The pan man has just gone down the street, sounding his bike horn to let everyone within earshot know bread is ready. From this I know it’s near 5pm. Dinner is simmering in most homes by this time of day though not served for another two hours or more. I’m resting from a week of teaching, including today, Saturday. We started at 8am with a teacher’s meeting which includes the School Director, Program/Class organizer and the three of us teachers who are still muddling our way through the process of lesson plans, books to use, videos that are appropriate, etc. My favorite activity in my downtime continues to be walks. I love what I see and smell and hear and learn as I slowly walk (it’s near impossible to walk swiftly in this still semi-oppressive heat) by store fronts and little houses with patios that face the calles, the little old ladies and men sitting, passing the time. I do this most mornings or evenings or both. Often I pass the same spots, and add in a few new blocks. The same people sit, and I, the same person walk by. No one seems bored of it but rather comforted in the routine. I know I am. The color swatch of stucco painted turquoise, orange, fading red and green is a delight. A friend told me the best way to know a place is to get as close to ground level as you can. Sometimes I turn to look a bit closer and wish I hadn’t. I no longer look into the open air space of the carniceria (butcher) but I could stare at the women pressing masa into tortillas and sopes for hours. They dab their hands in a bowl of water and slide, slide them off the edges while people line up to pay and take away a stack. My neighborhood has this quiet buzz of the daily routine while downtown is noisy with sounds both beautiful and annoying; live music in the plaza backed by cranked up pop music from the surrounding stores, buses blasting by and often a political announcement sounding from a stationary car for all to hear.
I miss Seattle and I love Mexico, just as I thought it might be. It’s a challenge to live here day in day out, each activity taking longer than it seemed it did the last time. I have it on record by two 20-year olds this is the case for them as well. We all put off the laundry mat 3 days in a row. Manana, manana, manana. My students are worried about the election in the U.S. I’m worried my ballot may not reach me in time but I’m told I’ll get it in October.
I get paid next Saturday. Pesos, in cash. Crisp Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera 500 note bills. A 500 note now equals $25 US. The Mexican economy continues to crash and my U.S. dollars are stronger every day, I am essentially getting a pay cut by the time my pesos are counted out. Call it break even, I have everything I need, including a shop around the corner selling 20 peso ($1) scoops of coffee chip ice cream.