In the first week, I began photographing and writing. Anything that catches my eye.

We had a lunch at and old friend of Ámbar’s. Veronica is a jeweler that works primarily with turquoise and amber, her husband makes traditional drums and beautiful relief-carvings of wood. I have always dreamed of a home like theirs…they rent a spacious adobe house, beautiful gardens, and a loft with a city view. Everything is handmade: cowboy hats, . The family has four precious daughters. Since elder two are in Jalapa and the other is in France, only Elizabeth remained with us for a wonderful late lunch. Understated countryside elegance with a touch of France: a soup made of lentils and cheese, an organic salad of arugula and sprouts, a crusted pie of chile poblano or chile relleno, a sumptuous dessert of flan and fruit pie. While Ámbar found herself in Chiapas at the age of twenty-four, Veronica fell in love with a chapateco in France when she was eighteen and moved here at the age of twenty-one. Her home felt very cozy, with the fireplace ablaze and drawings and portraits hanging on the walls. A dreamcatcher here, bluemarine vases there, stained glass windows. I like how natural she is, the warmth that emanates from her life.

I learned about the art of soap-making today, since most of the soaps are made from olive oil, salt and sodium hydroxide, with the essence of flower oils such as lavender and for the fragrance. Since this batch was not made with coconut oil, the soaps don’t sud with bubbles. Due to the rains here, the salt has made the bars quite moist, and Elizabeth thought that it was lip moisturizer.

When friends tell me that they’re learning Spanish, I tell them they have to come to places like Chiapas. If you begin your mornings building a bonfire, and reading Pablo Neruda’s poetry aloud to one another, if from the kitchen window your view is of the delicate transparent petals of fog creep over the mountains, it’s easy to remember the word neblina. There is nothing more natural-sounding for the phenomena we experience in the mornings than the cool wetness of neblina. Nothing more comfortable than bringing in leña and feeling the fogón radiate its intense heat into the kitchen. Outside, under rain you smell the light herbal aroma of romero, tomillo, mejorana, salvia and yerbabuena, and you collect a few ramas for the chicken soup in the iron-cast caldera while tortillas are toasting over the burning comal. Yes, I miss the microwave, especially on those days I just want to reheat the meals, but everything is richly slow, and rustic. I learn what it is to cocer.

Caldo de lentejas

Amor, una pregunta / te ha destrozado. / Yo he regresado a ti / desde la incertidumbre con espinas. / Te quiero recta como / la espada o el camino / Pero te empeñas / en guardar un recodo / de sombra que no quiero. / Amor mío / compréndeme / te quiero toda, / de ojos a pies, a uñas, / por dentro, / toda la claridad, la que guardabas. Soy yo, amor mío / quien golpea tu puerta. / No es el fantasma, no es / el que antes se detuvo / en tu ventana. / Yo echo la puerta abajo: / Yo entro en toda tu vida: / vengo a vivir en tu alma: / tú no puedes conmigo.Tienes que abrir puerta a puerta, / tienes que obedecerme, / tienes que abrir los ojos / para que busque en ellos, / tienes que ver cómo ando / con pasos pesados / por todo los caminos / que, ciegos, me esperaban / No me temas, / soy tuyo / pero / no soy el pasajero ni el mendigo, / soy tu dueño, / el que tú esperabas, / y ahora entro / en tu vida, / para no salir más, / amor, amor, amor, / para quedarme.

Spanish Words of the Day: “Anhelar.” To yearn for, to long for | “Detalle,” a small gift you bring to someone’s house.

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