Friday, February 24, 2012



This month, the city's been blessed with a number of consecutive 'volcano days'. It's shocking to look over your shoulder and see two looming, snow-capped peaks. (Very Mount Fuji.) On these -rare- crystal clear days, I hardly recognize where I am. The physical beauty of DF is unparalleled. Quick, get the camera!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Lately, I've been reading The Mexico City Reader, a collection of contemporary non-fiction essays about DF edited by Rubén Gallo. Almost all of the contributors are native to the city. It's fun to read about the recent history of this area and live it simultaneously. Every geographic location mentioned has been somewhere I've explored on my own, so I feel a strong physical connection to the texts.

I just finished the essay by Elena Poniatowska called The Earthquake. She presents the devastation of the 1985 quake as experienced on a personal level. It begins with the voice of Elia who is preparing her daughter for school while her three-year-old son is still sleeping. In the first couple sentences Elia mentions, "We lived in an apartment building on Bruselas and Liverpool". (Hmm, I think to myself. That's the same intersection where Kenny and I lived for 18 months. I wonder which building it is?) The shaking begins, and I am swept into the moment as Elia describes grabbing her son when the building collapses in an instant. Elia's husband and daughter die in the fall, but she and the boy lay trapped in a dark hole trying to conserve oxygen. They wait for 60 hours before someone finds them. (I rarely get emotional while reading, but wow...) Her nephew, César, sees her foot move in the rubble. The second half is written from his perspective. He helps the boy crawl out of the hole, but he has to chisel concrete for three hours to free Elia's squashed arm. She is thirsty and hallucinating as she's carried off in a stretcher.

My brief synopsis does not do justice to the urgency and power of this story. When I finished reading, I thought again about where this building might have been. I remembered that there was an empty lot across Bruselas from our bedroom window. It's used for parking now, but I'm nearly positive that this is where it all took place. The drawing above is something I had done looking at this space from our old apartment.

There are many ways to try and understand a catastrophic event. This story, and the coincidence of having an intimate relationship with the location, hit me hard.