Then: A rollicking decade of adventure, misadventure and social activism in Oaxaca, Mexico, in living Technicolor. Not without its challenges — if I thought living in Mexico would make me a more patient person, I was woefully mistaken — but with so many little joys and wonders that added up to a great big life lived large. My Spanish and social sensibilities blossomed; I never did learn to salsa dance. Can’t move only my bottom half.
Now: A cultural anomaly, returned to Texas in the face of the pandemic, with too much time on my hands and a head on fire trying to make sense of it all. Like my small but satisfying way of contributing by volunteering as a translator guide for the women’s microfinance organization En Vía in Oaxaca, I’m burning to contribute in this chaos. What I know how to do — what I want to do — is write.
Changed: Country, language, lifestyle and wardrobe – again. Not so much my worldview this time; it got changed a decade ago.
Kept: My increased tribe of like-minded friends, now dotting the globe, and my now bi-cultural viewpoint. I hope I can keep a sense of humor. And I’ve let my hair go back to its now natural color; after paying for blonde highlights for the past 30 years, who knew it was dark brown? With silver strands.
What I love about Waco: the Brazos River and its suspension bridges; Mexican restaurants, markets and taco stands (the Chamber of Commerce says the city is 50% Hispanic); friendly people on the streets and in stores; a budding art scene; and my new little house here.
One of my earliest acquaintances here said, in all earnestness: “Susana, to survive in Mexico, you’ve just got to embrace the chaos.” Did it for 10 years in Mexico, no clue when I’ll be able to return. I just locked up my apartment there and left. But in a post-covid 19 world which arrived overnight, it still applies. We’ve got to embrace the frigging chaos to survive it.