Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dad comes to visit!!

Whew! BOY do we know how to pack things in. And have a great time!

Dad arrived last Thursday, and thank goodness, I was there to pick him up--not another debacle like Chile (ask him about THAT one). We were back in Lerma by about 3:30ish, and we went out for quesadillas (Dad's favorite part being the sun on his face :)), and got ready for Game Night at my house, buying snackies and getting the house ready... Al final de cuentas, only 1 of my coworkers made it, Juan Miguel, but that was OK- we were 4, with my housemate Anne-Marie, so we played some Scrabble (and yes, the native English speakers did have an advantage, we know), and then Spades... over cider and lots of English conversation.

Friday morning we took our time getting ready, headed to my school for some make-up presentations (ask me if they showed up), and Dad was able to meet some of my colleagues and a few of my students. In the afternoon, we headed to Mexico City, getting there around 3, and got to our Hostel/Hotel, then got together with my friend/fellow Fulbrighter Zach for Linner. He was in a bit of a rush, so we headed to a quick place to eat and catch up. Dad and I walked around the Zócalo a bit (the main square in Mexico City), and checked out the Christmas decorations, including an ICE RINK on which they were performing The Nutcracker with a live orchestra... it was cool. We didn't see much, only the closed-circuit TV, but it was cool.

Saturday we headed to the world-famous Anthropology Museum--Dad was in heaven. On the way, we grabbed our first tamales of the trip. :) I've been there before, but it was WAY different going with him--he critiques the outdated explanations, etc., and his general excitement makes it more exciting for those around him-namely, me. For lunch we headed outside for some huaraches (a crisp, nutty flatbread, topped of with beans, nopales (cactus), cilantro, cheese and saaalsa), and headed back inside for another turn around the place. It's so huge that you reeeally have to be specific--in only a few days, there is no way you can see everything the museum has to offer.

Saturday afternoon we headed to La Ciudadela, a ginormous outdoor handicrafts market to get a jump on our Christmas shopping... it took a while for us to get going, but we did get on a roll. It's a beautiful place, full of bright colors and hawkers: "Pásale, güerita, lo que guste, sin compromiso..."

Sunday morning it was back to the market to finish off our shopping... we had quite a list of people to buy for, but I am happy to say that we got everyone checked off. :)

Sunday afternoon we took a walking tour around the Zócalo and the Alameda (a big park), getting to places I've never even been to--according to Dad, we saw the ENTIRE population of Mexico City around there--all 18 million of them. We got some ice cream, then headed to the movies-we had to take advantage of the cheap-ness. We saw "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and metro'd back to our hotel... at that point we 2 compulsive email checkers decided it was time for some internet exposure, and headed to a local hostel that provides internet. We got caught up, and then I ran into 2 Frenchies, Cedric and Alexia, who were about to head down to Guatemala... I love running into people I know in the least-expected places. Just ask Mallory... :)

Monday was a big day--after a delicious breakfast of huevos a la mexicana for me and huevos con chorizo for Pops, we headed to the Pyramids at Teotihuacán. It was a similar thing to the Museum--It was actually my third visit to the Pyramids, but with Dad's excitement and awe, I was able to see it again "for the first time." I had never taken the time to look at all the viviendas- the living places of the Teotihuacán inhabitants-, since the 2 large Pyramids are the main attractions, but with Dad, it was a different story. He was fascinated by the layout of the common living spaces, including their porches and common cooking spaces... anywhoo, it ended up being a blast. In this picture, we are standing atop the Pyramid of the Sun, and you can see the Pyramid of the Moon off to the left in the background... We walked allll over, several miles plus the climbing of the pyramids-needless to say, we got plumb tuckered out. When we got back, bought some sugary snacks, and settled in for a night of tv-watching, the only activity for which we had the energy.

Tuesday morning we packed up all our stuff, and headed back to the Museum-Dad hadn't finished seeing all he wanted to see. We got more tamales for breakfast, and boy, you really gotta ask for extra napkins for those bad boys--the spicy salsa verde will reeeally make your nose run. For lunch, we headed to the Casino Español, this classy restaurant in a gorgeous building that the Spanish used to enjoy in their heyday... it was pricey, but delicious!

After lunch, we headed back to Lerma, and saw Anne-Marie off to Chile (!), we hung out, then went to the gym, talked to Mom on Skype, and then enjoyed some TV-on-the-internet. Wednesday morning was chill, then around 3 we headed to my University's end-of-the-year/Christmas party... I had NO idea what it was going to look like, but it was a lovely banquet, some raffled items (no, I didn't win anything-lame), some speeches, and then, DANCING! Quebradita, salsa, cumbia, mambo, norteña, you name it, I danced it. It was a BLAST! I love that the dancing here is in partners, and that pretty much everyone knows how to dance. Even Dad got his groove on. Ask him later how long we were there for...

Today we're heading to Toluca for some sightseeing with Memo, and then in the evening dinner with him and Victoria and her boyfriend Ari who's visiting... tomorrow home to Chicago-hopefully we'll miss the storms! Then the family starts to arrive, and then it will REALLY feel like Christmas. I can't wait to sing Christmas Carols...

Thanks for reading this loooong entry! besos y abrazos, y felices fiestas!!!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winding down...

Wow, who knew these months were going to go by so fast?! Another excellent week at school, some really great presentations, some not so great, and some completely unprepared... the ones that weren't ready will go tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes...

Thursday night I went over to Victoria's house; she and Heather were having a dinner for their English 8 class... we played Mafia, ate some homemade tinga, enjoyed some sangria... a pleasant evening. Friday Victoria and I climbed to the hill in the center of Toluca--there are some beautiful views from up there! It was super relaxing, and made Toluca seem a lot prettier. :) It's really not that bad. :P

In the afternoon I came home to Lerma, and a few Frenchies had already arrived in anticipation of our trip to Valle de Bravo, a gorgeous town on a lake, a super touristy spot... but since we were going with locals, we had the hook-up. Friday evening we got there late, around 10, so we went for some tacos, then ended up at Fernando's house for some games... We played the French version of Mafia, which i'm sorry to say is WAY more fun than the version I know... and then this great one called Psiquiatra...Psychiatry. Hard to explain, but a blast to play.

Saturday morning we headed over to Marco's house--his mom had offered to cook us breakfast (for all 11 of us, it was a push), and we arrived to a gorgeous table, delicious food, and a sweet lady. :) Chilaquiles, carne con chícharos, pan, fruta... it was a feast! Then we chilled there for a while while the boys were arranging things, and then we headed over to the lake in the back of Marco's pickup, and boated and tubed and wakeboarded for a few hours... it was gorgeous. And a little bumpy--my chin hit the tube at one point, and a bruise developed by the evening! Oh well. No teeth lost. That's the important thing. :)

After the boat, we headed back to our hotel (Jaime's mom has a hotel, and was generous enough to let us 5 girls crash in one of the rooms), got prettied up, and went to a gorgeous Italian restaurant... we got wine, camembert, artichokes, and everyone got a pasta/pizza dish... qué rico! All of it was so good, as was the company. Later, we went to a mezcal bar (a drink similar to tequila, though even a bit stronger) and later to a karaoke bar... we danced and sang and laughed until the wee hours of the morning... Karaoke is one of my all-time favorite things to do. :)

Sunday morning, we headed to the outskirts of the city, and hopped on some horses... we rode for about an hour, up to the mirador, or lookout point for some beautiful views of the town. My Latigo Ranch lessons came flooding back to me as soon as I hopped on Colorín. :P In the afternoon, we sat down to watch a Mexican movie, Y tu mamá también, and I definitely fell asleep. We headed back in the evening, trying to get the other Frenchies back in time to catch their buses... and BOY did I sleep well that night.

Monday-->back to the grind! This week, since classes are over, I'm dedicating my time to putting together an Activities/Games manual... different from the Lab manual of before. :P This one is basically games, divided into sections based on language used and for what levels the activity would be appropriate... It's actually fun, and an excellent resource for me, too!

More exciting news--My dad arrives in 2 days! Well, 1.5 at this point-I'm pumped! I've been consulting my Lonely Planet to decide where to take him... I have a feeling we'll be cramming a lot into a little bit of time. We're hopefully going to hit the pyramids at Teotihuacán, be here for my University's Christmas party... well, I'll let you know when we decide. ;)

Thanks for reading! Besos~

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

another tidbit...

Oh, I forgot to mention. I had a blast with my students teaching them a little bit about a United States Christmas (or at least a Bolyanatz Christmas).

It was the last week of class, so things got even more fun. I used Barry White's "White Christmas" and Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You" (in that order), and I was even surprised how much we were able to talk about, how many things were foreign to them... the idea of a white christmas, Santa's sleigh, stockings, mistletoe... etcetera.

I ended up drawing some pretty sick dibujitos on the board, like a chimney and fireplace and stockings, with a little Santa Claus coming down... it ended up being pretty awesome.

That's pretty much it. Hasta pronto! :P

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back to the Forestal... and last week of class!

Whew! What a whirlwind! I have officially been here for a little over three months... wow. Hard to believe... Bueno. This week was the last week of class, huzzah for all! It was a full week, as one of my colleagues was out for the week with a broken nose, so I took 4 of her classes... My job was mostly to help them get ready for their oral exams, over comparatives/superlatives, and then another group was modal verbs (can, should, might, etc). They were generally very kind and participated well, which was nice.

Friday a group of Frenchies arrived from all parts, and Anne-Marie had to go to work, so Memo and I took them on a mini-tour of Toluca, including the bus station, and tried to climb a volcano. Unfortunately we had gotten a late start, so we only got halfway up the volcano-- about 3,600 meters. My ears were hurting! They planned to return the next day and make the climb in a car, which I was sorry to have to miss, but I had a prior engagement. That evening we went out for tortas and enchiladas and ice cream, ending up at a local restaurant that we enjoyed until the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday morning early they headed up to the volcano, and I headed to Mexico City to visit my friends from the church. So good to see them, as always, and after youth group on Saturday night they all came back to my friend Marce's house to hang out, have snackies and ponche, a fruity cider, and play games. They are all wonderful people, and they are so generous to share with me the little that they have. Sunday morning, church went for 3.5 hours-- including communion-- and though I was tired, I really enjoyed being back up there. In the afternoon, after church, we all (Marce's family, including her 6 brothers and sisters) enjoyed a delicious lunch, and then Marce came with me back down the mountain to the bus station, so she'll know how to get to my house. :)
This week is exam week, and for my students, that means presentations. During the first week of class, I assigned them a Decade Project--each group of two has to tell me about their assigned decade in the US, touching on economics, politics, society, important dates, and important people. They haven't always been very good at handing their material in, bit-by-bit, so we'll see how it goes. I'm sure they'll do great. Then evaluations, and then they're done.

Next week will be cool; I'm putting together an activities manual, different from the listening activities that I'm also putting together, and assembling materials from a bunch of different sources--thank God for the internet! :) I'll put in a few extra hours every day, because on Thursday, Dec. 11th, my dad arrives! :) We'll be doing lots of fun things, including The Anthropology Museum, probably Teotihuacán, and the Christmas party that my university is holding. And a few surprises along the way... he will be my first international visitor. :)

Thanks for reading... besos~

Monday, November 24, 2008

Long time, no write...

...again! Sorry about that...

In case you were wondering, I am indeed still alive. Just busy :P Also, in case you were wondering, my "surprise trip" last weekend was actually to (drumroll, please)... Naperville! My sister was supposed to come visit for that weekend, but she couldn't, so my family and I just decided that I would come home. And please don't be offended if I didn't call you... it was a very family-centered weekend! It was wonderful to be at home, in spite of the cold, and we did lots of fun things, including lots of food that I missed-- LOTS of salads-- and also lots of football. And hugs. :) Excelente.

It was hard to come back to Mexico, but last week was a good week at school; one of the English teachers made my Conversation Workshops mandatory, so instead of zero, 2 or 3 students, I had 25 last week! Thankfully some students had tipped me off, but I still had to seriously think on my feet. Some of the students are really super basic, so we did more of the same basic "What is your name, how old are you, what is your favorite color" business, questions and answers with their partners... then we rotated. It was like speed dating... just kidding. :) It was fun... and then a few students stayed after for MORE conversation, and we played 20 Questions... also fun. :)

Then this past weekend I headed to Cuernavaca, where my fellow Fulbright friend Kim lives... she's awesome. And Cuernavaca has a very Southern California-like climate, so I just loooved it... on Saturday we went to a park called Las Estacas, which has a spring-fed river (which made for a one-way lazy river... back upriver, NOT so lazy...), so we laid out and laughed and caught up and chatted with her friends... it was pret-ty glorious. Saturday night we went to this great outdoor restaurant, and ate Picaña, apparently a Brazilian cut of meat… juicy, tender… man. Also some delicious side dishes. Later in the evening, we went salsa dancing—and I think my salsa classes are paying off! ;) We had a blast…

Sunday afternoon, as I bought my ticket for Toluca, Kim decided on a whim to join me and come visit Toluca and Victoria… we went out for a turn about the city, stopping for quesadillas and later churros and hot chocolate.

Today, for some reason, was a great day. I got home from dropping Kim off at the bus station so she could get to the lab on time, and I meant to go back to sleep, but ended up journaling and talking to a bunch of people on Gchat… what an incredible invention. My room-slice Anne-Marie and I caught up, she had gone to Puebla for the weekend with some other Frenchies, and then I hurried to shower and get to work, where my students were particularly awesome. We played a vocabulary game, beginning with different themes: all the words you could think of regarding the themes of “vacation,” “countries,” and then some more variations… they came up with these outrageous words that I had no idea were a part of their lexicon—it was enjoyable to be so surprised! :P Then French class, then my conversation workshops, another big group… Then Anne-Marie and I went out for lunch (linner, really, it was 5 pm) and then I headed to my clase particular with my student Gonzalo, always a joy, then to work out… and now some Skype dates. Oh, and some class prep… one of the other teachers is out for a few weeks sick, so I’ll be taking some of her classes, for activities, their oral exam, and then their written exam…

All of a sudden, this is the last week of classes! Next week are my students’ Decade Projects (ask me about that one ;)), and they have no final exam… the following week is (I think) a conference in Mexico City, and then my dad gets here, and then we’re headed back to the US together on the 19th! It’s been a whirlwind three months, some highs and lows, but overall, I’m glad to be here.
Thanks for reading!

Hasta pronto~Besos

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Victoria~all over the place!

This week, as I'm sure you're all aware, was an historic one. Tuesday night was election night, and also happened to be Victoria's birthday eve. Soo we got a bunch of expats together, plus 2 Frenchies, 2 Mexicans, and a quesadilla in a lime tree...

We had a blast, watching Obama's numbers go up, eating nummy things like pretzels and chips and guacamole, and mini-pizzas, and precisely at 10 o'clock, as Victoria blew out her birthday candles, Obama won California--for the victory, or la victoria! It was a beautiful few moments... later as we listened to his victory speech, we got chills... I found myself reeeeally wanting to be in Grant Park for the victory party! (Adriana, you dirtbag! :))

Wednesday, Victoria's actual birthday, was also super fun, la familia, or our little family of Anne-Marie, Memo, Heather and I took her out for dinner at a cute French café that we went to the first weekend that Memo was here with some of their University colleagues... We got salads and crépes and a gorgeous bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio... it was beautiful.
Friday Memo made crépes and chocolate mousse, and some friends from the university made mole verde, and like true fusion, we enjoyed them together. Their house is huge, and they're all awesome about sharing it... we're really fortunate!
On Saturday, some of the same friends invited Victoria, Memo and I to Malinalco, a pueblito típico about an hour and a half away from Toluca. We stopped at another little town before (Tenancingo, I think), where we went to the flower fair, and I was able to buy some Gerber daisies... In Malinalco we ate some more carnitas (yessss), some seriously delicious gelato, and climbed about a thousand stairs to some pyramids. Ok, more like 480, but it felt like more... :) The view from the top was precious...

Today has been a day of catching up on correspondence, putting up pictures on facebook, cleaning up a bit, and packing for my secret trip this weekend. :) More on that later...

Hasta pronto! besos~


Long time no write... a lot has been going on! Last weekend Anne-Marie invited me to Morelia with a group of Frenchies, including Memo... she had to go early to meet some other friends, so Memo and I headed up (over?) on Friday morning...

We obviously had to eat when we arrived... ginoooormous quesadillas, a little expensive, but totally worth the value... we hung around Morelia all day, seeing the gorgeous cathedral, the huge amounts of tourists, and of course, the ofrendas. From what I learned, the Day of the Dead is the day that everyone remembers and venerates the memory of their loved ones who have passed on... it's different from the US in that there's not a certain date to do that for everyone; it could be that you visit the grave of your loved ones on the anniversary of their death, or their birthday, or just when you can... For the Day of the Dead, a person's relatives or friends put together an ofrenda, an offering, usually including bright colors and food items--maybe something that the muerto enjoyed while s/he was alive, usually including fruit, bread, and other various and sundry items...

Also present were various images of La Catrina, a well-dressed skeleton. According to wikipedia, "the figure, depicted in an ornate hat fashionable at the time, is intended to show that the rich and fashionable, despite their pretensions to importance, are just as susceptible to death as anyone else." Verry interesting. She's now a symbol commonly associated with the Day of the Dead...
On Saturday, with the rest of the Frenchies all assembled, we headed to Pátzcuaro, a pueblito where Día de los Muertos is apparently celebrated in style. We headed over there by bus, had some DELICIOUS carnitas (my new favorite food!), and headed down to the lake... we ended up crossing the lake by motorboat (one of my favorite ways to travel-by water), to the island of Janitzio... a quaint little place, lots of shopping, and LOTS of stairs... we ended up climbing the stairs to the top of the island where the huge statue was located... no seriously. Lots. Plenty of food and shopping to keep you going along the way, though... real sweet. We stopped for some photo ops...
Once we got to the top, we enjoyed the view for a while, some of our number got lost, but we eventually found them, saw some cool dances, were awed by the sheer numbers of tourists... and then back on the boat to the other side...

Sunday was more of the same, sightseeing, watching drama presentations on the street, eating num-nums... we came back around 9 or so with Aúrelie, who had to leave for Mexico City at 6 the next morning to catch her flight back to the south of Mexico... It was a busy- but fun-weekend! The Frenchies spoke a lot of French, but I totally do that too with Victoria and Heather... sometimes it's just easier in your own language. And I found myself able to pick up (very!) few words as they were chatting... French suuure is purdy.

Another entry for this past week... Besos~

Monday, October 27, 2008


What a week it’s been! I haven’t written in a while, so there’s a lot to catch up on…
Anne-Marie, my new French housemate, moved in last Tuesday. She is officially the bomb. It’s so much less lonely with her here… it feels like I’m back in college, with my friends built-in. ☺

This weekend we (Anne-Marie, Victoria, Memo and their housemate Heather and I) went to Guanajuato, the site of the Festival Cervantino, one of the largest music/art/dance festivals in Latin America. This was its last weekend, so things were extra crazy.

Friday morning, we met up with a group from their university in Toluca, and taxi’d to another university, where we boarded a suuuper sketchy bus with some equally sketchy characters around noon. We stopped several times for potty breaks, and during the last one, we realized that we’d gotten a flat tire. Oh wait, but don’t worry, there was a tire replacement shop conveniently located at the rest stop—the only problem was that it didn’t have our bus’s-sized tire. Sad. So we drove slowly for about an hour and a half, with the bus listing to the left, until we got to the larger city of Querétaro. We waited for another hour or so, with the lights of the food places across the highway making our mouths water… we got back on the bus, everything good to go, and got to Guanajuato at midnight. That’s right, a 5 hour bus ride turned into a 12 hour bus ride. Thankfully, Anne-Marie and Memo’s French friends in Gjo. were kind enough to let us crash with them—we added to the total number of people staying there (in a studio apartment) to make 15. Things got pretty crazy around bedtime, but we were grateful that we didn’t have to stay with the other 50 people from the bus-eek!

Saturday we got up late, shopped, and made a delicious breakfast with eggs, fruit, bread… it gave us great energy for the walking around that we did for the rest of the day… Guanajuato is a beauuutiful city! It was chock-full of people, but for the most part that wasn’t a problem. We hiked ourselves up to the mirador, walked around the city, heard live music everywhere, saw live sculptures, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. Saturday night we tried to get in to see some of the musical groups, but just ended up walking around for a while, and heading back to Amaya and Pitu’s house…

Sunday morning Victoria and Heather went back to Toluca to catch up on some work, so Memo and I and some newly arrived friends (Alexis, Nina and Rachel) got up early and hiked up (not kidding—very hilly, Guanajuato) to see the Mummy Museum… it was a little morbid, but FASCINATING to see some people’s clothes and hair intact after being buried between 2-7 years before being exhumed… the world’s smallest mummy, a 5 month old fetus, is at this museum. After the Mummy Museum, we wound our way back down and then up again to the Valenciana mine… Guanajuato was one of the main Spanish mining sites, mining mainly silver and gold, along with some copper, lime, quartz, and other minerals. The gold especially is obvious in the church directly above the mine—the altar is nearly almost gold-plated!

Some quesadillas for a snack, and then back down the mountain… Sunday night was the largest concert, the Mexican group Café Tacvba, and the closing ceremonies, so things were getting crazy even from early in the morning as people lined up for tickets and seats. We didn’t end up getting in to see them, as we had to meet our group for our departure at 10 pm, but they were broadcasted onto huge screens all over the city… lots of dancing, lots of excitement, lots of overcrowding…

We boarded our bus at 12, and we all slept for a while, and then between 2-4 we were at a dead stop on the freeway from all the people trying to get out of town. Literally. Not moving. Thankfully, we cut our time down to 10 hours instead of 12, and we got home around 10 am. Overall, a blast of a weekend, so fun to meet the Frenchies, hear live music everywhere, see beautiful Guanajuato, and generally take part in a big deal in Mexico. ☺ This week is our second exam, so I have to write the bugger, and then go to bed early. ☺

Thanks for reading! Besos~

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brandon comes to visit!

A fun weekend, our friend Brandon (another ETA in Acapulco) came to visit Victoria and me... we had a blast catching up, eating French crepes made by Memo, making music on GarageBand, and doing touristy things in downtown Toluca...

This morning (Sunday) we went to the central plaza, ate some deeelicious quesadillas, walked around to the different vendors set up in the plaza, bought some movies and music, and some other nummies. The Day of the Dead is coming up, in November, and so vendors are out in style with their different takes on the art... chocolate skulls, marzipan depictions of foods, coffins, etc... I need to learn more about this day, and then I'll write more about it. :)

I have some lesson planning to do, but just thought I'd take this chance to write... hope you're all well!

Hasta pronto! Besos~

Friday, October 17, 2008

An unexpected day

Victoria had asked me to come with her to do this presentation about why English learning is important... so I said sure. I had NO idea what to expect, but we went this morning after throwing together a PPT presentation last night...

So we get to the small town of Santiago Tianguistenco (no, I'm not kidding, that's its real name), and were welcomed by María Teresa, a sweet lamb English teacher at the school. She tells us that we'll be giving our presentation twice, to a group of about 250 high school students then to about 250 university students... ooooh. boy. But hey, Victoria's the bomb, I did some translating, and I think overall the students really liked it... thankfully we were able to talk about lots of relevant stuff to them--not just studying English with the end goal of getting a better-paid job, but music, art, communication, travel, etc... it ended up being really interesting (well, at least I thought so:)).

Then María Teresa (Tere) and her colleague Ivan took us to lunch at the cafeteria (side note--this school, the Centro de Estudios Superiores Universitarios, CESU, is a private school and therefore has more dinero for their sombrero, if you know what I mean... the facilities were quite nice!), I had some delicious enchiladas, and then we prepared a little bit for our 2 o'clock classes that they had asked us to give... They had told us a little bit about what the students have been learning, so we basically made it up on the fly...

I ended up doing introductions, having the students tell me about themselves and then tell me about each other; then (because they were learning about clothes) we talked about what we were wearing, and then I had them help me create a doll--they named her Lizzy-- and tell me what she was wearing... it ended up being pret-ty hilarious. I'd just like to remind everyone that I majored in Spanish and Latin American Studies--nooothing to do with drawing. But we had a great time, and it was fun to explain things like curvy earrings and polka dots, etc... they were really good-natured and kind kids. Man I wish I would have had my camera... that drawing could have been a real winner. :)

Brandon's coming to visit from Acapulco, we get to see him tomorrow! Yay!

Thanks for reading, skype me sometime! ;)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A day in the life

So my schedule has changed around a little bit, so now on Tuesdays I don't go in until noon now.

I hopped in my colectivo, and who else should get on but not one, not two, but three caballeros-- stetson & denim wearing Mexican cowboys. We didn't exchange more than a few words in greeting, but during the 20-minute I found myself imagining what their lives must be like... It was pretty entertaining.

From there, I had my first class, in which we watched Crash. I hope my students are getting it all... it's pretty heavy, but there are some nuances that I would really like for them to pick up. Hopefully we'll get some good discussion out of this. After, I had my French class (super basic, don't anyone get too excited :P) which is fun; my future housemate, Anne-Marie, is my teacher, and she's a blast.

From 2-4 I had my first conversation workshop... I had no idea how many students would show up, or what exactly we would do, but thankfully it worked out. About 15 students came, and we did some basic introduction stuff, trying to work on pronunciation and fluidity... they're pretty basic, but they're all so nice and we have a great time. :)

This week has been a blast-- I've gotten to talk to a bunch of people, like my fam, my friends Mallory and Denisse from Chile, Lindsay, Adriana, Brian, Michael, Hannah and Courtney... I feel super blessed!

I'm going to peace, my eyes need a break, but thanks for reading! Hasta pronto, besos~

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Quite a full week... Tuesday school (Religion and the Cupid Shuffle--a random combination) and tae-box at the gym, Wednesday school and some lesson planning--Nirvana's asked me to help put together a "Lab Manual" for the other teachers, so that everyone can take fuller advantage of their time in the Laboratories, which have computer access, TV, stereo, etc... thankfully, it's something I really enjoy and have lots of practice with thanks to my TESOL certification program.

Wednesday evening I headed for Toluca, to take advantage of the half-price movies (it's $2.60--even cheaper than the Ogden! Can't see a bad movie for that price :)), with Victoria and Memo. We saw Mirrors, with Keifer Sutherland--worst idea ever. I didn't watch over half of the movie cause I was freeeaked. Bad news bears.

Today our topic was stereotypes, and I started by asking my students about stereotypes they have about others... they were pretty timid/respectful at first, but then the conversation switched to Spanish, and I told them I wouldn't be offended by anything they had to say--THEN the hands started going up. I heard a lot of things I expected to hear, like "All Americans eat fast food," and "All Americans are really concerned with fashion." Things like that are relatively easy to answer; it's a lot of hay de todo, you get every kind in every culture-- that yes, some people DO eat fast food, it's quite convenient if nothing else; yes, some people ARE very concerned about being current with their styles, but not everyone-- and I think I was able to get through to them that Hollywood isn't representative the whole United States. Then the conversation took a different turn-- I told them they could ask me anything, and I would answer it as honestly as I could and as specifically or as broadly as the question required... I got asked about "college girls," if they're really as crazy as they seem in the movies, if Latin men are really more passionate than US men...

Then one student, Mark Anthony, asked me about immigration. What I think, what the rest of the country thinks... and boy, did I have plenty to say (Gracias a ti, Profesora Beatson...)-- I won't go into it all here, but ask me about it sometime. I didn't want the class to end on a negative note, so we came back to a relatively lighter subject, that of "groups" or "cliques" in junior high/high school-- it really makes me wish I'd brought Mean Girls to watch with them. Oh well, next week is Crash, which they hopefully understand better after our conversation.

Ah, and I'm getting a housemate! Anne Marie, the French assistant at my school, has decided to live with me! I'm super excited-- not only is she cool, but we're going to teach each other French/English, sticking up vocab words around the house, etc... yes, I'm cheesy, and I love it. :) It will also be nice to have the company. Things do get a bit lonely sometimes.

Ok. That's enough. Thanks for reading!

Hasta luego~besos!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The teacher is still the student.

I just figured out how to teach present progressive versus the present simple! "Simple," I know, but a big deal. To be able to present it in a way that my student, Gonzalo, understands it, with some timelines, etc... I'm pumped.

Every day here is a learning experience, which is a big part of the reason why I like visiting other countries so much... every day I hear a new phrase, see a word written on a billboard, hear a different intonation for a word, and of course, come up against a new difficulty regarding teaching English. Today I was in my friend Nirvana's class, going over some pronunciation, and we were talking about ordinal numbers. For the class' sake, she asked me what we use ordinal numbers for (first, fourth, etc), and I had to think about it for a second--we use it for dates! Very different from Spanish, in which they use simply the cardinal numbers-- el dos de noviembre--> November 2nd.

I'm sitting here planning a mini-workshop for my fellow teachers, and typing up 14 pages of US idioms... it's a wonder that anyone learns English, with all the crazy things we do with it.

Oh, also went to the salsa class at my gym tonight... man, sometimes I wish my hips could do these things that the Mexican women's do. :)

The beginning of another great week--I can already tell. :)

Hasta pronto--besos!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And so begins October.

What a fun week! I wrote and gave my first exam, and it went pretty well... I think my students are feeling more comfortable with their oral skills, and their writing (on the take-home essay) is pretty good. Unfortunately, I have my first cheating situation to deal with on Monday, so that will be great. Erg.

But a fun weekend... Friday afternoon I headed for Toluca to hang out with Victoria, and then we met up with my colleague Pilar's son, Pablo, who is studying the double bass, and he took us to the opening show of the Toluca symphony orchestra... It was a beautiful concert, which included a visiting pianist (Russian, living in the US) whose fingers moved SUPER fast, and then we headed out for tacos afterward with Pablo and his friend Luis. Saturday, also in Toluca, we met Victoria's new housemate and the French assistant at her university, Guillaume... very kind, not like we were expecting. :P We took advantage of his newness to take him on a tour around Toluca (also my first tour :P), and got some quesadillas, some ice cream, and did lots of walking around the downtown.

Saturday night we went bowling with two French professor at their school, and their significant others, and to my surprise, I won my first game of bowling ever! It wasn't the highest-scoring game ever, but no worries. I enjoyed my victory. After bowling, we headed to Crise and Marc's French café, near Victoria and Guillaume (Memo's) house, and I ate my first goat cheese salad since being in Mexico... and seriously enjoyed it. Another sleepover, and back to my own house this afternoon... A chill day, including a chat with my dear friend Mallory!!! :) Some grading, some lesson planning, and then some sleeping :)

Hasta pronto! Besos~

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's officially fall.

A few getting-into-routine days... next week is the first all-university exam week. Yes, I'll be writing my first exam. Eep. It will be great; so far we've discussed "family" and "education..." It hasn't gone exactly as I've planned, since I'm finding out that they're not as advanced as I thought they were. They're still respectful, and participatory, but I get lots of blank faces when I talk about things even at an intermediate level. Which just means there's lots to do! :)

This week has been pretty chill; thankfully, Victoria and I were able to successfully register our FM-3 visas, which apparently doesn't mean much unless we get in trouble and the police see that we're not registered. But we don't really plan on that happening. It's just good to know that we're doing things by the book, even if it was a huge pain.

It's getting fall-like... I smelled a fall crispness a few days ago... and BOY did it make me want to go watch (slash cheer for) a Naperville North football game. Or at least roast marshmallows by a fire. I wore a skirt to school on Tuesday and got some funny looks... and several people asked me if I was cold... I tried to explain that I was from Chicago, this is nothing, but they just shook their heads and walked their pea coat-clad selves away.

I've learned a few things in these past few days... including:
-Don't expect anything to be open on a Sunday afternoon. Or a Saturday afternoon, for that matter.
-Mexicans aren't as into soap specifically for the face.
-Nor are they into mousse. Oops. Maybe I should have taken my mom up on her offer to buy me some backup stuff. :P

I've been hanging out with my neighbor, Francisco, Victoria (who just got a kitten!), and Nirvana a lot lately... Nirvana and I went dancing last night with her swim teacher, and they tried to coach me in the intricacies of Norteño versus Cumbia versus Salsa versus some others that I don't remember... it was fun. :)

This weekend just taking it chill, cleaning a bit, trying to assemble my recently-delivered sofa bed (come visit! :)), and working on my online TEFL/TESOL certification. That's pretty much it. :)

hasta luego~besos

Sunday, September 21, 2008

home to the Forestal...

Ahh a gorgeous weekend!! Went to Forestal Laureles, my home for 2 months 3 years ago when I came to Mexico City on a mission trip... I've kept in touch with a few close friends from the youth group, and they hosted me for the weekend...

Ricardo and Lalo came and picked me up from the metro, and I didn't want to stop hugging them! We went up the mountain, it takes a while, saw my dear friend Marce and her family... We hung out at their chicken shop until they got off work, then Marce and I went to go pick up our friend Olga from her house to go to youth group. When we got there, Nayeli was giving the message and the look on her face when I walked in was priceless. :) After the service, there were a ton of hugs, kisses, squeals (not only on my part :P), pictures (included)... and I promised to return sometime during October...

Saturday night I slept at Marce's house, home also to her parents and 6 brothers and sisters, all of whom I hung out with a lot 3 years ago... it was a beautiful night. We ended up going to bed early :P

Sunday morning we went to church, and it was a little surreal to be back in that building, where Megan (my Latin America Missions counterpart for the summer) and I slept in the basement, where we spent lots and lots of time at Bible studies, midweek services, and Sunday mornings... it was cool, though. Lots of worship, a message by a new member, and then time for testimonies... oh, and they recognized me at one point, too... I went up during the testimonies to give my saludos and thank them for welcoming me so kindly... Lots of hellos afterward, more hugs and besitos and promises to return... I loved the fact that I'm not going anywhere for a while and can make good on my promises to return...

Today back to the grind--I need to go to bed earler :P Tomorrow back to the registro civil, to try once more to register our visas, and seeing my friend Victoria in Toluca.

Hasta pronto! Besos~

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Real quick...

I'm about to head to Mexico City, to visit my friends from when I lived here 3 years ago... I'm pumped! We've been in touch, they're coming to pick me up at the Metro... it's going to be awesome. :)

Regarding my recent posts... I don't know how many of you are up on Mexican goings-on, but over the past few years, there have been some serious spikes in crime rates... lots of petty crime, kidnappings, drug trafficking and the like... I don't want to ignore this stuff, but neither do I want to live with a spirit of fear... or give the perpetrators of these crimes the attention that they're seeking. My respect, however, does go to the victims of these crimes, particularly the victims of a grenade in the midst of the Independence Day celebrations on Tuesday...

Please don't worry about me... and please don't think Mexicans are evil. Because what a horrendous generalization. And, as they say "hay de todo..." in every society there is good and evil. I have been fortunate to have met some incredible, intelligent, hardworking, funny and kind people here... and I've only been here a few weeks. People at my school, my neighbors, other friends... they have all been so kind to me, and really for no reason other than the fact that they're good people.

I feel like I'm blathering, but hopefully this makes sense. All this to say, I try to take care of myself as any person should, and people are looking out for me, too. I don't want to be afraid, but neither do I want to be naive. With that, I am off to my weekend in Mexico City... more to come!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fiestas Patrias!

So Tuesday was Mexican Independence Day, and the festivities began on Monday evening...

Omar and Liz, the couple who took us to Taxco on Sunday, invited Victoria and I to their friends' town for the celebrations--Acambay, a little town near Atlacomulco, about an hour away from Toluca. We left Monday evening, and the drive was gorgeous. It's interesting to see the pasaje, the scenery, after you get out of Toluca and Lerma, which are apparently the industrial hub of the country... which means not so pretty. But outside of the city lines, especially due to the extra rain lately, everything is lush and green and beautiful...

So turns out the friends in Acambay, Lili and Alejandro, are awesome. :) Lili, turns out, is a member of the local government, which meant that we got invited to the party in the presidential palace, and hob-knobbed with the local bigwigs. And everything was free! ;) We walked around the plaza a bit, bought some snackies (obviously), and then participated in the "grito": a short historical account of the revolution/independence is read, then the highest local political official (in this case, our friend the President) leads everyone in a "shout:" He says "Viva México" and we answered "Viva!"; then names some of the revolutionary heroes, and more "Viva"s... then the gunshots begin. This is apparently the only night in which people can fire their guns off in the street legally... that went on for quite a while. It got loud! And some dum-dum shot out the electrical cables, so everything went dark for a few hours... oops!

After the grito, we went back upstairs for the gvt shindig, and there was a huge mariachi band, drinks, more snacks, and lots of dancing! There were few females, so we danced a TON! We stayed out real late, meaning we missed the parade on Tuesday morning cause we were sleeping, but then we went to get breakfast again in the plaza-- my first carnitas here in Mexico! O man they were delicious! Then trying some other foods, like huaraches... also nummy. Then we went back to Lili's parents' house, and they have this beautiful mini-orchard in their backyard... we picked some fruit and enjoyed the sunshine and company... all in all a beautiful celebration!

Today back to work, my students' assignment for this Friday is a Facebook profile in English... can't wait to see what they write! :)

Hasta luego~ besos!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend fun with Victoria!

My first full weekend installed in my house has been a good one! Not that I've spent much time here, though...

Friday my friend Victoria and I, also here on a Fulbright ETA, tried to register our visas with the gvt. Mistake. They tried to make us do lots of crazy things like change the status of our visas... thankfully Jessica, our Fulbright go-to, told us she would take care of it. She's the bomb.

Anyway, Victoria and I spent the day in Toluca, where she lives, hanging around, chatting, catching up; I got to see her University (a few times bigger than mine, but I still like my U ;)), we went to lunch with her tutor, Kirk, who has lived here in Mexico for about 15 years... he has some crazy stories. I stayed at Victoria's house on Friday, and Saturday morning we returned to Lerma, and stumbled upon what I assume to be the beginning of Lerma's "diamond-ness..." a HUGE market. Selling lots of delicious things--we ate some quesadillas, some tlacoyos (stuffed masa shaped like a football), some freshly squeezed orange juice... I could get used to that. Bought some num-nums, returned to my house, cleaned up a bit, then we received an invitation from her friends Omar and Liz--for a "Noche Mexicana." We went to one of Omar's uncle's homes (it was huge), and proceeded to stuff ourselves with pozole (a soup with hominy and other delicious additions), tacos dorados (rolled up and fried tacos), tostadas (fried tortillas with meat and cheese and lettuce on top), pambazos (grilled rolls with meat and cheese and cream and lettuce inside--like a sandwich), and tamales... holy smokes. Obviously I had to try everything. It was all sooooo good... good thing we don't eat like that every weekend! :)

During the course of the evening, chatting with Omar's family, we had to admit that we haven't traveled very much, so Omar and Liz invited us to Taxco for Sunday. Taxco (pronounced TAS-co) is in the state of Guerrero (the same state as Acapulco), and is well known for it's colonial history and it's silver mining. They drove us, kindly, and we spent the day looking through the various "platerías," finding treasures in unlikely places, and of course, eating. :) I came home with a few pairs of wooden earrings, a necklace, a mobile of fish (that's currently hung up here in my bedroom), and some beautiful paintings of birds on a background of rough paper. And some new friends. :) They've also invited us to their other family member's house for this evening, which will kick off the festivities for Independence Day, which is tomorrow... more on that tomorrow. :)

Oh, and I have internet at my house now! Yay! I ended up getting it from a smaller company, so they were able to get right on it. It's AWESOME. Skype me! :)

Hasta pronto... besos!

From Paulo Coehlo's "The Pilgrimage"

"When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends on them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life.
"At the same time, since all things are new, you see only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be alive..."

--Recent gifts I've been given:
~proximity to my sweet friend Victoria
~new friends Omar and Liz
~The kindness of my fellow teachers and my students

more to come...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First week of classes

First week of class is officially over. And I am officially super excited.

My students are the most advanced in the school; those who have already passed the TOEFL exam. They're looking for more help on their fluency, vocabulary, etc... we're going to have a great time. Also, since they've passed their exams, this class is sort of voluntary--meaning that for the most part, they want to be there. Within each class are a variety of levels, but they're all good-natured and kind and willing to try--and that's all I ask for.

I've been playing tons of Simon Says with the other professors' classes, that's been real fun. It's also fun to put names to faces, and be able to greet students around campus-- I don't feel like such an alien anymore. Huzzah!

In my own classes, we've brought pictures in for Show and Tell, we've listened to different genres of music, we've played Simon Says just for some calisthenics... and I asked them to tell me a. their favorite word in English and b. three things they want to learn in our class. A sampling of their favorite words: awesome, king, dead, tissue, serves you right, beautiful... I told them my favorite word in Spanish is "trabajaba," meaning "I used to work," just 'cause I think it's funny. :)

We'll see how next week goes--next Tuesday is Mexican Independence Day, (from Spain,) so there will be lots of fun things going on... I was hoping to go visit a new Fulbright friend in Veracruz this weekend, but alas, my plans fell through. I'm sure we'll reschedule. And I'm sure other happenings will be happening.

Hasta luego... besos!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My internet saga begins... + first day of class!

I think I forgot about the sometimes lack of ease/facilitation of institutions and other entities in México. Sigh. I tried to get internet, but you can't get it here without a landline, so I had to order that, then when that's installed, I have to come back to the store and order internet... it could be a month. Double sigh.

Thankfully, my new friends Felipe and Antonia, the owners of the local internet café, are very kind--and available. :) We'll be seeing more of each other, I'm sure. :)

Today was the official beginning of the semester at the University, and because the U has recently begun 2 new majors, Public Health and Paramedic(ery, i don't know how you say that in English :P), we had the Secretaries of Health and Education of the State of Mexico present for the inauguration ceremony. It was sweet, and interesting. Everyone's so darn POLITE here. Everyone greets everyone, students when they talk to me (though I might be the same age as them) are so kind and respectful... it's real sweet. Though I do stick out like a sore thumb (a new phrase I taught to my colleagues). It's almost worse than Chile--at least they had tourists there, here, I'm very noticeable. I'm trying not to let it go to my head ;)

My students are awesome, they put up with my antics... we have a good time. :) The other professors and I are trying to speak only English in the school, which is fun. They're all really good-natured, I like them a lot.

My new home, Lerma, I believe to be a diamond in the rough. Right now, it's mostly rough. I'm sure I will find its diamond-ness soon. They make a killer quesadilla down the street from my house... I could get used to that. Hopefully this weekend will hold something fun and exciting... perhaps a quick trip. :)


Saturday, September 6, 2008

I have a home¡

Yayy¡ After days of searching, I have a home¡ THANK YOU for your prayers¡ it's this sweet 2-bedroom house, on a private street, with security from 7 pm-7 am... i feel great about it. my coworkers have been SO awesome in helping me to find a place and also schlepping me all around to buy furniture, linens, and pretty much everything else--the place didn't come furnished. but it's ok, cause i can decorate etc. to my liking. And, though it's been pretty costly, thankfully Fulbright did us a favor and gave us extra money at the beginning. I've also gotten to see a bunch of off-the-beaten-path places, like a few factory-direct shops, for linens and such. The 'dollar store' inside the wal-mart, where i got cute dishes and other various and sundry things. Also, this ENTIRE street of carpintery. I think that's how you spell it. Anyway. My colleagues Anne and Julio and I walked up and down for a while to find the best deals. Thanks to them, I got 3 pretty cheap things--a bed frame, a bookshelf, and a beautiful table. I'll have to go back for the chairs, but for the moment, I'm getting myself settled.

It kind of reminds me of the old 'student housing' days. You walk into the kitchen-dining room, and to the left you face the kitchen, with bedrooms on either side, and a bathroom in the middle, too. The hot water works, the landlord is letting me borrow a stove and a refrigerator, which is awesome, cause those are super expensive, and little by little, things are coming together. I'll hopefully get some pictures up soon.

There have been a few 'what the heck did i get myself into' moments, but on the whole things are great. I have a phone date with my family tonight, and will hopefully be getting internet soon. Classes start for real on Monday, and mostly Monday and Tuesday I'm a floater, conducting different conversations/games and such with different teachers' classes. Wednesday and Thursday I have 3 of my own classes, which should be nice--intimidating, initially, but nice.

Thanks for reading... besos--

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First few days of class!

Yayy someone came to pick me up! Nirvana, the professor that Fulbright has assigned me to work with here, was at our English Teacher's orientation on Tuesday morning... she's a gem. After the orientation was over, with a sad goodbye to my new friends Victoria, Brandon, Peter and Arleen, we drove to the university to meet some of the staff. That's the Universidad Tecnologica del Valle de Toluca, to be precise. It's in the middle of these gorgeous, wooded hills... it's beautiful. I met the other English teachers, and have since also met the directors of the different majors, who have all been SO kind and welcoming and quick to assure me that they are here to help me with anything I might need.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a place to live. I hope that changes this afternoon! A lot of the places I've seen are either too far, too small or too much $$... but since I'll be here for 9 months, working, I'd also like my living place to be comfortable--and nice. So. Thankfully, Nirvana (my hostess) has graciously allowed me to stay with her since Tuesday... I hope to not be a burden on her for much longer.

The other teachers are SO kind; it's interesting to see each of their different levels and styles as I go visit each of their classes... I believe they're hoping that I'll do a few workshops for them, the teachers, also. That could be REALLY fun. :)

I had my first real class today, at 9 am... with students that have already passed their TOEFL exam, but who want more practice. According to Nirvana, most of the students at the school are at a very basic English level, mostly in need of practice with a native speaker--enter ME. :) Since this is a technical school, along the lines of COD with the students graduating with approximately the equivalent of an associate's degree, it is smaller, with approximately 1.700 students. And they ALL have to take English. So i'll be meeting/working with most of the school. The students that I've already met are all very kind, respectful, and seemingly excited about school/English. Let's hope that carries past the first week of class :) And let's hope that it doesn't show that this is my first formal English Teaching experience. :)

Hope to have more info soon! (and maybe even an internet connection :P)


Monday, September 1, 2008


Oh man. I wish I could put up more photos; unfortunately, the connection here in the hostal is kinda tricky.

Man. They speak a seriously Mexican Spanish here. Imagine, Mexican Spanish in Mexico. I know. But after such a long time in Chile, learning to speak Chileno, Mexican Spanish is easy by comparison. The vocabulary is definitely different, that's been fun/challenging, but they pronounce nearly ALL of their s's, and their d's... so different than Chile. When people hear me speak, they get a little thrown off and ask me where I learned Spanish, and some initially ask me if it's Chilean... I love that. :) It makes me want to hold on to my Chilean accent. ;) Vamos a ver.

Also, I was just commenting to my friend Katie... After all I've heard and read and experienced about this City, I've found it beautifully welcoming and friendly. Thankfully, we've had no trouble with our things, they've been secure here in the hostel; everyone we've had to ask for directions has been very helpful (and some also enjoy practicing their English with us-- hard to blame them)... it's been a great first few days.

Tomorrow, we 5 English teachers have our specific orientation, beginning at 9 am... meaning we have to get ourselves and our approximately 15 pieces of luggage into taxis and over to this other building, then sit for some some meetings. Supposedly our "tutors" (the professors with whom we will be working at our respective institutions) will come to pick us up from there. My friend Victoria and I will be living about half an hour away from each other, which should be fun. I think (before seeing things), that I will live in Lerma, where my university is actually located, instead of in Toluca where I originally thought I would be. It may be less mobile, but hopefully I will get used to that and eventually enjoy it.

Oh, and this post's label: today we tried to get cell phones, but were deterred-- we'll each have to get them in our respective cities. We went for lunch to Chinatown, this one random alley/pedestrian walkway close to our hostel... it was great. Later we went to see a Mexican movie, "A-M-O-R letra por letra." It was great; after being sort of disappointed with Chilean cinema, I'm excited to see more of Mexico's offerings.

Ok, I think it's time for us to go pack. Hope you're all well--shoot me an email when you get a chance! ;)


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday fun-day

Last night we headed to hear a Soul band play—it was really cool to see how this group of Mexicans has appropriated soul (music, style, dance) and made it their own.

Today, after some leisurely internet time, and a lunch of delicious lamb tacos, we headed back to the Bosque of Chapultepec, to the Museum of Anthropology and later the Museum of Modern Art. Both were free because it was a Sunday—we love free stuff! They weren’t kidding about the anthropology museum—it is HUGE. And beautiful. And fact-filled. My friend Victoria’s and my favorite part was outside of the section on the Maya, it was as if we were walking through a jungle and happened upon some ruins. We only really saw a few sections before the museum closed, so we went outside back to where some of the vendors were, got some mango with chile powder on it and some banana chips, and headed over to the other museum.

I think tonight (finally!) will be a chill night—we all need to catch up on our rest, especially here at the high altitude, after the crazy week we’ve had. I think we might watch Center Stage or something of the like.

Our project for tomorrow is cell phones- we’ll see how that goes. We’ll all be in different places, and the area codes are all different, so we’ll see if they can give us the codes we need even if we buy the phones here in the capital.

Hasta luego—Besitos!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Anti-violence march

So many things, so few days...

Orientation was super busy, much of it was fun and interesting, but the best part was getting to meet the other Fulbrighters/ networking, and our nights out! We've scaled the pyramids at Teotihuacán, we had a dinner with a Mexican Fulbrighter (probably going to Chicago soon!), a reception at the Deputy Chief of Missions' house, and some live music in a pub-- and I looove live music! ;)

Yesterday, the other 3 English teachers and I got to our hostel, to be home for the next few days, and went to the Lucha Libre last night-- it was NUTS. Choreographed, yes, but so fun to watch people get sooo excited about it!

Today we went to the Bosque (woods) de Chapultepec, to the Zoo, and we were going to go to the Museum of Modern Art but it started to pour, so we were stuck under a sculpture for a while before being able to continue on to the Anti-violence march... you may have read about it in the BBC-- basically there have been a HUGE number of kidnappings and violent crimes in the past few years, and for this march (they expected about 500.000 people) we all wore white in solidarity with the victims and families of the violence. Check it out:

I think we've been invited to some live music for the evening, so i will sign off-- besos!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I've arrived!!


I'm safely and happily in Mexico City! Our plane was delayed for a bit, but on the ground in MX i ran into several other fulbrights, and have been happily making friends with them and others ever since.

Our hotel is beautiful, we've already been to eat some tacos (yay!) and it's good to know that it's finally real (and I wasn't the only one who thought it was pretend :))

Orientation is tomorrow and Thursday, it promises to be a whirlwind, but i'm pumped.

Thanks for all of your support, everyone, and I hope to be hearing from you soon!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Got my visa!

It's official! I can actually go :)

Some pics from the party yesterday...

T minus 26 hours!

I'm really excited to begin this adventure, and to share it with you via this blog!

I leave for Mexico City tomorrow, Tuesday August 26th, in the morning. Tomorrow evening begins our orientation for the 40ish Fulbrighters to Mexico. The other English Teaching Assistants and I will probably be among the youngest of the group, which should be interesting. :)

Many thanks to those of you who were able to make it to my party on Sunday night-- it was such a blast! So fun to have each of you there and be able to say "Hasta luego" for a while.

I'll sign off for now, lots of last-minute things to do, but hopefully I'll be able to update this blog every now and again.