Sunday, February 23, 2014

learning spanish again

Our contact, George, in SLP (San Luis Potosi) asked if we spoke any Spanish.  When I told him that my high school Spanish was pretty rusty and Fred has only learned enough words, like "bano" and "una cervesa por favor", to survive, he suggested that we find Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish.  I found the book!  Her first sentence says we know several thousand Spanish words even if we have never studied Spanish before.  Of course many are spelled the same or almost the same, but pronounced slightly or quite differently!  I also pulled out my Immersion Spanish CD's that we purchased before our last trip to Mexico.   I'm trying so spend time everyday on my Spanish.  We'll see when we get there how much I can understand! 

Every trip we take I like to find out more about a place before we go.  Sometimes I'm lucky enough to find a novel set in the local or non fiction histories.  This trip I'm studying my Spanish, searching the web for historical information about SLP and asking everyone I know about their Easter Traditions.  Semana Santa translates to Holy Week.  It is a many layered event from our lets going skiing, Easter Vacation level, to deeply felt passion plays and processions of silence.  I hope to see how artistic expressions create depth and flavor to these events at many levels.

For myself Easter has always been a celebration of the coming of spring.  Church going was not a regular part of my childhood.  But we always got a new spring dress, a basket of dyed eggs and candy from the Easter bunny, and enjoyed a family picnic. If the weather was good it was outdoors where we could enjoy the spring flowers, new leaves on the trees and meadow grass and have an easter egg hunt. Sometimes us kids went to church with our neighbors, where I learned some basic bible stories.  Through my untrained eyes the Resurrection Of Christ parallels the renewal of spring. 

I wish to know more about how our traditions form cultures.  What does Easter mean to you?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Asked to Travel ~ the start

My husband, Fred and I have been asked to travel to San Luis Potosi Mexico to document their Semana Santa Festival through our photographs, paintings and writing for the Frank Bette Center of the Arts and the Davis Family foundation.  There will be an exhibit in November at the Frank Bette Center of our best images.  My hope is that I will be able to explore the artistic expressions of the local culture as shown during the festival.  San Luis Potosi is the site of one of the largest Semana Santa Festivals in Mexico.  The biggest event during the week is the Procession of Silence.

I hope to be able to update this blog with interesting tidbits about my thoughts on the trip and information that we learn before we go and what we see and learn after we arrive.  My postings will most likely be intermittent.

Mr. Davis has given us a couple of local contacts who have been providing us information to look up and think about.   I must admit that I had not heard about San Luis Potosi, a city of over 6 million people, in the North Central Highlands of Mexico before accepting this quest.  One of the first silver mining cities from the early days of Spanish colonial times,  it was established in 1592 near the silver deposits in Cerro de San Pedro.  San Luis is called Potosi`after the immensely rich Bolivian silver town of that name which the Spanish hoped it would rival.  It was established with Siete (seven) Barrios each with it's own church and distinctive Indian group.  The Barrios(districts) and their churches are still an important aspect of the city.

We have been looking at surrounding towns to explore while we are in Mexico.  On a previous trip we visited San Miguel de Allende with it's large American ex-pat population and nearby Guanajuato another of the old silver mining towns, now a university town with homes and businesses painted in the most gorgeous range of colors.  This trip we will spend our time exploring some new places like Zacatecas and Real de Catorce.