May 8, 2004
Sorry, a bit of a novel...Pictures at the end!
Wow, time really has flown by, I think the last time I wrote was
before we left for Mexico City a month ago! Vacation was wonderful.
We had the opportunity to stay with our friend from the US Embassy,
see a few sights around the city (Temple Mayor, Anthropology museum,
Frida Kahlo house). Then we picked up Reid's family and headed to
the beach at Chachalacas. We went on a few adventures with beaches,
other pyramids, rode some waves, made a trip up to El Tajin (a huge
ancient ruin city, made in the same style as the ruins near us in
San Miguel), and then headed back home for the rest of Semana Santa
Then, we spent the next few weeks working hard to get ready for
the 5 de Mayo celebration. The students worked extra hard, and got
more and more excited as we talked about what we were going to wear,
who was going to sit where, practicing ready positions and standing
after they played, setting up and tearing down the chairs and stands
(and who could do it the fastest). The festival turned out to be
quite the party. All the schools met in the center of town, each
with their own military band, and then marched around the town in
one long line behind a float depicting the victory over the French.
Then, back in the center the program included a number of dances,
traditional scenes, poems, songs, and finally, the first concert
of the San Miguel Tzinicapan band. The entire town had showed up
for the program and I was utterly amazed and relieved that every
single student showed up where they were supposed to be and on time.
The students did remarkably well, of course with a few of those
little mistakes that only seem to happen in concert. The public
loved it and took pictures (even a few video cameras). Esther mentioned
that a few women were chatting with eachother about their students-
one that was in the band, and the other mother was lamenting at
her foolish son for quitting after the first week (proud parents
are everywhere!) All in all, a wonderful first concert experience.
We have also begun to train a number of the older students about
simple repairs, going through the new theory books we bought them
with a donation from an Ole alum in Montana (as well as a bass drum,
cymbals, and other music), practicing some basic conducting and
setting up a new schedule for them to maintain on their own when
we leave on June 1st. It's hard to believe that we are preparing
them for this already. We are still working on finding someone else
to come down next year to continue to teach, but expect that we
will need to continue to work on that problem after we have returned
home (unless anyone out there knows of a band director that would
like hang out in the Mexican mountains and teach some awesome students
next year). It has already been hard thinking about saying goodbye-
so many of my students ask me why we are leaving, if we are coming
back, why arenít we coming back- I donít know how
many times we get teased about the fact that we should marry a good
Nauat and stay here- and I have no doubt that we would be taken
care of if we did stay. But, none of us can be split into two, and
I suppose I have to get home and face the "real world"
at some point.
Other than the band weíve had a few other little adventures-
a 6-hour hike where we found ourselves in the rainforest- hacking
through the jungle with the macheti and finding a number of amazing
waterfalls, taking Esther and Aylin swimming for the first time,
a caving trip with almost half the band (repelling with one rope
tied around a rock, crawling through spaces we could barely fit,
exploring huge caverns and formations), and of course, there are
the daily adventures with the HUGE insects that have begun to raid
our house with the hotter weather. I swear, I never thought a spider
could get that big, nor have to deal with them a few times a day!
Thereís this one that they call a spider, but compare it
to a scorpion (it has pinchers), and we had a nice family of them
hanging out in our kitchen the other night- the biggest one was
larger than Reidís hand!! But all in all, it is still a beautiful
place to live. And as always, you can see pictures of all of this
at the same site here.
THis time for some reason we cant figure out you have to sign in,
but you wont get a bunch of junk email. Sorry!
Hope everything is wonderful back home, and I will be seeing you
in a little over a month (Vamos a regresar el 16 de Junio)!