Hola! Buenos tardes!
The past month has been incredible in so many ways. I have been incredibly busy, learning an incredible amount, seeing and doing some incredibly amazing things. I still do not have internet, but am using the often-weak wireless signal from my neighbour across the way. It’s frustrating, but I’ll get my own eventually.
So what’s Mexico like, you ask? Well, I can’t generalize about the country, but I can tell you about my experiences in Queretaro and at the school. It’s an awful lot like home in so many ways. It’s quite different in so many other ways.
Some things you might not expect:
- We have most of the same brands here as back home, and the big name stores and places to eat: Wal-Mart, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, and more.
- We just had a week of super cold weather in mornings and nights (I shit you not, pants, coats, hats and mitts were not unusual, must have been near/in single digits). It’s warmed up again, but we can expect this to come back even worse in November/December.
- If you think I’m an aggressive driver (I hold firm that I am a safe, but confident driver), you haven’t been to Mexico. I would need to step up my aggressiveness about 10 notches to fit in here (hell, KATE would have to step up her driving almost 10 notches!!!). It is logical, though – we drove through the country last week, and there is next to no trouble passing slower cars – they all pull over so you can easily pass without waiting for a good time. So logical.
- Sombrero translates to hat. Nothing specific…. just hat.
- I get my laundry washed at a lavandaria – they wash it for you! I have yet to find a place where I can wash my own laundry.
Some things you might expect:
- Guys whistle at us… all the time… and I was told it’s not regarded as disrespectful. In particular, I think they like the blond hair, and I’ve been told you’ll get more whistles if you’re wearing short shorts and flip-flops.
- Rules are just a suggestion.
- It’s common to see the cab of a pick-up truck or any other vehicle packed with people. If you can fit him/her in the vehicle somehow, someway, it’s all good.
- I’ve only been to one public restroom (i.e. where I’m not paying for some service), and you have to buy the toilet paper… better than Amsterdam where you have to pay just to get in to the washroom.
- Tacos in Mexico are not the same as tacos in Canada. Always soft shells, beans, and lime and ‘something to spice it up’ with everything!
- Most things are super cheap. Electronics are not.
What have I been doing since my arrival exactly 1 month ago?
- Teaching! I am a teacher (wow, stupidly obvious things Lauren says, quote 1)… more to come.
- Planning. The biggest perk of being a teacher.
- Marking. I take it back. This is the biggest perk of being a teacher!
- Soccer game: this was quite an experience. We were in the rowdy section – everyone cheering/chanting for the entire game, and when they got really excited, they threw their beers in the air. Huge riot after the game. I’m glad I had people to keep me cool because my instinct was to get close to the action! So exciting!… but Mexican jail probably wouldn’t be.
- Eating sushi. Yes, you read correctly. I had sushi, and I enjoyed it!!! My co-teacher says this place is the best in Queretaro, so maybe I just like this sushi. Only time will tell.
- Salsa dancing. Haven’t been for a few weeks, but I do want to go back for more lessons. Love it!
- Cleaning/setting up my apartment. I’ve moved my furniture around a few times to find what’s comfy (no surprise there, eh?). Still doesn’t really look like “home” but that’s normal – after the first few moves years ago, I realized it’s a big waste of time to set a place up if it’s only home for a year (or this might be for two years – can you imagine me living in one place for two years – YIKES!!!)
- Learning Spanish. I have a course on my computer, and most of the English teachers are taking lessons through the school. We meet once a week. This coming Monday will be week 3. Progress is slow right now, but will pick up once I get more organized with teaching and planning.
- Sleeping, shitting, and even puking. I got super sick last Thursday night. I tried to teach Friday but had to leave at lunch. I slept pretty much the entire weekend, took some drugs, and am now feeling almost completely fine. I’m hoping that’s a one-time, “ate something bad” type of thing. It was NOT fun, especially since this is the biggest week here, and I’m spending it catching up on planning and marking that I didn’t do on the weekend.
So why is this the biggest week in Mexico?
Friday is Mexican Independence Day!!! The festivities started Tuesday, and the big celebration is Thursday night. We have Friday off school. Queretaro is where it all began, so this really is the place to be for independence day. I wanted to check out some stuff downtown this week, but have been so busy at school that I haven’t been able to. I’m hoping to go tomorrow night. I had to pass on a weekend adventure to San Luis Potosi: a jungle, white water rafting, cliff jumping, rappelling, camping in teepee type huts. Sounds like Lauren’s dream weekend, right? Well, I made the responsible choice to stay in Queretaro for the long weekend so I can catch up on cleaning, shopping, and school stuff. It’s gonna be fuuuuun!!!!
“Why so much text, Lauren? Put some pictures, add some excitement.”
Maybe later, kids. I apologize to be keeping such a rarely-updated, picture-boring blog, but I do promise it will get better, so check back soon. This journey is just getting started.
I hope you’re living your life to the fullest, wherever you may be. Remember, life is not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.
Until next time, peace out homies.