Saturday, April 30, 2011

Día del Niño

Today was Día del Niño or Children's Day here in Mexico. I remembered this after making plans to see the movie Río, so we shared the theater with lots of kids (enjoyed the movie though).

I wasn't out and about too much today, so not too many major observations from Día del Niño.  I did see lots of balloons though. Mexicans apparently love their balloons.

A quick trip home

Mexico is a very Catholic country, so we had the whole week off for Easter (most of the elementary/high schools had the week before and after Easter off).

Fortunately, my time off coincided perfectly with the wedding of a good friend from college, so I was able to make a quick trip back to the USofA.

My first destination was North Carolina and it made a great transition back into the US. I've mentioned before how, overall, Mexicans are very friendly and welcoming, which is exactly what I felt upon entering the good ol' South (the Southern accents and Cook Out milkshakes don't hurt either).

During my days in the US, I became more aware of some cultural differences that have become the norm for me while living in Mexico. At the wedding I found myself thinking "Everyone looks so natural. I'm surprised they're not wearing more makeup for such a big event!" And then I laughed at myself that the (sometimes excessive) amount of makeup many Mexican women wear -- especially for an event-- now seems normal to me.

Once again, I became one of the shorter people in most groups, whereas in Mexico I'm a relatively normal height -- and sometimes I even feel tall! I also found myself walking "slowly", whereas I often feel like I'm running in comparison to the normal walking pace in Mexico.

My stomach still isn't completely adjusted to Mexican food (3 stomach infections last semester, luckily none so far this semester though I've been more careful about what I eat). However, I realized it has been toughened up a bit when I was the only one of the group not to get sick after eating at a particular restaurant.

I loved breathing clean air (Mexico City has improved it's air quality over the years, but still isn't exactly what I'd call clean air) and all the Spring flowers in bloom. I did miss hearing and speaking Spanish, though it was nice to speak English. I did have my "Spanglish" moments though, such as referring to "readings" as "lectures," based on the Spanish word "lecturas."

Though I was in the US for 10 days, the time flew by -- mostly because I didn't stay in the same place for more than 2-3 days, moving between North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. I wish I had more time with everyone, but I absolutely loved my visit!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Girls' Day

Two weeks ago a friend hosted a girls' day for some of the ladies in the Master's program. It was nice hanging out outside of the academic context and having time as just the girls. Everyone brought food or drinks and I debuted (for this group at least) my chocolate chip cookies, which have been quite the hit!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pumas v Tigres

Two weeks ago I finally visited UNAM's stadium for the Pumas v. Tigres  game. It wasn't the most exciting game, but Pumas scored 2 goals in the last 2 minutes to win the game 2-0. 

"Goya" chant 

mural by Diego Rivera

Pumas fans after the game 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More park stories...

There's some kind of expo going on in the park by my house -- selling shoes and purses maybe? I understand having music to attract attention. Same with have a dancing mascot. But seeing Barney the Dinosaur dancing to reggaeton is just weird....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring forward

The time changed this morning in Mexico, so we're back to a 1-hour time difference from the U.S. East Coast.

A man and his duck

A couple weeks ago I saw a man walking along the sidewalk near my house, carrying a duck. In all honesty, I wasn't sure if he was taking his pet on an outing or taking it to a nearby restaurant or butcher shop. I feel better now though because I saw him again a few days ago, hanging out with his duck in the park.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jardines de Pedregal's Breakfast for International Women's Day

Wednesday morning I attended a breakfast hosted by Rotary Club Jardines de Pedregal in honor of International Women's Day (March 8th) and to raise money for their community project in Cuauhtepec. 

The breakfast honored the following women: 

-Dr. Yoloxochitl Bustamente, General Director of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (National Polytechnic Institute)
-Martha Chapa, artist 
-Gloria Guevara Manzo, Secretary of Tourism
-Silvia Pinal, currently General Secretary of the ANDA (National Association of Actors); famous for her acting career and "a legend from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema" (I was told she is the "Elizabeth Taylor of Mexico") 
-Beatriz Pagés Rebollar, General Director of the magazine Siempre

at the breakfast at Club France 

Me and Billy

(left to right) Beatriz Pagés Rebollar (revista Siempre), Maricarmen Porras
Navarro (Jardines de Pedregal President), Adriana de la Fuente
(former District 4170 Rotary Governor), Silvia Pinal (actress),
Yoloxchitl Bustamente (Instituto Politécnico Nacional),
representative for Gloria Guevar Manzo, Silvia (Jardines
de Pedregal member)

Vanessa and I with Beatriz Pagés Rebollar

the scholars with Maricarmen Porras Navarro (Jardines de Pedregal President)
 and Susy de Leon Torres (Jardines de Pedregal member)

Concert for Japan

Last Sunday I participated with the choir in a "marathon" concert to raise money for Japan. The event, held at the Nacional Center of the Arts, offered music from 11:00am-8:00pm, presented by a variety of groups and soloists, such as the flautists Horacio Franco, marimbist Javier Nandayapa, singer Patricia Santos, Tambuco Percussion Ensemble, Melos Gloriae choir and the Carlos Chávez Youth Symphonic Orchestra.  I was grateful to have some friends come out and support me (and Japan of course!) 

UNAM's Staccato CUE

UNAM's Staccato Cue 

flautist Horacio Franco