Today I got signed up for a volunteer program—Mexico Rural. I think it is going to be a lot of fun. The guy in charge explained it as being like No Child Left Behind, in that the purpose is to bring up the education level of students in small towns. Groups of 7 or 8 students leave Tec de Monterrey at 7:30 Saturday morning. My town, San Jose, is about 1.5 hours away. School starts at 10:00, and goes until 6:00. Then we spend the night at the school (we’re supposed to bring a sleeping back, blanket, and pillow) and teach for a couple hours on Sunday morning, getting back to Monterrey at about 3:00 in the afternoon.
As you might have noticed from the lack of any new entries here for the past few days, I'm in the middle of a blogging break. There's just not been that much extra-ordinary going on for the past few days. Sunday was a good day though, as I found some Mountain Dew at Subway and then spent 4 hours relaxing at the pool. I'll have a lot to write about Sunday night or Monday when I get back from my trip to Guadalajara for Mexican Independence Day.
In addition, this site will probably be down for at least a little while this weekend. Hopefully it'll be short enough that none of you will notice.
It's been a lot cooler here for the past few days, and mostly cloudy. Maybe this is because of the hurricanes in the area. It also rained quite a bit the night before last, and is sprinkling as I write this.
I finished my "partials" this week, which is what they call the midterm tests here. Although, I only had them in two classes, so it wasn't a whole lot of stress. My other two classes are more free-form structured, so we only have little quizzes, and just talk about seemingly random aspects of Mexican business. Today was calculating how many hours of overtime someone gets paid for, which is ridiculously complicated.
I just finished my first physics lab class. It was all in Spanish, so kinda fun that way. I think I did alright, although some of the questions that I wrote down answers for must not have been worded quite right, because they went back and erased a few words and wrote down new ones. At least I knew most of the answers, because I would have been really useless (we were working in groups) if I hadn't. In fact, one time I'm pretty sure someone said "Oh, that American..." when I figured something out. But it was a fun time, and I even met a guy named "Héron," which sounds the same as Aaron.
I went swimming with some other guys from the floor yesterday afternoon. They had gone to the mall and bought 4 big float water toys, so they were diving in and out of them, jumping on them from out of the pool, and generally giving them a beating. I threw a lot of frisbee too, but sometimes my throws were pretty bad. Particularly every time Kyle would want to jump from the side of the pool and catch the frisbee, when I would crumble under the pressure and execute a horrible throw, maybe behind him or about twenty feet short. Or there was the one time were I motioned where I was going to throw it with my other hand (in an attempt to give myself confidence for a good throw), and then he jumped thinking I was going to throw the frisbee. I never did, because I was still motioning. After a while, I just floated around, half-asleep on one of the floaties.
Maybe an hour later, my enrollment in Conversation Club wandered through my mind. Then I realized I was supposed to meet a couple Mexicans for it that evening, and jumped out of the water to check my watch. Luckily I made it to the coffeeshop in time to meet them. They (Misamy and Pedro) were fun to talk with, probably because their English wasn't perfect like everyone else's here. In fact, they struggled a fair amount, but I'm sure that my Spanish is still far worse.
On the way back home from that, I met some guys from the floor that were going out to eat, so I tagged along. They showed me another new restaurant, and since I hadn't eaten much yet, decided I would go for the 12" pizza that I saw on the menu ($9). When I ordered it, the waiter babbled something which I couldn't understand, so one guy that was with us told me that they had two-for-one pizzas on that day. Basically, she was asking if I wanted a free pizza. But I figured that I would have enough trouble eating one pizza, so said "No thanks." Just Kidding. I actually did eat a whole pizza, and shared the other one with everyone else who was eating too.
Then we headed back to the dorm and got ready to head to a club. This one was supposed to be different because they had "reggatone" music, but I thought it was about the same type of music as the couple of other clubs that I went to (no live band, but lots of projector screens with music videos). Afterwards we went to a friend-of-my-neighbor's apartment for a couple of hours, where I spread the great American tradition of Go Fish! to some Mexicans. I finally made it to bed at 6:30am.
My new taco record is 8 tacos. Three of them were the new pork type (those really fill a person up, by the way) and five steak tacos. Now I'm off to get some juice, and then study.
Today I ate tacos again, but I was adventurous and tried a new type of meat. They have what could be called a "spit" outside of the taco shop, but it's a unique spit because it is mounted so the axis that the meat rotates around is vertical rather than horizontal, and the fire is next to the meat with a reflector directing the heat. The meat is in a conical shape, with the fat part towards the top. To serve it they hold a tortilla against the meat and shave some of it off with a knife, catching it with the tortilla. I guess it's some kind of pork, and it ended up being really good. It looked a lot like bacon, but was more moist and had excellent flavor. As my dad would say, it tastes just like candy.
Then I went to a class that was rescheduled from Wednesday night two weeks from now to tonight 6-9pm. I got there and someone from the class was sitting outside saying she'd just gotten an e-mail from him informing us that he was out of town. He's got a horrible e-mail technique: he sends an e-mail to two of the girls in class, who then have to forward it on to whomever else in the class they have an e-mail for, who hopefully then give it to everyone else. Next class period I'm going to give him my address too.
For supper I went to a different taco shop and had quesadillas with sausage that tasted a lot like the sausage we use in our cheese dip at home. They were "make-you-own" quesadillas--I was given a small frying pan with melted cheese and meat in it and three tortillas. It was very filling. We saw Vicente Fox give a speech on TV at the restaurant, but I couldn't hear enough to try to understand it.
2019-10-20 - Its called tacos al pastor, and I still love it!
I just confirmed that I'm going on a trip with some friends to Guadalajara for Mexican Independence Day. I'll be leaving on the 15th and getting back on the 17th. The actual Independence Day is the 16th. It's the day that Miguel Hidalgo kicked off the overthrow against the Spaniards who were governing Mexico.
In the category of stupid things that happen, today I bought what I thought was a thing of yogurt at the grocery store. It didn't really say yogurt on the front, but it did say "Light" and "Crema Acidificada Reducida" on the front. It was in a yogurt-type of container though, so I thought I'd take a gamble. Plus, yogurt is made in some kind of culturing process that involves acid, right (and so is cheese, except they both actually use bacteria I think)? Now before you go assuming I ate cheese like it was going to be yogurt, I can proudly say I didn't. This is because after I took the cover off, I saw on the tinfoil seal the word "queso." Why they couldn't be bothered to put this on the outside of the container, I have no idea. So now I have ~8 ounces of cheese in a plastic tub that I have no idea what to do with. Maybe I'll find some crackers.
Yep, I'm sick again. I don't know why, but I suspect some relatives of mine may accuse me of not eating enough fruit (I do have some bananas every once in a while, but other than that, it's just some lime juice here and there). At the advice of my sister I just went and got some orange juice, which besides probably having some good stuff in it feels good for my throat too. I also picked up some of the pastries (alright, I'll be honest, they're cookies, but one looks like a croissant) they have at the little grocery store.
For my class tonight I'm supposed to track down financial data about the Mexican economy from 1990 to 2005, but that is proving difficult to find. Also, we have to find out the meanings of all 13 "Incoterms," which are pretty interesting. It's funny all the new stuff that I'm learning in these business classes.
This morning at 11:30 my roommate and I met some classmates from our Wednesday night class to go an take a tour of Bancomext (the national bank of Mexico). Our professor had told us that we should do this to try and learn about what influences they have on importing and exporting operations in Mexico. So we all took a couple taxis there, and wound up outside a gigantic mall. It wasn't very busy though, and there didn't seem to be a lot of stores in it. I wonder if I just keep going to malls at the wrong time of day, or what, but I've been to 3 multi-level malls that were nearly empty.
We found the bank inside, and all signed in at the front desk. Then we got to the back area, and there were already a bunch of people from out class standing around. I'm not sure what all went on then, but some of the native Spanish speakers talked to the guy behind the desk there, and got some pamphlets for all of us. However, there was evidently no tour (or maybe there is if you call ahead of time, no one really seemed to find out for sure). We left, and a couple of us walked across to eat at Popeye's. I had some fish that was a lot like at Long John Silver's.
This evening I had Chinese food for supper which wasn't real good, and watched some TV with the other residents here.