Monthly Archives: February 2011

Got it!

Do you have days when you need to pinch yourself to believe you are really where you are? Saturday turned into such a one for me. Jorge, some of our TTT students and I accompanied the current international group from New Brunswick, Canada to Tahmec, Yucatan. One of the girls said, “This is about as different an experience as I’ve ever had!”

Arriving into town, Don José, who works with us at our college greeted our group and beamed with pride as he showed us his home. Then out to the back of the house… Doña Hermelinda, his wife, and a whole lot of her female relatives quickly had the students  right up to the elbows preparing a traditional lunch: Pavo en Recado Rojo. Once the pot was filled with savory meats and vegetables, it was carried out to the back of the property.

There Don José buried it under hot coals and aromatic leaves where it would cook over the next three hours.  Meanwhile we took advantage of the waiting time to see some local sites… One of the small girls insisted we go to have a look at her mother’s  turkeys. I felt pleased that all the students trekked after her because they realized how important this was to her. From there, the bus took us a colorful cemetery and the ruins at Ake. Very beautiful but so hot!

The ladies knew how tired we’d be and had cold drinks waiting… Then back to see our meal rising out of the earth! Quite a sight…

Home-made tortillas, salsas, guacamole and lots more juices completed our wonderful meal.

As the bus rumbled out of town, one of the students said, “I wish we could go back.” “You’d like to go back and stay in Tahmec?” I enquired. “No, more than that,” he said “I wish the world could go back to that kind of simplicity and gentleness.” I felt very proud of him for his insight… he really “got it.”

At moments like this, it feels so good to be a teacher!



Filed under Vida Latina

Metaphoric Roses

The roses in Rosa’s garden are particularly rosy at this time of        year.The sun is warm and bright but not so hot that it withers the blooms and dries up the roots… Those who live here KNOW it does indeed get hot enough to do exactly that! The plants are hardy though… when things cool down, they recuperate and the blooms return. Sort of like the people in this hard scapple Mayan town                                                                                                Rosa shows Beth the bags she sews

The Santa Elena Sustainable Development project is doing just as well as the roses. Between November and now, the ladies have earned more than 13,000 pesos from the sale of the oilcloth bags they make. But still more important is their newly found confidence. Having the ability to contribute to the’r familys’ coffers fills them with justifiable pride.  I took some bags to San Miguel and they were a hit! The bags have gone out on order to Florida, Ontario, New York and other places too. As well, the two-woman purchasing & sales team known as Beth & Theresa, have taken advantage of every opportunity to sell.

If you have yet to buy a bag, they will be available this Sunday at MELL’s Chili Cook-off. My book “Magic Made in Mexico” will be at the same table and 50 pesos per book sold will be donated to our Library.

I hope to see you there! Attending this event is a fun way to support the Library and other local initiatives.

Maggie and Britt with Valerie of The Pickled Onion

PS: The placemats shown on the header of this post are available by order. Let me know if you’re interested…



Filed under Writing

It’s your birthday!

It has been a while since I last wrote about an individual member of of our international community. So today, I bring you… Vilma Moray.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Vilma grew up in New York but both her parents were originally from Yucatan. “As a child I ate frijol con puerco and spoke Yucateco Spanish,” she laughs. She met Quique a returning Navy man who had moved to the Big Apple from Puerto Rico. To hear them talk aboutl how they met is a love story not to be forgotten. “She had to grow up before I could marry her,” jokes Quique… They’ve been together for more than 60 years.

During their working life, they raised two sons and over the years, made periodic trips to Merida. It was their dream to retire in Yucatan… which they did in due course.

Thay have lived happily ever since in the pretty pink house in La Ceiba, surrounded by her antiques and his WWII memorabilia. Gracious hosts and favorite guests, Vilma and Quique are wonderful friends.

Vilma is interested in everything and everybody; she’s a super conversationalist who always has good advice. She had a landmark birthday yesterday and in true Merida style, a lovely party was held in her honor.  Many of her long-time friends as well as new ones showed up to wish her the best.

Happy Birthday dear friend…


Filed under Family and Friends

Latina Writers

I have been asked to compile a list of Latina writers.

When one thinks of “Latina writers”, immediately names like Sandra Cisneros, Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende come to mind. Women with Latin roots who write about issues related to their ethnicity.

Several well known Latina writers do not have Latin surnames: Elena Poniatowska, Denise Dresser, Veronica Chambers. But no one would ever describe them as anything other than Latinas.

Elena Poniatowska

A third group are authors like Harriet Doer. Leonore Carrington and C.M. Mayo. These women, while not born in a Latin country write powerfully and seductively about Latin cultures.

So what is the definition of LATINA? Merriam Webster’s on line version offers this:

“1: a woman or girl who is a native or inhabitant of Latin America

2: a woman or girl of Latin-American origin living in the United States”

Hm-m-m-m-m… no precise mention of foreign born, naturalized citizens of Latin countries or women of Latin-  American origin who live in other countries…

Maybe calling oneself Latina describes more than ethnicity? Perhaps it is a matter of sentiment and life experience?

Leonore Carrington


Filed under Vida Latina, Writing

Life’s ups and downs

I am home in beautiful peaceful Merida. The sun is shining but its not too hot and we are happy, happy, happy… My cat Hobbsie is playing hard-to-get but I can tell he’s glad to see me. The pool is not filled with yucky green stuff. None of my plants have died; in fact we have a bumper crop of orchids! My bed with its soft clean sheets felt like Heaven last night…

Nonetheless, coming home does present a few bummers.

Bummer Number One: The laundry and grocery shopping loom like unassailable mountains before me.

Plan of attack: Mañana!

Bummer Number Two: I have culled through my email and there are 101 that need an answer.

Consolation: I have patient friends

Bummer Number Three: I stepped on the scale and saw a number that no scale should ever climb up to. I tried again and yes, the number was still there.

Unequivocal Decision: No more daily margaritas… no more pan  dulce for breakfast… Much more exercise!

Are you reading this post from a cold and dreary place?

If so,  look at the orchids  breathe deeply… then smile!


Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina

Blog on…

I’ve received several emails today from bloggers who are very excited to know ALL that I learned from Bill Belew

Continue reading


Filed under Writing

There’s no place like home

This past month has been an exciting time of discovery and learning but I am ecstatic to be going home. I can’t wait to see Jorge, Carlos, Maggie and my friends…

Tonight I will sleep in my own comfy bed… I won’t wake up wondering where I am.

My clothes will hang in my closet or be tossed into the dirty clothes hamper… they won’t be all wrinkled in the suitcase and I won’t have to prowl the streets looking for an elusive Laundromat.

When I shower, I won’t be either scalded or frozen… I’ll know how the taps work.

I will be able to make myself a cup of coffee or tea, just how I like it… and I will not have to wait until the restaurants open.

I want to see my cat Hobbsie (I hope he is ‘speaking’ to me after such a long absence)                                                     

A swim in my pool… I can’t wait! Seeing everyone at school… Being at Writers’ Group again… Getting back to Yoga… Walking at the Stadium… Cooking again…

It’s really true… there’s no place like home!


Filed under Family and Friends