Vanessa in Taos

Vanessa is a senior majoring in biology and anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. During summer 2012, she is studying at SMU-in-Taos.

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Weekend in Taos

This weekend was longer than usual and filled with plenty of sightseeing and activities. It was also a much needed break from spending hours in the library doing research on my mint plants.

Our first trip was to the New Buffalo Center near the Hondo Valley. I affectionately call it the “hippie house” of the group of gentlemen who came to New¬†Mexico in order to establish the center. After we had arrived around 9 a.m., we split into two groups to help with landscaping and gardening. My team was paired up with Andrew and Michelle, and we were responsible for pulling weeds from the garden. Kim and I were able to use a de-weeding tool that made the process so much more fun and a lot easier. Although, I think we had too much fun.

It was great being able to talk to Andrew and learn why he came to New Buffalo. How anyone who received a degree in bassoon performance and now is in charge of the organic garden at a hippie house is beyond me! All I could gather from working two hours in the field with him is that he had a lot of passion for what he did, and that in itself was very inspiring.

Friday was movie night in Casita Montana. We watched “The Hurricane” and “When Harry Met Sally.” We couldn’t have chosen movies that were any more opposite in plot than those two, but it was great to watch them. “The Hurricane” was much more moving. In summary, it was about Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter, a young African-American male who had a rough life, and saw himself in and out of prison for years. He became a champion middleweight boxer, but then ended up being framed for a murder he never committed. Carter spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, all while trying to get one appeal after the other approved so he could receive his freedom. It was such a moving story and I couldn’t believe it was based on a true story. I stayed up later with the rest of the girls in the casita talking about it and what we each would’ve done if we were in Rubin’s position.

Saturday was our day off, so we decided to go to Taos Pueblo. It is a historic site that still maintains the way of life from its founding. I was unable to take pictures of the area because of the picture fee. But it was still an incredible experience. The St. Jerome Catholic Church was such a site, especially on the inside.

I thought it was also great that most of the people who live in the pueblos sell handmade jewelry, dreamcatchers, and pottery in order to make a living. It was so intricate and really beautiful. I bought a pair of handmade earrings that represent the Sun god that the Taos people respect. I was just so impressed by the culture and traditions that still take place among the Taos Indians, and also how they’ve been able to instill some modern aspects into their lifestyle.

The next day was a trip to the Gorge. It was so awesome! The levels of volcanic rock that still remain intact form this deep ridge area that the Rio Grande still passes through. It is such an amazing site. We went to two different parts of the area to take pictures. Dr. Ubelaker knew so much about the history of the area, and it was nice to hear how it came to be and what it’s used for today. The ride up parts of the mountain was quite bumpy at times, but in the end we all truly enjoyed ourselves. There’s just under two weeks left of my time here, and there’s still so much for me to see! I can’t wait!

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