Summer of 2018! What an amazing summer! It started off with a 3-week visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The reason? Two family weddings in a period of two weeks! My last visit back home was three years ago, and I felt a strong need for connection to family and to my roots. It started right away with the first word in Spanish and the first hug to a loved one at the airport. I needed a few days to adjust to the time change, to the food and some other “small” details, such as, the higher noise level, the crazy traffic, the daily rush on the streets and of course to the Argentinian politics. Once I got the sense of it, I was ready to enjoy the trip!
Visiting "El Caminito" in La Boca, Buenos Aires.
I was amazed to realize how much I missed the daily connection to my family, the ease of speaking my language, and to realize that I still have and share a collective mannerism with everyone else on the streets. There are precious memories of my childhood in every corner of this big city.
3 Argentinian icons: Maradona, Evita and Gardel, (Tango singer) at "El Caminito", Buenos Aires.
With my mother and my boys at a famous "Pizzeria".
The visit was filled with long walks to interesting places such as local fairs, to free amazing museums, a guided visit to my elementary school, Argentinian movies and plays, and with family gatherings (with lots of great food, of course). It was hard to say good bye, especially knowing that the next visit will likely happen in a few years...
Last day in Buenos Aires, with my family, brother & mom.
A few days back home, and then, another suitcase packed (this time with summer clothes) to travel to Mexico. The reason for the trip was to promote the work I have been doing with a group of Oaxacan artisans. I decided to invite my son Liam to join me. We spent 5 wonderful days in Mexico City! I was amazed by the size of the city, especially because I thought that being a "porteña" (born and raised in Buenos Aires) I knew what a big city was! I was wrong! We couldn't see everything we planned because the city was so big and there was so much to do!
A view of the "Centro", Mexico City
My son Liam at a local market, Mexico City.
The place that inspired me the most in México City was..."Casa Azul"- Frida Kahlo's home. The evening before our visit, we decided to watch the movie "Frida". Liam was familiarized with the work of Frida but he didn't have a background to her personal life. Watching the movie got us in a special mood that shadowed us the following day, the day of our visit. I dressed in blue for the occasion!
The Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House for the structure's cobalt-blue walls, is a historic house museum and art museum dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Liam and I took an Uber to the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood of Coyoacán very early in the morning. There was already a long line up and the excitement of all the visitors was in the air. The beautiful corner painted in a striking blue awaken my senses right away. At the entrance there were huge piñatas hanging from the ceiling, and I already knew that I will love this place!
The entrance to Casa Azul, Coyoacán, Mexico City.
The whole house was built around an inner patio, filled with beautiful plants. Each room walked us into Frida's world and life, offering a deeper understanding of her suffering. There was unique work in display (that I have never seen before) as well as her personal belongings, such as her day & night beds, clothes, jewelry and of course, her studio. There were quotes written on the walls as well as poems that gave us a sense of what Frida felt and thought.
"Frida y Diego vivieron en esta casa", Frida and Diego lived in this house.
I was deeply touched by the visit to Casa Azul because I could see and feel the suffering of Frida through her work, her daily life and through her own words.
Long after we left the house, I kept asking myself the reasons so many people relate to Frida. I believe that people need to create a connection to artists in order to understand their pain and after an understanding is formed, they can appreciate their work. The journey of an artist is not a straight line. There are many ups and downs, many challenges, pain and suffering and hard decisions to make. Through her story, we understand that we are all humans, having a human experience, with human bodies that are imperfect and lives that are imperfect. This realization holds so much beauty and truth.
Feeling happy and inspired in this wonderful place.
I will finish this blog with a poem. My gift to you:
I can not walk
I can not see
further than what
is in front of me.
I lay on my back
yet I do not cry
transported in space
by the butterflies.
Above my bed
with the wings you sent
within my sight.
All pain dissolves
in another light.
by the butterflies.
This little song came to me,
as I stood
beside the bed of Frida.
(Poem written on one of the walls at Casa Azul)
"The stories you believe to be true are the ones your life will become"
with love, Jazmin