Category Archives: September & October 2013

Editor’s Letter

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.

Learn as if you were to live forever.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Since this issue is about learning I started thinking about the things I have learned since living in Mexico. There is the obvious stuff like speaking Spanish, how to make tortillas and carry a garrafon of water on my shoulder and make it look effortless. Then there are the subtle things like the way my palate can now recognize what kind of chile was used in a salsa or how I instinctively say ‘provecho’ whenever I see someone eating or the way I move my index finger up and down when I want to say ‘yes’. Continue reading Editor’s Letter

The Father of the Nation or “The Shout Heard ‘Round the World”

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.20.26 PMBy Neal Erickson

At 6am on September 16, 1810, the church bells rang in the small town of Dolores, located between Guanajuato and San Luis de Potosi. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the 57 year old priest of the church, had ordered them rung to call his congregation to revolt. He had been an outspoken critic against bad government and society’s ills, and after a huge crowd had assembled that morning he told them it was time to stand up and rebel. This speech has come to be known as the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) or El Grito de la Independencia (“The Cry of Independence”). Often it is simply referred to as “El Grito”. Continue reading The Father of the Nation or “The Shout Heard ‘Round the World”

Hablo, Habla, Hablamos… Español

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.20.13 PMBy Brooke Gazer

If you are planning a week’s vacation in Mexico, no one expects you to speak more than a couple of words in Spanish: por favor and gracias should cover it. But for those of us who spend time in Mexico, it is only good manners to make an effort at communicating in the native tongue of our hosts. Unlike many cultures, (English speakers included) the people of Mexico are incredibly tolerant when someone butchers their language and they are very receptive to those making an effort. No mater how badly you speak the gesture will enhance your experience with the local people. We all make mistakes when we are learning and it can actually be fun if you adopt a good sense of humor. Continue reading Hablo, Habla, Hablamos… Español

The First Fringe Festival in Spanish Speaking Latin America Oct 11-19, 2013 Where an actor’s eyes can meet yours or you can feel the warmth of his breath.

By Carole Reedy

Two events dominate the cultural scene in Mexico this fall. First, the state of Guanajuato will be buzzing next month as Latin America’s largest and most significant festival, The Cervantino (Oct 9-27), takes place in the capital. The excitement spills over to San Miguel de Allende, where the first Fringe Festival in Spanish speaking Latin America (Oct 11-19) makes its debut. Continue reading The First Fringe Festival in Spanish Speaking Latin America Oct 11-19, 2013 Where an actor’s eyes can meet yours or you can feel the warmth of his breath.

Personal Growth and Camaraderie: Four Book Clubs and Their Secrets of Success

By Carole Reedy

Although it was men who first made popular the concept of a reading group, women quickly followed, shifting their social activities from sewing circles and church groups to form their own reading clubs. Today, most book clubs are started by women searching to quench their thirst for knowledge in an ambience of camaraderie. Continue reading Personal Growth and Camaraderie: Four Book Clubs and Their Secrets of Success

Day of the Dead

By Doreen Woelfel

While in California, recovering from knee replacements this last May, I was taken aback when it was announced that the Disney Corporation had filed an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to slap a trademark on the phrase: Dia de los Muertos, surely one the best known of traditional holidays celebrated in Mexico, November 1 and 2. I was incredulous to say the least, and wondered that Disney, in looking really greedy, would really try to usurp what can be traced back 3000 years in Mexico, and try to make money off the holiday tradition. Day of the Dead has been celebrated in California, and the Southwest as well, for many years, and is very much a part of the culture of states with a significant Latino population. Turns out, of course, there is a movie coming out in the fall, tentatively titled Day of the Dead, from Pixar. I thought, oh, and now we have a Disney movie coming to explain a cultural tradition to a world that has been celebrating this holiday for a couple thousand years. Continue reading Day of the Dead

On the Road

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.19.48 PMBy Jane Bauer

Things you should know about me regarding the following journey, I am very destination oriented and I don’t like to exercise. On being destination oriented….when I was 12 I developed a routine of riding my bicycle from Westmount along the Lachine canal to Old Montreal. At my destination I would purchase a small strawberry slushy and ride home. Now they sold the exact same slushies on our corner but it wasn’t the same. When I rolled up one day to find the little depanneur in Old Montreal had stopped selling slushies, my bike adventures along the canal came to an end. As for the exercise bit, well I like using my body; tennis, golf, yoga and of course biking, but just don’t tell me I am doing any of it for exercise. In my bucket list fantasy of running the New York marathon I never really think about the training or even the running. My mind rests on the fantasy of traversing the 5 boroughs of my favorite city and ending in Central Park, receiving one of those silver tin foil like blankets and then of course I am in NYC so a great dinner awaits. So when I decided to ride my bike from Santa Cruz Huatulco to Zipolite I thought about my arrival. I made plans with friends and booked a cabana. I didn’t pack any snacks, have a fancy water bottle or even get my bike tuned up. Are you rolling your eyes yet? Continue reading On the Road

The Tenth Muse

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.19.36 PMBy Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

The memory of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is alive and well in the U.S. Her writing and ideas about the need to educate women are central to a play, The Tenth Muse, which recently had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Set in a convent in Mexico City in 1715, twenty years after the death of Sor Juana, the central plot of the play is the discovery of the writings and musical scores of the iconic champion of women’s rights which had been hidden by her niece, also a nun, to prevent burning by the Inquisition. Continue reading The Tenth Muse

Community Museums—Very “Special Ed” for Indigenous Peoples

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By Deborah Van Hoewyk

We all know that Oaxaca’s capital city is renowned for its art scene, with a passel of museums and galleries; a little dawdling over a travel book will tell you it also has museums of philately, historic interest, archaeology, religion, textiles, and the Ferrocarril Mexicano. When we go to museums, we mostly just gawk and “gosh-golly,” but museums are the shining stars of informal education, that kind of life-long learning we engage in every time we do something that interests us and adds to our knowledge, skills, or abilities. Continue reading Community Museums—Very “Special Ed” for Indigenous Peoples