Monday, April 17, 2017

Two months in San Cristóbal de las Casas

Here we are winding down two months in this "other home" in Mexico. It is our third season here and we are already booked for three months next Spring. We have many memories and here is the place to remember them. I write these for us - for our memories as one year blends into another and we want to remember specifics about these trips.
Rotunda at Bellas Artes, CDMX

We are often asked whether we like it here better than San Miguel de Allende. It is a very hard question and the comparisons are difficult to make as each place fulfills different needs. As San Miguel gets more and more crowded and "fancy" we tend to like the feel of San Cris better. The weather at this time of the year is perfect here but we hear tell that the winters are colder than SMA and there is a much longer rainy season. The real differences are the much younger friends and connections here in SC (barely any retired expats) and the very large indigenous community which is part of the daily life in this town. The textiles and colors in this area are NOT to be missed. Similarities are the great organic markets, good restaurants, yoga and meditation. Our busy volunteer life is much more prevalent in SMA where we are part of several organizations. Here in SC our creative juices are flowing more actively though it could be only a function of more time for creativity here than SMA. As I have written before - I am preferring to be in the present and enjoy each place for its life at the moment and comparisons are hard to make but I have just done my best to answer the most common question presented to us in either place.

Comida at Rosetta in CDMX
The Tiffany Screen at Bellas Artes
We began this trip with three days in Mexico City (now called CDMX- Cuidad de Mexico) with Maria Elena and Tomy. We stayed in La Roma, a new neighborhood for us and enjoyed a visit to the Castle at Chapultapec and the Ballet Folklorico in the beautiful Bellas Artes (our first time).

Our house in San Cris
Lauren at Frontera
Then we were of to San Cris, back to the beautiful home with view of the city and bountiful garden. We think it is the very best location in the city. We did stay for several weeks in another airbnb home which also had positives - meeting new friends, sharing a kitchen and cooking together with others and a place for visitors. We shared a fun week with Lauren who was visiting from SMA.

Hanging the show
colorful beans

The main highlight of March was spending time with Lena Bartula - an incredible artista from SMA who had a large installation exhibition of her huipils made from various recycled products in a historic building - La Enseñanza
at the opening

"Behind the labels" - represents
the labels and where our clothing
comes from.
Maruch leading the opening ceremony

We knew each other before she came to SC but not in the way we are all friends now. We were happy to help with the installation process with another friend, Victoria Pierce. I was able to help organize several private showings/tours of her work and then happily spending time with her and Patricia Smith (also from SMA) visiting communities, other textile workshops and dismantling the show in early April. The opening of the show was different than any I have attended. It began with Maruch and her chants and "limpiaza" for the energy surrounding the show. This is apparently typical of art openings in Mayan communities.

Spending time in the space of such a creative person surely rubbed off on me. I was introduced again to Taller Lenateros - a paper making studio/workshop that makes books (the paper, the printing via serigraphia or silk screen and the binding processes.) I took a workshop in printing as well as binding. I am now in the process of designing a book that will be more of an art project along with various details of my life and my "peeps". Stay tuned until next year when I return here for several months to work on this project.
Petra y Yoli at Lenateros

Some of the colorful paper
my hand stitched books

The whole area of Chiapas which is the large southern state bordering Guatemala is Mayan country and there are many small villages surrounding San Cris that each have their own clothing as well as textile designs. In the markets one can notice which village each woman comes from depending upon her clothing. This year we visited San Andres Larrinzar which is about 45 minutes away and shopped for textiles for friends.
The men's hats of San Andres Larrinzar

bought these two pillow covers
 la maestra Kelsang Kunwang
We pass most of our days doing a mix of the following activities: I go to yoga and various art activities, Ricardo goes to daily meditation at the Buddhist center and has dedicated much of his time to learning the 24 form of Tai Chi (Kung Fu style). This was a goal that he had set for himself and he found a teacher here that was able to help him master this. I enjoyed many hours looking outside in the garden and seeing his gently flowing moves in this "dance". I am proud of him for dedicating this time to something very important for himself and for reaching this personal goal.

Colorful doors of San Cris
Colorful storefronts
We have also both dedicated time to a drawing a day. This is a creative as well as meditative practice. I cannot believe that I am nearly through with 4 months of doing this with no thought of discontinuing this practice. What will I do each day for the rest of the year. It is one of the things I wonder about but every day there is something new to see (or not - my feet, hands, etc. are with me every day and are always good options to draw!)

Friends (as you all know) are very important to us and coming back yearly gives us a chance to reconnect with them.
Vanessa and Fausto 
Erin and Philip
Set - my vegan soulmate
in San Cris

So, once again, if you made it to this far of this post - thanks for traveling with us. We are heading back to San Miguel de Allende for 2 months and then will see many of you as we travel again in the USA for several months.

Happy Spring to all and love from the two of us.