Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Culture in the City

New Year’s Resolution: Blog more.  Once a week.  I got this.  But that means finding time (making time) to actually write.  Even when my time, like this week, was filled with me complaining about how many research papers I had to read and grade.  
But there’s always time to write.

The weekend before last was a treat for me (you see, I’m backtracking; I missed one weekend’s post).  I spent it entirely in the city, but I was busy.  (I mean, busy enough that when a friend invited me to a gorgeous beach house for the weekend, I didn’t even question whether re-ordering my schedule might be a possibility--and I love the beach).  

On Saturday morning, Kelly picked up 5 of us, all ladies, and we visited the textile museum in zone 10 of Guatemala City.  I’d heard great things about Museo Ixchel, but I’d never actually gone.  (Admittedly, museums are not generally my cup of tea).  Kelly had snagged us a great deal on the price for both an English tour of the museum and a weaving workshop afterwards where we learned how to use the backstrap loom.  What a great experience!  The museum is, indeed, completely worthwhile, and having our passionate and knowledgeable guide, Helen, lead us through the history of textiles in Guatemala was a real treat.  And then, we got to learn how to weave.  

Even after our guide broke down for us exactly how the loom worked, and told us that we’d understand better once we tried it for ourselves, I am still not positive that I completely comprehend how it works.  But, after a few guided attempts, I was able to complete the process on my own!  I still made mistakes every few rows, but I can see how once it became second nature, weaving could be a very relaxing way to spend a few hours.  

We also learned how to brocade, which is one of the ways the patterns get woven into the typical fabrics.  I understand the concept, but I was a lost cause at doing it myself.  I gave up after just a short time and moved over to where Helen had brought out a few typical huipiles and cortes (the tops and skirts that Maya women wear) to try them on.  I modeled a ceremonial huipil and cinched corte from the Xela region.  So much fabric--what fun to twirl in!!  

After the museum, the six of us went out to lunch, and then I came home to relax for a bit before I headed over to Kenra’s for a movie, pizza, and an impromptu skype call with Amy.  Catching up with both ladies was tremendous fun!  Good for the soul.  :)   

Saturday morning, Rachel and I took Jestina and Gretel to our running trails for the first time.  We walked the entire 5 mile loop, and I finally had an opportunity to bring a camera along and stop and enjoy the view and capture the beauty of this place.  Our running trails are a short 5 minutes from my house, but once back in them, it’s a complete escape from city life.  No traffic sounds, no buildings on the horizon, just beautiful trees and paths and lush greenery.  

Sometimes this meadow is full of horses

I returned home, made myself lunch, cleaned my house a bit, and at 2pm, a few people came over for our monthly “writing club.”  Each of us shares a piece we’ve written and get feedback on it from the others.  It’s great motivation to write more often, and I really enjoy hearing the pieces others create each month.  There were only three of us on Sunday, so the “meeting” was quick, but still with great pieces shared.  

I finished my Sunday evening with a visit to one of my favorite (or perhaps my very favorite) restaurant in the city--a Korean restaurant called Myeong Dong which is owned by the parents of one of my students.  

Getting there turned out to be a bit of an adventure.  I drove right past the restaurant without seeing it (despite the two men with lit-up traffic controllers trying to wave me into the parking lot), then upon realizing my mistake, took several wrong turns and ended us up in the completely wrong part of the city.  Thanks to one passenger’s good sense of direction, we got ourselves back, but not before I completely disregarded a high curb and ran my car up onto it.  (I was, thankfully, able to back down off of it without damage to the car).  We took only an extra 20 minutes or so to get to the restaurant.  

Once we were there, the fun began.  We laughed our way through dinner, our conversation generating a huge string of memorable one-liners that we relived and laughed at the entire drive home, as well. The whole event made me supremely grateful for my friends, the city that I live in, and everything that I have.  Life is good, my friends.  Really good.  

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