Friday, November 30, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new...apartment

I've officially moved out of my old apartment! I'd been between the old and new apartments since the 15th, when I got the keys to the new place, and pretty much living in the new place since early last week. Today I turned in my keys to the old apartment and got my deposit back (with surprisingly only a limited number of snide remarks from the owner). The drama and stress with the crazy irracional, unrealistic and generally unpleasant landlady are officially over!

Since I'm officially moved out of my old place, I guess that makes me officially moved in to my new place. I'm much more settled in now -- enough to move a box or two out of sight of the camera share some photos. So here's the tour:

My room: 










Look! You can see the floor! (This was not the case until recently...) 





 Hallway: 




Kitchen: 

Living room:
Now with my little Christmas tree! 



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The choir performs at UNAM's International Chess Festival

Sunday evening the choir had the honor of performing in the Sala Nezahualcóyotl as part of the Closing Ceremony for UNAM's 2nd Annual International Chess Festival. The festival ran from November 16th- 25th, with various tournaments, conferences and performances and participants from around the world. 

So many chess sets! 

View of the tournament at a relatively empty moment 

Screens for the bystanders to follow the match

one of the many giant Knight chess pieces 

one of the many giant Knight chess pieces 

the choir before the concert

the choir before the concert 
It was a very cool experience (though slightly intimidating!) to perform in the Sala Nezahualcóyotl. I don't have any photos from that night, but to give you an idea, here's a view of the Sala from the Lila Downs concert I went to a couple weeks ago:



Overall, it went really well!


Some of the girls  - breathing a sigh of relief
that it's over and went well! 




Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Skyping with my family (and drooling via web cam over all the delicious food they were going to eat) inspired me to make a Thanksgiving meal of my own, albeit a bit improvised and squeezed, time wise, between apartment stuff, thesis, and rehearsal. It obviously doesn't compare to being at home... but not too shabby!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!! Though I'm missing my family today (and the desserts, who are we kidding? haha), I'm thankful for the opportunity I've had to live and learn in Mexico, for family and friends who have supported min in my adventure, and the people I've met along the way. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Moving

Three guy friends came and helped me move today (including two flights of stairs  in both apartments and switching a very heavy desk between rooms), so I'm almost all moved in to my new apartment. (Thanks, guys!!) This does not, however, mean that I'm unpacked or settled in yet - that's the next step. 

Here's a photo of the living room from the day I visited. I'll take more photos to share once it's not filled with boxes and suitcases. 


The owner of my old apartment (the one that kicked us out; sent rude, irracional emails; etc) has informed me that she'll be moving into my roommate's now vacant room and we'll be roommates until I turn in my keys at the end of the month. With that knowledge, I'm even more grateful for help moving today. As much as I liked my old apartment, I'm ready to be done with the (unnecessary, ridiculous) drama and get out! 


Earthquake

I've experienced a few earthquakes in Mexico, but now I have a new experience to add to the list: getting woken up by an earthquake. There was a 6.1-magnitude earthquake around 3:20 am on the 15th. What a disorienting experience to wake up to the world shaking! And of course it was the first day my roommate had moved out and I was by myself in the apartment.

While it was "only" a 6.1-magnitude, it felt really strong. It was also felt further south in the city, where you normally can't feel it because of the volcanic rock. Today a friend said it was because, instead of the tectonic plates just shifting, part of it actually broke. All was/is well here though, just a bit "shaken up" (hah, bad pun intended).




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lila Downs concert

Last night I went see Lila Downs and the UNAM's Philharmonic Orchestra in concert at the Sala Nezahualcóytl in UNAM's Cultural Center  The concert was billed as "Concert with a Cause," raising money for people with hearing impairment, through the MVS Radio Foundation.



I went with a friend and we had the chance to catch up over coffee and dessert in the theater's café before the show started.

The show featured pieces performed by the Orchestra, by Lila Downs and her band, and of course  collaboration pieces with both Lila and the Orchestra.  

Waiting for the show to start.
Yes, I'm way in the back.
The show got off to an interesting start when, during the first piece, the lights went out! The orchestra continued for 30 seconds or so (that's when you really hope you have the piece memorized!) before stopping and we all waited for the lights to come back. Fortunately, all was fixed within a few minutes!

Lila gave a great show! I liked her even better in person than what I had heard of her music previously.




Overall, it was a great night!

(And, on a not-so-related note, I'm going to perform with the choir on that stage at the end of November!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

the Metro

I had two new experiences on the metro yesterday.

First, after waiting longer than usual for a train to arrive, upon arrival there was a distinct burning smell. Interesting. I boarded the train when the doors opened and waited. The smell got stronger and the air started getting a little hazy. I looked out from the open door and saw thick smoke at the back of the train. I decided that this probably would not be resolved quickly and/or if the metro continued, the smoke couldn't be good for anyone's health, so I left. Still not sure what was burning.

Second, I took the new metro line for the first time. Construction started right around the time I moved to Mexico and its FINALLY finished and open to the public. I didn't have to go far, but wanted to use it to connect between two metro lines. I discovered that the transfer between lines underground requires a HUGE amount of walking. Though probably not the case, I felt like I could have made it to my destination walking above ground for all the walking I did just to transfer lines below ground. I'm sure this line will help a lot of people, with stops in areas that previously did not have a metro and connecting in the south of the DF four lines that previously were connected further north in the city. However, in my case, it doesn't seem like it will be as convenient as I had hoped as a "quick" connection to another metro line.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Earthquake

Apparently there was a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Chiapas and a 6.35-magnitude earthquake in Oaxaca around 10:30 this morning, also felt in the DF. I found out through Facebook (and confirmed checking the National Seismological Service) because I didn't feel anything! I did have a dream this morning about an earthquake though.... Interesting.

*Edit #1: Apparently the 6.35-magnitude earthquake in Oaxaca was a false read on the system, caused by the 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Chiapas. There have been 9 aftershocks so far. I haven't felt any, but I´m not complaining.

*Edit #2: I can joke about missing the earthquake, but it hit hard and has affected many people. The death toll in Guatemala has risen to 48 people.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote!

For those of you in the US that are eligible and haven´t done so yet, get out and vote!

This year I voted using an absentee ballot, which I dropped off at the US Embassy here in Mexico City to be mailed (for free!). It was the first time I'd gone to the Embassy. It was a little strange walking into the Citizen Services room and suddenly switching to English!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend in Veracruz

Two weekends ago I took a quick trip to Veracruz with Edson to watch his brother play soccer. We got in Friday night. The hotel had an awesome view of the zócalo (downtown).

view of the Zócalo and the Cathedral from the hotel


view from the hotel of people dining and enjoying
the music at the restaurants in the Zócalo




We listened to the salsa band performing in the street for a bit before grabbing some tacos for dinner and heading out to dance at El Cibao.


Salsa music in the street

salsa music in the street

Salsa at El Cibao

The next morning we had breakfast at Veracruz's famous El Gran Café de la Parroquia.

clinking my glass for them to serve me warm
milk with my coffee

my café con leche

a gordita (left) and empanada (right) 

There was a duo playing music and a woman dancing, all traditional Veracruz style.




After breakfast Edson showed me some sights.



monument dedicated to Spanish immigrants 


San Juan de Ulúa Fort





Where Edson went to college 



That afternoon we went to his brother's soccer game. He's currently playing for Veracruz's 2nd Division Tiburones (Sharks) team.


his brother is #50 in red 
That evening we visited a bit with his family, grabbed dinner and then took the bus back to the DF.