Wednesday, June 30, 2010

chang chang changeddy chang shebop

Everything is de cabeza here in Oaxaca-land. The election is coming and the evil PRI candidate ("Eviel" is, in fact, his name) has his image plastered hither and yon, as does the ever-confusing Gabino, who has managed to gather almost every opposing party to endorse him.

At home, here on Calle Sauces, it's not much better. Our roof is leaking mercilessly, which normally would not keep me up at night, but we have wood floors upstairs--not our choice and why they did this, I'll never know, and they are the wood laminate cheapy kind that starts to bow and sway with even a whisper of moisture.

So why not host a teenage guest when all this is transpiring? And plan a new school, and weed the heck out of its yards, and try to sneak in work when and if the kids go to sleep?

The past month stands out with some crystalline Oaxacaesque moments that I cannot ignore, however, such as Mario, my one-time English student, running across the street to tell me he's entering university in the fall. I like that, how your students from all the years past and all the places you have taught just expect you to be proud of them. And I always am.

One morning at the Xochimilco market, I sat talking with Rachel, Michelle, Yamaleni, and other friends, as the children sat perched in a tree and the marimbistas played.

And under the Pochote aqueducts, to see "Grease" for the dance and music cinema festival, but what I heard was my friends Art and Laurencita singing all the words to "We Go Together" and it made me cry.

We're headed away from Oaxaca for vacation, but I feel desperate for it to stay with me. Will the striking teachers really occupy the Guelaguetza auditorium and stop the festival? Will PRI steal the election (again)? Will our roof get repaired? How could I possibly miss the art opening of the giant-sized alebrijes, or the movie about the Pixies, or my favorite organic applesauce lady returning to the market on Rayon?

This is the Oaxaca pull, how it gets under your skin, because all the little things matter so much. Leaving, at least temporarily, is good in this way, giving me perspective on the place I've grown to call home.

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