Austin, Texas (10 October 2008)

Still, the shock of American abundance remains. All the houses in our new community are e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s, 3500 square feet at least, up to six- or seven-, each constructed with carved stone, tiled roofing and stately crystal windows and perfectly manicured green lawns. The kitchen with an island gas burners has so much space, and we’ve got two refrigerators, two microwaves, two sinks, at least one couch in every room if not three or four, two dining rooms with their table settings (!!), shelves full of every conceivable brand new cookware and gadget, culinary mixer, coffeemaker, electric can opener, cheese grater, beautiful stainless chef knives, industrial blender, sink disposal (I’m told these blades can macerate chicken bones!!), poultry rotisserie, and a spice rack and a tool shed. The barbecue grill outside looks professional–I’ve never used it–six plastic chairs and sitting area outside for summer evenings to watch the birds come to our two feeders. Can it be humanly possible that this is all for me to use? All of this, to make me comfortable? …I felt a little horrified and privileged at the same time.

I am still astonished that the hot shower can be adjusted to comfort much less his-and-her bathroom sinks, a sitting room, a laundry room, a patio, a full stocked entertainment room, flat-screen TVs, (holy-cow we have a private projector system for slide shows!) And this being Texas, the air conditioning is on all the time and every single room has a fancy ceiling fan which is also on all the time…and it’s almost laughable how hearty and well-constructed the fireplace is, considering it is completely a superfluous garnish to a digitally-temperature-controlled house with five bedrooms. The Community Center acts more like a country club with a gym, with a coffee shop that has leather executive seats you can lean back in and people driving Mustangs for three blocks to the gym to exercise.

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…I started missing Chiapas, and all my friends who I’d just drop by and say hello. I missed the affection, the humility, the musty organic smells of the vegetable markets and people with missing teeth. There was something so wonderful about being the same as everybody else, having limited choices, and just finding the simple beauty of existence, even if showers were cold. So I gave myself a self-medicated dose of nostalgia by organizing my photos, set by set, place by place, reliving it. Thanks so much for reading my blog and my personal experiences, I believe this will be my last post regarding Chiapas.

Here are the photos, enjoy:

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Spanish Words of the Day:traspatio” patch garden | “tender” to tend to | “por ende” therefore, whereby | “reivindicar” to claim responsibility

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