Sunday, July 01, 2007

¡Estoy en Mexico!

So here´s the rundown of what has happened:

Day 1: Took two planes--to Houston and then to Morelia. We arrived at the Centro Universitario de Michoacan, and met our host families. The guy who picked me up did so in a Taxi and was my host brother Abraham. I´m enjoying my host family. There´s been lots of good food. Not all what you´d call "traditional" but people and places rarely live up to stereotypes. My host family''s all awesome, though. My host mom cooks good food and I'm able to practice my Spanish a lot during meals with her and my host dad. With Abraham it's usually Spanglish of a mostly-English variety, but I often take the intiative and speak Spanish anyway.

Day 2: We have our orientation at the school and I begin to be scared of my class on Mexican Health Systems and social work. The class is a combination of actual service experience / site visits and various lectures in Spanish designed to kill me. We had a walking tour with one of the women who runs the school.

We went to the mass at the Cathedral at 6pm, too. That was pretty awesome. I feel the need to let people know that we carried the tradition of holding hands during the Our Father down to the Mexican mass where it does not belong. I'm not mad about this; at the time and in retrospect I found/find it rather comical. I also thought crossing my arms would indicate "soy un protestante, no communion para mi" but no. My classmates reminded me that this might have been because in Mexico Catholic communion is directly to the mouth, and so the symbol is to put one's two fingers (as in a closed peace sign) over one's mouth. I actually did attempt to explain to the priest (bishop or archbishop, we think, actually) that "era un protestante" (the wrong tense, for those who don't know Spanish.) This left me not knowing whether to be more embarassed that I'd had to turn down a Bishop's communion or that I'd used the wrong verb tense to explain it.

Day 3 (Thursday, so you know): First class on the history and culture of Mexico, specifically Michoacan. I'm thinking this will actually be the easier of the two. The professor is easier to understand than either the main or guest speakers in the other class (in fairness I think she may be American.) This was the day I think I'd shifted out of what-did-I-get-myself-into mode...of course that day was also the day I shifted right back in again.

Day 4: Classes. I felt better about them on this day. At night we went to a restaurant called the Cafe Santa Fe, where a live band was playing. That was pretty cool. This was actually a semi-official outing. If you're ever in Morelia, and at the Cafe Santa Fe, the fajitas are pretty freakin' good. Stay away from the lemonade. I think the "drinks" drinks were alright, from what my friends were saying.

Day 5: We went to the waterpark yesterday. I slid down a slide that if you know me is big for me. I got massive sunburn, too. I'll make sure I get a picture of some of that. At night (this was one of the less-official outings) we went to a discoteqa (club). I didn't drink, but I think pretty much everyone else did. It was still fun though, and after awhile I loosened up a bit and began to enjoy myself. Also, lots of house music. So I declare that the DJs had better taste than those at my high school dances. Also, EGO (the discoteqa) had an awesome view of Morelia at night, what with all the city lights and everything.

Also, before we went to the waterpark, I had a fun theological discussion with some classmates about Catholics praying to saints. I sided in defense of the practice, for the record. One of my classmates, one of those who was involved in the debate, is a very strongly Protestant Christian. He's pretty much awesome just like the rest of them.

Day 6: By Morelia standards I slept in--till 10:00! Pancakes for breakfast, a little reading, too much TV (mostly subtitled Without a Trace with a little bit of dubbed cartoonage.)

I'm not entirely sure I actually want to be here for the next five weeks, honestly. But I'm having a good enough time and I think it'll get better once I get more comfortable around my classmates and get a little more social--mind, parental units, that I'll be doing so without sacrificing my homework. But I'm happy for the opporunity to--and looking forward to--getting to know the pretty awesome group of people who I'm here studying with.

If I can find the time and an internet cafe that lets me I'm going to break out the MegaZeux sometime. Probably not for a couple of weeks, though.

Also, books read: this last week I read Mort. It's about a kid named Mort who becomes Death's apprentice. Before I left I finished Good Omens, which contains some pretty interesting notions. For anyone in my family reading it, don't expect your theology to be taken seriously. Do expect to laugh. Many times.

Now I'm reading Borges' Ficciones and am enjoying it, when I can understand it. I found out the lady who took us on our walking tour reads Borges. She told me it's pretty difficult reading even if you're a native speaker, which was good to know, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't understand Borges in Spanish or in English.


kerpo said...

hi daniel - sounds like you are having muey fun so far and already have lots of stories to tell. be careful of the "drink" drinks while at the disco. picturing you at a disco in mexico makes me laugh - in a good way :-) stay focused on the end result of all of this and what God will teach you along the way. i look forward to reading your blog and hearing many stories when you get home. love you. aunt kerry.

llgp said...

Daniel, thanks for the dandy post. It really helps to get a little sense of what you're experiencing away down there (and away up there).
Here's my little encouragement regarding the drinking option: Stick to your plan.
You're doing such a great job of adapting to a new environment peopled with folks who are also (mostly) new to you.
I'm very impressed!
Get every good thing you can out of this experience.