11-12 junio

by christycelia

just taught our first class. phenomenal students (remind me of those at LEAP), driven, excited, hardworking. it’s crazy to think that we only have 10 more workshops with them. we will need to be very strategic about planning, working, reflecting.

the space is lovely. a very modern building, as the school is very new, maybe a few years old. it’s a public school, but it’s international baccalaureate. Paco told Lora that the students need to apply to get in, and their acceptance is based on grades. the students don’t appear to come from poor families, though it’s very difficult to tell what their socioeconomic status is. we are in a computer lab. we probably won’t use the computers much, but in the back of the room there are two large tables pushed together which we sit around in a circle.

after front  loading some background and purpose of mandalas to the students, we asked them to define and explore the idea of “wholeness” or “completeness.” why do people try to be whole? how do they do it? here are some of the ideas they came up with (recorded by Lora on the board):

wholeness

this was a very abstract concept, and the students came up with incredible responses.  i came into the workshop thinking our students would be (maximum) level 2 english learners. level 2 is an emerging level of learning, where the students cannot fully articulate their ideas and are not yet ready to explore and play with the language. i was so wrong. these are level 4 students, higher than i worked with at LEAP. they are able to articulate their thoughts (with some searching for language at times). this makes it easier to take them to the depth we want – abstract discussions about art, personal reflections, and poetic expression.

sidenote: we ended our session with a circle share, a rose and a thorn. the first student who shared said “my rose is … your haircut. it’s just … so cool! like, it’s just the coolest!” this was adorable and hilarious. almost all women here have long hair, of course. hahaha!

our days have been filled with so much beauty: buildings, humans, Spanish language, home cooked and street foods, loco busses. we are so lucky to be able to work with Arquetopia, also. this foundation is incredible in the resources and support they provide for artists and educators. we have already had many conversations with one another, the depth of which has churned my artista soul and kindled my fire for creation and art community.

(click on the pictures to make them bigger/better quality!!!)

This bridge (which once had a river flowing beneath it) once separated the city in two. On one side, poor (likely, indigenous) people; on the other, affluent people of colonial heritage. The bridge was open during the day for the domestic workers to cross over for work, but would close at night, so as to keep each population separate. If you did not pass the bridge in time at the end of the night, well, you were trapped.

This bridge (which once had a river flowing beneath it) once separated the city in two. On one side, poor (likely, indigenous) people; on the other, affluent people of colonial heritage. The bridge was open during the day for the domestic workers to cross over for work, but would close at night, so as to keep each population separate. If you did not pass the bridge in time at the end of the night, well, you were trapped.

Every colonial city has a "zócalo," basically a town square. All kinds of people gather here. You can seen young lovers, families, protests and demonstrations, or sit at a cafe and drink coffee. Here are Lora and I at the fountain.

Every colonial city has a “zócalo,” basically a town square. All kinds of people gather here. You can seen young lovers, families, protests and demonstrations, or sit at a cafe and drink coffee. Here are Lora and I at the fountain.

The cathedral in the zócalo was constructed beginning in 1575 (consecrated in 1649). It has a lot of baroque influences, and is the second largest cathedral in Mexico.

The cathedral in the zócalo was constructed beginning in 1575 (consecrated in 1649). It has a lot of baroque influences, and is the second largest cathedral in Mexico.

In the cathedral.

In the cathedral.

limosna

In the cathedral.

The main alter in the cathedral.

The main alter in the cathedral.

Typical street downtown.

Typical street downtown.

mariposa

Una mariposa – taking a bath in a puddle in the zócalo

There was a demonstration (protest?) happening in the zócalo when we were passing through. We couldn't tell what it was about exactly, but it had to do with police brutality and misappropriation of government funds. There was a string of signs hung between two lampposts, and this one in particular caught our eyes.

There was a demonstration (protest?) happening in the zócalo when we were passing through. We couldn’t tell what it was about exactly, but it had to do with police brutality and misappropriation of government funds. There was a string of signs hung between two lampposts, and this one in particular caught our eyes.

Taqueria taqueria!

Taqueria taqueria!

Lora lookin' all cute when we were in the cafe writing and talking.

Lora lookin’ all cute when we were in the cafe writing and talking.

Sitting in the cafe, writing, drawing patterns, drinking espresso.

Sitting in the cafe, writing, drawing patterns, drinking espresso.

mean face

Wrestlers at Lucho Libre, the Mexican wrestling event in Puebla. It happens every Monday, and we went on our first night at Arquetopia. HILARIOUS

yellow wrestler

A wrestler.

Sand installation (in progress) at the Museo Amparo.

Sand installation (in progress) at the Museo Amparo.

Michelada. Lime juice, Mexican beer, and a salted rim. YUMMM

Michelada. Lime juice, Mexican beer, and a salted rim. YUMMM

Our first try of mole poblano. Mole is originally from Mexico!

Our first try of mole poblano. Mole is originally from Mexico!

The terrace just outside our third floor studio space. This is the same building we live in.

The terrace just outside our third floor studio space. This is the same building we live in.

Another shot of the terrace.

Another shot of the terrace.

as I write now, on the third floor of the house, the studio space, I hear dogs barking (far and near), a woman with the megaphone selling empanadas (perhaps on a bicycle), and Jocelyn, another artist, taptaptapping powders of sorts as she works on her project. the sun is shyly obscured beyond some low clouds, and my belly is full of the traditional foods our housekeeper Maria makes us for dinner each day around 3pm. it’s only been since Sunday, and i want to stay forever. so many things to come!

haven’t written a poem yet. keep ya posted.

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