Monday, November 23, 2009

Group Photo

This is all of the international students at TEC. Someone scanned the photo so its really horrible and the ends are cut off, BUT you can see how many of us there are!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Real De Catorce

I took a trip last weekend to Real de Catorce with my roommate and her friends. This town is incredibly small, and known as one of the ghost town wonders. These are some pictures from the trip. I wish I had pictures of our room...maybe someone has some I can steal. It was a joke. 900 pesos-$80 bucks for a cement room with a door that didn't shut/lock, no sink, a really nasty shower, and no doors on the shower or toilet. It was horrible, but a fun experience.

On the last day, we rode horses up to the top of the ghost mountain.My horse was crazy. It kept ramming me into the wall and even fighting with the other horses. I almost got thrown off once, and my leg is bruised from hitting the wall and car mirrors so many times.

Little Huichol girl. The Huichols are the indigenous people of the area, known for their use of peyote- a hallucinogenic that they use in religious ceremonies.
We took a 6 hour jeep tour, down the scariest mountain of my life (with graves on the side, probably from where people fell off.) We sat on the top rack of it, which was not very secure..) We even went into the desert where some people tried peyote (nobody in our group- aren't we angels...) We got to see some awesome things but we were all thinking we could die at any moment and I'm really surprised we didn't. It was without doubt, the most dangerous thing I have ever done. this isn't our exact jeep, but it looked just like it.

Here is a pic of another jeep tour coming up behind us.

Man with horse.

Our group inside the cock fighting ring.

This pic is inside the bull fighting ring of the town.

walking down the town.

Inside the jeep.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

English and more English....

Ok, so I teach two sections of english. The lil kids 7-11 years old on monday nights, and 12-16 years old on wednesdays. I went tonight for my second English class with the older kids. It was great. We just played bingo and listened to music....very chill.

However, I taught the lil kid class on monday, and it was HORRIBLE! The 11 year olds were all of the place, singing, and not listening, and the lil kids who are like 8 years old, were not paying attention AT ALL!!!! I'm not sure what to do. I probably need to divide them into two classes, but I don't want to teach another class!!! I just can't control a class of lil kids- I don't know how to play games- why can't they just chill??? haha, I was totally meant for youth- not lil kids! I loveeeee hanging out with the older ones- they are sooo funny and chill.

I moved into my apartment and its good. Im actually sitting in the laundry mat across the street as we speak! I will post photos of the apartment soon. I am leaving tomorrow night around midnight to travel south for day of the dead. Im not going to Oaxaca(where i originally wanted to go) but I am going somewhere much closer and it only requires a bus ride of 8 hours. I will return at 6am on monday morning...We travel through the night so that you don't miss an entire day/so you can sleep.

I am still using my inhaler to keep from coughing. I really need to go back to the doc though. My cough was getting better, but yesterday and today seemed worse...I think I'm having a lil bit of a relapse, but it's mostly just in the mornings.

Thats all for now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teaching English: Day 1

I am teaching English at a "casa hogar", basically an orphanage, and I taught my first class last night. The kids range from 4-17 years old, so I split them into 2 groups and will teach 4-11 yearolds on Mondays, and 12-17 year olds on Wednesdays. They are all girls who have been rescued from bad home situations- abuse, neglect, or violence. I went last night not knowing if they had any English knowledge, so I was clueless as to where to start.

I went with a game plan of talking about communication- why is it important, have you ever felt misunderstood, how do we use language, etc. I really wanted them to share about themselves- what do they like to do, what are their dreams, etc. We spent some time doing that, while I spent time trying to figure out how to spell their names which was an utter disaster!

Anyways, a few were disconnected, but most of them wanted to jump into saying complete sentences! It was really funny, so I went with it. I didn't have a board or anything, so I used a sheet of paper and they all gathered close so they could see- we were sitting at outside tables. I'm going to buy a whiteboard this week.

Though any teacher knows you can't start with complexities, I figured I would translate all these sentences for them since it was the first time, and it helped me see where we need to start next week. We are going to start with verb charts and all that fun stuff cause I THINK that'swhat a good teacher would do. hahah.

Sometimes I feel really ethnocentric saying I am going to teach English. I guess I view it differently. These girls are very behind in school. I'm not going because I really believe that they can learn English in 1 month- who could? This is more what I'm thinking:

If I can instill a passion for learning, where could that take them? How could me, coming to study in another country and trying to learn their language, inspire them to reach for what has been deemed unattainable for them? How can I encourage them to better themselves as people- I think this is easier since I'm closer to their age. If they develop a passion for english, and continue learning once I leave, these kids could really become bilingual and they could serve as a voice for so many people!

I asked every girl what they wanted to become. Many said teachers. How flippin awesome! They want to inspire generations. How much more of a drive that gives me to inspire them! More than anything, I want to give them confidence and passion to achieve what they want. If English helps them, then great. But if not, I sure hope me being there does more than teach them how to say the months of the year in English.

Last night, I had NO guidelines on what to do. I didn't even know how long the class was supposed to last. So I told the kids, leave when you want. haha. (I wish I had me as a teacher in middle school.) Anyways, 2 hours later, the 16 year old is still sitting with me. She is asking me all of these translations for things like, "I'll love you forever." and "You are a great person."-- I think she has a boy in mind. Then, the dad of the orphanage comes to the window (didn't know they were listening!) He then tells me to be careful because this girl wants to learn english sentences so that she can bully and attack other kids. She had asked one bad thing, but that was it. I tried to show him all the good things she had asked how to say. It made me really sad. This girl actually wanted to get to know me. Who knows, maybe she did want to learn things to distruct, but still- she wanted to learn! I really felt like there was a connection. I mean, I know it was my first day and all, but there is just something I see in her- incredible potential! She reminded me of myself as a kid. There is so much going on inside her head. So much that she looks like she is about to spew! So much that nobody quite understands her. The workers their told me "she is very special" so they see something, but I wonder if she really believes that. Does she really believe that others believe in her or does she just think they are waiting for her to screw up? I don't know how to explain it. I know, I know, it was just the first day, but I think that these english classes are going to be about 30 minutes of class, and 1 hour of hanging out and undefined mentorship. Fine with me!

I'm really excited. I wasn't excited to teach the lil kids, but now Im flipping excited cause they were so stinkin cute! I don't think lil kids are my forte, but I'll give it a shot. I start with the lil ones on monday.

All in all- I think this experience is going to be huge for me. I want to work as a residential counselor in a youth home when I graduate this Spring. These girls are in the same situation. For the past year, I have wished I was going to school for a teaching degree so that I could teach English as a Second Language in an inner city school in the US. I think this will really help me decide if thats something I want to pursue. I wish I would have gotten a teaching degree so that I could teach in for a few years before getting my Masters of Social Work.

I used to hate kids. Seriously. Now, I realize that I have a passion for the trouble makers, the misunderstood, and "at risk" kids. In my opinion, the biggest thing they are "at risk" for, is society giving up on them. I don't want to do that. I want to believe in these kids, and I really do. Is it weird that I'm tearing up? I just really believe that they are full of beauty. Beatuy in disguise is my favorite kind! It's the possible mission that we too often call, "mission impossible."

I wish I had training on this stuff. I'm just worried I will get kicked out of the orphanage for being too much of a friend, and not enough of a teacher. We shall see! Now I just have to figure out how to teach a 4 year old....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mold Mold Mold

Well well well. I'm currently sitting in my hostel bed. Why? Because of the infestation of mold in my host family. I have had a cough for 3 weeks now, and my ribs have taken the coughing so badly, that I have torn the cartilage in my lungs/ribs. I told my host family that I was moving out on saturday, and well, lets just say that it didn't go so well. My host mom was extremely hostile and even called me a liar! Nonetheless, I am glad to be out of there!

I have found an apartment and will hopefully move in on saturday. It's a one bedroom with a kitchen, no living room or anything but thats really all we need. My friend Odette from Canada is moving in with me. Until then, I'm staying in a hostel downtown. Its a cool location and I am going to explore it more, I just have to take a taxi to school.

Here are pictures of the shower mold in my old house. I tried to get close, but I was quickly snapping them and worried they would hear the shutter on my camera- hence the poor quality.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I left thursday night at 11:45pm for Zacatecas. We traveled through the night because it is about 7 hours on a bus. We arrived back in Monterrey this morning at 6am. I went with just 6 friends and it was a great time. Zacatecas is SW and in the mountains. It was actually very chilly at night and marvelous in the day. We stayed at an amazing hostel- I could have lived there! The city is very romantic with lots of cobblestone and bright colored buildings.

This is the teleferico- like a gondola that we rode to the top of the mountain.

Looking down the street- such cute, bright homes.

Government plaza in the middle of town.

These guys were great. I think this was right about when they realized I was taking pictures of them...

Homeless man outside the cathedral.
Another homeless man outside the same cathedral. Amazing how they always get left outside.

View of the mountains.

No caption needed.

Making tortillas.

Notice the cross in the wall.

Doesn't this look quaint?

Dog in the window. Not for sale. But oh so very cute.

This was a museum, but the outside was the coolest part.

Somebody was going somewhere fancy- so I decided to take her picture.

Flowers looking up to the castle.

I saw this and thought of grams. Doesn't this look like an old lady hangout?

Bugs. Bugs. Bugs. Everywhere. The most popular car in Mexico.

This is the view from the rooftop of our amazing hostel. I want to go back.

This puppy was on top of the roof of a house. There are always dogs on roofs and I always think they are going to jump off.

Sweet view down the street.

Tons of old cathedrals built in the 1700's by the Spainards in their mission of conversion.

This was awesome. It was a Hare Krishna Diversity Festival and these guys were so joyful and outgoing. They were dancing like crazy and just so amazing. Did I mention how hot these guys were? Oh my- why are they so beautiful????

So yep- here are the picture. It was an amazing town. I loved the city and we walked for hours each day. My legs are killing me. I could really live at the hostel- $9 a night, and SO cute! Would love to go back if only it wasn't so far away.