"...He prayeth well, who loveth well, Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best, All things both great and small;
for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all..."

The Rime of the Anchient Mariner -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A very special Veteran´s Day

I feel proud that my service to my country continues outside of Coast Guard. Yesterday I swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I wasn´t sure how to describe how I was feeling in the days/hours leading up to the Swearing-in Ceremony and departure from our training environment; everything from ready, numb, nervous, and sad. Sometimes i don´t understand the way i feel, but at this point, it could be said that I am in awe of what is happening in my life. Saying good-bye to my friends and host family between yesterday and today was sad, but I can´t help but feel it´s the natural progression of events. I´m happy everything has worked out, and I am proud to be part of a legacy of peace.

Today I will move into my new host family´s home, and my work as a developement professional (aka Environmental Educatation Volunteer).

Today I am living the fulfillment of my heart´s hopes and dreams. I am going to live it, knowing that this is my choice; in the words a mentor of mine, "you love what you choose, you can´t choose what you love."

One quick note, I had the very distinct privilige to deliver a speach at our Swearing In Ceremony. It was short and from the heart, and among those with tearing eyes was the US Ambassador to Mexico! Maybe I´ll shape up to be a diplomat or president afterall.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dia de Los Muertos etc

I've lived in Mexico for over two months now, and next week I swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer. I feel ready to move onto the next stage of Peace Corps with all its unknowns & uncertainties...grow or die, sink or swim, thereby go I.

One of my hopes for the next two years that I will be in Mexico is that I never cease to be amazed and that I never cease to be inspired.

In general I am amazed by so many things here: the pretty skies, the weather, the food, the friendly people, the churches, how everyone instinctively knows how to dance, free events for the performing arts on any given day easily accessable to everyone, and the fact that (in my humble opinion) the Mexicans celebrate Halloween better than Americans!

They actually really celebrate Day of the Dead (today November 2nd) but they've started incorporating Halloween, so for the last three days I've seen kids walking around in Halloween customes (for three days). Plus, every main plaza in the city is packed with food stands, custome stands, candy stands, and main stages with free events daily. I'm especially amazed of the Mexican concept of the Long Weekend, which they call 'el puente' or the bridge....so if your Holiday is in the middle of the week, it is most probable that a long weekend/puente will be given and you will get 4-5 day holiday!! I've been celebraing Day of the Dead since last Friday!!

To celebrate Day of the Dead people make alters (alter making competitions, in the plazas & in the homes), and eat Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead). They go to the cemetaries and clean off the graves of their loved ones; I have never see a cemetary so full of people! There were mariachi's singing around graves, the cemetaries were so colorful and festive, with family members working, eating, singing, and drinking. My favorite was an entire family sitting around the grave, strumming the guitar & all singing their loved one's favorite drinking songs-it was so heartfelt, happy and sad all at the same time.

Death being my least favorite subject, I gather that the point of Day of the Dead is more than just commemorating their dead loved ones. It's more to put everyone on the same playing field, and to point out that no one escapes death, whether rich or poor, beatiful or ugly, cunning or otherwise. A socialistic outlook on death...much like many other aspects of life in Mexican society.