Everyone in the group doesn´t like the constant movement. Everyone in the group doesn´t like the constant traveling to different museums, churches, and palaces. Everyone in the group doesn´t like the (sometimes two or three) papers we have a week, but one thing I think we can all agree on is how much we love volunteering to teach local children English. It is only for one hour once a week, and even then, the time really flies because we enjoy it so much. We utilize many different tools and skills to help them learn as much of our beloved language as possible: number games, color games, vocabulary games. In fact, yesterday I played Memory with my students, and every time they flipped the cards over, they had to say the name of the picture in Spanish and English. Considering the fact that a few of us here (including myself) wish to make a career out of teaching English as a Second Language, this has been some of the best practice in the world. I look forward to making a difference in these children´s lives and having them make a difference a mine.
This picture is a good way to start off a blog post, but it has proved itself to be an even better way to start off the day; in fact, we were able to start off our day this way because this is the view from the terrace of our hotel. Believe me when I say that I did not want to tear myself away from the peace that looking out over the world brings, but I had to go eat breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant… and did I ever!
Anyone who knows anything about Mexico also knows that it is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the world. Today, we visited such a place: the oldest and largest cathedral in Mexico City. Because of the age of some of the tourist attractions in Mexico, the taking of photos is not permitted inside the building. However, if one were to climb to the top, one would be able to take as many pictures as one’s camera would allow, and well… I was the one!
And in case you don’t believe we’re really here… just take a look at Mexico’s national flag waving proudly behind me!
This morning, we packed our overnight bags and headed on a two and a half hour bus ride to the beautiful Mexico CIty, or as it is simply known to the inhabitants of Mexico, the Distrito Federal. After checking in to our hotel and dropping off our things, we immediately began our busy day. The first stop was the Palacio Nacional. Unfortunately, there was a strike out front, so we were not permitted to enter, but here are some pictures of the enormous building in its captivating city.
After the slight disappointment of not being able to enter the palace, we walked a short ways to the Templo Mayor, an ancient temple in the even more ancient ruins of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec city which Mexico City was constructed atop of.
After touring Tenochtitlan, we were able to visit the Palacio de Templo Mayor and view the many artifacts of Mexican culture that were on display. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures, but what a wonderful experience it was! It started to rain after that so we made a quick dash back to the hotel. Luckily, street vendors sell ponchos and umbrellas on every corner, so there was no problem staying dry. When we returned to the hotel, we snuggled into our warm comfortable beds, resting from today’s activities and preparing for tomorrows.
We’ve only been here four days, but we’ve done so much already! It feels as though we’ve been here a month. Whether it’s visiting the cathedrals, climbing mountains, traveling to the outskirts of the city, or just walking through the streets, it seems there is no end to the things we have to do. Saturday, we visited La Catedral de Cuernavaca. Unfortunately, my camera decided to die as soon as I got inside, and I didn’t have any extra batteries, so if you have never visited Cuernavaca, Mexico, this is the most you will see of La Catedral. Yesterday (Sunday), we took a 30-minute bus ride to Tepotzlan, one of the magical towns of Morelos. It is inhabited by the indigenous people whose generations have been there for many centuries. The Tepozteco Mountain there is very famous, and half of us chose to climb it. Can you imagine climbing this? I can. Because I did. 🙂 There were students who climbed all the way up, but alas, I was not able to.
This is half-way up the mountain, where my journey came to an end. After coming down from the mountain, I walked through the streets of Tepotzlan. There is no end of things that are available for purchase, and it’s easy to get lost in the handicrafts.
After walking through the streets, some students chose to return to Cuernvaca. Others, like myself, wanted to tour the city a little more before returning home. It’s a little strange how we’ve began to associate Cuernavaca as our home. Our host families are amazing, and after a long day of touring the cities of Mexico, it feels wonderful to be able to come back to such a warm environment with truly special people. They help us with our Spanish, they look out for us, and they feed us very well.
Speaking of food… it’s time to go eat now!
The beautiful campus we have the pleasure to study on: where we will teach and be taught for the next month. Where we will read and write, listen and speak, laugh and cry.We came here today to take placement tests, to have orientation, and to prepare ourselves for the adventurous month ahead. Universidad Internacional, Cuernavaca, Mexico.
I cannot believe I am about to say this: I am in Mexico. Or should I say Estoy en Mexico. I’m going to stop there with the Spanish because it’s honestly about all I know (I won’t be able to say that after a month, huh?). WE are in Mexico! First and foremost, I owe a big thanks to the Center for International Education and the amazing Dr. Cook for this opportunity. And even though he might never even see this, I would like to thank the pilot at Delta Airlines for getting us here safely. Now, I am sitting on my bed in my room upstairs in the beautiful home of my Mexican host family. We have only just met, but I already know that they are amazing people. I look forward to spending every day here with them and having them change my lives. I should try to go to sleep, but the excitement I feel at being in such an amazing place might interfere with that. Tomorrow is a big day: we have to go to the university where we will study for the next month in order to take placement tests and to get ourselves familiarized with the city. I can’t wait to see what Mexico has in store for us. Buenas noches!
Mexico, prepare your streets to meet my feet!
Words cannot express how elated I am to be able to further expand my knowledge of the Spanish language and culture in a place surrounded by people who absorb it every day. I feel I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to make this journey to become one with different people and parts of this world. The connections that will be made… breathtaking. Astounding. Life-changing. And I am ready. I guess only one question remains: is Mexico ready?