Friday, October 23, 2015

Marcia Loy, Long-Time Cubs Fan

Our condolences go out to Marcia Loy, friend here in San Miguel and member of our Writer's Group AND life long CUBS FAN. Yes they missed the World Series again, this time in four straight games to the Mets. Marcia however was resplendent in her Chicago fan jacket. Wait until next year.

Marcia swears she will not leave this earthly realm until the CUBS win the World Series.

Hurricane Patricia Now Category 5

Dr. Jeff Masters at the Weather Underground reports, "History is being made tonight in the Northwest Pacific as Hurricane Patricia churns about 200 miles off the coast of Mexico, south-southwest of Manzanillo. With its 11 pm EDT Thursday advisory, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Patricia to Category 5, with top sustained winds of 160 mph and a central pressure of 924 millibars. Hurricane warnings are now in effect for the coast from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, including Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, with a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning eastward to Lazaro Cardenas.

"Patricia’s rate of strengthening since Wednesday has been truly remarkable. In a mere 36 hours, Patricia’s official NHC rating went from minimal tropical storm (40 mph) to Category 5 hurricane--among the most rapid intensification rates one might expect in a hurricane anywhere."

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hurricane Patricia Comes Ashore late Friday

Turbo-charged Hurricane Patricia is on track to deliver a devastating one-two punch: landfall as a major hurricane on Mexico's Pacific coast, followed by the storm feeding an extreme rainfall event in parts in Texas. Drawing on near record-warm sea-surface temperatures of 30.5°C or 87°F (1-2°C above average), Patricia is also taking advantage of very light wind shear (5 - 10 knots) and rich atmospheric moisture (greater than 70% relative humidity). Within a span of just 27 hours, from 15Z Thursday to 18Z Friday, Patricia metamorphosed from a minimal tropical storm (top sustained winds of 40 mph) to a Category 4 hurricane (130 mph). This puts Patricia among the top rapid intensifiers in the modern record of hurricane monitoring. Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) data collected from aboard a NOAA Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance flight confirmed a peak wind of 114 knots (131 mph) on Thursday afternoon near 1:30 pm EDT.

Mexico's Popocatepetl Volcano Puts on Spectacular Show

Friday, October 16, 2015

Two San Miguel Artists

Two writers with connections to San Miguel de Allende have made news recently. Kaylie Jones received a book review by Sheridan Sansegund titled A fast-paced thriller set in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: “The Anger Meridian” by Kaylie Jones,  Akashic Books, $15.95

The police, are there at her door to tell her that her husband has been killed in a car crash, together with a young woman, while engaged in activity best avoided while driving at high speed and drunk.

Not only was her unlamented husband abusive but it gradually emerges that he was up to his crooked neck in financial shenanigans that are going to bring panicked business partners, vicious money launderers, and the F.B.I. down on Merryn’s neck like a ton of very angry bricks.

Her only concern is to protect her bright but physically fragile 9-year-old daughter, Tenney, from the ensuing scandal. The only safe place she can think of is her mother’s house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and within the hour they are on the road (and, yes, this is going to look suspicious to the F.B.I.) driving to Mexico.

The second mention is an interview about ‘House on Mango Street’ author Sandra Cisneros traces her life through places she's lived By Bryan Llenas, Bill VourvouliasPublished.

Cisneros, who in recent years moved from her longtime home in San Antonio to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, has also authored the critically-acclaimed novel “Caramelo” (2002), collections of short stories, poetry books, children’s literature and now her memoir, which is composed of a series of essays that she wrote for different newspapers and other publications over the years.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Expat or Immigrant

Joy Diaz at writes, "The question of how Americans define friends living in foreign lands – and how Americans define people who’ve migrated to the U.S. – has been on Sheila Croucher's mind for the last decade or so. She teaches Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio, and says a word as seemingly straightforward as "immigrant" is anything but.

"I think it absolutely is politically charged, and I think it is racially charged,” Croucher says. “I think it is charged in a number of ways."

In 2006 Croucher went to the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico, to study a large community of Americans living there. She noticed something interesting: No matter what their legal status, none of them called themselves immigrants.

"When I would push on the issue of terminology I would be told 'look, I'm just an American living in Mexico,'” she says.

"I don't refer to myself as an immigrant,” Russell Henson says.

Henson lives in San Miguel – the city Croucher studied years ago. He’s a retired engineer and pilot who now teaches aviation in Mexico.

"We are called temporary residents on our immigration status, but socially we identify with our tribe,” he explains.

They identify with other Americans living abroad, who call themselves ex-pats, or expatriates. Professor Croucher says the term ex-pats could carry a negative connotation – as in ‘renouncing one's country’ – but it rarely does. On the contrary, the term often carries a certain cachè, and it's mostly used by Americans and Europeans living abroad.

"There have been some recent studies, and I think an interesting article in the Guardian within the past year or so about why the Brits in Southern Spain get to be ex-pats, when everybody else going in the other direction are immigrants,” she says.

It may be because immigrants are often thought of as people who leave their homeland for economic reasons. But it clearly isn’t that simple, since most of the Americans she studied in San Miguel fit that profile.

"They were absolutely moving for economic reasons and motivated by economic concerns, whether it was declining pensions in the United States or the rising cost of health care," Croucher says. "I think it would be politically interesting as a move for Mexican immigrants to say, 'OK, I'm an ex-pat too' and vice versa. I think it would be an important political move for the increasing number of Americans and Canadians living abroad to start calling themselves immigrants."

More American civilians now live abroad than ever before. Census data from host countries puts that number at around eight million.

At the same time, patterns of migration into the United States are shifting. In the last 5 years, fewer arrivals say they have come for financial reasons. The Pew Research Center says almost half are highly educated.

Juan Wah is one of them. He's a marketing expert from Mexico. His father is Chinese, and his mother Mexican. He was educated in the U.S. and once lived in Germany. Now, he lives in Texas.

So how does he identify himself?

"I don't know, it depends on who is asking," Wah says. "But sometimes I just describe myself as a 'foodie' or 'a happy person.' I don't think customs will take foodie. I don't think there's a box for foodie yet!"

Croucher believes the terminology is likely to change because millennials like Wah are the most racially diverse, gender non-conforming generation so far – and their identities often don’t fit into neat little checkboxes on official forms.

For them, "immigrants" and "ex-pats" are just people.