1. Having a rooster for an alarm clock.
2. The smell of ripe mangos in the market in season, so thick I could almost take a bite out of the air and be satisfied.
3. The cave of white and magenta bougainvillea in our front yard, filled with cheeping birds.
4. In Salina Cruz, seeing the Istmeña women, short and wide and freaking gorgeous in their boxy embroidered blouses and long skirts floating in the wind.
5. The tender shapes of the hills and mountains around our house, like loaves of bread and breasts and pregnant women lying down.
6. Marigolds on Day of the Dead.
7. Tacos and leche arroz at eleven p.m. on the way home from the airport.
8. My little students’ pride when they form a sentence in English that I have not explicitly taught them: “I don’t like boys!” “My mom is excellent!”
|On the way to the market.|
9. Walking to the market in Tlacochahuaya, recognizing and greeting just about every person I see.
10. Seeing horses and cows and donkeys every day, just going about my business.
11. Fresh tortillas. (OKAY, IBIS? I WILL MISS FRESH TORTILLAS. YA CÁLLATE.)
12. The green-misted-with-purple of fields of blooming alfalfa.
13. Waking through our bedroom and thinking, “I gave birth to Isaias right…here.”
14. Looking down on the valley from the Zapotec ruins of Dainzu, and wondering what the people who built these stone walls felt, looking at this same view.
15. Being called Tere, and Teresita, and ‘manita, and mi reina, mi vida, mi nena, mi corazón.
16. The smell of rain.
17. The color of adobe bricks as the sun’s coming up.
18. Little old ladies with long braided hair woven with satin ribbons.
19. How you can buy anything in the world at the Tlacolula market on Sunday mornings: live turkeys, nail clippers adorned with unicorns and rainbows, rat poison on paper plates with photocopied labels reading ‘The Last Supper’, cookie cutters in the shapes of houses, pigs, and horses made from cut tin cans, embroidered purses, boiled sweet potatoes, seeds, real gold jewelry, fake gold jewelry, pirated DVDs, potty chairs, bowls made of dried gourds, barbequed goat, matches, clothespins, machetes, candelabras, chairs, speckled eggs, fresh-cut flowers…
20. Sitting in graceful old colonial buildings with courtyards and fountains while on the most mundane of errands.
21. Knowing all my neighbors' names, and all their business, and having them know mine.