study-abroad

By aaron.axvig, 31 October, 2006

Here's some pictures from the last weekend when I was at San Jose:

Christin and I telling about the US and our states (North Dakota and Tennessee):

Aaron and Kristin in front of Mexican classroom

In the classroom

A horse riding in the back of a pickup:

Horse riding in the back of a pickup

The group of students that I teach with:

Teaching group

By aaron.axvig, 30 October, 2006

Last night I finally remembered to go to frisbee club.  The other guy on the floor always forgets to come to my room and get me at the right time, and I've had trouble remembering to go also.  He still forgot me this time, but I didn't.

There were about 18 people there, so we split up into 2 teams and played Ultimate Frisbee.  I think I actually did alright.  Though I didn't make very many good throws, I excelled at catching.  I suppose the height advantage helped a little bit.

We didn't keep score, but played from 7:45 to 9:00.  Then I had a soccer game to play in.  We lost, but I think we played pretty well.  I didn't play a whole lot again, but almost all of our team was there and I was tired anyways from running around a different soccer field chasing a frisbee.  My body is complaining about the workout too, as I had sore knees yesterday, a sore hip today, and sore ribs right now.  But I'll still be trying to remember to go to frisbee club next week.

By aaron.axvig, 30 October, 2006

Well, I guess this is a bit late by now.  I'll blame it on the weather.  For a few days it was cloudy and misting all day.  And Monday was the first time since I've been here that I felt cold.

We had to bring our own food for the trip this time, so I packed some sliced ham, a bag of chips, butter, mustard, peanuts, biscuits, and bread.  I had plenty to eat, especially considering that one of the residents cooked hamburgers for $2 each.  Mine was really good, with all kinds of stuff on it (yes mom, I managed to eat some tomatoes and ketchup).

Teaching was about the same as the past weeks - more coloring, glue, and glitter.  We played soccer a few times, and I got to be the goalie.  I guess I blocked about 1/2 of the shots.

Sunday morning myself, Kristen from Tennessee, and James from Australia gave presentations about our states/counties to the 3rd to 6th graders.  We ended up talking for about an hour.  In planning for that last week, I was really glad that I had some smart people at home looking out for me.  Grandma Jean had sent me some newspaper clippings about Medora and the drought, and I had some post cards that are gifts for later (though most of those featured South Dakota, but were still interesting).

By aaron.axvig, 27 October, 2006

Today at 1:00pm all the international students took a picture together.  (Except for the one guy on my floor who partied too hard last night and slept though it.)  It actually went surprisingly fast, and afterwards I went to a new restaurant with some friends.  Their signature food is the "Papa Especial," or Special Potato.  So of course I got that.

It turned out to be huge--probably a liter of mashed potatoes mixed with two kinds of cheese, covered in finely chopped steak.  It came in a sort of tinfoil bowl.  I somehow managed to choke most of it down, and then waddled home.  I'm headed to the pool now to enjoy what may be one of the last days where it's warm enough to do that.

By aaron.axvig, 25 October, 2006

In Mexico there is an interesting little innovation called Tetra Pak.  In the grocery store there are cartons of milk sitting on the shelves, warm.  Evidently, they don't get old because they have been sanitized using the Tetra Pak process (which is owned by a company, also called Tetra Pak, which invented the first paper milk carton and is based out of Sweden).  This process involves heating the milk to higher temperatures than pasteurization, but for only a few seconds--much shorter than pasteurization.  It is then instantaneously cooled to avoid killing all the nutrition.  By killing all the bacteria at the high temperature, there is nothing to make the milk get old while sitting on the shelf.

They offer a couple of different flavors of this, in addition to the regular plain milk.  I've seen chocolate, strawberry, and cookies and cream.  The strawberry is pretty good; I haven't tried the others yet.

I don't know if this hasn't made it to the US yet or maybe I just never saw it there, but I think it's an interesting little thing.

By aaron.axvig, 17 October, 2006

My mom left a comment with a few questions, and I thought I'd answer them for all of you:

 

Sounds like you had some fun activities for the kids. Do you ever see their parents?
What do they do?

Have you been to their homes, or at least past them? Do these children go to school
during the weekday, or perhaps they will when they are older? Are they needy, happy,
content? - Susan Axvig

Some of the mothers drop their kids off at school, but most don't.  There is one that usually chats for a few minutes with our supervisor, and she's pretty much the only one that we ever see much of.  I think that the mothers usually stay at home, and most of the fathers go to bigger towns or cities (like Monterrey) to work each day.

The town is not really in tip-top shape.  Some of the houses have roofs made of pieces of many different things (corrugated aluminum, wood, etc.), and they usually have rickety fences around them.  I think almost everyone has a few animals, like pigs, goats, chickens, and dogs.  The kids do go to school on the weekdays too - our mission is to improve the education level above what it would otherwise be.

I believe almost everyone is content.  Maybe the kids are just excited whenever they see us.  But the adults don't seem horribly depressed either.  It appears that there might be some problems with alcohol, as sometimes a pickup full of drunk men will drive into town, presumably returning from their "jobs."  I'm not really sure about that sort of thing though.

So there you go: some more details.  This weekend we have to pack our own food, so I'm planning to head to the grocery store and get some bread and croissants, and maybe some fruit too, just to make my mother happy.  :)

By aaron.axvig, 9 October, 2006

Alright, this one came to mind on the trip back from San Jose on Sunday.  All I could see out the bus window was about 1/2 mile ahead (when lucky) and about 20 yards to the sides.  This--and the construction-slowed traffic we were stuck in for 10 minutes--made me wish to be at the top of a big hill on I-94, with a wide open view.

And it would be alright to throw in an exit sign that says "No Services."

By aaron.axvig, 9 October, 2006

San Jose was lots of fun again.  The weather was beautiful--just a little too hot in the afternoon but nothing like the last time.  Here's a picture of me with some of the students:

Aaron and some Mexican children

And here's another one from last time when we were playing in the water (yeah, that's their drinking fountain):

Mexican children playing in the drinking fountain at their school

One of the activities we did this week was making picture frames using pictures we took of them two weeks ago.  They decorated them with glitter, confetti, and pipe cleaners.  Then I got to "engineer" the stand to prop them up (a bent piece of cardboard taped on the back).  After that, we made bubble solution using dishsoap, which the kids had a lot of fun with.

We also did a lot of coloring.  They colored animals and then had to decide if they should glue them on the ocean or in the forest.  And then they colored four cut-out people and four sets of clothes, dressing them in the clothes appropriate for each season.  Last, they colored some weird-looking thing that was supposed to be a ham with a face (it wasn't very convincing).

At the end of the day on Saturday we had a movie party for them.  They got some fake money, and we let them buy popcorn, drinks, and movie tickets from us.  The first movie was "Over the Hedge," and I promptly fell asleep at my desk even though the movie was interesting.  When I woke up they were halfway into "Ice Age 2."  It turned out that "Over the Hedge" was too boring for the little kids so they switched movies.  After all the kids were gone we walked to the neighboring town called Los Angeles about 2 kilometers away (the students that were teaching there rode on the same bus with us), and then walked back in the dark.  There were a lot of fireflies along the road.

Back in town, we stopped at a store to get drinks.  I was really thirsty and got a liter of milk.  Then we played Uno, and I learned a new phrase when the girl to my right told me "I'm going to make you little pieces" in a threatening manner.  It turns out that is a very literal translation of "te voy a hacer peazos."  I think it's about the same as "I'm going to destroy you."  So of course I let her win.  After that we ate tomales and watched Napoleon Dynamite.

It didn't rain the next day, so all the students showed up for class at 9:30 after we had our breakfast tacos (tortillas with beans and potatoes).  Class was over by noon, and we cleaned the schoolhouse for an hour and then hopped on the bus to head home.

By aaron.axvig, 6 October, 2006

After being reminded by my mother several times that I should try chilaquiles sometime, I finally got around to it today.  My Bolivian neighbor walked in and asked me if I had tried them yet, and I said no.  About 15 minutes later we were at the cafeteria on campus.

This is a type of food very much like nachos.  The chips are little corn chips like Fritos, and covered in beans, cheese, and some sauce.  They are pretty good.  Apparently they consider them junk food here though.  I reckon they aren't any worse than pizza.

By aaron.axvig, 2 October, 2006

I was going through ideas of what to teach the little kids this weekend and thought about having them make a poster split into four parts--one for each season.  So I started imagining what kind of cheap things they could put on the poster for each season (leaves, flowers, etc) until I wondered what they would use for snow.  At that point I realized that they don't have seasons quite like I'm used to, and quickly moved on to other ideas.  Maybe some other time I can teach them about the North Dakota seasons.