Saturday, October 11, 2008

Working, Playing and Living in Q-town!

"Of an evening" (sorry, still obsessed with that phrase my brother Will learned in South Central… IOWA, while campaigning there) Jose and I often go for walks around Q-town and it is especially gorgeous when the sun is setting and the light is horizontal and warm.

Church "of an evening"

There continue to be many, many performances and festivals in the plazas. Last weekend there was also a Classic Car Show. It was fun to watch people look at the cars and I was impressed by the leather jackets. The carshow made me think of our friend Adam. The Mustangs reminded me of my uncle Hugh.

Ferrari leather jacket

White and Blue Mustang leather jackets

We've also been exploring our local park Cerro de las Campanas, which means Hill of the Bells.

Naomi walking up winding stairs

There are many commemorative statues.

Huge Benito Juarez

Mariano Escobedo on horseback

There is a chapel and rocks that clang like bells

Jose "playing" rocks

It is also a family gathering place and when we went on a Sunday afternoon saw several generations out strolling together.

Although our place came basically furnished, there are a few things that we had to get, including glasses. I went to a market I had seen a few times that seemed to specialize in glassware. When I got there I could see everything through the gate and rang the bell, but no one ever appeared. I decided to snap a photo because of the beautiful arches over the courtyard.

Glassware Market

There is some very beautiful architecture in Querétaro and as we meet more people we get to see how people update buildings. Remember, from the street we mostly see large doors, but once we get inside, or if we get to peek in a doorway, there are gorgeous courtyards, thick walls, beautiful tiled floors….

We watched the last debate with a mix of ex-pats and Querétanas in a gorgeous home that was originally part of an enormous convent (it was actually like a village, with homes, shops and its own streets).

Jose in front of fountain that was part of the convent

Its been awhile since we've last blogged and that's because life is happening here in Querétaro. I've started working at DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia/Department of Child and Family Services) a government run child and family welfare institution. DIF is a large organization with approx. 5 different locations and about 5-10 group homes with different populations. I'm situated at the 'Procuraduria' (Lawyers office for DIF).

Entrance to DIF 'Procuraduria'

I work alongside other mental health professionals who are referred to as 'psicólogos' and also with 'abogados' (lawyers). I have a therapy room with my art supplies, which you see in the picture and where I see clients.

My Art Therapy Room

When Naomi and I first got here, we were surprised by the number of people who seek out mental health. Already some of the misconceptions about Mexican culture and the lack of therapy being utilized by the community is being dispelled. I've met at least a dozen therapist who are practicing privately and thriving, not to mention the countless others who work for the government. I've already got my hands full and have also started a pilot anger management program for men. Its called P.E.P.E. (Parar, Escuchar, Preguntar y Entender) which is a take of S.T.O.P. (Stop, think, observe and plan). This group is geared towards men with anger issues. I met with the governor's wife and she was gung-ho about the groups. I designed a poster and she had them placed all over; in clinics hospitals, etc. We'll see how it goes.

Poster of P.E.P.E.

On the personal home front, things are going well. Naomi and I continue to meet new people and make friends. I made a monster of a friend named Bruno across the street and boy was he a sweet heart. At first glance he looks like he could tear a limb off (and probably could) but he was really well behaved and had these soulful, peaceful eyes. His owner Enrique (who we've blogged about before) said Bruno is a mastif from Brasil. As sweet as he is, I still wouldn't put my arm near his mouth. Enrique said he weighed about 85 kilos which rounds out to 187 pounds. He said Bruno's father topped off at 200 pounds!!!

Bruno the Gentle Giant

Our neighborhood, for the most part, is very quiet. Except for some construction that starts at 9 am on Saturday and Sunday. It wouldn't be so bad with earplugs but they're banging heavy hammers on bare concrete which vibrates through the very foundation and into our bones. I thought it was next door at the Hostel, but when I inquired the clerk told me that it was actually two houses down. Say what!! Anyway I found the construction site and they said they be done by the weekend. Whew!

Naomi and I walk almost everywhere and always see something happening on the streets, like this car show of classic autos from different eras. They all showed off their incredible engines and brilliant polished exteriors. It seems like their celebrating something new every weekend. Naomi and I stop off at some of the food stands and get some delicious taquitos or 'papas a la francesas' covered in hot sauce, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Sounds like a mess but is so delicious, mmmmm!