Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Okay, well I wrote this yesterday, and apparently I forgot to post it! Oops. And just so you know how dorky I really am, I went through the whole post and changed every "today" to "yesterday." I wanted it to sound right. :)

Monday. Well, Monday was my first day of classes, and it was pretty good! We had orientation in the morning, so we all missed our first class of the day, and orientation was… well, it was an orientation, so you can imagine what it was like. A group of people in a room, a guy telling us how the schedule is going to work (although all of us from NAU are on a different schedule, so it didn’t apply), and the obligatory orientation video with a man and a woman named Steve and Melissa asking each other questions and talking about things we need to know (Steve: Gee, Melissa, it sure is too bad that there aren’t any cool places to go, like a town square or a place nearby with ancient ruins. Melissa: Funny you should mention that, Steve, because there are cool places nearby, and that’s what our next segment is about!).

After Orientation, I had my first class of the day: Phonetics and Phonology! Yay, linguistics! It was me and one other guy from NAU. That was our whole class. It was cool though, the teacher seemed pretty cool, and I’m really excited for the class. After that class, we had a class with the NAU director, Javier (or Alberto… but we all know him as Javier). It’s a class with all the NAU students, and it’s a class about Mexican culture through studying film. I’m pretty excited for it, because he said film in Mexico is different than the movies in America. It’s less commercial. And it’s sad. But it sounds awesome :)

After school we came home and had Comida, which is sort of like a late lunch (about 2 or 3 in the afternoon) and it’s the big meal of the day. Osbelia told us that a lot of Mexicans only eat Almuerzo, which is a hearty breakfast, and Comida, and don’t have any Cena, which is a light dinner around 9 or 10 at night. She feeds us Almuerzo before school, Comida right after school, and Cena around 7 or 8. Anyway, we had Comida after school, and then we went to buy cell phones. We ran into a couple of girls from NAU who live right across the street from us, and they wanted to get cell phones, too. Laura and I had to go to the school first – she needed to mail a package, and I wanted to buy some international stamps – and they had to go back to the house and get their money, so we decided to meet at the corner between our houses and the school.

(Side story- When I was buying stamps at the book store, the lady said it was “ciento cinco.” I handed her a 20. See, I was thinking she had said 15.50, because she said it so fast and I didn’t really have time to process. I should have known that was wrong, because 20 pesos is like 2 dollars, and I was buying ten international stamps. She looked at me kind of funny and pointed out that I had only given her 20. I blushed, laughed, asked her how much it was again, and when I realized that it was 105 pesos I got out one of my 100s and added it to the 20. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t even understand simple numbers! And I KNOW Spanish!)

Anyway, we met up with the girls and we asked someone at the desk in school where we could buy cell phones (the cell phone carrier that we wanted is called Telcel, so we asked her where the closest one was). She told us it was just down the street, before you hit the gym. So we walked down the street, and there was no Telcel. One of the girls in the group asked a person who was passing if he knew where Telcel was, and he said he thought there was one past the pharmacy around the corner. That was what they had thought, too, so that’s where we went. We found the place he was talking about, but it wasn’t Telcel, it was Nextel, and they didn’t have any prepay cell phones, they only had phones with contracts. They told us there was a Telcel at the Centro, and that a taxi there was only like 20 pesos. So the four of us got a taxi (which made me nervous because I had NEVER taken a taxi before, and the concept scares me… but there were four of us, so I didn’t really think anything was going to happen) and went to El Centro (which was like the downtown sort of area with a huge outdoor mall thingy). We got there and we didn’t see the Telcel, but we found a Movistar, which is just another cell phone carrier. We each got phones for 250 pesos (that’s like 25 USD, probably less) and they supposedly had 300 minutes on them, but apparently that only applied to local calls, because when I used my calling card with the cell phone, it only worked for like 15 minutes and then my cell ran out of minutes. I guess there must have been some kind of exorbitant fees for using long distance calling cards. Grrr. So now I’ll only use the phone for keeping in touch with my local friends and use the house phone or public phones with my calling card. When I run out of minutes on the calling card, though, I can buy international minutes for my cell phone. It’s only 11.50 pesos for 15 minutes of talk time. That’s way cheap. But I already have a bunch of minutes on my calling card, so I’ll use those up first. There are public phones on campus, so I can use those.

Anyway, after we all got our cell phones, Laura still needed to send her package (the book store on campus only sends letters, and the lady said we needed to go to El Centro to send packages) and the other two girls wanted to shop a little, so we split up. Laura asked a magazine vendor where the post office was, and we went there. Of course, once we got there, they didn’t have envelopes with bubble wrap on the inside, so the man told us where to get one. We went outside to where he directed us, but we didn’t see the place, so Laura (brave, brave girl) asked someone where we could buy something to wrap a package. It took us a few minutes to explain what we were looking for, but between our Spanish and his little bit of English, he told us where the Papeleria was (paper store) and said that they would have what we needed. We found it, but she didn’t have envelopes with bubbles either, so she told us to go down the sidewalk a little further to another papeleria where they did have envelopes with bubbles. We found it, and lo and behold, she had envelopes with bubbles! We felt so proud of ourselves after that adventure. It was a little nerve-wracking for me, but when we did it I felt pretty accomplished :)

We got home around 6:00 and I was exhausted. I sat around in our room all evening and did stuff on the internet. That night Karla had some friends over, and one of her friends also had a visiting student living with her. This girl was from Canada, and she was there for the high school program. She was 17. And she was out there with Karla and her friends, drinking! I didn’t really interact with her much, but Laura said this girl was REALLY drunk. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I was. High school girl, 17 years old, getting drunk in a foreign country where she barely speaks the language… that does not sound like a good idea to me. But, whatever. We had ham sandwiches for Cena and Osbelia asked us about our eating customs (how much we ate at each meal, when we ate meals, etc). I stayed up on the internet until like 11:00, which normally isn’t late for me, but this semester it is quite late because I have school at 8:00 in the morning.

Tuesday. Well, yesterday morning it was pretty hard for me to get up, but I did it. Now that we have cell phones we can set the alarm on those rather than use Laura’s alarm clock (it’s an awesome alarm clock – one of those classic alarm clocks with the bells and everything – but it’s really loud and kind of an abrupt awakening). I set mine for 7:00 and didn’t get up until 7:17. We had a lighter breakfast (I think because we told Osbelia about our eating habits the night before, and I told her that I didn’t like to eat too much in the mornings) – toast with marmalade (I don’t really know what the difference is between marmalade and jam, but it was called “marmalada”) and then she put out cereal and apple yogurt. That apple yogurt sounded funny to be, but it is SO GOOD. It’s really sweet and it reminds me a bit of apple flavored candy, but it’s real apples. Anyway, I had some yogurt and one piece of toast (they were HUGE) and I packed up the other piece of toast to eat at school, because I usually start getting hungry around noon and school isn’t out until two.

I had my composition class first thing and it was really fun. The teacher is AWESOME and we talked a lot and learned new words. His big thing is getting us to learn more specific ways to say things. For example, I always knew lightning as “relampago,” but he told us that a lightning bolt is “rayo” and lightning that lights up the whole sky is “relampago.” And we learned this because, for some reason, we got into a discussion about the lightning storms in AZ. They apparently don’t have lightning storms here.

Half way through that class we had a ten minute break (all the classes go 50 minutes, then 10 minute break, then 50 minutes, then 10 minute break, depending on how long the class is) and Javier came in to get me for a meeting with the director of internships (because I had told Javier I was interested in an Education internship). I don’t know the details yet, but I’ll be teaching English to middle school aged students at a nearby school, probably twice a week. I’m a little nervous for that, but mostly excited. It’s not like I’m teaching Spanish or Math or something.

After composition I had a free period, so I went to the computer lab and checked facebook and my email. It was about 10:00 here, so the inauguration ceremony was in an hour. Unfortunately, my next class started at 11:10, so I wasn’t going to be able to watch the swearing in, and the computers in the computer lab had some kind of firewall that wouldn’t let me watch any videos, so I couldn’t even watch the coverage beforehand or the beginning of the ceremony. I left the computer lab at 11:04 (everything is REALLY close) and on my way to class I passed by a crowd of people watching a TV next to the snack stand. It was the Inagural speech! I was so excited! I watched it for a few minutes, and even though it was dubbed in Spanish, it was still awesome.

My last class of the day was called “Mexico Hoy” (Mexico Today), and it is all about current politics and culture and stuff. I am SO excited for this class. I think it will be so interesting to learn all about another country, and a country so connected to ours. Again it was a class with everybody from NAU, and the whole thing was in Spanish, which was hard for some of the students who are beginners, so some of them might decide to drop the class. I am SO excited, though.

We got home, ate Comida, and then Laura and I went back to the school for a salsa dancing class. I wasn’t really in the mood for dancing, but I walked with her to the class and watched, and it looked SO FUN! I can’t wait until we go again. I don’t care how tired I’m feeling, I’m gonna dance!

And now here I am. All caught up with my blogging. And now I have some homework to do. A three paragraph mini-essay and some reading. Fun stuff.

Drop me a line! Send an email or comment here on my blog. Anything. I want to hear from you all!


PS: I know these last two entries were REALLY long. I don’t think they’ll be so long after this one, and I don’t know if they will be posted every day, but I will update regularly.

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