So I promised Lily and Julián, and myself, that I would write more. I suppose the most current update is that Miss Lily Avery came to visit me this week. Lily and I had an amazing adventure. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting her, she is a fantastically charming and wonderful individual.
Let’s stand back and look at this situation for a moment: I have a friend who loves me enough to purchase a ticket to visit me (yes, I do keep perspective and realize that I am in MEXICO, which is a big pull), to gather an entire backpack of American commodities from other friends and family all over Asheville: sesame sticks, cards, mixed CDs, CHOCOLATE, cookies, seeds, Korean socks (thanks Laura!) and books, then spend the entire week telling me how fabulous I am. No, certainly all of those sweet breads and fried quesadillas have made you no fatter than when you left. Yes, you are in fact undervaluing yourself – you should speak up more and do what you want even if you risk offending someone! Good work! You’re nice! A therapist is a lot more expensive and you can’t go out for ice cream nearly as often. I can’t believe I have such an insightful, hilarious and caring friend in my life. I’m so grateful!
So, as per usual, I’ll start with the food. She got in on Monday and we immediately went for shots. Cross my heart it was Beto’s idea, not ours (for once). He helped me pick Lily up from the bus station. Apparently these are very cultural shots – pasitas – with raisin and cheese garnishes. Then we picked up tortas, which are sandwiches with egg and cheese or chilies, which we saved for later, which I managed to burn upon reheating, so we will forget the first food experience and move on to Tuesday. We wandered around Cholula and I showed her the pyramid and the zócalo (town square) and then I whisked her off to Tecuanipan so I could teach class. I think the bus ride in itself was quite an experience. She met some of the neighbors and wandered around shooting the volcano while I tried to keep up with my students in long-division. Then we went for ice cream in Atlixco, where she was disgusted by my choice in avocado. I wanted some adventure, and you’re going to tell me that you’ll come all the way to Mexico and go for strawberry? Hmph. She loved the pozole – the hominy soup that is common here, although she managed to avoid tasting the pig snout. It tasted like, well, pig. But gummier. Bleah.
Wednesday we went into Puebla to fart around and take pictures of gorgeous buildings and couples making out in public. After being literally chased down by hostesses with samples of mole, we decided that the Parian tourist district was not really the casual lunch vibe we were pursuing and found a little corner restaurant where I convinced her that a molete with huitlacotzche was her best option for lunch. Translation: fried quesadilla with cheese and corn fungus. Go ahead, ask Lily about her favorite meal in Mexico.
Wednesday night I had class with my English student. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that. I have an English student – his name is Fransisco and he works for Volkswagon as a mechanical engineer and I am tutoring him in conversational skills. Lily, Fransisco and I chatted for almost 2 hours over tostadas and picaditas – it was the best class I’ve had with him so far. Already Thursday? Dang! Whirlwind tour of churches around Cholula with my fabulous friends Blanca and Julian. Did you know that Cholula is the oldest city in Mexico? It used to be the religious pilgrimage site of all of the surrounding areas. There are 365 churches Puebla, and each church has a day to celebrate, thus, one celebration (gunshots (and the occasional cannon), rose pedals, parade) every day of the year. We stepped into some Baroque churches without a single meter of space free of gold relief. The entire interior was woven with gold – golden patterns, golden flowers and fruits, golden babies. I found my mouth literally gaping open from wonder and awe, but then I had to keep myself from gagging at the ostentation of the display. Outside, Lily made a special puppy friend with a constipation problem. You just barely skirted disaster there, Dumptruck – she almost brought him home. After class again we popped over to Frisbee practice, which was a definite highlight. Props to Avery for going barefoot. We played until it was too dark to differentiate Richie from his brother Edgar, and I kept throwing scores to Beto on the opposing team (maybe it was my subconscious hucking). The frisbee boys and I showed Lily to Container City, where the two of us fell into our familiar tequila groove. J We rocked out to American cover bands and laughed a lot. Pictures to be screened and posted pronto.
That night I got very very ill. I had dreams about wild pigs and shivered a lot. This is the third time I have had a stomach issue since moving to this great state. But I’ve become anti-antibiotic because by this point my body is probably growing a super bacteria that looks like the cockroach man in MIB. But I also can’t get a hold of a holistic doctor before I shrivel up like a prune and die. So, I’m on day 4 and I’ll keep you posted. Friday was pretty mellow, and we naturally went to Mexico City on Saturday anyway because, well, I love a challenge. While most people time their vacations around the holidays or nice beach weather, I choose to schedule mine whenever I have chronic diarrhea. We did miss out on the ruins and instead spent a marvelous time wandering the streets of Mexico City with my friends from the beach. We meandered through Bellas Artes – the opera house made of marble, waved hello to Ursula, Lady Gaga and Elvis (our visit coincided with the Mexico City gay pride march which meant fabulous costumes, lots of prancing and no public restrooms anywhere), bought an eggroll in Chinatown (no luck on special stomach herbs) and then finally wound up at a bar to watch the Gold Cup Finals between Mexico and the U.S. Lily and I were bipartisanally excited the entire time, especially when Mexico won. Lalo purchased a huge Mexican flag and we drove around the town square with it until it got caught in the tire and broke Pedro’s finger. I slept in the back of the car for the next three hours while the boys hung out in the hospital…
Lily caught her flight the next morning, and I booked it back to Cholula to greet our new volunteer, Maggie. Most of what I have written wasn’t half of what’s going on in my head. Lily said so many inspiring, thought-provoking and hilarious things that I am still whirling trying to grasp everything that she made me think this past week. We took a dip into the Asheville pool of memories and affection (and gossip). She made me look more closely at the world I’m living in; she made me laugh deeply and appreciate so profoundly the friends that I have been blessed with on each continent. I think I’ll go meditate on that for a while cuz my head is going too fast for the rest of me to keep up. Miss you already, Lily!