Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cartoon 3: El Metro, Whoa!

I am here in Mexico City until July 15th (my bday!:)) getting everything ready to leave:  [getting the van fixed up, designing and getting the portable aerial rig built, creating a show with Joaquín and Daniel that we can perform along the way to make some $, etc.]   And guess how lucky I am? A friend of a friend happens to desperately need to learn a little English because he is traveling to Germany for work! So I have a steady income for about a month! Yupiiiii!! Its interesting because for homework I asked my
student to bring in an article about the differences between folks in the US and folks here in Mexico. One of the things that the article noted about people from the US is that we base our lives around our work.  I guess in other places life revolves around family? spirituality? I'm not sure because I've never experienced anything different.  Anybody have an experience of this?  For me, I think its really true.  Having a regular job somehow makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing even though I may not believe in the work I'm doing or feel like I'm really pursuing my unique path.

Anyway, I ride the metro to and from my job and goodness gracious it is just crazy the quantity of people that are stuffed into these trains! And the informal economy is really strong here so every five seconds someone passes by selling something.  On the way here for example, I was offered BandAids, Klennex, lollipops, ink stamps, Disney coloring books, gum, permanent markers and bifocals.  With this comic I want to share a little laugh I had the other day when I remembered something that happened in the metro in New York.  A guy got on the metro with his drum and started singing Bob Marley's 'One Love' and the man next to me said 'Ugh! How annoying.' I think he felt like his personal space was being invaded.  The contrast just made me giggle, here people are so used to it. Its funny how a behavior in one place can be seen as so wrong while in another it's just plain normal.

Next week I'm going to tell you about something
amazing and beautiful that happened to me in the metro. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cartoon 2: A Declaration

Just before I left, I was sitting with a friend and telling him about my plans for the trip and yes also, as you can see, my worries. And he gave some of the best advice that I have ever tried to learn over and over.  With this cartoon I just want to normalize the self doubting worrying moments that I think everyone goes through.  I know that in other times in my life I have let my worries stifle me.  I truly believe that it is each of our duties  to express our insides [its especially easier for those of us from the US and other countries that highly emphasize individuality] I think thats why each of is here and we just have to let ourselves out! The beautiful, the ugly, the confused, the right, the wrong, and the whole process.   So this is my declaration:  I promise to say !$%# it and just write and draw whatever is in my mind and heart and trust that even if I am wrong, exposing my thoughts and ideas will be the best way to learn and grow.

P.S. I just meet the other guy who I will be traveling with! (We are three: Daniel, Joaquín, and I) We went to this huge 10 story public library and we were sitting at a conference table talking about how we are going to fit a stove and a gas tank and circus equipment and guitars and tents and sleeping bags and food and clothes all into a Volkswagen van and a police woman with a HUGE attitude came up to us. She had already passed by like 3 times to tell us to do or not do different things.  This time, she said 'Could you kindly put your shoes on? You know, for sanitary purposes.' And Daniel began to debate with the police officer about the fact that our feet are probably way more sanitary than our shoes. Ha it was great!  To me this situation speaks to a possible cultural difference in how we perceive laws or representatives of the law.  I was riding with another friend of mine the other day and a police officer tried to give us a ticket and she simply said, 'No, señor, it's not right.' and they argued until he finally just got fed up and let us go.  Often here if you are caught breaking a law, the police officer will ask you for a 'mordida' (a little bite), a bribe, and you pay him/her and you go free.  But, if you can argue well enough or convince them that you don't have the money, they may let you go anyway. So laws are flexible here... This makes me think about how 'Americans' are in general and I feel like the structuredness and relative rigidity of the laws in the US encourages us as people to be more structured/solid/stiff? in comparison to other cultures in the world. Here in Mexico I find people, just like their laws, to be flexible with their timing, their work, doing what they say they will, etc. So these days I'm wonderin' are our laws a reflection of us or are we a reflection of our laws...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cartoon 1: Where are all the tumbleweeds?

So...okay wow here I am. Yesterday I arrived in Mexico City  and I am reminded of the experience I had the first time I came to Mexico. I know its called Mexico CITY but somehow somewhere in my consciousness I expected to see cactuses and tumbleweeds and desert and well yes...mariachis.  But no, walking the streets I see punks, yuppies, hippies, businessmen and women, skaters, rockers and everything in between.  Come to find out that Mexico City is actually 3 times the size of New York. So from the first moments of my trip my subconscious perceptions, my ignorances are reveled, accepted and blown out of the water.
On that note, its time for me to say goodbye.  Goodbye to a common language, gestures, way of understanding the world, history, way of defining success, value, work.  Goodbye to American "black" people and "white" people and the dense common history that has been so deeply present for me everyday of my life growing up in the south. Goodbye to the potent diversity of cultures from all over the world that we have the opportunity to enjoy in the U.S.  Goodbye to blonde bobby pins (they almost don't sell them here) Goodbye to instant hot water (in most public places there's just cold water and in most of the houses that I've been, to save energy they only turn on the water heater when they are about to shower).  And even goodbye to  idea of being "American" because most people here wouldn't call me that (in their vision we are all American as we all live on the American continent).
Goodbye to the amazing people that make up the U.S., I carry with me memories of generosity, brilliant creativity, dedication to justice, and a deep sense of rootedness in community. These memories will nourish me in every moment of my journey...