Mexico: My Complicated Homeland

Mexico: My Complicated Homeland

mexicoI love my homeland for many reasons, and sometimes I wonder if it would be good to move and continue working professionally closer to my town Oaxaca. However, because of a spotty history and the recent rise of crime syndicates, home has been marked as a dangerous place. Though I understand the ever-present danger, I’m here to mention how the beauty of my town is often overlooked by people who would rather think of the negatives. So let me take a break from the coding and the online world. Let me tell you about the things in Oaxaca, which tell a story about our history as a people and as a nation.

The Food

There’s nothing as unique as the dishes a people creates out of the food they have around them. in this case, I would urge you to try the many types of food we have in the local market square. Because of the many cooks who often compete all day to serve you the best, you can pick from a wide range of dishes, making each visit comparable to a buffet of meals. We also value the local flavor of our food; our asado, or barbecue, is to die for. Chocolate junkies will also find treats about in our special spicy hot chocolate and the little treats we prepare with every meal you partake.

The Art

Every culture and nation has an art scene of its own, and so it would be a waste if you didn’t explore our art scene to its fullest. There are museums all around which feature our best contemporary artists like Rufino Tamayo, who lived and painted in Oaxaca for all his life. If you wish, you can also look into the museum of contemporary art, which holds even more pieces from our most esteemed artists. If you wish to watch a few films, then we also have an underground viewing club open to anyone who finds it. The El Pochote Cine Club screens hundreds of classic and contemporary films that are not always known to the mainstream public. Of course, you will also need to learn Spanish as the films are dubbed or subtitled in our native language.

The Churches

The Spanish are a very religious people, and even if you do not subscribe to our faith, it is often a good to visit these places of faith. The Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman is a beautiful church, and has stood for almost centuries. Those that appreciate art will also find the swirls of gold and artifacts pleasing to the eye. Monte Alban is also another beautiful place to visit, and serves as both fortress and a place of worship for a culture long gone.

The Artisans

While the world moves forward, we have always maintained our culture, and if you were so inclined, you could even learn an ancient tongue from long ago. However, if you have little time to spend in Oaxaca, then might I suggest bringing home a handmade trinket? Our pottery is painted in a celebratory green and often complements home décor very well. If you have little ones, or like to collect little figures yourself, the alberijes figures found in many local markets can fill that need. They are brightly painted, and often, you can find very intricate designs made on each.

I wholeheartedly suggest you take an adventure through my homeland as soon as you can because despite what has happened to it, the place remains a gorgeous destination for art junkies and adventurers alike. You can also check out a few shows along the way or when you come back. Look up a good comedian and grab a few Daniel Tosh Tickets so that you have a few laughs. Click here for more info on tours stops.

Headed Home Again, Better Get MY Military Backpack Ready

Headed Home Again, Better Get MY Military Backpack Ready

OaxacaMoving to Austin was a big step for me but it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. There are so many wonderful things about living in the US. Work has been great and I have learned so much about programming from my colleagues. Web design was always a passion of mine and all of the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with have help me pursue my dreams.

But there is so much that I miss about home. Oaxaca is full of terrific people and it’s such a beautiful city. My family still lives there and I do miss it terribly. I am fortunate enough to have a career and a life in Austin that allows me to come back home quite frequently. When work doesn’t prevent my travels, of course. I’m often very busy at my job so sometimes it’s tougher to get back home than others. It all really depends on the workload, which has been pretty steady as of late. Things are going great at the company and I’ve been under some pretty heavy deadlines. Now those have come and gone and I’ve delivered on all of my projects.

That means it’s time to get out of town. I had planned my trip home a few months ago, keeping in mind that I had these pressing deadlines to meet, but knowing myself and my team, I had it all under control. We finished up three projects for our biggest accounts and with a few days to spare. So I wrapped up everything else at the office, brought the other teams up to speed on some of the other accounts that were coming along, in case my people needed some extra help while I was gone.

Now I’m all packed up and ready to go. Even got a new backpack for the trip this time. The old satchel had finally fallen apart and it was time to get a replacement, so I looked into military backpacks. One of my co-workers brought one into the office the other day. Man, that thing was huge and looked great. It had something like nine compartments, plenty of pockets and pouches, zippers, straps, all the bells and whistles.

He directed me to Pack-it-in Pack-it-out to look up military backpacks so I could find one of my own.  You wouldn’t believe how many different sizes and shapes are available. This site had them all, reviewed each one and it made picking one out easy. I got a Maxpedition, it wasn’t too expensive, and I’ve been able to fit everything inside of it. I don’t even need another suitcase to take along. I can just stick it all in my military backpack and get on the plane. I won’t even have to check it either. That saves me a good forty bucks. This bag is already cost-effective!

La Guelaguetza

La Guelaguetza

GuelaguetzaNow that May is upon us and Summer is just around the corner, it reminds me of home. Preparations have begun for the annual Guelaguetza Festival back home. It takes place on two consecutive Mondays in July and involves people from all seven regions of Oaxaca which include Cañada, Mixteca, Valles, Sierra, Tuxtepec, Costa and Itsmo de Tehuantepec. The event is really the premiere festival of the year, featuring music and dance, promoting the folklore of the Americas. We call it the Lunes del Cerro or ‘Mondays on the Hill’ and it’s a celebration of the indigenous traditions of the Catholic faith. The dates sometimes vary but it almost always takes place on the two Mondays after July 16th the Day of Saint Carmen.

You Can Go Home Again and Should.

You Can Go Home Again and Should.

hometownI only get back home a few times a year to see my two brothers and my sister who still live in Oaxaca. There are some days where I get more than a little homesick for my native Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, there’s so much I love about Austin and so much to do here. In fact there aren’t too many places I can imagine that are better than here. There are a heck of a lot of great things about Austin, Texas.

First and foremost, obviously, is Longhorn football. Hook ’em Horns! I know Charlie’s going to get this program right and we’re expecting some big things this year. But I think we all have our expectations tempered enough to know it’s going to take a little time. There’s the food; places like Kerbey Lane Cafe and Franklin’s, even Torchy’s Tacos is pretty darn good.

The Alamo Drafthouse is the best place around to see a movie. Heck we even got a statue and a street named after Willie Nelson. There’s beautiful architecture almost everywhere you look. We got music festivals all year, from South by Southwest to the Austin City Limits fest and everything in between. There’s not much about this town to dislike.

But I think we all miss home from time to time, no matter how terrific our current living situation might be. There’s an inherent need to return home sometimes, if just to ground yourself perhaps. I think we all have that desire to turn around and go back to where you came from. It can recharge the batteries, give you a new outlook on life. Maybe even confront painful memories or happily relive those that make you smile each and every time you’re reminded of them.

I just read an article about how the rock star Sting gave a talk at a TED conference in Vancouver. He performed some songs from his new album and discussed where the songs came from. He had gone home. Back to where he grew up in Northern England. And it inspired him. Sting had discussed how he was creatively empty for a long time. He couldn’t write any new songs or have any desire to do so. He was spent. The new album was a result of his time back home, remembering all the things about his past and they began to stir some things inside of him that led to a resurgence of sorts. Going home sparked a new outlook on his work and his life. I think that’s something we all need from time to time. To go home.

There are so many things I miss about Oaxaca; our food, our culture, all the holidays that we celebrate back home bringing us closer to family and friends. These are all the things I think about when I get homesick and I start to think that the idea of being homesick is the mind’s way of telling you it’s time to recharge the creative batteries. Sure I love Austin, I love living here and all the friends I’ve made and people I’ve met. There’s a reason they say “Keep Austin Weird”, it’s because we do just that everyday. There’s always something new to discover here. But sometimes the discovery of one’s self happens back at home. Every time we’re there I think we can discover something new. Sting re-discovered his muse there. What will you re-discover when you return home?

I’m eager to find out myself. I think it’s time to get on Expedia and see about getting back in time for the Guelaguetza .