A walk in the park, is NOT just a walk in the park…at least in Mexico…

El Niñopan o Niñopa.  Ever hear of it?  Me either until this morning (Sunday morning).  Relishing the ability to sleep in, and yet, getting things done around the house on my time, amid a sunny and beautiful day, I did have time to contemplate how I would get ready to head to the states today – it still seems surreal to me to be able to be in Mexico at one moment, then in a few house across the world, still amazing and I hope that admiration never wears off!

As I headed to Parque Rio for a long walk with Kinah, Wriggley, and Amaya, the unexpected made my day.   A friendly woman named Rocio asked if the three were my dogs once I took them off the leash and they ran and were playing.  I said yes and we found out that Rocio lived in the apartment building where several ASF teachers now are, and where Sue, and then Jake also had an apartment previously.  We know each other through mutual friends, and I explained we had JUST come off a trip to Xochimilco, where the term Ninopan was explained to me.

While having visited the Basilica due to the appearance of the Virgin Mary Guadalupe, it turns out ten years later such an appearance of the child-like image in Xochimilco, is worshipped and one of the oldest images and most visited due this, next to the Basilica, and found in Xochimilco, this is  known as Ninopan.  Explained that this did not appear in a  church, but in actual homes, and is card for in homes and not a parish.  I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hear this, after just going to Xochimilco the day before and meeting this story through  wonderful person, in a park, unknown to me before, named Rocio.

Then were was the man that pulled over his taxi last night, seeing me walk the dogs, just to get my phone number so we could exchange photos of similar dogs, since he had an afghan too.  It was rewarding these genuine conversations occurred, and with individuals that did not know each other, yet do after a conversation.  This is part of the magic of Mexico and people in general that care about the connections that are made.

On the plane and reading the newest book Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, a line stood out, “But most of the time, she was happy still to have made it under the barbed wire that surrounded secondary education and out into the world” (55).  I read that over and over and realized the government’s form of eduction does feel just like that, making it over or under barbed wire at the end of the day when emphasis is placed on  test scores, numbers, to statistical information.  When not forgetting the student and pushing that statistical scoring information aside, what I have found is eduction that is deeper than the reports that will be handed out by state governments due to something as demeaning as a test score.  I realized the true heroes when it comes to education, are the educators that wade through the state requirements when it comes to testing and reach deeper into the students themselves.  This makes all the difference.

In reading Nick Hornby’s novel, Juliet Naked, I found myself asking what have I done productive over x many-years and not just looking at accomplishment but looking at experiences that shape and make me grow spiritually and personally. As this novel of individuals that outgrow each other, as they strive to find the real meaning to hem inside their hearts, I realized how important it is for us to capitalize on the talents we do have rather than the ones we might never attain. I like the fact of taking what we have now as individuals and going on to make a difference due to the passion we are capable of possessing.  I challenged myself to continue to grow in areas that I dreamed about at one time – creating a chance to make dreams actualized – a ranch one day of horse riding, horse riding lessons, fields to run in as I was once young, creating alive that I look back on and hopefully see a life that was made up of helping others realize what they are capable of – and in the process – create something you can look back on and see a differences being made – this is what life should be about, making life better as well as inspirational.

Finding myself walking the streets of Charlotte, I loved the fact I could hear crickets while I walked downtown Charlotte at night, and could feel the calmness and see the cleanliness of a city that once played home to the largest gold finding revolution, that eventually gave way to what would become Charlotte based on the information we did receive.

IMG_3294Eating at Dale Earnhardt’s restaurant, seeing a beautiful and different major town, the fact that things that are astounding do happen when you constantly strive for new information and new meaning to you as a person when the opportunity arises, in this case flying into Charlotte.  But on a deeper level, learning so much about or cities from individuals that are willing to share their stories.  Not a bad way to start a Sunday morning!

There are two interesting stories about Whisky River and the taxi driver that got me back and forth from the airport Holiday Inn, and that will be worth the tale tomorrow.  🙂

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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