Sunday, February 28, 2010

An attempt to put human relations back into "humanity"

"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity."
-George Bernard Shaw

The pictures above are part of a larger project I am currently working on that opens the doors to the lives, passions, identities, professions, inspirations and challenges of a wide range of Mexican society. This project will include film, photographs and voice recordings of all the amazing and inspiring people I have met, built relationships with and greatly admire during my time here. I have had the amazing opportunity to learn about what drives, motivates and gives life to people in my everyday life. A few people that I will interview for this project include family, fellow students, the butcher next to my house, the baker down the street, a family with an urban farm a few houses down from me, a lady who sells home-made flan to me every few days at school, a man who travels around the country selling hand-made jewelry and a woman who sells handmade and hand-painted functional art. As I complete individual stories, I'll post them on my blog to share.

I'm hoping to create a space that well shed light on the every day people of our daily lives. Many times we don't take the time to build relationships with those people who we may not know, but are those who make it possible for our world to turn....Hopefully this project will help you look those very important people, we so often take for granted, in a new way and hopefully it will foster your own efforts to build relationships-

"When you meet anyone in the flesh you realize immediately that he is a human being and not a sort of caricature embodying certain ideas."
-George Orwell

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have to catch up on some school work and then I will write a few more posts. I thought I would share this beautiful poem with you by Thich Nhat Hanh since it has to do with what I would like to share with you in upcoming posts, something I have been contemplating and learning during my time here.


You are me, and I am you,

Isn't it obvious that we "inter-are"?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.

Thich Nhat Hanh- 1989

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I'm happy to say that after two weeks of hell, I am finally feeling better.

It all started Friday, January 29th, when my friends and I went out dancing for a friend's birthday....After dancing to hip-hop, salsa and banda, we were starved! The only place in town open was a late-night taco restaurant. We took our seats and all ordered tacos de pastor, very common snack after a long night of dancing and drinking. Load them up with salsa and order a few more, wash it all down with a soda and its time to go to bed. The next morning I woke up and felt horrible! Was I hung over? How could it be? I only had 3 beers the whole night! Soon enough I realized that something was wrong and that it definitely not a hangover. I ran to the bathroom and threw up, my body started to get rid of all the water it contained (I'll spare you the details). Something was wrong. I was in so much pain. I was shaking, eyes watering, stomach hurting, head pounding. Luckily for me (or so I thought at the time) I had a 24-hour clinic across the street from me. I crawled over to the doctors office and told him everything that was happening to me. He told me I should have never eaten those tacos which most likely contained salmonella. Oh no! Not again, this happened to me when I first got here and it was horrible! He told me to pick up some medicine at the pharmacy and gave me a strict diet of Gatorade and jello. I didn't leave my bed for 3 days after that. My aunt Evelyn and cousin Belen surprised me the next day and cooked me chicken soup and jello.

A week later, my stomach pain was getting worse. I went to the same clinic, but this time it was a different doctor. She told me that in addition to salmonella, I had colitis, or intense intestine inflammation from the toxins in my stomach. She told me to continue my salmonella medication and to add a few more medications. I tried to do the basics, basically go to school and come home and sleep.

Days after, I noticed that my pain was still getting worse and that I could barley eat anything without crying. One day at lunch I was with my girlfriends trying to eat soup and I started crying from all the pain. They said I looked horrible. That was it. I needed to go see another doctor! I felt that the other two doctors just prescribed me medicine without really giving me the right tests and my pain wasn't going away. I went to the family doctor of a friend who was born and raised here in Texcoco. She ran a bunch of tests on me and told me my salmonella was bad. She gave me a shot, sent me to buy even more meds. and told me to come back after taking some blood tests. The next two days were horrible. I had serious anxiety and I felt like I was putting so many things in my body without knowing if they were really going to help me. I didn't really feel comfortable with going to so many doctors that I didn't know or trust. I was spending a ton of money on appointments and pills and things weren't getting better. Until one night I snapped....I cried and cried, I felt like I was getting worse and I didn't know what else to do to get better, I felt like I had done it all!

I called my aunt and 2AM and she and my uncle came to pick me up and take me to their home. We went to their doctor the next morning and I showed him all the pills I was taking and told him everything that had happened in the past two weeks. He cut out all the medications except one and told me that my body would take care of itself and I would soon get better. He told me that I have to be really careful with what doctors I go see. That its best to only see one doctor and to make sure that that doctor is a professional person of morals. Since in Mexico anyone can have their own private clinic, many times doctors do not provide quality service or have their clients well-being in interest.

I leaned some really important lessons from everything. I learned that I need to be very careful when choosing what doctor I go see, I decided that no matter in how much pain I am, its worth making the trip to see my family's doctor. That just because someone says they are a doctor does not mean that they are a person I can put my trust in, like I'd like to believe. And finally I don't know what I would do without my family here. I've come to this final conclusion over and over again many times and once again it happened. They have kept me strong and safe here. Without them this experience would be completely different.

I'm so happy to be feeling better again, though not 100%, I feel great improvement and I don't think I'll be eating greasy tacos again, I don't care how hungry I am.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Keeping Updated

This is a great website if you are interested in keeping updated on food issues, policy and action in the U.S., the post of Michael Pollan on Oprah is great-

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First day of swim class!

Today is my first day of swim class at my school! Ugly royal blue one piece swim suit....check, bright red swim cap...check, goggles (which are pronounced gogles in Spanish, I get a huge kick out of that every time!), towel...check. I feel like a ten year old boy! Haha, but I'm so excited.

As many of you have read in my older blog posts, one of the most important things I've been missing here in Mexico is my connection with nature, the ability to hike around the state parks, climb boulders, jump in lakes, run through the woods and inhale the smell of fresh pine and earth. I no longer live on the farm, I live in a city, soon to be consumed by one of the largest mega-cities in the world, Mexico City. I can go hike around in the dry desert-like hills, but I have been warned that I could easily get robbed, beat up or even worse. There are beautiful archeological sights around Texcoco since it's the sight where King Nezahualcoyotl had his palace and where Cortes prepared for the attack of the Aztec Empire, but almost all sights that aren't recommendable for their housing of thugs and little punk-ass kids that will rob you. All the "rivers" around here are little tiny droplets of water that are green, brown, orange, all the colors of the rainbow, with tons of trash and feces in them, the smell is horrible! Nothing like our 10,000 lakes back home:(

This lack of having nature at my fingertips has really taken a toll on me emotionally, physically and most importantly spiritually. I don't really have a great way to connect with the earth right now, pavement, noise, graffiti, etc.

I'm hoping that by taking this swimming class 4 days a week, I am able to relax in a way that I've been missing. Yeah, so I'll be in an indoor pool with tons a chemicals, but at least I'll be in the water, I'll feel the sensation of being part of the water, of flowing, of being submerged in something greater than myself and of course the exercise will be great. Swimming has seemed like second nature to me, ever since I was a little kid. It's the closest and best option I have right now to have some kind of outlet of all my energy and need to relax in a deeper way.

We'll see how it work!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Future of Mexican Workers in the Age of Globalization?

With the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to "third world" countries and recession at an all time high we now hear in the news that Mexican immigrants are returning home...And I ask myself, "Is this the future that lies ahead?" Thank you Onion for another great news story.

A Little More Artistic Inspiration

I painted this about a week ago, shortly after my inspiration, Miguel, left from his two week visit to Mexico and returned to chilly Minneapolis. The idea of the skeletons came from graffiti I saw and I just love the quote from Aristotle. His words, along with the rest of the painting seemed to perfectly fit how I was feeling after Miguel left (who I hadn't seen in 5 months and who I won't see for at least another 6 months!). The quote is as follows,

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

All my experiences here in Mexico have motivated a resurgence of my passion for writing and painting, which I have never really lost, but have left at the wayside for many years. I'm happily giving into my artistic and more emotional creativity as a way to process everything that is going on in this very surreal country (and I say surreal because Mexico is as artist Andre Breton once stated, "the most surrealist country in the world" and I strongly agree) and with these amazing experiences of mine.

As for the topic of my next piece....I'm not so sure, I can't force it. I find that I work best at times of extreme emotion, thought and feeling, when I just can't get the big questions out of my head, ideas for my painting just seem to come out. I process them by writing or painting, but as always, I'll make sure to share it with you.

More to come......

If you're a little patient I have some more interesting post coming up, topics include-

social commitment through each of our professions,
the silent war on the poor,
maybe a little sample of some more artwork,
environmental justice and the indigenous campesino community in Mexico