Monday, July 17, 2006


Goodbye, Mexico; hope to return soon

I wrote this blog entry my last night in Mexico, which was July 10, but the site wouldn't let me upload it and then I forgot all about it till today....

After sending friends the message that I’ve finally posted photos on my blog, my friend Paul wrote me an email saying it was nice to read my last blog entry and see the photos. Oh, is it that bad? Are people just waiting for me to stop writing about Mexico?

Maybe he just meant my latest blog entry.

I’m in Guadalajara, in the old posada. I splurged on a private room. I have the one that is halfway up the stairs, with windows facing the street. It feels good to be spending my last night in Mexico here, in the same place where I started. I’m just relaxing, watching my telenovelas and sports news and mystery movies on cable, trying to eliminate unnecessary items from my suitcases because I think they’re overweight. I’m also enjoying the 24-hour wireless internet.

The principal and owner of the school drove me to Guadalajara, and they treated me to a nice lunch in a fancy restaurant. I had a chile en nogada, which they have been raving about for a long time. It was weird. It’s a chile filled with all kinds of fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds and stuff, and covered in a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. It’s to celebrate Mexican independence, so it’s green (the chile), white (the walnut sauce), and red (the pomegranate seeds). It was a funny way to end this stay in Mexico, because it’s not really representative. I prefer the plain old chile relleno—spicy, cheesy, fried, so not that good for your stomach, but damned tasty.

I guess there’s nothing else to say. I’m done with this almost-year in Arandas, so I’m done with this blog.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Goodbye, Arandas

It’s my last night in Arandas. I’m hungry. I gave away all my kitchenware, and I’ve defrosted my fridge, so there’s no food except an apple I already devoured. I thought about going out to the taco place I love, but it’s a bit of a walk and it’s late. It’s probably better to clean out my system anyway.

What a day. I went to the school to say goodbye to everyone at the end of the cursos and to pick up money for some furniture I’ve sold. The school bought my fridge. I came back and watched the final game of the World Cup while uploading pictures to my blog and eating lunch. I cleaned everything. I waited and waited for people to come by to pick up all the stuff they said they’d come to pick up. In the end, most of them did come, though later than I expected, and I sold or gave away everything I’m not taking with me. Fátima is getting married in December, so I gave her lots of little household items. Cristina came by to say goodbye, and she took all my food and other little things, either to keep or to give away to poor people. Rocío finally came with her boyfriend, and they took the fan. Aracely showed up late and picked up the little TV table.

I didn’t realize till everything had been taken care of, how anxious I have been the past few days. How did I think I could have had a party in addition to trying to get everything done? I’m ending my stay in Mexico this year the same way it started—in a frantic rush. A week before I had arrived, the school in Guadalajara notified me that a space in the TEFL course had opened up, and so I scrambled to finish everything all in one week. I didn’t sleep much. This week is a lot better, but it has turned out to be more hectic than I’d expected.

The apartment smells funny because of the fridge.

Cristina cried when we said goodbye. We’ve had so much fun in these few months, and, despite the language barrier, we have become very good friends.

Rocío gave me a handwritten note before she left with the fan. It said that she hopes I don’t forget her, and it recalled some of the fun things we’ve done together—evenings at the movies playing pool, cooking lunch together in my apartment, going to Atotonilco for a fiesta. And I want to ask her tomorrow, when she comes over in the morning to return the bathing suit that I left at her house, how could I ever forget her or the fun times we’ve had?

I’m not very good at goodbyes. Others tend to be sentimental and sum things up, while I just say goodbye. Later I do the sentimental summing up, once the goodbye has already passed. But I guess it’s also because I am the one leaving. I have a lot to look forward to, and I may not come back, but they are staying, and they’ll have to work with new English teachers, not knowing whether they will become friends with them. And they’re staying at this insanely disorganized school.

Tomorrow the principal and the owner are going to drive me to Guadalajara. They have some errands to run there, so it works out perfectly. I won’t have to transfer all my crap between taxis and buses that way. I’ll stay at Casa Vilasanta, “my” posada, and I’ll do some errands myself, before leaving early Tuesday morning for Columbus.


Finally, some photos

I have finally posted some photos from the school, because I went today and downloaded some from the school computer. None of the photos were taken by me; they were probably taken by Arnulfo, the music teacher. The first series are from the public classes for the kindergarten classes (of which there are three levels) and for grades 1-5. Then there are some photos from the first communion, which occured quite a while ago.

Now perhaps you won't be surprised by my new haircut.

Isn't it crazy how they have a penalty shoot-out to resolve a tie in the World Cup? It seems a little bit unfair to those poor goalies....

Clase publica de preescolar 2: Cristina with her class

Clase publica de preescolar 2: English

Clase publica de preescolar 2

Clase publica de preescolar 1: Fish

Clase publica de preescolar 1: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (and eyes and ears and mouth and nose)

Clase publica de preescolar 3B: The Hokey Pokey

Clase publica de preescolar 3B: Making windmills from Don Quijote

Rocio, Aracely, the principal Maestra Paty, and preescolar director Chely watching a clase publica de preescolar

Sandra, Adriana, me and primaria students watching the clases publicas de preescolar

Karina (preescolar 3A) and Aracely (preescolar 1)

Adriana, Arnulfo, and Rocio goofing off

Clase publica de primaria: Sofia startled by the ringing of the cell phone

Clase publica de primaria: Talking on the phone with the first graders

Clase publica de primaria: Talking on the phone with the first graders

Clase publica de primaria: The Hokey Pokey

Clase publica de primaria: The Hokey Pokey

Grade 3: Adriana and Arnulfo with the students at their painting exhibition

Adriana and her son Juanito

Rocio, Chely, and Cristina in the cursos diplomados

Cristina and her daughter Sinai

Mini-olympics: Escolta para los honores a la bandera

First Communion: The students doing their first communion were from the third through fifth grades. The angels were students from the kindergarten classes.

First Communion: Carlos reading

First Communion: Angelitos

First Communion: Fatima and Sofia bringing offerings to the altar

First Communion: Carlos and Beto bringing offerings to the altar

First Communion: Beto and his godparents

First Communion: Beto passing out bread

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Packing and stressing out

For the closing ceremony at the school, the principal thanked me and notified everyone that I am leaving. A few students gave me gifts. Some hugged me a lot and asked me not to go. One said she had a lot of fun in my English classes. It made me feel good, but it also made me feel a little bit sad.

Not sad enough to consider staying at this utter mess of a school, however.

I’m defrosting my fridge so I’m eating a dinner of things that will have gone bad by tomorrow. Scrambled eggs and bacon aren’t exactly the best things for a delicate stomach, but I already had seafood for lunch so I might as well avoid letting good bacon go to waste.

The lunch was at the school. Someone had made seafood soup, and there was chocoflan (my favorite dessert here: flan baked on top of chocolate cake). It was supposed to be tomorrow, to celebrate the end of the cursos diplomados and as a sort of farewell party for me, but tomorrow is the final game of the World Cup (Forza, Italia!!!), and nobody would’ve gone. I didn’t even end up going to the cursos today, because I just had (still have) too many things to do to waste time being completely bored in some useless course. I did go yesterday, out of embarrassment, but I only ended up being there for about 45 minutes because I went to the doctor to check on my gastrointestinal problems. It turns out there is no infection of any sort, so I am probably just experiencing a slow recovery complicated by nerves.

I am really in a state trying to get all my stuff together. I woke up early to do my laundry up on the roof; then I tried packing. I already had one suitcase half-packed. I was going to use the big suitcase I borrowed from Luis on my return from Columbus in April, but it is missing one leg and one wheel and it was a pain to lug around. Now the bottom is all scraped up because of all the dragging around, and I doubt it will withstand two flight changes now. So I hurried downtown before the stores closed for the afternoon, and I bought a replacement. It’s ugly, but it’s big, and it works! It is the first time I have bought a modern piece of luggage, the kind that stands up tall and has a retractable handle. My other suitcases are all old school, with four wheels and a leash and falling over all the time.

Yesterday Sandra, the second-grade teacher, came over after the curso, because she bought my desk and was waiting for her brother to come pick it up. I foisted many useless baubles on her, gifts I’ve received from students’ parents, clothes and a pair of shoes that I don’t want anymore. Then her brother arrived and decided to buy my sofa set, too. I was so happy to finally have gotten rid of it; the teacher who had said she’d wanted it had decided that morning that she didn’t want it anymore, leaving me not a little anxious. Now the only thing left to worry about is the refrigerator, which many potential buyers have rejected. It’s a cute little thing—I don’t understand why nobody wants it. I think the principal will buy it, however, for the new building where the primary grades will be.

I’m sorry this is not exactly the most exciting news, but it is what is running through my mind all day and night when I’m trying to sleep and can’t. I have lots of stuff to sell and give away, and tomorrow is the last day to get it all out of here! I am flying out of Guadalajara on Tuesday morning, but the flight is so early that I will have to stay in Guadalajara Monday night in order to be at the airport in time. I plan to leave for Guadalajara Monday morning, so that I can do some errands there, like buying a case for my guitar. That means getting everything done tomorrow….

I’m a little annoyed with Rocío right now. She is always hanging out with her boyfriend, and I can’t reach her because her home phone is out of service and she’s not answering any text messages, probably because she lent her phone to her father again or it’s out of battery or she has no credit. I accept that she spends all her time with her boyfriend, but she said she would buy my fan and take some of my stuff, and I have no idea when she’s going to come to get any of it, if she comes at all. She also told me that her friend Jico has invited us all out tomorrow. I have no idea what that means because she has flaked out a couple times already, since her boyfriend arrived. At least she did come to the café Thursday with Cristina and me. That was nice.

I just remembered something funny about being at the café with Cristina and Rocío. There was this good-looking guy who walked through, and Cristina was talking, but mid-sentence she and Rocío were totally checking him out, and Cristina stopped talking, and their heads were following him the whole time he was in view. It was so obvious that I could not stop laughing, both times that he passed our table.

Later Cristina’s husband and two daughters came, to pick her up, and the kids had ice cream. Since we had been drinking beers, I was a little tipsy and talking a lot. We laughed a good deal. I kept making mistakes in my Spanish and they kept making fun of me. They told me to speak some Chinese, and then they were asking me all kinds of funny questions, like have I ever worn a kimono. I said, those are Japanese. And Cristina said, “And what are you again?” I was explaining about being Chinese American, and her husband was making fun of Cristina and Rocío, saying, “You are just like the people who think that Mexicans go around wearing mariachi suits all the time, with a bottle of tequila and dancing folk dances.” So then they were pretending to be stereotypical Mexicans. It was funny.

I don’t blame them for being so confused about East Asian cultures. There’s no education whatsoever about different cultures, and there definitely aren’t a whole lot of Asians in Arandas to clear up the confusion.

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