"...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

Monday, July 16, 2012

Historic Times

My twenty-seven months in Mexico as an Environmental Education Volunteer will draw to an end in November.  It's been a battle with my inner-self in many ways.  An example might be: forcing myself to do stuff even though I don't want to, then being really happy I did.  I'm intentionally trying to enjoy the moment, understand the world around me, and understand my place in the world.

Well, up until now, my place in the world has been in Mexico.  Though there were times where I felt lost, below average, under achieving, inadequate, incompetent, tired, frustrated, angry, and/or miffed, most other times I was learning, cohabitating, fun-loving, vacationing, and generally getting the hang of things.  Time progressed in a natural fashion, and I seem to be coasting to a finish though I have four more months.
I wake up at 9am every morning--I like that.
I'm very independent in my work--I like that.
I like my work--I like that.

I have a true appreciation for what life is like in the under developed parts of Mexico having lived and interacted in this facet of Mexican culture.  Knowing that my mother comes from a similar situation and part of the world, enables me to relate to others more easily.  That may not seem like a special skill until your stuck with a person for a very determined amount of time, and staying quiet becomes a luxury.  Now, when I think about the time I've wasted comparing myself to others, moping about my lack of skills (or whatever), I make myself think that my gift is different.  I have skills, and they are different--I like that.

It's been a time in my life where I've been living out my dream (I had always wanted to join the Peace Corps), and I am enjoying the pursuit of my dream...a happy time.  This time here has been special too because I've witnessed historic events like the Bicentenial of the Mexican Independence & Centenial of the Mexican Revolution in 2010.  This spring I witnessed the Mexican presidential election season.  I've never been one to keep up on politics, but I've tried at least stay in the loop & observe what was going on around me...if for nothing else, then to entertain conversations.

I knew about the Presidential front-runner's gaff at the Guadalajara Book Fair, unable to name three authors/books who inspired his own book.  I knew about the staged political rallies & the Occupy inspired movement called YoSoy132.  And about the last ditch effort to win from the political party presently in power by nominating a female Presidential candidate.  The hot topic of the election being security & end to the war on drugs, a war that has been waged in the last six years and has resulted in over 50,000 deaths in Mexico.  The truth is that everyone already knew who would win two years ago; Mexico wants to end the violence, and the front-runner who promises change is backed my the major television network in the country & his wife is a soap-opera star.  The week before the election was mared by political rallies but, to the unsuspecting bystander, they look like big parties with nationally renowned musical groups playing the latest in dance music...a true fiesta.
Election Day in San Blas, Nayarit, 1de julio del 2012.

The march down Jardin Zenea, QRO
On election day, I was walking to the bus station at 7:00am on Sunday morning when I saw a line of people waiting their turn to vote outside of government buildings.  I was on the bus, and the bus' radio would announce electoral updates (all updates seemed to be predicting a foregone conclusion).  People walking around with purple ink on their thumbs.  Newspapers announcing the winner.  Now news shows explaining the legal process for the refutation of the vote counts; the runner-up was a 3rd party candidate who was backed by the YoSoy132, a liberal who promised to make an effort to change the broken democracy.  The system, however will not be unbroken, no matter how many young people stage protests...but the worst that they can do is stand idly by and let a television network and affluent jet-setters run the country, while they post FB comments.  I was in the central Mexican city of Queretaro and witnessed two protests.  It did make me realize that I was witnessing a piece of Mexican History.
As viewed from our lunchtime restaurant.

What does TLC mean??

Seeing the media, seeing the election, and seeing the reaction to the election makes me realize how important it is to know what is going on in the world around you.  I have a tendency to make my world small, as small as to only involve myself.  When you start being interested in your neighbors or in the world around you, your world gets bigger.  I knew I would like it here, but I didn't know I would love it.  One aspect I love is that I have become a student again; a student endeavoring to understand Spanish, culture, and myself.

Recently, I  became a member of a list-serve called The Listserve (Google it) of over 20K people, who one by one, will randomly get selected to write a mass email with the other members.  One email from the Listserve had a quote that defines why I had always wanted to be in the Peace Corps:  "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth."  Muhammad Ali  
I came here to 'pay it forward', but in the end I became a student, a teacher and an ambassador--I like that.

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