Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February life in Mexico AND the arrival of baby Sophia Marguerite

Sophia, Joanna and Julian

 I will start first with the exciting news of the birth of our new family member...Sophia Marguerite Mazzella. She is the daughter of Joanna and Stephan and sister to Julian (2 1/2). Joanna is the daughter of Richard's sister Margui who died in June, 1999. Even more exciting is that she was born on Ricardo's birthday, Feb 18th. We look forward to seeing them on Long Island when we return to the states in April.

During part of Jan. and Feb. I took acting classes with a local acting teacher, Eli Hans here in SMA. It was very challenging and there were positives and negatives. I really enjoyed the process of being on stage for our short scene but the memorizing of the lines was difficult for me. It is a challenging activity and an incredible way to "be in the moment". I planning to take it again in two weeks. It has also given me a greater appreciation for actors and plays. We do go to many here in SMA but now I am looking at it all in a different light.  Interestingly, my brother Richard has recently auditioned for a part and was in a play in Boston. Who knew that the Vogels had acting in their blood.
Playing a writer who wants to be rich...
both of us writing plays in a basement apartment
eating ramen noodles every night!

Taking our bows!

We had two weeks between house sitting opportunities so we decided to travel for one of them and stay with our good friends (from Chapel Hill, NC) Barbara and David for the second week (Thanks B&D!).

We traveled with Cindy and Ravi to Patzcuaro, MX...about 5 hours from SMA. It is a small city on a lake with many indigenous villages around the lake. Here we bought new hats in one of the villages. In the middle of the lake is an island which has a statue at the top of the hill.
Island in Lago Patzcuaro

Graveyard on the island

Walking up the statue on the island
We visited several of the villages around the lake as well as the island in the middle of the lake. Together we enjoyed good meals and enjoyed the second place that we stayed - Casa Werma which is a retreat center. We made some new friends, some of which are coming to SMA this week.

Very old olive trees in a small town on the lake

View from a church yard 
Dinner with our friends Joyce and Ralph
from Long Island, NY - in Mexico City
at Cafe Tacuba

Inside one of the many churches in Puebla, MX
After 3 days in Patzcuaro, we took a bus to Mexico City to meet our friends Joyce and Ralph who were on their way to the beach here in Mexico. We know them for over 25 years from Long Island. We traveled with them to Puebla, MX which is about 2 hours from Mexico City and loved this city of about 1 million people. The colors, architecture and people were warm and it felt like a place for us to return to. In fact, we are thinking of returning sometime at the end of the year for a bit longer to get to know the city better. Both Patzcuaro and Puebla are places with little English being spoken so a good place for us to use our Spanish and keep it up.
Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, MX

View from the roof garden
of a hotel in Puebla, MS

Puebla as seen from Cholula, MX

Church in Cholula 

Tiled front of church in Cholula - home
of Talavera tiles

more tiles

Flags flying from a church steeple

The new Suyumaya Museum with
collection of Carlos Slim - the richest
man in the world - in Mexico City
We returned to Mexico City for one more day which included this new museum on the outskirts of the city. It is an amazing building with quite an interesting collection of art and artifacts - especially the Rodin's and Dali sculptures on the top floor.
The sculpture floor in the Suyumaya
Now, in our new home for the next 5 weeks...with our usual activities. Richard has taken on several large database projects for several not-for-profit organizations so he is busy with a few meetings and time on the computer. I continue with behind-the-scene activities with a few organizations as well. We are teaching English several times a week with a few students and of course our usual - yoga, Spanish and art. We feel blessed to have this life of travel and adventure.

I believe that I mentioned this in the past, but we are now getting excited for our upcoming adventure which is to walk the "Camino de Santiago" in Northern Spain in May and June. We have already booked our tickets to Spain. We will return to NC in April and then head to NY and Boston before heading to Spain on May 1st. We look forward to seeing many of you during our travel in the US and plan to return to SMA in August once again.

Thanks for traveling with us and love from the both of us.