What I have learned about life by living in Mexico days 4 and 5:
4. Eat everything.
Seriously, try it. What’s the worst that can happen? You throw up a little bit in your mouth? Or even on the floor? The great news is that carpeting is not common in Mexico, so it’s no problem. Really. Upon my arrival in Mexico someone told me to absorb like a sponge with all the five senses. Work those taste buds. Traveling is a great excuse to be a glutton.
5. Walk everywhere you can (except for if it’s really in the morning or really late at night, because that’s just stupid / forgivable if you have class at 8 am).
The traffic in Xalapa can be worse than downtown Manhattan. You see great stuff when you walk. Also you run into people you know on the street, which is the best.
Things I have learned about life by living in Mexico day 3:
Learn people’s names. They will remember yours, too, eventually, and it will be so much more fun to go to the market, the coffee shop, the laundromat, etc.
Today I saw a guy on a motorcycle with a darth vader helmet and went to 3 different supermarkets looking for pate.
What I have learned about life from living in Mexico day 2:
1. Parties will start minimum one hour after the designated starting time.
2. Parties will never have a designated ending time. People actually enjoy each other’s presence and don’t have a specific hour upon which they will be asked to vacate.
3. Everyone’s invited.
4. RSVP doesn’t apply.
5. It’s more fun this way.
Also two soccer teams which are very important are playing tonight, and you can hear synchronized screaming throughout the neighborhood upon every gooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal.
I officially have 12 days left in Mexico. People have started to leave to return to their various real-life responsibilities. There are still new little adventures everyday (for example, adventure Monday this week… I didn’t really do anything new, but I did see a car covered in 100 origami butterflies… I think that counts, right?). There are still things about Mexican culture that I think I understand, and then it turns out to be completely mistaken (for example pointing to the left and right at the same time does not indicate a lack of orientation, but rather a measurement of something totally unrelated). Anyways, more than anything for my own sake, I have decided to dedicate the next blog posts to writing about things that I have learned from Mexico that I want to remember when I go back to the U.S.
What I have learned about life by living in Mexico:
1. Cut vegetables and fruit slowly.
The literal meaning of this is: cut vegetables and fruits slowly. They will look prettier, taste better, and they will probably fit better into whatever recipe you are making.
The metaphorical meaning of this is: calm down. It’s worth the extra 5 minutes of patience to enjoy something more beautiful. Mexicans are incredibly good at this philosophy. It takes a lot of work to slow down for those extra 5 minutes and really pay attention to what you’re doing, but I repeat, it’s worth it. That onion is no longer a seasoning for your omelet, but rather a display of patience and care.
Here is something I decided it would be inappropriate to leave without.
It is also inappropriate for other reasons and will provoke a lot of questions when taken out of the cultural context. Also I’m pretty sure I got ripped off in the store where I bought it because the guy at the cash register asked his assistant a lot of times to remind him how much he should charge me. Aw well, all part of the experience.
The adventure I had today, was not to a particularly exciting place (a copy shop), but I had a whirlwind adventure there. For one of my classes, I am helping to design a workshop about sexual health for kids. This involves designing pedagogical games to help kids ages 9 to 13 learn about sex, which means that this includes a puzzle with the images of a boy body and a girl body.
The way that all printing and copying works here is that you go to a print or copy shop and then you give them your USB and tell them which document you would like printed (therefore, it is in your interest to print cleanly, wisely, and nothing too personal). However, there is no way to avoid getting graphic when you are teaching a (good and thorough) class about sexual health. Today I brought to the copy shop a 2 documents that said boy’s body and girl’s body and contained two very clear drawings of internal and external everything. On the walk to the copy shop I said silent prayers that the person in the copy shop would be a little old lady who happens to be high tech and a progressive thinker. I got to the copy shop and found 2 twenty-something cool dudes with a lot of piercings wearing ACDC hats. Needless to say, I felt a little awkward being the strange foreign girl asking for two giant pictures of the human body to be printed on adhesive paper that is not the size of a normal piece of paper that I don´t know how many centimeters equals 8.5 X 11. Anyways, the people there were so incredibly nice and they spent over an hour cutting and pasting and resizing and being totally cool about needing to print out the puzzle pieces separately and making special cuts so the ovaries wouldn´t fall off the page. I will have to go back at some point to make the puzzles for the male and the female grown body which will be a whole other awkward experience, but nonetheless, I´m grateful to have had that experience, and also grateful that it is over.