Archive for the ‘My Life-AmeriCorps VISTA’ Category

Taos, New Mexico – Casa Europa

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

During New Year’s Eve weekend I went to Taos, New Mexico to ski for the very first time and experience another treasure (the city of Taos) in the state of New Mexico.

During the next few days I will post pictures from my trip. I’ll start with the fabulous Casa Europa an adobe style Bed and Breakfast that highlights 18th Century architecture. The owners Lisa and Joe are gracious hosts and I truly appreciate Lisa going out of her way to shop for and prepare a vegan breakfast for me each day I was there. Lisa you’re the BEST!

Check out the pictures below!

Private entrance to the Spa Suite. This is where we stayed.


All natural snacks purchased for me to eat.

Dinning area in the main house.

Lisa trying to hide from me as I took pictures of her kitchen.

Lisa and I.

Miss Dash, I called her Mommie, should win an award for Best Acting Skills by a cat. She is the owners’ pet and loved to run into our room whenever the door was open. The absolute pitiful look as if she lacked food and love took its toll and on our last day we gave her a bit of rice. 

Well after eating the rice Mommie jumped in the trunk of our car and was ready to come home with us. It’s a good thing we saw her before we pulled off.

Casa Europa; 575-758-9798;


Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Long before there were twinkling Christmas lights, the humble luminaria paper bags, filled with some sand and a candle in the middle, lit the way to the door of houses each Christmas Eve.

New Mexico’s luminarias are part of a southwestern tradition that has its roots in the 1500s, when bonfires were lit along roadways to light the way to midnight mass. They started as a Christian tradition, commemorating the birth of Christ, and the journey of Mary and Joseph as they found their way to the stable.

In the early 1800s, people began to use inexpensive paper bags instead of building bonfires. These small lanterns (called farolitos in northern New Mexico), have become a Christmas Eve tradition.

On Christmas Eve night I participated in a New Mexico holiday tradition and visited an area known as “Old Town” in Albuquerque. Below are photos of the luminaria lights and Christmas Eve performance.

Luminaria lights – paper bags filled with sand and a candle.

Sand and candle.

San Felipe de Neri Church is a historic Catholic church located in Old Town. Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Albuquerque.

San Felipe de Neri Church’s performance of Jesus’ birth.

Goats were part of the performance.

Permed to Natural wishes you all the Pleasures of the Holidays – filled with Warmth and Blessed by Peace!

Day of the Dead

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Day of the Dead is not what you may be thinking. This is a Mexican national holiday that focuses on people coming together to pray for, and remember, their family and friends who have died.

The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day(November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using skulls, marigolds and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. There are similar observances that occur in Europe, Asia and Africa as well.

The Day of the Dead celebration I attended in Albuquerque boosted several sentimental and creative alters. Family members couldn’t help but talk about their loved ones when I stopped to look at the beautiful creation they made in their honor.

It was a full day. The program included a movie, “Su Excelencia” Honoring 100 Years of Cantinflas, a comedian, an alter contest, an art market, face painting, food, refreshments and more. Check out the pictures from the celebration below.

My purchase. It’s a coaster. I put it in my home office.

Honoring the Mexican artist, Frida and her husband, Diego.

Honoring pets.

To and From Silver City

Friday, October 28th, 2011

The scenery to and from Silver City was fascinating. I hope you can see in the pictures what I saw in person.

This is an underground trampoline. At first I was afraid of it, as you can see, but after a few jumps I was okay.

Giant wind chimes.

This house of mud reminds me of my mud hut in the Congo. 

Except this one is more fancy because it has electricity and running water.

Well the shower is the same.

Downtown Silver City

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Downtown Silver City, New Mexico is an artist’s dream. The area is full of galleries, boutiques, music stores, cafes and coffee houses. The atmosphere – very relaxed and friendly. Thanks for sending me AmeriCorps. Check out the photos below.

The Blue Dome Gallery is too cool.

 Admist the art.

I like this painting. Notice the cat mocking the parrot by wearing a beak on its nose.

My purchase at the gallery. I am trying to incorporate more orange into my wardrobe. The CD includes Native American flute-based songs that are very soothing.

The artist and gallery owner, Molly. She is originally from Berlin but has lived everywhere.

Silver foxes. I like the color of their hair.

UFOs are popular here since the incident in Roswell during the 1940s.

One of the best restaurants, hands down. The Curious Kumquat forages their menu regularly. I’ve never known a place to do that.

Silver City – Guadalupe Montessori School

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I went to Silver City, New Mexico to participate in an AmeriCorps conference. I am really feelin’ this State. It has so much to offer. Stuff I never knew it would.

Silver City is a very cool town. Approximately 35,000 people reside in the village whose residents mainly are retired folks and artists. Whenever I had a break from a meeting I made friends and explored the town. I also worked on a school’s farm whacking weeds, feeding chickens and eating fresh picked fruit. Check out the farm pictures below.

A private school for young children.

I was in charge of whacking the leaves off of this Elm Tree.

What a difference. Those leaves didn’t stand a chance once I got a pair of sheers in my hands.

The deep orange cherry tomatoes taste so sweet.

Here I am feeding the chickens. Believe it or not – these chickens are very spoiled. I should have covered my hair since I was working in the sun. By the time I left the farm my curls were dry and brittle.

Other AmeriCorps figuring things out.

Trying to figure things out and working in the field. :)

Small harvest.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

 The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a big deal here. It is the world’s premier balloon event that attracts people from almost every country. I met two old ladies from Alabama. It was fun talking to them and listening to their thick southern accents.

Check out the photos below. The balloons were awesome.

The Fiesta.

The tallest people there.

Indian performers.

People jumping out of a plane. Can you see them?

Balloons getting ready for the evening Balloon Glow event.

The Balloon Launch the next morning outside my front door.

The Holy Dirt of El Santuario de Chimayo

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I really enjoy historical sites and visiting El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico completely satisfied my thrust for ancient history.

My interest in this Church was the small pit of Holy Dirt that can be found in back of the Church. Many believe that the Holy Dirt possesses natural healing powers. I wish I had pictures of the area where the Holy Dirt sits but I was not allowed to take photos in the santuary.

Here’s the story about the Church and the Holy Dirt:

In 1810 (on Good Friday), Don Bernardo Abeyta, a member of the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesus el Nazareno, was walking through the hills, praying and reflecting. He saw a light coming from the ground and went to investigate. When he arrived at the spot, he dug and discovered a crucifix. He told the neighbors and they gathered around to venerate it. Soon, the priest at Santa Cruz (Fr. Sebastian Alvarez) came and carried the crucifix to his Church in a procession. The next morning, the crucifix was gone. The priest hiked out to the same spot and dug again, finding the crucifix and bringing it back to the Church. The following morning, it had vanished again.

After this happened a total of three times, the priest and bishop decided that, clearly, the crucifix was meant to be in that location, so they built a shrine. That shrine is the Sanctuaries de Chimayo and is a functioning Church today.

People came to the shrine and touched the dirt that the cross was buried in and they were healed of any illness. The stories spread and pilgrims came from all over to touch the “Holy Dirt.” As the dirt was removed, caretakers refilled the hole and the healing continued. The shrine has, over the years, appeared in Newsweek, Time Magazine and major metropolitan newspapers, leading to around 300,000 visitors each year.

If you are ever in New Mexico, I recommend taking a trip to Chimayo, which is not far from Santa Fe, to visit this Sanctuary. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Below are some photos I took from that day. Sorry for the not-so-straight shots. My insides were busy jumping because I was so excited. It felt good being there. Really good.

The Church.

This Chapel is dedicated to children who passed away.

I was just happy to be there.

This is the Holy Dirt I took from the pit. I had more than this but I split it with my mom.