Monday, February 2, 2009

Como estás Ustedes

Hello everyone, Sorry it has been so long since I have been on. Needless to say I have been very busy and enjoying myself. I will not lie the change to life here was somewhat difficult. Prior to coming I thought "hey Im a Chicano... this will be a walk in the park." Well, it was not, there is a huge difference in the way of life here compared to Latinos in the us. The harderest change was adjusting to the lack of technology here. Talking to people at home became a very hard task, but now I know the ropes and where to go for the best and cheapest services. The school I am at is very small but this is good because I am able to have one on one teaching. My spanish level is increasing slowly because I am learning alot of book knowledge and not so much speaking but I assume it comes with time. My regular day goes as followes: Wake up at 6:15 and have breakfast by 7:20, after that I walk to school. My first class goes from 8 to 10:50 (grammar), followed by a small lunch break then back to class at 11:30 (conversation) after that I head to my next class (situational). At 2:30 I head to my host family for comida (the main meal of the day). My host family is great and they cook like no other, I have not went a day here hungry. After comida i head back to school, for work on my rotary project (helping the town of San Juan del Monte). After that I go to Intercambio (exchange) where we meet with native speakers and do half an hour in english and half in spanish. At the end of the day I head back home and have a small meal before bed, which usually falls around 9:45/10:00. On mondays, we get to go to an orphanage and play with children, it is great and I have so much fun. Last week we played a killer game of school for like two hours. I have yet to have any official cooking lessons or salsa, and due to my rotary project I miss out on art class. Its okay because I am enjoying everything I am doing here. My second weekend here some people from the school and I went to acapulco because it is only three hours away. Every weekend the school plans a trip in the surrounding area. It is nice because I get to keep busy and see alot. The first weekend here, we went to a old silver mining town called Taxco. Last weekend we went to an aztec ruin site, the name I cant pronounce let alone spell. This past weekend we went to another ruins site (again the name i cant spell). On sundays, I have a free day. I get to go into the zocalo (center of town) and enjoy all of what México has to offer. I noticed that weekends here are not spent in malls or in front of a TV, its spent in the city center. Last week I say Aztec dancers and yesterday I saw a live band and alot of people just relaxing and dancing. The culture here is so relaxed and chill, in fact I think the only time I see people in a hurry is when they are driving.. haaa haaa I could never drive here. I think they drive so fast to save money (gas is very expensive). People like to go to the zocalo to play chess and others like to go just to see whats going on there, its like every night has something going on. At the end of my sundays I usually watch the bull fights on TV with my host father. I am hoping in two weeks I can go see one in the flesh, that and a soccer game. I am sorry this message is in no order but neither is life here. I love the food here, it is very cheap compared to what we are used to. I can get enchiladas verde and a beer for 3:50 USD. Not only that but the tropical fruit here is great, I dont let a week go by where I dont try some new fruit or food. My favorite is mamey and Chirimoya (not sure its spelled right). I hope soon I can try some of the local bugs they eat here. (Yup I said it). I have tried and ate everything here served to me and I am loving it. Well, today was a holiday (Mèxico constitution day) as well as (baby Jesus day). We had off school so I decided today was a good day to clean my streets, I called it operation limpio calles (clean streets). I used all but one bag from the box. It took me three hours for one block. I loved it though, I finally got to give back to the community. While I cleaned people offered me drinks and taxi drivers, residences, and passer byes thanked me. One person named carlos offered to hold the bab while I filled it. It was a really good and rewarding time. There seems to be alot of oppurtunity here to help people and I cant get enough of it. I feel like the attitude is very different then in the US, people here are very thankful and willing to give the shirt off their backs to help someone. I am truly blessed to be here and thank God/and Rotary every day for it. Okay, I apologize for no pictures still. Hopefully I will be on sooner, thanks and take care.

José (P.S. apologize for spelling errors :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Entry 2: Im here

Hola to all, I just arrived to Cuernavaca yesterday. I have limited computer time but I will try to make it always count. I also will upload pictures when I can. This here are very different from home. The weather is about 75 to 80 degrees. Cuernavaca is a large city (the capital of Morelos) there are over a million people living here. The city is very wide but I live right across the street from my school Cuauhnahuac. The host family I am with is poor compared to the norms of what we are used to in the United States. Today I took my placement tests and they were a real reality check to how bad my spanish really is. Tomorrow I am going to Taxco, an old historic town with the school. I assume it will be a great time. Well thanks for all your time. I hope is well and I will post more later.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Entry 1: Prior Departure

Hello to all,

This site will be my connection everyone back home including the Rotary Club, my family, and friends. The information will be updated consistently and hopefully have pictures to see as well.

A little about this trip; I received the Rotary International Scholarship for a Cultural Ambassador to a country of my choosing for three months to learn Spanish and become familiar with the culture. My first choice was Mexico, and in November of 2007, after a long process I received a letter telling me I was awarded the scholarship for a school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Since that time I have been preparing myself to go; from getting accepted into Cuauhnahuac Language Institute to getting the right insurance. Granted all of my work was done with the help of the Rotary Club.

Now, it is time for me to leave. I have received my plane ticket and am due to arrive in Cuernavaca on Thursday shortly after noon. I will be living with a host family and going to school full time in a language intensive program. At the school, I will be given the chance to learn many things on the side like cooking and Latin dancing. I will also have the opportunity to travel in the surrounding areas to see historic and culturally rich Mexico.

To all, thank you for your time and I hope you will enjoy this.
Joseph Aguirre