Upon arriving in D.F., I had just enough time to freshen up and be on my way to a dinner with new friends. My company consisted of the Director of the International Counseling program (who is my boss, colleague, mentor, and friend), a Liberation Psychology scholar from El Salvador, a student assistant from Venezuela, and a graduate of the IC program who now teaches for International Baccalaureate schools here in D.F.
The conversation lasted hours and covered topics such as colonization of Latin America, the Afro-Mexicanos, psychology in El Salvador, sex therapy, dance therapy, feminism in Latin America, international psychology, Liberation psychology, identity and much more. The setting was in a friend’s home in Colonia Roma, a spread of cheese, crackers, almonds, and grapes with choice of wine. There was singing, guitar playing, laughter… a very memorable experience and a reminder of the magic that can happen when people come together without judgment and with open minds and hearts.
Being back in Colonia Roma is interesting, different. Firstly, the neighborhood has changed very much and has become gentrified. The once modest, cute, unpretentious neighborhood owned by everyday Mexicanos has now transformed into a hip, trendy area littered with fine dining and global cuisine. It has still retained some of its charm as the architecture and uneven sidewalks have remained the same but it definitely feels like a different Roma.
I walked the neighborhood today after having a lovely brunch (gfdf plato de frutas de la estacion) y un cappuccino con leche de soya in a bookstore café restaurant (think mom and pop version of Borders) called Cafebreria El Pendulo. We also took the metro to the city center and walked around the center quite a bit, stopping for a visit at a 10 pesos (<$1) bookstore, a mid-day beer at a gay bar (I had water… and techno at 2pm was interesting), a not-so-quick errand trip to Benito Juarez to greet one of the immersion program students arriving from CA, a run to the grocery store, then a pausa in my hotel to recoup before meeting for dinner. Somewhere between the airport and the hotel, we walked Roma. These streets once meant so much to me. The old campus is now a fancy restaurant. The café I frequented nearly every morning for my moka is now a trendy bar. Hotel Milan where I’ve stayed in 07 and 08 has gone through reconstructive surgery and turned boutique. I used to feel so much walking these streets. Today I felt strange not feeling much at all.
There is a drawback from travel – you lose the intensity of the experiences. Emotions are harder to reach and there is a sense of loss but a peace that comes with it.
After resting and a having a nice FT chat with my partner, I was off to Roma again. We landed sort of accidentally at a steakhouse called MIT. It was some of the best steak I have had and we met the chef who then took us back to the kitchen to explain their oak process and to show us how they broil their meat. The MIT cut I had was cooked perfectly, tender and flavorful and only had salt for seasoning. There was no other ingredient.
The head chef is someone who takes a lot of pride in being in the kitchen. The staff in the kitchen appeared busy, but happy and were very friendly. The chef shared that he was born in Lebanon, grew up in the UK, and is now living in DF and has been here 13 years. A global nomad.
There is so much more to write but I shall retire now. More to come.