Geri's Corner, an expat's experiences of life in Oaxaca
I invited author/photographer, Geri Anderson, to share her experiences and insights into the life of an expat. Some of the stories are
excerpts from her memoir, “OH OAXACA, Living, Laughing Learning in Mexico,” now in its third printing. Others are glimpses into recent sojourns into
the mountains, at the seashore, in the countryside and on the city streets.
Welcome To Geri's Blog
- Excavating a Two Decades Old Memory in Oaxaca.
A framed photograph that has moved from apartment to apartment with me for 20 years in Oaxaca reminds of my first visit to a pueblo. A shy girl,
kneeling on a dirt floor, is forming a chunk of clay into a sculpture of a woman adorned with delicate, tiny petals. I have often wondered where
the artisan is today, what she is doing. So I set out recently in search of her....
- On the Trail of the Purple Snail. Two women friends and myself
(three of a “certain age"), were searching for the remote Mixtec village of Pinotepa de Don Luis, where women weave with a purple dye harvested
from the plicopurpura pansa mollusk. It's the only place in the world where people are still weaving with this kind of dye....
- Libros Para Pueblos or Libraries For Children.
“Wow! Wow! Wow!” said the 10-year-old boy as he turned one page after another. He was talking to no one in particular. In fact, he didn't even take his
eyes off the story book filled with colorful pictures. He just kept muttering “Wow! Wow! Wow!” and flipping the pages....
- Sleuthing. One day, after I had lived in Oaxaca for a few years, I decided
to act as if I were a mix of Miss Marple (Agatha Christie's super sleuth), and Margaret Mead, famed cultural anthropologist. Both were heroines of
mine—one a real life investigator of societal influences on human behavior and the other a clever fictional crime-solving character....
- My First Visit to Migracion. After my first winter in
Oaxaca, I wanted to be more than a tourist. Entering Mexico as a tourist meant I had to leave the country at the end of 180 days in order to get
another permit. So, in October, 1998 I applied for a FM-3. With this classification I could live in Mexico for a year and then re-apply for another year....
- A Visit to Mexico's Oldest Continuously Governed Cities.
When I first visited San Pedro, Villa de Tututepec about 15 years ago, it seemed strange to me why people would have settled in such a place. Even more
puzzling to me back then was why for centuries their descendants remained....
A collection of other published articles by Geri
- El Maestro de Los Monos. If you've ever
wandered through Oaxaca City's Jalatlaco neighborhood to the corner of Niños Heroes de Chapultepec and Calle Aldama, you've
probably noticed José Octavio Azcona y Juárez, Mexico's foremost monero (puppet maker) working in his shop,
creating monos de calendas (huge dancing puppets).
- Amazing Puppet Maker Changes Boy with Autism's World.
Autism knows no boundaries. It pays no attention to skin color, language, or nationality. In Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico, a puppet maker
discovered that some children who had never talked before could talk to his puppets.
- Be careful,
Miss Geri: climbing the bell towers in San Luis Potosi. What a thrill it would be to climb to the uppermost bell of this magnificent cathedral,
Hidalgo: Mexico's Cradle of Independence - September 15, 1810. As you walk toward the main square from the bus terminal in Dolores Hidalgo,
it's hard to imagine the impassioned frenzy that heated this Mexican village on September 15, 1810. Here, on the balcony of his home, the
town's beloved priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, yelled "El Grito de Dolores," the Cry of Independence. It was a cry that changed the
history of North America, and, indeed, the world.
weavers and the sacred snail on Mexico's Costa Chica. Two women friends and myself (three of a "certain age"), were searching for the
remote Mixtec village where women weave their wrap-around skirts on backstrap looms, using yarn dyed blue from the anil (indigo plant),
red from the cochineal (cacti bugs) and purple harvested from snails.
- Have Crown, Will Travel . Some of my friends and family are
considering combining a vacation in Mexico with a trip to the dentist. While a dental vacation is an oxymoron....
- Through the lens: Dia de
los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Day of the Dead, one of the most important celebrations in Mexico, is understandably difficult for
foreigners to fully comprehend. Cemeteries full of families, flowers, food, and music seem daunting to the uninitiated.
- Semana Santa Holy Week in
San Miguel de Allende. Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a misnomer. It s NOT one week! It’s TWO full weeks of parades, processions,
parties, prayers and pagentry. For me, it started at 3 a.m. March 16, 1997--two Sundays before Easter.
- Puerto Escondido in December:
A November 2001 update. In December 2000, I watched the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Escondido wake up from its summer slumber.
When I arrived during the first week of the month, this beach town south of Oaxaca city hadn't even begun to yawn and stretch
from its months' long, low-season nap.
Mexico's Copper Canyon spans Chihuahua and Sinaloa: introduction and resources. The most common way to visit Copper Canyon is
by train, which runs from Los Mochis to Chihuahua - one of the few remaining passenger trains in Mexico. While this rail trip offers
spectacular views, passengers do not get an opportunity to go deep into the canyon. Therefore, a few years ago, I opted to experience
the area first hand, traveling by truck and bus from Creel to Batopilas.
- Southern Mexico's Hidden Port: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. 150 miles south of
Oaxaca City, lies sheltered in a large bay along the little-traveled southern coast of Mexico. Tucked between the Sierra Madre Sur
and the Pacific Ocean, this hidden port is less famous than the country's mega-beach resorts, yet you'll find several beaches and
surprises at every turn--if you're willing to explore.
Geri Anderson passed away in March 2019 and was buried in the city she loved, Oaxaca City.