Friday, February 4, 2011

Week in review: Back to school, Rotary and Rotaract

This week we started classes -- not quite as fun as traveling around the country or playing tour guide with my parents, but nice to catch up with my classmates. 

Monday I started Portuguese. From the very beginning the professor only spoke in Portuguese. I can follow most of it since it's similar to Spanish, but there are enough differences (in pronunciation and false cognates -- words that sound similar but have different meanings) that it will definitely take some work. The professor had something else going on this week though so she was only there the first day -- we had 3 different teachers this week. The most challenging part was they all had different accents (and the difference between the accent from Brazil and from Portugal is especially confusing!). The classes fly by because they're only an hour. I remember when 90 minute classes seemed like an eternity, but after a semester with 3-4 hour classes, 1 hour classes are nothing! My Spanish was struggling a bit leaving class Monday after speaking English most of the previous week and then an hour of Portuguese! 

I was supposed to have my Culture class Monday as well, but the professor had decided to start next week instead and failed to inform any of us. I found out one of my classmates travels 2 1/2 hours to get to campus!  That's when it's really a let down the professor doesn't show... 

Tuesday and Wednesday I had Literature. The class is only 2 hours, but feels a lot longer. Hopefully it will pick up once we get into the material. 

Tuesday night I went to the Ciudad de Mexico Rotaract meeting. I think I'm going to start getting more involved because I like the group and they do lots of interesting things , whether service-oriented or just for fun. 

Wednesday morning Billy and I attended the weekly Rotary meeting of Club Rotario Plateros Centro Histórico. They meet in a beautiful building in the historic downtown (apparently it was a theater and then a psychiatric hospital, though it does not look like either). As usual, the club was very friendly. We included more about the purpose of the scholarship in this presentation, since most people think we're just here to take Spanish classes. One of the members (below on the left) was also an Ambassadorial Scholar and studied in Florence! I think I'll be joining some of the members next week on a guided visit of Los Pinos -- the Presidential home! 

Billy and I with 2 members and the president (center) of Club
Rotario Plateros Centro Histórico and a representative
of the Plateros Rotaract Club
Thursday I had the Identity and Culture in the Caribbean course. It was interesting and the professor seemed really nice, but I'm going to drop the class. I've decided to switch to a course on Globalization and Migration offered by the Anthropology Department (instead of within my program), which is more relevant to my thesis. I'm still in the process (ie: jumping hoops) to make the official switch. 

Today the only class I had was Portuguese -- and the professor (or sub) didn't show! I was bummed about a "wasted" afternoon, but it turned out really well. As I was crossing campus, a woman ran up to me saying, "Excuse me!! Did you come by to ask about a sweatshirt the other day?" UNAM has been selling various merchandise to celebrate 100 years and I've been trying to buy a blue and gold UNAM sweatshirt since December  (maybe even November), but it has always been sold out in my size. I guess it brings me back to when everyone was deciding which school to attend for undergrad and would wear their school's shirt/sweatshirt/shorts to show where they were going. I felt like I needed a UNAM t-shirt (check) and sweatshirt to show I go there. I've been asking periodically for months, but last week the guy told me they were getting more Monday and he would hold one for me. However, I went Monday and the woman working said that no, he must have been mistaken because there wasn't a new shipment. Apparently the guy had already pulled mine aside, but hadn't informed his coworker. They've kept my sweatshirt all week and have been on the lookout for me, hoping I'd pass by again! The woman just happened to see me walking across campus and ran up to tell me. 

I finally have my UNAM sweatshirt =)

From there I ran into a friend, who invited me out to lunch with some of his friends. We went to a restaurant not far from my house (though I hadn't known about it) that serves typical food from the Yucatan Peninsula. I enjoyed a tasty lunch, caught up with a friend and met some new friends!

Tomorrow I'm off to Puebla with some friends for the long weekend. More updates when I get back!

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