December 2009 Archives

Holidays Mexican Style

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I have done so much since my last blog entry that I feel it will be impossible to fit it into one blog.  Plus I´m in a big hurry on my way to Oaxaca, so I'm gonna sum up all the activates really briefly and a link to the pictures which speak for themselves.   First of all there were more parties! We celebrated my aunts bday at an Italian restaurant and celebrated my uncles birthday with a surprise party for him! There was lots of delicious food and we even broke into an impromptu dance party with the ladies from my dance class! (Every Tuesday and Thursday my aunt has a dance instructor come to her house to teach a dance class.  I have been joining in while I have been here; it has been a blast even though everyone beats me in age by at least a few decades!)

My brother and girlfriend were in town so us three when to go see Placido Domingo the famous opera singer, sing for free on the main street of the city.  Once again all the relatives shyed away from the crowds, but we had a great time.  There were hundreds of thousand of people there from babies, to teens, to very old people out that night to hear him sing class opera, maricachi and Christmas music all in between the angel of independence ( one of the most beautiful and significant monuments in Mexican History) and the worlds largest Christmas tree (yes officially; Mexico City is obsessed with breaking records, other records they have broken, most people kissing at once in one spot, largest naked people pictures, lasts crowd dancing thriller).

We celebrated Christmas at my aunts house.  The Mexican tradition is to celebrate Christmas eve (Noche Buena) and we enjoyed great company and a midnight turkey dinner!  Christmas day my brother and I skyped the family in Minnesota and pathetically watched them have Christmas from the computer screen : ).  Then we went to my cousins house and spent quality time with the cousins and eating left over's.  We celebrated Kent's birthday the next day with a lovely meal at my aunts house and then out for drink in our neighborhood with the cousins.

We also were able to squeeze in going to Chapultepec Castle, once where the preseidents lived, now a history museum, and the museum of modern art.  And we went to Xochimilco one sunday, which is a canal where people float in colorfully painted boats and there everything that you could want floats up to you, beer, food, vendors, mariachis, plants! Its very cool! 

Next I got to go on a fabulous vacation with my aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins.  We drove north to the region of Lourdes to stay the first night.  There the scenery was small town desert Mexico.  The region of Lourdes has a lot of fresh mineral water that they sell to drink and also use therapeutically for bathing.  Our hotel had filled Jacuzzis with it for us to enjoy!  The next day we drove to Ciudad Valles.  As we drove the landscape started to become more green.  Soon there were tons of sugar cane fields, banana trees, orange trees and amazing lush valleys.  I think that the scenery was in the top for most beautiful I have ever seen!  The first day we went to see Edward James´s garden in the jungle. He was a surrealist artist who made his painting come to life in this garden in the middle of the jungle. It was really amazing and crazy looking.  The next day we went again into the jungle to see La Hoya do Las Huahuas.  The Huahuas are a type of bird that lives fly into this giant cave hole that they discovered in the jungle in the sixties.   On the 31st we went to this amazing places will lots of waterfalls.  We were able to jump off the waterfalls and swim from waterfall to waterfall in this beautiful river. Some of the waterfalls were really high up and scary to jump off, it was a pretty funny sight to see us at the edge of the waterfall for a half hour contemplating whether to jump or not with everyone yelling at us to jump! me and my cousin laughed that it was a good way to jump into the New Year.  Seriously what dreams are made of, it was soooo gorgeous.   We brought in the New Year that night in style at the hotel´s party that included a live band, dinner and champagne and grapes for midnight (12 grapes for 12 wishes for the new year, so gobble down at midnight is a Mexican tradition).  So in a nutshell I had a wonderful time! I leave for Oaxaca tomorrow morning to start my Child Family Health International program.  Wish me luck!!

Picture Link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2665492&id=8609614&l=10dced98da

Until next time....

THERESE

 

Joining the Crowds

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Hi! I have been having a very exciting time since I last wrote!  We went Lucha Libre which is the mexican masked wrestling.  It was very funny and entertaining.  The wrestlers wear these outrageous costumes and try and but on a really good show with lots of tricks and theater built in.  The show was also getting filmed for TV for later in the week.  SO once again I was on TV here in Mexico haha.  We had a blast cheering and getting into it, and I had a blast mortifying my aunt on TV who didnt want to be seen there haha : ).  We were also able to make it to a cuban salsa club called Mama Rumba.  Me and my posie (my brother and tutor and his friends) went to meet my uncle and dad who were already there ealier.  It had a live cuban band with about 10 members, and the dancing was absolutly phenomenol.  We are talking striaght out of a dance movie.  They were doing the partner dancing in a circle where they would switch partners and at one point I saw all the girls were up on the guys arms, it was crazy.  And then there were all the different individual partners that had the best moves and tricks ive ever seen.  It was fun just to watch in awe.  We were joking that we were for sure- by far- the table of the worst dancers. We know the basics of salsa, but not much more, so it was kind of intimidating even getting on the dance floor, but all the group that I came with danced at least one song with me, even my uncle (who is quite a good dancer)  except for my dad (party pooper :) 

The next exciting thing we did was go to the Villa for Las Manaitas for the las virgin de guadelupe.  December 12th is a very important holiday for Mexico becasue its when they celebrate the virgin marys birthday.  If you are not familiar with the story of Juan Diego, look it up, but for a very simplified version, he was a poor mexican peasant who the virgin of guadelupe appeared to in 1531 to ask him to built a church. In order for other people to believe him, she made her image appear on his tilma (peasant cloak)  That tilma is now hung up in a cathedral in Mexico City, called La Villa. In a defiance of science it has never deteriorated.  People come from all over Mexico year around to pray to here her, usually making the journey by foot and you can often see people that make there way up to her on their knees.  So the evening before Las Mananitas (her birthday) people begin to come to La Villa from all over, carrying their babies, carry pictures of the la virgin, huge statues, all sort of things to be blessed there on her birthday.  Some people come and pay their respects and then leave, but many people who arent close enough to go home sleep there on the ground that night.  So me and my dad had planned to go to this, but some of our relatives told us we were crazy and that we wouldnt even be able to get within miles of her etc.  But we decided to check it out anyway.  So we took the subway. They said there were about 5 million people there that night.  042.JPGIt was incredible!  The energy of the place and the crowd was really powerful. these millions of people gathered their in peace and in devotion.  And anyone who knows me knows I´m not exactly a fan of the catholic church as an organization, but I felt nothing but respect for what was going on that night.  There were many people already set up for sleeping by the time we got there around 10 pm, sleeping on the stone grounds around the church with just blankets.  We saw one huge statue of la virgin that was brought to be blessed that was about 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide and had to be carried by about 10 men.  It was really beautiful.  My dad made the comment that we were their with the real ´people of mexico´  we didnt see any tuorists. And it was the kind of thing that most middle and upper class people dont go to, because they could stay at home and watch it on TV.  At 11:30 everyone sings las mananitas to here (the birthday song) and then a bunch of famous people sing to her.  I´m so glad that we didnt get talked out of going! 

My dad is gone now and the relatives here are starting to be done with work for the holidays.  They say there is parties every day this time of year.  I think that is especailly true since my aunt and uncles birthdays are also this week.  We celebrated my aunt bday last night at an iIatian restaurant.  I am looking forward to the rest of the holidays : )

Here is a link to the most recent pictures  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2658545&id=8609614&l=37a06f47ef

 Until next time

THERESE

Life in the Time of H1N1

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Hola everyboby,

Its been awhile, Ive been keeping busy here enjoying the green and sun and dong many things.  I went away for a weekend to Valle de Bravo with my cousins. It was lovely and here is a link to the picture from that weekend.  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2647071&id=8609614&l=b59a6e8b9b

My health has been pretty good.  No one I know here has had any problems with H1N1, not that I know that many people here though haha! I did find it interesting that when we went into the National Palace they took a thermal reading of every person that come in to make sure that they didnt have a fever before they could enter and gave us all hand sanitizer. And my aunt who works as a teacher said they also take a thermal reading of every child when they come to school each day and send them home if they have a fever.  I had some stomach ache issues for a little while, but I am over that now.  I figure I was just getting adjusted to the new bacteria that my stomach is being exposed to. 

I just turned in another grad school application this week, one more to go this month and I will be done applying for the year!  I have been to downtown to see the National Palace that has some of Diego Riveras most famous murals on the walls depicting Mexicos history. 022.JPG I have been able to go to La Academia (Mexicos version of American Idol....my favorite!!) twice now.  Both times sitting front and center of the audience.  I might be embarassed to be on national television, but since I dont know many people here, Im not : ).  But they really put on a show, there are dancers and elaborate costumes, live animals on stage and fireworks, smoke, everything, they even made it rain for one number.  Its so much fun to be there cheering!  and I get to go again this weekend for the third time.  The contestants are going to start recognizng me and thinking Im a creepy super fan haha : ) I went with my uncles wifes aunt (who also happened to be my dads kindergarden teacher ....cute!) to volunteer with her at the childrens hospital here. It was very interesting to see what a hospital here is like. 'Most of the volunteers are older women who are all very sweet to me and give me great Spanish practice!  

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family here at my aunts house and got to video skype my family in Minnesota. It was kind of hard for me because it was my first time ever to be away for from them for thanksgiving! so I was feeling homesick, but I have lots of family here to love me so its okay : ).   My dad and brother just got into town this week so its nice to have them around.  therese 006.jpg Peter, an old friend of my fathers, is also in town and we have been hanging out with him. We have been going to lots of museums and walking around the town.   At the Museum of Anthropology, there are many cool things like the stone aztec calender and one of the creepy sacrificial altars of the aztecs, that they had used to take out the hearts of millions of people. 

Below is a website to see more pictures I have added from Mexico City

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2644820&id=8609614&l=c2b932b521

Hope everyone is doing great too! Have a good week....

until next time

THERESE

 

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