Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Hippie

In San Miguel my roomies and I went on a hike. There is a large hill that overlooks the whole city. I had heard that there was a market in that direction as well, so we took off to find it and catch a great view. It didn't take us long to get from the zócalo to the top of the hill. It was a fantastic view, and certainly it was worth the time. We never found the market, (we found it with the whole group later) so we decided to just walk back.

On the way down we saw a sign of sorts painted on the doorway of a house. It said something about an art gallery, so we walked in. Inside we met a man and a woman (husband and wife) and their godson whom they were taking care of for a time. He had grown up in Bermuda whereas his wife was from Germany. When we entered their house they showed us their "studios" which were simply their bedrooms and living room (and somewhat the kitchen). Claudia showed us how she makes glass beads and some other things. Bruce showed us some of his artwork from the past few years.

His art was fascinating because many of his older paintings represented some quality realism. His more recent stuff was a bit more of an oddity (but no less in quality) and something you would have expected from a guy with a bunch of old toys hanging in the tree by his house. He would construct different things out of toys and he had created ingesting collages from cereal boxes ( They showed us around and were very pleasant to talk to. He even walked with us down the rest of the hill since he had some errands to run.

Overall, it was nice to meet another random person in San Miguel. They also gave us their business card. If I continue to meet such fascinating people, I'll consider the trip to be quite successful.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Bartender

As of a couple weeks ago I had never really been in a bar. I had been in restaurants with bars but never actually sat at a bar. It's nothing personal; I just haven't made a habit of it. I think my biggest fear is related to the fact that I know almost nothing about liqueur and am certain to embarrass myself, since the only phrases I know is "on the rocks." I don't particularly enjoy ice, so it is an almost useless expression for me.

As my roomies and I were walking around San Miguel a couple weekends ago, we walked by a bar that was particularly empty. We entered and sat down at the bar. Now Matt recommended that we all get "Disarronno" so we all did. It is not a very strong drink and later on I found that my consumption of it could cause my masculinity to be in question. The tasty drinking (and emasculating) beverage was not the highlight of the night. We ordered our drinks in broken Spanish only to discover that the bartender spoke English perfectly well.

He shared with us that at one time he had been an illegal immigrant to the United States. When he was 18, he snuck over the border in a truck of some kind. The truck apparently had a false bottom enabling him and others to hide in the few inches of space that the fake floor created. He asked about who we were and what we were doing in Mexico and it was an enjoyable conversation. He even gave us some free French fries.

The next night we returned, pretty much just to talk to this guy. He told us his story and how he eventually came to be a legal immigrant in the states and lived there for about 9 years. We stopped back one last time on Sunday just to say goodbye. I'm glad that we were able to meet him and spend some time talking and hearing about his experiences. He is just one of the many interesting people I have been able to meet on this trip and I certainly hope to meet more.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Teaching: Initial Thoughts

I apologize for how late I am on posting this. A lot has happened since my last update. But first I should mention a few random things. I discovered Jícama (Mexican Yam) which is very sweet and good when eaten raw. I ate some at home and then decided I would go get more at the supermarket. Also, the cops around here always have their lights on. They never turn them off and it is quite blinding when they drive by.

I began teaching tenth grade very quickly after arriving here at the school. I am teaching a unit on poetry which is fortuitous because I taught poetry at my previous placement. After a couple days I pretty much had all of my students' names figured out, which was nice. As I mentioned previously, I had to create a poetry unit for my time here. I didn't have any of my resources from home so I feel very good about the fact that my lessons have been going well.

This school is a wonderful place to work and a great area to live. Teaching with 80minute periods has been great and I really feel like it enables best practice to occur. About 10 minutes into my very first class, one of the administrators came into my class and sat in the back. Presumably she was there to observe my cooperating teacher but since I was teaching it was pretty nerve wracking.

As I mentioned before, I apologize for not updating this. However, I have been updating my personal journal, and I will be relating the many stories within to you over the next couple weeks.