Friday, August 20, 2010

Tales of a Female Nomad - Book Review

Travel often and live outside your country for a while, if possible.  You'll learn three things. 
  1. You can live without many of the objects and comforts you feel are must-haves.
  2. People want to connect with you.  They want to share what they have, even when they have little to give.  Eating together and talking are two of the most important activities we can engage in with anyone.
  3. You create your own adventures. You just have to be willing to take the first step.

These are just a few points I've internalized from my reading of Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman.  I enjoyed the book tremendously. 

In her late forties, Gelman embarks on a series of travels around the world.  A successful writer of children's books, Gelman lives a very comfortable life, but something is missing.  She sells her things, and fills a backpack with the most essential items for a journey into the unknown.  She really isn't sure what she is getting into at first.  But once she goes to Mexico, and lives in a Zapotec village... she is hooked on living simply, living with and learning from different people, and experiencing the sights, sounds, and flavors of another culture.  She travels all over the world and stays for months at a time in places like Nicaragua, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Thailand.  She even returns often to the US between travels and stays in different places - giving her the valuable opportunity to reconnect with family and build new friendships.

Gelman's descriptions of people and places were excellent.  I felt as if I were traveling with her.  I was especially intrigued by her detailed accounts of meal preparation and sharing in these very different places.  Female Nomad and Friends - Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World, is Gelman's next book where she "pays homage to the wonders of traveling, connecting, cooking, and eating around the world".  I plan to read that one next.

I've had the opportunity to visit several different states.  I've also traveled often to Bolivia, and I've been to Spain once. (Thanks dad, for igniting the travel flame!)  I hope to have the chance someday to travel more. Maybe I'll even be lucky enough to enjoy an extended stay somewhere where I can work at an elementary school.  Traveling, eating, and teaching around the world... now that would be my dream adventure!

Bracing myself

School starts in a couple of weeks.  Not just school, where I teach, but school, where I'll be going every Monday for a graduate course.  I've decided to go back to school to get my supervisor's certificate.

When I finished my master's in 2005, I thought I'd never go back to that stressful schedule of an intense day of teaching, followed by a one-hour drive to the university, then two hours and a half of class, then a one-hour drive back home. Here I am once again though, registered and tuition installments paid.  Luckily, I enjoy school, at least until I start to become overwhelmed with classroom duties and family obligations. 

I predict an intense year, where I'll need to be extra organized and manage my time wisely.  I'm good at letting things pile up, and getting annoyed when they do.  Willpower, coffee, and the occasional nap will get me through.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And the Winners are...

Marjorie, Karen, and Beverly!
Thank you ladies, for visiting my blog and participating in the book giveaway.  I will get in touch so we can send out your copies of Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over by Belinda Acosta. 

I am also looking forward to reading Sisters, since I recently finished Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by the same author, and I must say, I really enjoyed it!  A funny thing happened when I started to read Damas a few weeks ago.  I received an invitation to attend the National Council of La Raza's Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas which would take place July 10 to 13 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  I was very excited about the event.

My bags were packed for my early morning flight, and so I settled in to bed with my book.  I started to read Chapter Eight, and guess where it was taking place?  At the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center!  The main character Ana and her daughter Bianca were at a quinceañera fair, getting some ideas for the young lady's special day.  (A quinceañera is the latino equivalent of a sweet sixteen.) 

¡Qué casualidad!  What a coincidence!  I was headed to a place in my book, while I was reading it!