It should be noted that -I grew up in Georgia. Winter has not yet lost its magic for me, even after nine years living “up north”. While it can be hard to find motivation in the cold, to go out with the ice, tiring to be cold, I still appreciate every year. Except this one.
It has been weird to skip winter. I keep thinking about winter projects (something one does when there is less inclination to be outside and less work to do) and then remembering that I am planning for next winter. My sense of what dates have already passed is also quite out of whack.
While I have overheated and find the sun alarmingly high in the sky, I have also been in some chilly places. Even within a state, as one may expect, terrain and climate can vary drastically. There have been some cold nights and chilly days even. I have been asked, is the United States cold? Even colder than here? Yes friends, parts* of Mexico are quite chilly, and some, but not all, of the US can be much colder.
* For some examples: the morning out of Toluca I quite missed my gloves, and in San Cristobal and surely many other mountain towns one will definitely want a jacket after dark (if not also before).
On a totally different note, my Spanish is improving and it feels easier to talk to people, but I also feel less inclined to prove that I can when people address me that I don’t care to converse with. It is a sappy, romantic place, Mexico. A bit over dramatic, if you ask me-which I do not have to enjoy, just acknowledge- sometimes listening to music or witnessing the ever present open display of affection or clingyness is a bit gross to me. There are many things I like there but the dominant manner of displaying affection is not one of them.
Around the beginning of the year I decided to stop talking to men. This is not totally possible, but I avoid them. I am tired of being asked about my boyfriend-and being largely uninterested in lying about having one, then being asked, oh, so you are looking for a boyfriend! If this came up more rarely perhaps I could stand hearing about how much safer I would be with a man, or happier or who will take care of me when I am old?, or for explaining that I am actually pretty happy as a single woman, that I have not, in fact, just been waiting for a man to show some interest in me. And so I am finally trying to take more responsibility for the way I interact with people. Which mostly just comes down to not engaging with people that I don’t have interest in engaging with, because chatting is apparently an invitation for more, and while it isn’t totally unreasonable-I guess that is how this works, I can’t fault people for their directness-if it isn’t what I’m looking for I can’t assume that others won’t be. If I don’t want to explain my disinterest over and over, then I should avoid having to. I have met some pleasant men, don’t get me wrong, but most of them I have met through women. A good way to recognize a man worth talking to is that he is friends (not a euphemism, if you don’t have female friends, do not talk to me) with women that I want to be friends with. That said, I think I am becoming a more thoughtful feminist than I have been in the past, and I have met some really rad women.
In San Cristobal de las Casas, Lorena had no problem asking me to make lunch, run errands with or for her, paint signs for the shop or even at times man it while everyone else went to get supplies or whatever. This was great. I felt useful and enjoyed the time I had with folks there. I had expected something similar in Merida, but in fact often just felt in the way. This is, perhaps, a lesson in expectations management.Edit
I will tell you briefly what I know about Yucatan peninsula. It is a relatively young area of land, having been coral reef until the last ice age when water levels dropped. This means there is a layer of limestone. Cenotes are pools of fresh water formed by underground waterways which worked away at the limestone. Some are nearly perfectly round, open ones may be deep straight walled where robes have collapsed, though there are many which are deep caves with only small entrances. They are lovely. The Peninsula was relatively separate from the rest of the country, and has a differing history with regards to the Spanish dominance of
indigenous people-and at points they were kicked out almost entirely. There are some cathedrals and such in Valladolid and I’m sure elsewhere, only that someone pointed it out to me there- built from the stones of the dismantled pyramids. At one point war was declared on Mexico and won- and though I believe the peninsula didn’t end up seceding, the defeat was used to leverage more independence in governance. There are still many people who speak Maya and many Mayan words in general use, and
display an obvious pride in keeping their culture alive.The peninsula was for a long time not well connected to the rest of the country. They did have more ports, though, and were well connected to the other parts of the world by sea.
A short flight dropped me in Florida where I have spent a few days with my grandparents, and thinking about reasons to be excited about spring apart from as a break from the winter weather I did not experience this year.
Pittsburgh still has some winter left!!! 🙂