The pyramids of Teotihuacan are impressive when you see photos and read about the history, but experiencing them in person is beyond description. That a site originating over two millennia ago still has such a massive physical presence, such a highly-imagined plan of ceremonial and domestic spaces, and even painted wall murals that have only recently been restored gives us the opportunity to step out of our fast-paced digitally-connected world into a time where human beings just like us lived in an entirely different way. As time passes so quickly in our lives it is a significant stretch of imagination to put ourselves back in that time so long ago and yet still continuous with ours.
But it was a joyful as well as awe inspiring afternoon, as you can see from the pictures above and the video (soon to be loaded) below. We started our day very much in our own time, with a specially arranged meeting with Edgar Ramirez, the director of Homeland Security for the US Embassy in Mexico. We walked to the Benjamin Franklin Library, an extension of the embassy. It was especially heartening for me to see the students from Chamber Singers and the students from the Migration Seminar fall into small groups to discuss migration issues among themselves, becoming even more animated as the start of the meeting was delayed because Mr. Ramirez was delayed at the Embassy.
When I greeted him at the door at 10:50, he apologized and said he would need to leave at 11:15, but he ended up staying until noon! His answers to a variety of questions from the students were detailed and informative both from what he said and what he didn’t say on some issues. But whether the students found his answers completely satisfying or not, they were impressed by the dedication and intelligence of this career boarder patrol officer who had come up through the ranks to this leadership role (he was clearly not a political appointee with an ideological agenda).