Sunday, September 30, 2012

English exam

Just in case anyone was worried about it, I passed my English exam with a 10 out of 10.

"What? English Exam?" That's right. My program has a 3-language requirement for graduation, including Spanish as 1 of the 3. I'd already taken and passed my Spanish and Portuguese exams when I found out that UNAM won't count English as my native language and I'd have to take an exam. Let me be clear that it's assumed that Mexican students and international students coming from Colombia, Chile, Argentina and other Spanish-speaking countries speak Spanish, requiring only 2 exams in other languages. So why would someone from the US speak English? Nope, doesn't make much sense to me either. To show me how flexible they are though, I had the option of taking French, Italian, etc as my 3rd language if I didn't feel like proving I spoke English.

The international reunion and Tepoztlán

My first semester here (we're talking August - December 2010) I had a great group of international friends. They were all here as exchange students for one or two semesters. A lot met through orientation, I was lucky to meet them by coincidence more than anything, and others joined the group as time went one. On a pretty much weekly basis we'd explore the city, travel, celebrate birthdays, etc. It was a fantastic semester and the start of some great friendships. 

Those that was here as exchange students left after one or two semesters.  Some have been back for visits or internships, but we haven't all been together since that first semester. 

Earlier this month we had a mini reunion of international friends. Thanks to another wonderful coincidence, four of the "original group" were in the DF the same week: I haven't left, one moved back to work here, one came back to visit, and one was here for a week-long course. It was so much fun to be reunited, along with other friends and significant others that have joined along the way. 

out to dinner

As an excuse to spend the day together, on Saturday we went to Tepoztlán, a pueblo in Morelos. We were a group of six people from six different countries: United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Germany. Not bad, huh? We had breakfast, climbed the Tepozteco mountain, had lunch, shopped at the market and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. 

waiting at the bus terminal

arriving in Tepoztlán 

up we go!

We made it to the top! 

How cute is this little guy? 

View from the top

Can you spot us? 

View from the pyramid
my beautiful friend =) 
hanging out on the pyramid

It was so much fun to be reunited with friends!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Revisiting Guadalajara

This week I was in Guadalajara for the International Association of Inter-American Studies' Conference "Crossing Boundaries in the Americas: Dynamics of Change in Politics, Culture and Media." The conference went well. I heard some interesting presentations, met some people and felt like my presentation on Thursday went well.

I was in Guadalajara two years ago as part of the México de Mil Colores trip I took during the Bicentennial. (You can read about that visit here.) I liked the city more this time around. I think I had gone with such high expectations on my first visit that I was a bit disappointed. This time I knew more or less what to expect and I enjoyed it more.

I realized I've definitely gotten used to the cooler temperatures in Mexico City. It felt quite warm to me at times (or at least stuffy when there wasn't air circulating), though a fellow conference attender/presenter from Houston said it felt quite mild to her. It all depends on perspective.

I stayed at the Hotel Rotonda. I'd recommend it for people staying in Guadalajara. It's right in the Historic Downtown and the staff were friendly and helpful (though no AC!).

On Thursday I took some time to wander a bit and snap a few photos.

I had a torta ahogada for lunch, one of the local classics 

I visited the market as well, but didn't take any photos since, even though it was quite large, it seemed "like just a normal Mexican market." Thinking about it later, while it's something that's "normal" to me now, I'm not sure if I've ever taken photos or shared here. But that'll have to be for another day.

I flew back to the DF Thursday night. I loved the late afternoon view from the airport.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Crossing Boundaries" in Guadalajara

I arrived tonight in Guadalajara. Tuesday through Thursday I'll be attending the International Association of Inter-American Studies's 2nd Bi-Anual Conference, Crossing Boundaries in the Americas: Dynamics of Change in Politics, Culture, and Media. I present on Thursday -- wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just because

Here's a (recently discovered) video of the choir singing last November at the Miguel Alemán Foundation. There's a brief introduction followed by La Bamba and Bésame Mucho (if you're looking for me, I sing Bésame Mucho).