Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update

I just thought you should know that:

1. I had my history exam this morning and (I think) it went well.

2. It's November 30 and, while I wore a light sweater to class this morning, it's now warm enough to comfortably wear a t-shirt.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Observations: Part 6

  • There's a place near UNAM that sells "the taste of pizza in a cone" -- aka ice cream cones with pepperoni, pasta (what? that doesn't go on pizza) and other ingredients inside a waffle cone. Don't think I'll be trying that one...
  • Speaking of pizza, I still find it strange that it's the norm to order a pizza with lots of toppings and then continue to add things to it (peppers, hot sauce or worcester sauce -- called salsa inglesa or "English sauce" -- to name a few I've seen). 
  • And on the food trend, hot dogs are pretty common here-- mostly sold by street venders. You have to know what to look for though, because I've seen them advertised as: hot dogs, hot-dogs, dogos and jochos.  
  • Did I ever mention that what used to be an auditorium in the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras has been taken over by anarchists/hippies who now live there? Not sure when it happened, but they live there and no one does anything about it. 

Thanksgiving in Cuernavaca

Saturday I went with a friend to Cuernavaca (about an hour and 15 minutes outside of the DF -- if there's no traffic) to celebrate Thanksgiving with a friend from Elon.

We spent some time wandering around downtown and at a craft market.

in front of the Palacio de Cortés




















We also visited the Robert Brady house/museum. Brady was from the US and studied the fine arts. He traveled the world, collecting artwork which he then displayed throughout his house.
(To read/see more visit: www.thebradymuseum.org)

courtyard at the Brady Museum


tree growing out of the wall...












From there, we met up with Cindy (who I know from Elon) and made a trip to Costco for Thanksgiving dinner. We had rotisserie chicken, salad, fresh rolls and -- the best part -- pumpkin pie!

Thanksgiving group

yum! 

Sasha, the hyper-active dog 

Pumpkin pie!

the girls 

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's beginning to look (a little) like Christmas...

Now that Thanksgiving is over (well, not really for me. Going to a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow -- woohoo!), I can admit that I went back for the little Christmas tree to give my room a little Holiday spirit. 
(Decorations have been up in the stores for weeks though -- if not months)  

I'm still very much enjoying my time here (though lots of final essay to write!), but I'm already getting excited to see friends and family back in the US over the holidays!  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for:
  • My family and boyfriend, who are always so supportive -- near or far
  • Friends. Those I've known "forever" and those I've recently met
  • Skype -- which let me see all the family together for Thanksgiving back home
  • The reminder today from a friend in the maestría that I'm here for the learning experience (and a learning experience it is!)
  • The problems with my name/legal status at UNAM being resolved 
  • Multiple "Thanksgiving meals": Thanksgiving dinner (Mexican style) last Saturday, pizza and beer with classmates yesterday afternoon, lunch with a friend today and plans for a Thanksgiving dinner in Cuernavaca on Saturday 
  • The opportunity to live and study in Mexico, meet new people, improve my Spanish and experience the rich culture
  • Being able to share with others what Thanksgiving is and what it means to me

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Let's go Pumas!

The Pumas' win against América last week qualified them for the tournament. This past week was the quarterfinals and, since Pumas came in as #8, they played against the #1 team Cruz Azul. They played at the Estadio Olímpico (Pumas' home stadium) on Wednesday and lost 2-1. However, they played at Cruz Azul's stadium on Saturday and won 2-0, knocking Cruz Azul out of the tournament! 
Vamos Pumas! 


Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an important holiday to me. As I've explained to a lot of people here, it's a day to spend with family and friends, eat lots of food, and think about the good things in life and what you're thankful for. 

On Saturday night, fellow Rotary Scholar Vanessa and her husband Jeremy hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner for scholars/neighbors/friends in their new apartment. We enjoyed a Mexican-inspired menu, including turkey legs roasted in a mole sauce (chile-cocoa sauce), turkey picadillo for tacos, three-bread stuffing with poblano peppers, quesadillas with flor de calabaza (squash flowers) and mushrooms, nopal (cactus) salad, broccoli casserole (ok, not Mexican themed, but it's a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner so that's what I brought to share), guacamole, a vanilla cake from a local bakery and arroz con leche. Yum! 

Vanessa and Jeremy also recently adopted a little kitten they named Guille. I miss having animals around, so I enjoyed playing with him. He's quite playful and all over the place, but I eventually won him over and he fell asleep on my lap =) 





Six Flags

Saturday I went to Six Flags (yes, there's a Six Flags in Mexico! It's the largest theme park in Latin America) to celebrate a friend's birthday. As usual, we were an international group with 3 Americans, 1 German and 1 Colombian. Six Flags was very similar to theme parks in the US -- and lots of fun! And we got a discount for being UNAM students =)



please note the strangely shaped beer














video





Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The wish bracelet

Those of you that have known me the past few years might have heard my story about the wish bracelet from Argentina. 


If not, here's the short version: 
(You can read my original blog entry about the bracelet in my Argentina blog, Becca's Adventures in Argentina). 


I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina from July-December of 2007. I had only been there a few weeks when I struck up a conversation with a hippie/artist in Plaza Serrano while waiting on some friends. After talking for a few minutes, he gave me a bracelet and explained that it was a wish bracelet ("una pulsera de deseos"). I had to make a wish on it while he tied it on my wrist and when it fell off it would come true. Knowing that study abroad could be a life-changing experience,  I wished for "direction."


the bracelet
I feel like my life turned upside down during my semester in Argentina -- for better or for worse it was a true growing experience. I tried new things and was open to new ideas and new perspectives. Looking back, I feel like I tried to live out other extremes of my personality in an attempt to "test" the person everyone knew me as back home and really to figure out who I was. But the bracelet stayed on my wrist. 


Since then I graduated from Elon University, applied and declined grad schools in the US, was awarded the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, applied and was accepted to UNAM and the Universidad de Guadalajara, worked for Education Based Latino Outreach in Baltimore and moved to Mexico City and started my Master's program at UNAM. 


And on Sunday -- after 3 years and 3 months -- the bracelet fell off. 




I had always joked that I wanted the bracelet to fall off at some monumental moment or to coincide with a major epiphany (And really? After 3 years? I wanted something to justify it being on my wrist that long!), but that wasn't the case. 


I can tell you that I now "know where I'm going" (to Chiapas for a vacation in December, which I had decided on a few days earlier). 


Or since it flung off my wrist as I realized, "Oh no, I'm late. I need to get going!" I can tell you it means my direction is to "get up and get moving" with my life.  


Or maybe it's an accumulative thing. Whereas in Argentina I was trying to live a completely separate and distinct life from what I had known previously, here in Mexico I'm living my life -- it just happens to be taking place in a different country at the moment. Do I have my life all figured out now? Absolutely not. But I have definitely grown and learned a ton since that August day in 2007. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumas v América: videos

A few short videos from the game Sunday! 

Let's go Pumas! 
video 


It's "raining" trash from the section above us
video


"Goya....."
video






Pumas v América

Sunday I went to the Pumas v. América fútbol (soccer) game. Pumas are the UNAM team and they were playing at América's home stadium -- Estadio Azteca, which is the largest stadium in Latin America and the fifth largest stadium in the world. América hadn't lost a game yet this season in their stadium -- until Pumas beat them 1-0 on Sunday!

It was definitely an experience -- and much more intense than the last game I went to (Cruz Azul v. Monterrey). The Pumas' porra or barra (I don't really have a better translation then group of intense fans) didn't stop cheering and chanting the entire game! Smoke bombs and "raining" beer and empty cups were all part of the experience. We were in a different section then the porra/barra -- but sat right below them, separated by a fence (which a lot of the fans climbed and stood/sat on top of).

Estadio Azteca

the girls 

during the Pumas' anthem 

Puma pride twins 

smoke bomb + fans on the (barbed-wire) fence






Go Pumas! 


(partial) group shot
And to make the win even sweeter, I was treated to a homemade breakfast this morning by an América fan friend since the Pumas won. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Accent marks

Finally figured out the shortcut on my computer for inserting accent marks and tildes!

á é í ó ú ñ

(Still no electricity, so back at Starbucks to do a bit more work before heading out dancing)

I'm glad Starbucks has internet...

The power has been out all day in my apartment, so I'm at -- you guessed it --Starbucks to charge my computer and use the internet for a bit. (I really was working on one of my final papers until my computer ran out of battery!)

This is what I saw leaving my apartment (so hopefully it's fixed soon!):


In other non-important updates, Starbucks has holiday flavors including Cherry Mocha, Toffee Nut and Caramel Chocolate. Pretty sure that's not what's out at home, but they have switched it up. 

Also, this morning I opened what I thought was a pack of mints that I got from a Rotary meeting. Turns out they were candies that I'm pretty sure were a combination of honey and chile powder. Definitely had a bit of a kick to them. 


Friday, November 12, 2010