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The last few weeks have been a hive of activity here in SMA. Not only is it busy season at work, but we’re in the process of packing up as we prepare to return to the UK.
One of the highlights was the opportunity to hear David Ebershoff, author of ‘The Danish Girl’ speak about the process of writing his first novel and turning his words into the award winning movie. He is a delightful authentic speaker and it was such a joy to meet him.
We’ve also had the usual flurry of final dinner parties with friends and visits from friends from the UK and US.
Last month we headed up to Southern California for a little work and a little play with friends. We spent 5 days in the LA area visiting friends, exploring Santa Barbara boardwalk and running errands.
We then headed down to the San Diego area and stayed with a wonderful family in Rancho Santa Fe…gorgeous area. A true highlight was making new friends and exploring a part of the country I know little about.
With our departure from Mexico fast approaching the last few weeks have been a flurry of activity. To celebrate our birthdays last month, our dear friends (practically family!) Susan and Larry took us to visit nearby Bernal. Founded in 1642, Bernal is best known
Founded in 1642, Bernal is best known by the monolith rock that dominates the skyline. At a height of over 1,000 ft, people come from all over the region to climb the rock. For some it’s a pilgrimage as there is a chapel at the top of the rock. While we didn’t have the energy to climb the rock, we did marvel at it’s magnificent presence over the town.
Instead we enjoyed a long lingering lunch, some ‘light’ shopping and a relaxed wander around town.
As the events of the incoming US President’s inauguration unfolded in Washington DC yesterday, around the world millions of men, women, and children were preparing to march today. With the words of Helen Eddy’s fabulous song ‘I am Woman’ ringing in our ears we came together to roar!
Today we marched because we believe that women’s rights are human rights. We marched because we believe that we need to build bridges, not walls. We need to create a world in which ALL women are free and able to care for their families in a safe envionment. We marched in support of Reproductive Rights, LGBT Rights, Civil Rights, Worker Rights, Immigrant Rights and Environmental Justice. Progress has been made but it’s not enough and it’s under threat.
We marched because the new president of the USA doesn’t believe in any of this and has indeed belittled, put down and assaulted women. He is not transparent about his dealings and taxes and has not given the world any assurance that he knows what he’s doing. Indeed he has no integrity, no sense of fairness and few ethics. His ideas to build walls and force Muslims to register are designed to divide rather than unify.
He has openly attacked other nations in a manner that is far from diplomatic. But why should we care…we aren’t US citizens and we didn’t vote in the election. As usual US journalist Dan Rather sums up why we care and why the rest of the world are watching. Read his latest post here.
Over the last year I’ve taken time to listen to the voices of the few friends who did vote for him (which I can count on one hand) because they believe that Trump will ‘Make America Great Again.’ But at what cost? The qualities and ethics of true leadership have been ignored in favour of a narcissistic bully.
For me, my biggest issue is that it seems he doesn’t believe in democracy and wants to coerce and control. Democracy requires leadership with integrity and the ability to make informed decisions based on facts and solid manifestos…not rhetoric and fear mongering. Many of my friends and family in the USA will not stand for this and neither will those of us across the rest of the world. Each us, individually and collectively, has a responsibility to stand up to fear and loudly declare NOT IN OUR NAME! We have to fight hate with LOVE!
I’m tired of being turned down for jobs, passed over for promotions or being paid less than my male colleagues because of my gender (although this that hasn’t happened to me in a long time). I’m tired of being portrayed as the weaker sex…we’re far from it! I’m tired of seeing women being persecuted, molested, assaulted…or worse. I’m tired of girls being told that they can’t achieve because of their gender. NO MORE.
The world is entering a new age of activism. We will rise. We will use our voices well. We will support those organisations supporting women’s rights. We will challenge our leaders more and we will not sit back and watch from the comfort of our own homes.
I am incredibly proud and grateful for my husband, Matt. He’s a secure man who supports a strong woman! Today we both marched with our friends here in San Miguel de Allende. A small but mighty group of some 1,000 people marched and it was humbling and emotional to be a part of the crowd.
Throughout the day we’ve watched the march in DC and looked at the hundreds of photos our friends around the world have posted on social media of their own acts of solidarity – all over the USA, Berlin, Auckland, Sydney, London, Paris, Mexico City, Dublin, Edinburgh and many more. At least 600 marches took place worldwide – the largest post-inauguration march in history. Friends in 42 cities worldwid took part. And all took place peacefully.
Most of all, I marched for those super strong women who have gone before us. For my Mum, Mumsy (Matt’s Mum), Grannie-Mum, Nanna Ash, Ciaran, Ning, Bente…all women who have passed on but who each taught me important lessons in womanhood, standing up for what you believe, being in community and loving unconditionally. Today we stood on their strong shoulders.
I also marched for our Sacred France sisters and brothers who have – over the last couple of years – provided such powerful feminine energy, a sense of family and a global community. Many of our little community marched in other parts of the world and I’ve loved seeing all their photos.
And I marched to honour the rights my LGBT friends- particularly my ex-husband Joseph and his husband Eduardo who have had to sacrifice so much for the marriage that they have today. I hope that their rights are not diminished in the USA under the new administration but we just don’t know. To say that nothing is going to change is naive and irresponsible.
This morning I woke up wondering what Mum would have written on her sign today had she been marching with us….’I can’t believe we’re STILL having to fucking do this!’ But here we are.YES we will. WE RISE!
What’s next? Each of us, in our own way, must continue to challenge, to love and to grow through the next four years. For me, my job affords me the opportunity to plant seeds of democracy in workplaces and see them flourish. Now more than ever we have to continue to do this. And most of all….I’ll strive to hate less and LOVE more!
I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!
We had a great time ringing in 2017 here in San Miguel starting with a party on our dear friends rooftop overlooking the Paroquia in the centre of town followed by a slumber party back home. Great views, great people, lots of fun. Here’s a bit of a sketchy video of the fireworks but you get the gist!
We became honorary Texans for the day. In the South of the USA there is a tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Years Day as a mark of prosperity. This is a tradition Joseph takes very seriously but given that he doesn’t cook…and his usual ‘go-to black eye peas chef’ was out of town (who also happens to be Scottish!) – it was down to me to cook them this year. Following Linda’s recipe, we soaked the dried peas in beer overnight. We drained these the next morning and then fried up some onions, garlic, ham hock and bacon and a few spices before adding the peas and chicken stock to the pan and cooking them for HOURS until they were deliciously soft. I also made a big vat of chilli, rice, cornbread, guac, spinach and artichoke dip, salad and brownies. Enough to feed 30 hungry mouths yesterday afternoon…and then some!
2016 has been a landmark year for us in so many ways. Dissatisfied with our lives in the UK and missing our Mexican family – Joseph and Eduardo – we took a massive leap of faith and moved to Mexico back in January.
At the time we had no idea how long we’d stay or how things would pan out for us. All we knew is that we wanted to get out of the UK for a while and most of all – have more time together.
While most the world has been seemingly in turmoil (and there have been challenges for us here), it’s been the small things that have buoyed us and made the most meaning in our lives. The opportunity to make new friends, be a part of a new community, spend time with our nearest and dearest here, laugh, cry and have lots of fun have been the most meaningful parts of our time here. I can’t believe it’s drawing to a close as we head back to the UK in March…that’s another story.
I can’t begin to thank Joseph, Eduardo, Susan, Larry and Zack the dog for being our family here. Words can’t express the depth of love we have for each one and such gratitude for how they’ve embraced us this year. We love them all dearly. Sure, we’re not your typical ‘family’ but I’ve learnt that over the years it’s those that love you unconditionally, warts and all, that make family – not blood. That’s not to say my family back in the UK don’t mean a lot to us too!
Tonight we’ll be seeing in the new year on a rooftop overlooking the cathedral – with the best view of the fireworks! Most of all we’re looking forward to precious time with our Mexican family and friends!So as we say Adios to 2016, we are looking forward to a year of LIMITLESS GROWTH in 2017….
My hope for 2017 is that the world can find a greater sense of peace, empathy and compassion. I don’t know how things are going to turn out with Brexit or Trump’s presidency. I’m done with feeling angry about the state of the world. Only more love, less hate and less judging is going to help us to find a greater sense of peace. I look forward to a day when we can ALL appreciate and embrace the rich diversity in our world.
So as we say Adios to 2016, we are looking forward to a year of LIMITLESS GROWTH in 2017….
More walks up that darn hill!