Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Living Local, Going Global

Our lives have changed….again.  We began this odyssey over two years ago, climbing volcanoes and snorkeling in seas, finding ourselves, as we blogged last June, coming full circle to Gunnison, Colorado and Western State Colorado University.  We have been so lucky to have spent the last six months with a terrific, talented, and dedicated group of graduate students and faculty determined to leave the planet a better place than the one we find today.  The previous two years had given us a perspective of the importance of choosing how each hour of the day is spent, and neither of us can imagine a better group of colleagues and students with whom to do so as we “work.”

Part of our work and self-renewal is to travel.  We are in an enviable place where we are graced with meaningful work in an amazing community as we “live local,” and, just as the digits drop to the
negative degrees, can “go global.”   Our first stop was one for which we have hungered during the past two years.  We dropped into Oaxaca, Mexico to visit Karen and Stuart, two people we met for what was too short a time in Peru, and have remembered ever since.  In part, because of Karen’s kind gesture of sending her hiking socks along with Sally in her time of need, it should surprise no one that Jess is now literally wearing the shirt off of her back.  Karen and Stuart are an adventurous and generous duo who have seen much of the world, especially Latin America, and now nestle for part of each year in the arms of an amazing community of nationals and internationals in the gourmet capital of Mexico.  Oaxaca is especially well known for its chiles and chocolate, often lovingly mixed into mole.  Sacks overflowing with roasted cacao, cinnamon, and chiles are clustered in shops lining the streets as customers give instructions to men grinding pastes of the fragrant combinations and people of all ages line up for chocolate beverages, both cold and hot.  Chocolate is the blood that runs through this city’s veins in rich courses tracing its history and forecasting its future.

We have spent an amazing week in the embrace and tutelage of our knowledgeable and kind hosts, learning about their favorite small restaurantes, or the best stools in the market for guanabana nieve, or local hiking trails and spectacular world heritage sites.  And, the greatest pleasure has been learning about the lives of two people we will always treasure  as terrific friends.  However, the road is enticing us onward and our bus tickets are hot in our pants pockets as we head south towards Guatemala.  We will pause to linger in Chiapas, initiating 2015 by staring at canyon walls towering over us then board a bus to the border and onward to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  We will head west toward Belize where we will linger for much of January then slowly turn southward hoping to spend part of February in Panama.  For March and April, we will be exploring Costa Rica, six weeks of it as camp hosts and University representatives at the fabulous Finca BellaVista treehouse resort community.  As always, we welcome the companionship of our friends looking for adventure and willing to eat fried tarantulas with us!

Images from Oaxaca, Mexico and are of Karen gazing at an image of the stained fingers of an indigo dye maker near the Chiapas border; a worker making chocolate paste in one of an incredible number of chocolate shops, and Karen and Stuart Carter and us in a wonderful Oaxaca Lending Library.  Posted 30 December, 2014.