Sunday, April 26, 2015

February to May....La Vida Flexible

Happy birthday to Ricardo and Sophia
Come along with us as we travel from summer to winter to spring.

We left San Miguel in the middle of February to the islands of Turks and Caicos to join our niece Joanna and her family - Stephan, Julian and Sophia. It was a wonderful chance to have special time with them in sunshine - boating, swimming and best of all - taking care of the kids at night while J & S went out for dinner. For those who don't know - these kids are as close to grand kids as we will ever have and we love our time with them. One of the big reasons for going was to celebrate the birthdays of both Ricardo (60) and Sophia (3) on the same day of Feb. 18th.


The theme of this post is "flexibility" - for planning, for exercise, for finding new ways to live in the world, for dealing with weather, for life, etc. I have been contemplating this for a while. I am used to doing yoga which I saw as flexibility for my body, but now have come to realize that our lives are full, challenging and exciting because we are practicing flexibility for our body, minds, spirits and life in general. My gratitude for this ability to live this way is beyond words and we are both grateful for each other's support as we travel the path of life.

Rosey and Allan in Asheville
We left the warm islands for Asheville, NC where it snowed 3 times and was the complete opposite in weather. Despite this we were graced with the opportunity to spend quality time with many of our friends. Together with Rosey and Allan we had a nice weekend in a rented cottage. Unable to do our usual hiking in the mountains because of freezing temperatures and precipitation, etc. we enjoyed walking around town and delicious meals. It is one of our special rituals together to make a special meal for the four of us.

Mushroom soup and roasted veggies

We stayed with Amy and Sofie and their cats. The main reason we went to Asheville in the winter was to join Amy at the University of North Carolina Asheville for me to present a talk on "Eating with intention...why does it matter?" followed by a cooking class the next day in their brand new demonstration kitchen. It was a challenge for me to get back to this part of my life but I was honored to be invited and was welcomed by the students and friends who participated in both events. Best was being with our friends and the chance for Amy and I, once again, to work together and brainstorm our future plans. You have seen already that we have started another blog for our travels which you can find at:

We also caught up with other friends and family - Susie and Terry (and his mom); Leanne Campbell and her son; Sven from our days in Ithaca, NY; Dusty and Nancy whom we met in San Miguel and new friend - Corinne.
The garden at Tapachula #7
Our home for March
Richard at " Instituto Jovel" School of languages
Then we were on our way back to Mexico - once again to San Cristobal de las Casas which is located in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico near the Guatemala border - land of the Mayas. We rented two different homes during the two months of March and April. We LOVE our lives here in San Cris. Much of our day to day life is similar wherever we, Spanish, a little bit of art, good and healthy food, walking everywhere but here we both have agreed that there is something different for each of us.

Aerial yoga
Me and my "new pals"
Here begins my thinking about flexibility. I found myself taking many new classes in yoga - trying new teachers and filling myself with the complete immersion of the yoga principles or "sutras" for body mind and spirit. First were the teachers we knew from last year - Vanessa, Julia and Mayra all whom we love. Then I found a sign for "Aerial Yoga" and gave it a try. It was fun and very different and I realized that there is no reason not to try things that seem attractive to me for one reason or another. I saw a sign during the whole month of March about a 100 hour Ashtanga Yoga workshop for the month of April and I thought about it every time I saw the sign - mostly thinking it would be too hard and that I was "too old" for a new method as I have been doing a different style for so long. With my flexible spirit I decided to try it for the first day or two. Now, with just a few days to go, I have been six days/week from 7-9 am and most afternoons from 4-6 pm with a few extra hours thrown in. My thoughts after this experience.....I feel "young" as I spend these many hours with 20-30 year olds from all over the world....all breathing deeply together as we do our postures. There is an amazing feeling of family and I am learning much about prayanama (breathing), meditation and connection to myself all the while, getting stronger physically.
For Richard there has also been "flexibility" and new experiences. He has attended the Buddhist center since arriving with daily meditation. He befriended the Buddhist nun and then spent afternoons with her helping her with her English. He then discovered Qi Gung as a replacement for yoga while his sore back has been healing. Now we are both following our separate physical and spiritual paths....different but yet so similar. We are looking forward to following these paths at our homes in SMA.

So, our days in San Cristobal continued with visits from some of our friends from San Miguel. First came Susan Dorf and we enjoyed sharing our home and fun activities. Together we went to Toniná.
Huipiles from Zinacantin
A view of San Cris from one of the churches
With Susan Dorf
Toniná  is a pre- Columbian archaeological site and ruined city of the Maya civilization located about 2 1/2 hours from San Cris.

The site is medium to large, with groups of temple-pyramids  set on terraces rising some 233 ft above a plaza, a large court for playing ball and over 100 carved monuments, most dating from the 6th century through the 9th centuries AD, Toniná is distinguished by its well preserved stucco sculptures and particularly by its in-the-round carved monuments. 
Toniná was engaged in sporadic warfare with Palenque, its greatest rival and one of the most important polities in the west of the Maya region, although Toniná eventually became the dominant city in the west. It is newly "discovered" and not as common a tourist site as Palenque. 
Next came the visit of Maria Elena and Tomy - Mexican friends from San Miguel de Allende. We have spent a wonderful week visiting sites, walking around town, cooking and eating together in the house and at restaurants. This was an introduction for them to a different lifestyle than they have been accustomed to and a chance for us to speak Spanish all day, everyday. 

In Sumidero Canyon
We went to Sumidero Canyon and to San Juan de Chamula. Chiapas has so many places to visit and experiences to share.

Sunday market in San Juan de Chamula
Church in San Juan de Chamula
In front of the church in San Juan de Chamula
Now, once again, our time is coming to an end in San Cris but we have many adventures ahead.

Stay tuned in June as I write about my experiences in Germany. Both Nancy (my sister) and I are going to Frankfurt, Germany at the invitation of the City of Frankfurt. Our dad went in 1995 and now they are inviting the second generation. We both have been reading of the history of the time as well as investigating documents and dates about our family. Both our parents have major connections to Frankfurt before World War II. With the help of our niece Cori who is our "family historian" we are managing to find out much about our history.

Once again, thanks for traveling with us and happy springtime to you in whatever part of the world you are.