Week four in another place is always when I begin to really really miss people I knew from home, even if they are not there right now. They are also abroad or away from home and thankfully for the internet we keep in touch once in a while. One very good friend in Madrid. A French colleague in Beijing. A Chinese friend in Indianapolis. One American in Taiwan. Another Korean-American in Malawi. An Indian-American friend in Beira, Mozambique whom I promised to visit soon, to laugh about times we had in Brazil. Sometimes we haven’t talked in years and it’s strange how people grow older but they still are the same. It’s surprising how over everyday little things, certain people can grow on you and you really remember how it used to be. Certain conversations, and I wonder why that is.

I include more photos of our team here, to let you see a few of the Ibero students who have come, and I will probably feel the same about them when they are long gone.

Javier, Pau, Cecilia, Diego, Ana, y Santiago

Javier, Paulina, Santiago, Diego, Cecelia, Ana y Diego

Gaby, Maki, Arely, Arlene y Valeria

Pedro, Petra, Daniel, Maki, Arlene, Marin, Aurora y Lucio

Here in Chiapas, Mexico… life is as organic and surreal and artistic as you can imagine. This morning I attended a local fiesta at Rancho LR at the estate of Flora Leila Edwards and her son Virgilio, and while the band played on and on, I just wandered all around their flourishing green house, the pastures and the rivers and had some really good conversations. And there was a sweet, mute girl who was so attuned to music and wanted to dance with me a hundred times. (Photos to follow soon.)

Still, for all the blessed abundance that Mexico offers, today I am a little weary of its expressive sensuality, its vibrant colors, its raw natural beauty, the starkness of its primitive-inspired indigenous art. I am a bit exhausted by the colonial buildings and cobblestone charm, a bit apprehensive of the fiestas and wood-carved crucifix or leather-cured boots. No more marimba.

Today I just want to retreat into my own space and be lulled by something more demure, less “Latino.”

Perhaps. Maybe something more Central Asian, perhaps inspired by refined desert, the taste of kebab soltani on my lips or perhaps the absence of guitar replaced by the sitar and the tabla against sitting cushions. What I would give right now for the feel of satin sand and perhaps Persian carpets, bazaars and medina souks instead of mercados, vintage things that stained aroma of tobacco that smell like sweet dried plums.

For a single day I implore, to exchange the Mayan women with braids and embroidery for the sophisticated tapestries and the demure but elegant Moroccan caftan stitched ever so precisely in brocade. Trade the paper lamps for beautiful crystal chandelier ones. And instead of adobe bricks and thatched roof… how I crave the courtyard riads with their gelatin colors of pretty ruby glass against tessellated fountains, and pillows upon velvet pillows in tiny mirrors. Just for a moment, strong mint tea. Muslim sensibility instead of Catholic cathedrals.

Today is the day I begin to miss another world, another interpretation, another language, and yet I am physically still here in the Chiapas Highlands. Yearning for exquisite contrast and exploration, but yet appreciative for tremendous privilege of Mexican friends and the daily experiences here. Not to renounce or cheapen my own rich world, but to see it through the eyes of a fresher perspective.

Besides drinking as many cups of Indian chai possible, I am grateful that with photography websites I can live vicariously for a moment… and so nourish another dimension of my being with visual sustenance. (Photos from My Marrakech, one of my private indulgences.)

Spanish Words of the Day: sortilegios, hechizos, hechicería” spells, charms | “cuenco” bowl, basin”laúd” lute | “juramento” oath | “papel charol, papel glacé” high-gloss paper

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