much awkwardness as a baby deer on new legs. But don’t let my whining betray how happy I am here! I believe I made the right choice to leave the U.S. when I did.

Without any doubt, I made the right choice selecting Oaxaca. The city is as charming and beautiful as the sweet nothings courting Oaxacanos whisper in my ears. The climate is as delicious as nearly every meal I’ve eaten here. Seriously… the food lives up to, and in my opinion, surpasses its reputation!

Few places are as electric, vibrant, and creatively energetic and inspiring as Oaxaca. I’m actually heartbroken I have only six more days in the city – it feels like I just arrived here – before I head to the coast. From what I have been told, I’m about to experience another sumptuous feast for all of my senses!

Something I’m Listening to…. Stardust – Music Sounds Better with You

This one is fun, for sure. It’s a throwback and is a tiny tribute to a friend of mine, here, in Oaxaca. To protect the innocent I will not name him, but refer to him as Cutie Chilango (he’s from Mexico City). Cutie Chilango, or CC, for short, was one of my first friends in the city. he loves this song, so I learned earlier in the week.

Earlier this week, underfed and dehydrated, I had a couple of mezcals and because that liquor is so strong, I went full The Weeknd a la not being able to feel my face. We ordered some more, him believing I was drinking within my limit as a grown woman should be able to do…. The short story is my emotions erupted into a panic attack resulting in a “scene.” Like, I’ve personally witnessed rabid bobcats behave better….

This week was the anniversary of my dad’s death. I thought I was doing ok with the anniversary. This year made for five years. I wasn’t doing as well as I thought.

Oaxaca is actually a small town once you enter the social scene. As in I heard from people who weren’t even in the bar that night about my little show. CC wasn’t quite as lucky and his friends, and boss, were witnesses. I’ll spare you all of the details that poor CC had to endure. Rabid bobcats have been known to behave better.

Man of the year goes to my friend who stayed with me and nursed me through the crazy emotions, even after I threw up on him, and took me to a breakfast of mineral water, coffee, and a lot of fruit to get something in my system to endure a proper hangover.

And is willing to laugh about it – at me, I’m sure – and not let me hide and wither under the rock beneath which I wanted to put myself. Artisenal mezcal is a beautiful liquor, friends. Especially cuixe and tabola… at least these are the two I like the most. Artisenal mezcal can also pack a 52% alcohol volume punch. Which means….

Be very smart when drinking mezcal.

For women who like to travel alone this is especially important: be very smart about your surroundings when drinking alcohol in any foreign city. I was lucky because I was with someone who respects and protected me in what could have been a very dangerous situation if the character of my companion was not so strong as his.

Something I’m Reading…. The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems by Natalia Toledo

The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems Something to Enjoy Round Up

When most people think of indigenous cultures of Mexico, Aztec and Mayan are the ones that primarily come to mind. In Oaxaca, Zapotec culture runs deep, wide, and is still lived. I found this book inside Amate Books, located on the Alcala about one block south of Santo Domingo Plaza.

Half of the book is a translation from Zapotec to Spanish and the other half translates the same Zapotec poems to English. The poems are beautiful.

My heart’s sky hold you as the night does her stars.

Something Pretty for My Self Care….

I can only accurately say this week wasn’t really great about my self care. I wouldn’t have drunk more mezcal than my limit can tolerate if I was. Right? Drinking to the point of, and beyond, drunkenness (public intoxication nonetheless) is not caring for the self.

But, something I find a lot of comfort in is the sharing and support among the female blogging community. I don’t consider myself a travel blogger but I belong to several networks and communities because it’s good for me to have someone to help me normalize my current nomadic lifestyle. One of my friends, Cory, has a beautiful blog that is a great escape from the 9-5 drums. In this post, I share a small tidbit about why I travel in the manner I do. She also has some vignettes from other “travelettes.” Read some if you’re needing an extra push to make your 2017 travel plans.

Whatever you are looking ahead to with the rest of your weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful!

XO,

Jennifer

The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems Something to Enjoy Round Up

 
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I just came across this essay, and it is quite possibly the mental equivalent of a perfect s’mores. Just yummy and warm and gosh you want another bite!


You should date a girl who reads.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

 Rosemarie Urquico
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