This past friday, Becky, Andrew, me from Michigan; 2 girls from Spain, María and Martta; and Márcia from Brazil all got together in the latter three’s apartment for dinner and english and spanish practice. It was quite an experience, for several reasons.
First, based on the directions I was given, I wasn’t entirely sure how to get there. Luckily, Daniel showed me where the apartment was (he works in a group with María in their civil engineering class and had picked her up before for a meeting), but I still didn’t know how to get in. I kept trying to call or text Becky or Martta but with little luck, as they were all still at the university (they had some miscommunication issues, too, and didn’t end up coming until a little later anyway).
I walked around the block several times and found what I thought was the entrance, but what was actually just a government office. I continued walking around, looking, but afraid to open any doors for fear of something like an alarm sounding. Instead, I went into some stores, including a nice little book store, where I found the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in spanish! I decided that I had to buy it for my host sister Magui because she wants to read the books but I only have them in english.
Anyway, I continued walking around. I decided, after almost 2 hours of this, that I needed to go home and rest, because I was definitely dehydrated and probably sunburned (90 degree weather will do that to you). Luck would have it, as soon as I got home I received a text from Becky saying they had arrived… but I needed a nap, and headed over after.
When I arrived around 5 pm, the group had already eaten, but that was okay because my dehydration made me not hungry anyway. I was a little sad I had missed some of the converation, however! Still, it continued for about another 2 hours, with Becky, Andrew, and me trying our best to speak in spanish, and Maria and Martta speaking what they could in english (which is surprisingly a lot), and us all getting along just fine. We actually discussed some pretty random concepts, as well, including the military, government, school costs, places we’ve all traveled, and some of the ways our respective countries are different.
I definitely left feeling like I was able to communicate better, and I enjoyed helping the girls from Spain with their english. Conversations like that help me remember that in general, people here are going to be thinking that it’s cool that I want to learn spanish, not what I generally think they’re thinking, which is, wow, she’s really awful.
Saturday I got to volunteer at Teleton again, and my niña this time, Gina, and I got along great! We went to a place called La Huerta, which is like a huge farm for vegetables and fruits and where they would package them, as well. The workers there taught the kids how to plant seeds, when to water them, what kinds of bugs were good for the plants, and they gave us free chaskas, too, which were delicious (for information on chaskas, see my first post). It was a great day, but not because of what we did; rather, because of who I was with. Gina is a wonderful girl, 14 years old so she reminds me a lot of my sister, and although she does have a disability, her speech isn’t effected, and she taught me a lot, and I got to teach her english, too!
Later Daniel took me to his favorite pizza place. I have to say it was weird going out specifically for pizza, but it was delicious. 4 cheese pizza, with cream cheese as one of the 4 cheeses… I’ve never seen it before, but you can bet that the next time I make pizza it will have a little bit on it!
Sunday was wonderful, as always. Church is always difficult because I have to work hard to understand anyone speaking, and pure listening for almost 5 hours becomes quite an effort. However, also like always, I really felt God’s Presence there and am so thankful for the people there who help me and teach me and just generally show an interest in me. The message was, at least in part, about the fruit of the Spirit, and it was cool to see what the fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) is in spanish.
After, Daniel, Magui, and I went to Calvillo, a near-by “municipio” or, what I would call a county. It really is quite small, with the most interesting things being the dams and lakes surrounding it. We ate chinese food (Mexican chinese food… well, it’s about the same as American chinese food), visited the dams, walked around in the center for a little bit, and returned. One cool thing was that when we were walking through the central garden, we encountered one of my classmates!
Other updates: still have not returned to the Migration Office to finish everything… Should probably get on that. I have next Monday off from classes for–get this–Benito Juárez’s birthday, a man who has been dead for more than 100 years. I am going to go cave exploring with some of my classmates in history this weekend in San Luis Potosi!