Staying and going

This year I have fostered the perhaps unhealthy habit of moving on when I don’t know what to do with myself, or say or do some number of wrong or embarrassing things. These things happen on a daily basis here. But I’ve paid a month of rent (until mid November), and it is probably good to start practicing not indulging this inclination anyway. Some days I enjoy the people I’m with and have plenty to do and feel like I’m learning and making improvements in my ability to converse, and others I am just lonely and awkwardly stalling through the day, hoping no one asks me much. 

(‘Vas a comer con nosotros’ is always a good thing to be asked) I quite like the folks I am staying with. Occasionally we have dinner all together. Fidel and I are quiet and in fact almost never speak to each other otherwise. Loranka and Rodolfo have been patient and helpful and whatnot, and Citlali I love and hang out with her whenever possible.

I have definitely made progress in my ability to exist verbally. Situations where I expect people to talk to me and want responses are no longer so scary, I can navigate the market and restaurants and ask for things even if I don’t know they exist and walk into spaces that I don’t totally know what to expect in with little apprehension. I can have conversations with patient people, and I can, with a combination of pointing, gesturing, and words, (often effectively) teach some bike things in the shop I have been volunteering in. 

I was told you guys want more pictures that I am in, so here is a photo of the shop that I happen to be in. I have been asked if I only work on wheels, because I often seem to be, but sometimes I am elsewhere. Additionally featured are Lynneal and Eme.

  

Most days we share a meal in the afternoon, which is lovely. This picture is from my first day here.

  

Giovanni lives across the street and comes by often. Occasionally he can be focused to a thing.

 

It is important for me to remember that I asked to be lonely. That I’ve left everyone who has ever tried to care about me. It is all well and good to feel a little jealous of stable people, but it is good to be practical, too, and thus far I’ve shown no inclination towards existing happily as a stable, committed person. It is different to stay in one place for a while without intending to stay long term- I can get to know people much more than if I am just passing through for a few days, but it is still inherently temporary. I am past being new and exciting and having everything explained to me, but I haven´t been here long enough to totally understand everything happening around me. That said, it is getting easier. 

The walk signals, where they can be found, feature figures walking, and as the time gets shorter they move faster! Which amuses me.

  

Hanging out outside of the Bird Clinic in Parque Agua Azul

  

There are some excellent murals in this city.

Last weekend  a bunch of us went to Leon for the Congreso Nacional de Ciclismo Urbano. There were maybe 40 of us? which is enough to charter a bus, which met us in a convenient place and dropped us where we wanted to be, and which we shoved all our bikes into the storage area of, early on a wet Friday morning. Congreso is a bit more formal than Bike!Bike! with a string of presentations all day in the auditorium of a university, it largely didn’t feel so participatory (to me). There was also sometimes a person teaching some bike techniques, tricks, self defense etc, outside. And lots of group rides and parties. I was a bit nervous about how much I’d be able to understand, which was well founded, but I talked to some new people, and learned some things, and left Jalisco.

 

Here are a few of us from Guadalajara, in front of the arch in Leon (note the lion) on our lunchtime adventure to find where some of us were staying.

  

Here is Cess explaining the community shop. Note, many of my photos are stolen, I have been very bad about taking pictures, this is always true when I see that other people are taking pictures, and often otherwise, too.

 I’ve been thinking a bit about the question, what is place? Why don’t I feel attached to anywhere? How do I travel and meet people in new places and not just feel less and less like I belong anywhere? What does it mean to be somewhere anyway? How do you respect tradition and character while working for change? And who am I to think I understand how things should change anyway? A place is not the same for everyone existing in it. A place is the land and climate, the layout, structure, the rules-legal and social- and how they are regarded, it is the people there now and the people who existed before, and the way change happens there. It is probably a lot more than that.  

And maybe occasionally I remember that I can probably go anywhere and do anything and if I want to at some point be settled in a place and build a thing to care about it would be ok to start thinking about what that could look like. But for now, I think I’m getting towards time to move on and trying to plan my escape route. 

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2 Responses to Staying and going

  1. Michaela says:

    Stable people is a facade; life in inherently unstable- that’s the fun!
    You are a joy to be around and I am sure hoping our paths cross again soon~ I learned so much~ the world needs kind and patient teachers in life

  2. Lucia says:

    Aryn!!!!
    I just got caugh-up reading your blog! Glad to see that you’ve had an enjoyable time in Mexico and its surrounding! I think you are being too hard on yourself -there’s nothing wrong with trying to find yourself and that which fulfills you as a person.

    I know someone who is constantly been bike touring for 3 1/2 years through Europe & Asia, and who just recently mentioned that he’s finally ready to look for a place to settle down. So…. you’re not alone, and you’re not being selfish. You’re being responsible to being honest to your own self -something that sometimes other people lack.

    I miss you, but are also equally excited to see you roam the world 🙂
    Where next? If you go to Mexico City, you gotta stop and meet my Dad 🙂 I can give you a list of “Lucia’s greatest hits” places to go to 🙂

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