Several photos of Semillas, my beautiful office.
Oh, hello there!
There is so much to tell about the last several weeks here in D.F. Just to give you a sweeping panorama of what has been my life in the past weeks, I have been to a birthday party on the trajineras in Xochimilco (the Mexican Venice), chilled in the beautiful plaza in Coyoacan, got a tobacco limpia in the park, partied at the best/most dangerous gay club in Mexico City, bought pit tickets to a Calle 13 concert, stumbled upon a surprise mariachi marriage proposal in the park (and subsequently sat super closely to the newly engaged couple in order to enjoy free mariachi), partied so much with my cousins that they were still hopelessly drunk at 7pm the next day, made some progress on my research project, became an ardent tae-bo practitioner, and am probably going to be moving from my sort of crazy living situation into another place. All of this in a matter of a few weeks. Eeshh, no wonder I am so tried all the time.
As per the curse of adulthood I, like most others, spend most of my time at work. Luckily for me, my work is a badass feminist women’s fund located in a beautiful colonial era house in Condesa. It’s surprising how much a beautiful stained-glass window, an elegantly sweeping staircase or a rustic chandelier can draw out the best in a working environment from everyone.
Semillas is wonderful, and perhaps one of my favorite aspects about Semillas is the unofficial subversive tradition of “Viernes Feliz.” Viernes Feliz, or Happy Fridays, is the weekly tradition that the staff made up, which consists of an alternating turn that everyone has, to leave early on Fridays. Everyone on staff know’s when their Viernes Feliz turn is, and the rest of the staff covers for them when they leave the office around 1pm. I can’t determine whether or not the directors know and pretend not to know about this tradition, or whether the staff is so cunning as to have successfully kept it from them for about 2 years now. Either way, I am a huge fan of Viernes Feliz because I usually adopt the tradition on a weekly basis. I obviously participate in order to promote a sense of solidarity and community with the staff and not because I love mid-afternoon naps. Obviously.
On to the state of my spiritual health. One Saturday morning as I was walking through the ever crowded Parque Mexico I was lured into a traditional medicine festival by the siren like musical rhythm of a Peruvian flute. Before I knew it, I was walking through the crowded passageways of the traditional medicine vendors area, going from table to table examining their handmade soaps and oils.
At the end of one of the rows of vendors I met an old weathered looking man with a feather sticking out of the beaded headpiece he was wearing. He offered to clear out the energy receptors on my body, so that the energy would once again be able to flow throughout my body unhindered by clogged receptors (or something along these lines). I was not sold on the idea, but then he did look totally up to the task and, it seemed to me, qualified to do so (this was I think in large part due to the headband and layers of wrinkles). And so, true to Mexican style we haggled until I was satisfied with the price of about $3 dollars for the entire process. After he blow some smoke in my face and whirled around me he told me I was good to go and that my energy was balanced once more. Overall, it was definitely a memorable experience and who knows, perhaps my unclogged energy receptors will bring good things!
There is so much more to tell, but I’m tried. So tired all the time. Good tired, though.
vive sin pretender,
ama sin depender,
escucha sin defender,
habla sin ofender
Last week marked my one month anniversary in the city. I’ve been living in Condesa for three weeks and since then have pretty much felt constant pangs of hunger that are the direct result of being 1) completely inept at gastronomic sciences and 2) a person of limited means living in an expensive restaurant-dense neighborhood. Okay, so maybe I’ve not been starving BUT Mint.com says I have way exceeded my monthly restaurant budget. It’s definitely in the red and no good. What Mint.com doesn’t know is that part of that exceeded monthly budget also went to alcohol at restaurants, and not solely food. And, now that I’ve actually just written that I feel like a terrible person.
Now on to some less depressing aspects of my life: work! I am working with Semillas, la Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer, a totally badass feminist women’s fund based here in D.F. Working at Semillas is incredible because I am surrounded by passionate women doing amazing things on the regular. I am so glad to be doing my research with this organization, that has done so much to incorporate me into the team and make me feel comfortable. In the less than 3 weeks that I’ve been with Semillas I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lecture on the lesbian movement in Mexico, an Indigenous leadership conference, the 15th anniversary of a women’s labor union, and a very fancy event called “Change Your Wold Mexico City” hosted by the Yahoo Business and Human Rights Program.
All of these very different events highlighted the wonderful work that female activists in Mexico are doing, but were also very sobering in detailing the vast amount that is yet to be done. It was impossible not to leave each of these events feeling inspired by the passion that these activists bring to their work and their vision for a more inclusive and equitable future. As for my specific research project, I am in the beginning stages of creating a work plan and mostly spend my time reading project reports from past grantees in order to familiarize myself with the context for different projects.
In order to relax after a long day of fun at the office, I usually go home (I am renting a room in a large house with 5 roommates) and watch ANTM. It’s one of the few shows that is not dubbed in Spanish, and it feels nice to come home to some good ‘ol American English (minus Nigel Barker). The home situation is awesome and I am less than a 5 minute walk from work! I have recently been informed that season 3 of Downton Abbey has begun, which means that the entire weekend will be devoted to finding a functional link to watch the season premier. Gahh, so excited to see my boo cousin Matthew again!
Something that was not so awesome was the ridiculously painful chemical face peel I had last Thursday evening. My face sort of exploded since I got to Mexico to the point where I had to see a dermatologist. Said dermatologist recommended a chemical face peel to assuage the irritation in my face. Yes, that’s right let’s help reduce the irritation by BURNING THE FIRST 2-3 LAYERS OF MY SKIN. At the moment however, it seemed like a grand idea so I went along with it. Big mistake. I basically looked and felt like I feel asleep for 6 hours outside on a hot Las Vegas summer day. It was bad, and painful. Never doing that ishh again.
I’ve also enjoyed quite a bit of family time with my cousin and aunts. About two weeks ago when I finally got around to visiting one of my aunts, she greeted me at the door with a glass of tequila and squirt. A drink which she subsequently refilled every 10 minuted until it was 6am and I was hot-mess drunk in front of my fambam. Good times for sure. Getting shwasty with my Tia is definitely a highlight thus far. Finally, as a reward for making it to the end of this post I will treat you to something juicy…okay well it’s not that great, so don’t get too excited, but I did meet a hottie that works at the falafel stand by my house. I foresee eating a lot of falafel in the near future as a way to chat up Mr. Falafel hottie. Mint.com is most definitely not going to approve of this increase in falafel expenditure, but alas YOLO.
But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
Una no nace mujer, llega a serlo