Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tears and Besos

My first actual day with the kids (yesterday) was, in 2 words, COMPLETELY OVERWHELMING. This week, it has hit me that I'm here for a year. A YEAR.

If you know one thing about me, it's that I'm not good at committing to anything. I don't even like making plans for dinner two days in advance, so you can imagine the kind of anxiety I'm having about having to stay here working and responsible for almost 50 kids for a year! haha. Let me say first of all, that Yuyo has been amazing. On the days that I've felt completely overwhelmed and carried on like a crazy person, he has been right by my side, comforting me by not only being here, but also telling me to pray about it and seek what God has to tell me. He's said this whole time that God has a plan and that I need to pray about it because He's the only one that can subdue me and make me feel complete in the fact that I'm here for a year. It's really amazing the people God puts in your life to make you better. He is one of them. Ok, I know, I know, enough cheesy for this post...haha.

I talked to Mom yesterday completely broken, homesick, scared, overwhelmed, and hormonal...needless to say my eyes were swollen all night. She continued to give me the same advice and assured me that people everywhere at home were praying for me and that "this too shall pass". Well...I felt everybody's prayers today.

At lunch, I was still feeling overwhelmed and anxious. You know that feeling when you're really nervous and your stomach churns and you feel like there's a brick on your chest? That's what I've been feeling since Sunday night. I got my afternoon class from 11:30-1:45 and they were GREAT. They (generally) followed the rules and listened to each other. I was so pleased with them. We've been focusing today and yesterday on actually listening to people when they talk, which is something that they really struggle with. It is built into Mexican culture. Even in groups of adults, if someone is talking, other people are always talking in the crowd. I'm all about living and accepting different traits of different cultures, but this is one of the most annoying things ever. Another thing that my kids do is if they have a question, instead of sitting in their seat and raising their hand, they come up to me, tap me, follow me around saying..."Miss, miss, miss, miss"...AHHHH! So...needless to say, my rules I went over today included "being a good listener, sitting in you seat and raising your hand if you need something, and always doing your best!!" among other things. I got them all to sign the rules, and it was evident that although we talked about them, they didn't understand what they meant. haha.

So...this afternoon at 4pm, the 3rd grade had their "open house" kind of meeting with all of the parents. My partner and I met in her room with all of our parents and gave a presentation about what we were doing this year, along with rules for different things like bringing in a bday cake, and convivios (like a get together with food) for Christmas and Halloween. I have been DREADING this meeting because the Colleen and I (one of the other English teachers...she's awesome and I love her) still don't really know what we're doing yet. Put young teachers who don't know what they're doing, just graduated from college, in a room full of parents paying for their kids to go to the most expensive school in Puebla......not a good mix. My compañera (my teaching partner, Ms. Lupita) did most of the talking. She had like a 20 minute powerpoint about everything and explained everything--except English. Another reason I was super nervous was because I was scared that my Spanish would be too stupid for all these parents who want to know about their kid's education. It turns out God is good. My Spanish was pretty good, and I just said at the beginning to forgive me because my Spanish wasn't the best ever. All the parents responded really well. My presentation was probably under 5 minutes, but I said everything I wanted to say, and looking into the sea of faces, I got many smiles and nodding affirmations. It was what I needed. I can't explain how light I feel right now. It's crazy to think that 12 hours ago, I felt a huge brick on my chest, and now, it's like I'm a new person. So many parents came up to me after the meeting and told me "my child has told me that they love you!" The Mom's of the boys ALL said "(insert name) told English teacher is so pretty and happy and smiley! I love her!" The parents who had questions and concerned I answered and they gave me besos (kiss on the cheek to say hello and goodbye) and said "anything I can do to help, don't hesitate to ask".

God is good, no?! Everyone told me it would be alright...and I knew it would be, I just didn't know when. I'm so thankful for Yuyo. I know I've already said it, but if this past week hasn't scared him away, I think he's a keeper!! ;)

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your prayers. They have helped me more than you know. I'm serious. I think a lot of times, we just pray things, just to pray them without ever seeing the effect of them...well, I am proof that prayer does work. I am tranquila (calm) and I feel like this is truly where I'm supposed to be. My kids are great (for the most part...ha) and I already have favorites. Most being short little chubby Mexican boys. Looove them. haha. (Lisa will understand...right?)

I love you all.
<3 Besos y buenas noches! more thing. I was surprised yesterday when they called me to the office and the secretary asked me if it was my bday because I had a flower arrangement! Dud, Non, Tar, and Hay got Yuyo to find a flower arrangement and send it to me from them for my first day. Dad always sends Mom flowers on her first day--I told Yuyo that and he said..."yeah, but we're not married" hahahaha. I said "calmate Yuyo! I'm just saying!" So anyways, although it took all that was within me to not cry...I loved it. They're sitting in my window at school! Thanks Dud, Non, Tar and Hay. I love you.
My flowers!
We love to match!!
Meggie's sooo pretty!!
So am I!!
Today during one of our circle times on the rug (they LOVE the rug),  I asked them "What is one thing you want to learn this year?" A few students raised their hands, and I called on this sweet girl that I love. She said "To be just like you". hahahahahaha. I was like "Wowww! Ok!!" haha. It was great. I hope it was funny typed as it is in person. If only she could see this pic...
My finished bulletin board outside.
It says: Welcome Back.
Logging on the Future: Technology (The theme for this year.)
It rained all night, and this morning, there was hope!!
Sooo metaphorical! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

I survived!!

I have officially completed my first day!!

The kids and their parents (mostly Moms, although there were some Dads!!) came to the school between 8 and 11 to pick up their materials. I'm pretty sure that in all of Mexico, the textbooks and materials for class are given to the students. The Spanish textbooks, that is. Later this week, I have to take my class to the English workroom so all of my students in my homeroom can "check out" their English books. Then, those books stay in the classroom and obtain a list number. Every student in my class (24 to be exact) has a list number. They really come in handy because the English books have to be shared within the 2 classes. So, essentially, 2 students share a set of English textbooks and they share according to their list number. If a book is missing, all I have to do is check who it belongs to on the list and they get in trouble, not me!! haha. That's the important part.

But, all in all, the kids were amazingly cute! I wish I could have had my camera to take a pic of every single one...but that would've been kinda creepy, so too bad. There were some parents that I know are going to be great and helpful...and others, not so much. I think it'll be a great year though. For the most part, people were very nice.

Our Spanish/English team met together today after all the parents and students left, and I was a bit overwhelmed. This week, there is no curriculum planned, we are just building community with our class and getting to know everyone in the classroom. Having the kids for all this time without a clear cut plan of what anyone is doing is kind of stressful for me. At this moment, I'm writing lesson plans for the week. Just took a quick break to update.

On a completely unrelated note, we ate at a Comida Corrida (literally fast food) place today basically right across the street from our house. It was $37 pesos...delish. Seriously. Comida corrida is where you go and it's basically like a home kitchen. They serve a soup, usually rice and beans, then a plato fuerte (like a main dish) and  small dessert, flavored water (today it was piña...oh so delicious) and bread. For under $4 dollars. It's ridiculous. But amazing. So anyways...that's my food comment for my blog today.

Thanks for reading, and praying, and thinking about me, and doing whatever you do! Love you guys.
<3 Besos.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here we go...

Wow! The past week has flown by. I think I might start all of my blog entries like that. haha. Here it is, Sunday again. Time really does fly by when you have stuff to do alllll day.

To be honest, this week didn't really hold anything terribly exciting. On Monday, all the new teachers thought that we would be able to get into our classrooms and work on decorating and so on, but we had a change of plans when we were told that someone was taking all of us to immigration to obtain our work visas (or our FM3 as they call it here). We had an appointment at 9 so we got there promptly, but the person who does FM3s was not there when s/he was supposed to be...sooooo we were there until about 1:30 (when they close). The whole day was spent at the office just talking and hanging out, waiting to get them. When the guy actually "interviewed" us, it wasn't even an interview, the most difficult question was converting weight to kilos and height to meters. It made me laugh a little, because Mexicans have so much trouble getting a tourist visa, let alone a work visa and we just waltzed right in and had our FM3 on the same day! The first week we were here, Cecilia took us to a photographer to have our pictures done. We weren't allowed to smile and had to tuck our hair behind our ears. All of them turned out really funny. And really touched-up. But hey...I'm not complaining!!
Megan waiting for her FM3. She's really happy.
I'm not an immigrant anymore!! Nice picture, huh?!
Dang it...I just realized I kind of wrote about immigration in my last post...haha. Oh well, this is more detailed. I already mentioned the store IDEA that is exactly like IKEA...Megan and I bought some stuff for our house, some decorative stuff, stuff for our classrooms, just little things. It was fun, and thank goodness, Yuyo picked us up from there because it was POURING DOWN RAIN and we had a cart full of bags...ohhhh the rescue....again. ha.
Look! No hands!
That same night, Yuyo took us to eat tacos de bistec. We were a bit skeptical at first, but they were out of this world delicious!! It's just a skirt steak that is grilled then thrown on a corn (or flour!) tortilla and drizzled with guacamole. Soooo good. And the best part is they're $10 pesos a taco. that's like 80 cents, like taco bell except real meat. Anyways, I hope we can eat there again soon. And on the topic of food, Yuyo's Mom and Abuelita sent home pollo con crema (a delicious chicken concoction made with chicken, sour cream, salsa, and goodness), homemade black beans, rice, tamales, and steak home for me and Megan to eat. We've been eating it for "lonch" everyday at school. Also, we have found a place right by our house that sells tortas and cemitas, which are both like sandwiches, that are insanely delicious and huge and are only $23 pesos. The lady there loves us. We walk by everyday and say hi. And, Yuyo helps of course!! He always talks to her and she loves him.
Precious little puppy at the taco stand. I gave him food.
So some of us went to see a movie on Wednesday. Los Industructibles (aka-The Expendables). Um, I don't know who won the battle of me going to see a movie with Slyvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc. But I did. Obviously the boys we were with won the battle. Not me. In the first 3 minutes of the movie, people were getting shot and blown up. I will say though, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but still pretty awful. So anyways, after the movie, I looked downstairs, and I saw something beautiful. Something that will make the rest of my stay here worth every single minute. It's called "MOYO". It is EXACTLY LIKE YOFORIAAAAA!!!!! For those of you who don't know what Yoforia is, it's a frozen yogurt chain in Atlanta that sells soft serve froyo. This isn't like ice cream though, it's more like yogurt that's in ice cream form. It's a little tart and with fruit on is addicting. Not even kidding. Just to give you some perspective though, in Mexico, an ice cream cone from McDonald's is $9 pesos. Pretty good. A small MOYO cup is $40 pesos!!! And with toppings it's $52 pesos. Needless to say, it won't be a common treat. Considering I could eat 2 meals for that price. ha.
Best day ever!
Wednesday through Friday, we got our Social Security Numbers (which means we have healthcare now! And hopefully a bank account soon...), we participated in training for teaching at an International Baccalaureate school (because that's what the American School is), and we got to work in our classrooms. Here is what mine looks like so far...I'm going back today to do some finishing touches before the kids and parents come pick up their stuff tomorrow.
All of my homeroom kids' stuff on their desks.
Activity rug, word wall, and star student!
My desk! Full of junk...imagine that!
I'm going to put pictures from home on the blue lockers,
so my kids can see all of y'all!!
The view from my desk.
As I said, I've got a few finishing touches!
I get to meet my kids and their parents tomorrow! I'm really exciting, but kinda scared. Prayer would be greatly appreciated. For Megan and I, both! We're about to start on an exciting, happy, scary, fun, annoying, wonderful journey with our kids and their parents and our co-workers. To be honest, I just want the first 2 months of school to be over. So we would have already established a routine and I would know what to expect! ha. After tomorrow, I will be sure to post about the first day. It's only a half day, and the kids are just coming to pick up their books. Tuesday, we actually start in the classroom. Ahhh! 

Thanks for reading! And check back for an update about the first week. I love y'all!! Besos <3.
 Soaking wet from walking back in the pouring rain...

Monday, August 16, 2010

En serio?! seems like there would be staples in every store that sells school supplies. But, that's not the case. We looked at like 3 stores today and they didn't have staplers OR staples...white out--check, pens--galore, paper--tons, but staples--NOWHERE. So weird.

After sitting at the Visa office (immigration) from 8:30am to about 1:30pm and not going into work because everyone leaves at 2pm, Megan and I went to this amazing store named IDEA. Yeah...not a misspelled IKEA. The store is actually called IDEA and it's a total IKEA ripoff. Like everything was the same, except it was 2x more expensive. Like for cheap stuff. $10 lamps were $30, $5 mirrors were $20 and so on and so forth. We did get some cute stuff though. Anyways, it was completely overwhelming, but amazing.

That's it. Hope we get classroom time tomorrow. Got a LOT of stuff to do tomorrow!!!!

Besos <3.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"This is the weirdest meeting I've ever been to..."

It's almost been a week since I posted last and it's crazy! This past week flew by. I think that's how I'm going to feel a lot this year. Right now I am in Yuyo's home town: Poza Rica, Veracruz, visiting his family and hanging out for the weekend. Many of you have probably never heard of Poza Rica, but it is one of the most important oil cities in Mexico. The national petroleum company, Pemex, has one of it's biggest bases here in PR. Pretty much everyone in this town works in some part of Pemex. There are 2 main things I would like to say about Poza Rica: 1-It is HOT and HUMID. I'm not just talking like a little hot, I'm talking about-there is no point in doing your hair and make-up because the second you step outside it is ruined-hot and humid. And 2-The best food in Mexico lives here. Seriously. EVERYTHING tastes like it was prepared by God himself. There's no way I can even describe to you or stress these 2 points unless you've been here, so I won't try to. I'll just leave it at that. I will also mention a little story of the first time I came to visit Yuyo's family. Some of you might know, some no, so I'll tell it anyway. There is only one road in and out of Poza Rica to Puebla and it is a looooong and windy mountain road. So, it is June 2008, I am super nervous about meeting and having to talk in Spanish to Yuyo's Mom and Abuelitos (grandparents) all week, and we are in the car driving to Poza. I put on the dress I want to wear that day and Yuyo says "Brihan, i think you're going to be hot in that..." and I'm like..."Nah...I'm from Atlanta, where it's humid and 100 degrees in the summer, it can't be that bad"...needless to say, I wear the dress (that is made of a jersey material, but has a thick polyester lining). June 2008 were the days of Yuyo's old VW and the poor car was a 2003, but Mexico roads are not nice to little cars...anyways, bottom line was that there was no air conditioning, and the passenger's side window did not roll down. Yeah. Soooo, here we were driving the curvy mountain roads with no air and an dysfunctional window on my side. One thing I've forgotten to mention is that that day, it was 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I know I exaggerate a little sometimes, but I'm not kidding. It was twice Atlanta's humidity and 120 degrees because it's basically in the middle of a jungle. I was so so SO mad at Yuyo. He was laughing! And I was dripping with sweat, laid out in the back seat, and absolutely miserable. When we got to Poza Rica, both his mother and grandmother scolded him greatly for making me ride in that car all the way because "She's not used to the heat...shame on you Yuyo!" His grandmother insisted we take the car with air conditioning back to Puebla, bless her lovely heart! I love her. But that story has absolutely nothing to do with why I'm here now, just a little side note. I love Yuyo's family so much. They are welcoming, thoughtful, and loving hosts/family. I love coming here to visit. Although I hate the road here, the views are spectacular!
John Denver could totally sing about that mountain
I'm so glad he's a good driver!
My first week of school was actually really great. Let me just say that I am a night person. I love staying up late; however, I stayed up late on Monday night and my first day of work was terrible. 6:20 comes really early when you go to bed at 2:30. The lack of sleep was made even worse accompanied by a headache, my first batch of stomach problems, and a loooong, borrrring meeting from 8 am-2 pm. I seriously thought it would never end. This was our first official work day--a meeting with all the teachers from primary, secondary, and the prepa and all the administration and staff. I think it's really odd, because at all of our teacher meetings, not only are the teachers there, but the janitors and security are there too. It's nice because it shows an alliance, but I would hate to be a janitor and have to sit through these things!! This meeting consisted of the superintendent talking, each principal from each school introducing new teachers (where I had to stand up in front of 400 other people...), a guy talking about technology, more administration talking, the dance group I'm going to talk about, and to finish it out, this doctor talking about healthily aging. One of my fellow 3rd grade teachers leaned over to me during the doctor's talk and said "This is seriously the weirdest meeting I've ever been to." And it was. It was such a weird mix of topics and people. Anyways, a dance group from the School (I think from primary and secondary?) that competes in dance competitions performed a show for all the teachers!! It included traditional Mexican dances, from indigenous dances and costumes, to typical dances from different parts of Mexico. It was AWESOME. I decided if Yuyo and I indeed do get married and have children, I am going to make them do that. It was great.
Indigenous dancing. The crowd "ooohed and ahhhed"
These costumes were like eagles, they were beautiful!
Cutest kids up there. Seriously.
This dance is from Veracruz, where Yuyo is from!
The next time you see him, ask him to show you!! :)
Like line dancing/clogging with way cooler costumes
That was the best part of the first day of work. We thought it would get better from there, then Wednesday happened. Haha. Don't get me wrong, so far I absolutely LOVE my job. I love my co-workers, my classroom, and all the people I've met, but working in Mexico is going to take some getting used to. Wednesday, we had a meeting in the morning at the primary, that lasted 4 hours, about bullying. Bullying is a serious subject, and I know it happens and we need to know what to do when a situation arises, but Mom said at Woodward they had a meeting on Wednesday about bullying, and it lasted 45 minutes. That just gives you some perspective. I thought surely it wouldn't last that long, but it did. A 4 hour meeting is exhausting in it's own rite, but in Spanish, I could not pay attention for more than 10 minutes at a time. The speaker was very good, though, and really knew what she was talking about. Later that day, we broke for lunch (or "lonch" as they call snack time for the kids) and then came back together to talk about the student manual.

One of the things that's kept us lively and spirited, besides being super pumped about our classrooms and kids, are our friends!! Because we finish everyday at 2 pm, we have the whole afternoon/evening to hang out. It's a great schedule. It forces me to get up early and have the whole day to live! During the week, we usually go out to eat, watch movies, go to the movies, do puzzles, play cards, and just hang out. So far, it's been really fun.
Yuyo, Darius, and Oscar eating Carnitas
And one of us!! Que bonitas!
Thursday and Friday were great days, because those were the days we got to see and start working on our classrooms!!! I am teaching 3rd grade and my homeroom is group F. My co-teacher, Lupita, has 3rd grade, group D, and there are 4 other 3rd grade teachers: 2 Spanish and 2 English. They are all in the top hall of the school that is known as the "Cielo", which means, sky or heaven, but there is one pair (my teacher and I) who are on the second floor of the building. The great thing about this is that all of the specials classes are right by my classroom and Megan's classroom is 3 down from mine!! It's perfect. My co-teacher, Lupita, is very nice. So far, she has told me many times that if I need any help or if I have any questions, I can come and ask her. She doesn't speak English, which I am excited about, because my Spanish will improve greatly in working with her all year! My classroom is huge--which is good, but it also makes me nervous about not being able to make it feel "homey" enough. I have such grand ideas for my room, but I think the time and budget constraints might get in the way of them. :) Friday was the first day we got to be in our classrooms for a long period of time. One of the "welcome to Mexico" moments (but Mom informed me, it's actually like this at all schools, not just Mexico) was that of a stapler crisis. Both Megan and I bought staplers (in Spanish: "engrapadora" it sounds exactly like it's spelled-reading Spanish is a piece of cake), but hers did not work, and mine did not open all the way...both problems making it impossible to put anything on a bulletin board. We set out to find staplers...little did we know, this would be a problem that would take until after lunch to solve. We asked around in the main office, and they told us to ask different people, we found the right person, and she told us the same thing the first person told us "We have staplers and scissors for all the new teachers, but they're in a box somewhere...". Hmm...ok! Thank goodness, there were some great teachers who let us borrow staplers and scissors, but by that time, it was 12:30 and we leave at 2pm. I spent a hour and a half in my room, completely overwhelmed by the space I had and the amount of things I needed to do to make it cute. The thing about this school is that EVERYONE leaves at 2 pm. Seriously. We wanted to stay longer, but everyone left.

One of the best things about the school are the janitors. They were dropping off books and materials in our room and I went in to find 3 of the men leaving materials on the desks in my room. One of them started talking to me asking me if it was my first time in Mexico, and I told him no, that I have a boyfriend that lives in Puebla. One of other little, older men said "Orrrale". haha. According to Urban Dictionary: Orale--To quote a famous mexican comedian: "It is a term of excitement like yeehaw is to the country folk." It does not have a definite meaning but it makes you feel good to say it." In this occasion, he meant like "Yeahhh! Right on!!".  It was one of the cutest things ever. When you arrive to or leave from school, you have to say hello and goodbye to everyone you pass, whether you know them or not. For us southerners, it's not that foreign, but for the girls coming from the Northern states and Canada, this is a weird cultural thing that they will have to get used to. On Friday, we were leaving the school, saying goodbye to all the teachers and janitors. Every janitor we passed would say "Nos vemos Miss. Hasta el lunes. Cuidate. Que tenga buen fin de semana. Que Dios le bendiga. Adios" (See you later Miss. Until Monday. Take care. Have a good weekend. God bless you. Bye.)  It's funny for 2 reasons: 1) they ALL call us "miss" (sounds like "mees") and 2) they have to cover every goodbye/well wishing for us before we pass them. I love it. Absolutely. I don't have any pictures of the school yet, but I do have 2 of my classroom. Before decoration. I'll do a whole before and after reveal like on HGTV...I just wish I had Candice Olsen or Vern Yip to decorate my classroom!!
Looking from the front of the classroom to the back wall.
The door is behind the blue cabinets.
I have a ton of closet and cabinet space!
I'm moving my desk next to the windows across the room...
...and this is why!! It's green and beautiful!
My classroom is huge, has a beautiful view, and has windows lining a whole wall. Light pours into the room, and the climate is perfect for open windows year round! I love it. Can't wait to get it all done!

It continues to rain every evening. I'm not just talking rain, I'm talking torrential rain. Last week, it started hailing and the wind was blowing so hard, the trees were bending. It was scary. Luckily, I'm not scared of storms. Megan and I both agree that our rain jackets (along with our computers) were the best money we spent for Mexico. Hands down.

La Casa Verde, the ministry I came down with in 2007, had their kick-off event on Thursday afternoon. Being in Mexico, we thought because the event started at 2pm, we could get there around 4pm and people would just be arriving. We were wrong!! We arrived at about 3:30, and there was no food left!! That's good for La Casa, but bad for us! haha. This is taking it back to Friday nights and TGIF at The Bowen's house...but we got Little Caesar's pizza and it was delicious...awful for my stomach, but delicious nonetheless.

I'm sure there are 10 million things I want to say and am forgetting, but that's the good thing about blogs, I can just pop in and update whenever I want!! If you are praying for my journey, please pray most importantly for my kids!!! Pray that I can enrich their lives and that they are open to me and what I have to offer! Pray for the workload, and that they can come to know and understand that I care for them not only as my students, but as human beings! I need wisdom. More than anything else, I need wisdom to get along with my co-workers--especially my co-teacher--and my students and their parents. You can also pray for Mexico in general. I know that the stereotypes of Mexico are not positive at all at this moment in time, and I pray that people can understand that Mexicans are people just like Americans. That being American means that we have been given many things that the world does not have and will never have access to, but that doesn't make us better and more knowledgeable than anyone else. One of the things I hope and pray to learn this year is focusing on the fact that there is no one way or correct way to do things. Every culture, and group of people have their way in performing everyday tasks that I might think is completely weird and backwards, but they have been doing it that way for hundreds of years, and they still function the same way in society as me (for the most part). Anyways, I just want to make a difference in my students' lives, and learn from the national teachers, as well as my fellow international teachers. We are all coming from different places in our lives, and we all bring so much to the table. I can't wait to get to know everyone!

Ok...I am going to bed. I started writing this about 2 hours ago. I get distracted easily. I love all of you. Thanks for reading and praying and supporting me!! I truly feel loved. I'll leave you with a couple more pictures...some reasons why I love Mexico.
The juvenile mariachi bands walking down the street.
Precious puppies trying to see us through metal doors
And random dalmatians that make your day.
Out of everyone, he walked right up to me! Love you Hay.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Leaky leak leak...

So...I know I've already posted today, but I needed to just document officially about my room. There are two main patches of mold/moisture on my ceiling that have been there since we moved in. The landlord is suuuper nice and has come by to look at it and sent some guys today to fix it (and they're coming back at 8:30 am...). It has been pouring rain on and off since about 7:30 pm (because it's the start of the rainy season), which is not helping my situation. Megan and I just got home about 30 minutes ago from hanging out and I walked into my room to a big puddle from a newly formed leak in my ceiling...
One of the leaks this morning
Leak by the closet this morning
The same leak at 3 am
I can honestly say I've never lived in a leaky house, but it's pretty common here. When I get my room fixed up cute, I'll put pictures on the blog.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sushi, Tour busses, and Cemitas

Well...the past few days have been suuuuper exciting and full of activity! I'm trying to remember everything that happened...I don't want to write everyday because I don't want to be too tedious and write about things that aren't terribly important, so...I'll go day by day!
Tuesday morning we woke up refreshed from a free night at the HI Express with the free Mexican continental breakfast, all piled in the Suburban, and drove to the American School Prepa (Mexican word for high school) to get copies of our official documents for our FM3 Visa-aka working visa! OH! After the paperwork and lugging 8 bags out of the back of a suburban, Megan and I officially moved into our apartment. We felt like those high maintenance girls who always, always overpack, but we're really not!!
Cecilia, the woman in charge of showing us the ropes here at the American School, is the most amazing woman ever. She's been like our Mexican mom here this week.
She LOVES us too. Because Megan and I have studied and lived in Puebla before, she always asks us where we should eat and what we should do. So, on Tuesday, she asked us if we liked sushi and we responded with a big ole CLARO QUE SI (of course)!!!!! She then asked if we'd eaten at Sushi Itto...which if you know about Megan and I and our sushi experience together, it's our favorite ever of all needless to say, we were ecstatic to find out that Cecilia told us the school was inviting us for lunch! Now, in the states when you invite someone to the movies, for example, that means that you will both go to the movies and will each pay for your ticket...BUTTT when a Mexican says "Te invito" (I invite you) that means that they will pay. Just one of the many perks of Mexican culture. Anyways, it was the highlight of the was 2x1 day, so we ordered 16 rolls of sushi and all shared. DELICIOUS! That's all I can say.
After lunch, we met up with Yuyo and went to Walmart to buy some things for the apartment (pictures coming soon-ish). It's funny because in the states, we go to Walmart to buy cheap stuff. Like right now, I need a bedside table, mattress pads, and lamps. Welllll in Mexico's Walmart, mattress pads are $45, tables are $160, and lamps are at least $50. So Mom keeps telling me to just "get one at Walmart", but I'd be broke!! ha.
I can't even explain what a blessing it is to have Megan here with me. She's really one of my best friends and it's awesome to be able to share this experience-good and bad-with her. We have been laughing and talking non-stop...and it's been great.
Besides finding-and Yuyo and Darius killing-a scorpion in our apartment (which every Mexican we've talked to is like...WHAT?? because they've never even seen one), Wednesday was pretty low key.
We cashed our first check from the school at the bank and went to Mega (kind of like a Walmart). During our time at Mega Megan and I decided we wanted to eat at Karma Bagels. Now, Karma Bagels is a deliciously wonderful restaurant where they have all kinds of wonderful sandwichy creations...all on bagels. They also have yummy salads and desserts-strawberries and Nutella spread alllllll over a bagel...can't go wrong in any way with that.
Later, we met up with Yuyo and Darius (our friend from Ga Southern who is here for about a month) and went to the movies to see Inception. Darius and Yuyo were the only ones who had never seen it, so we get into the packed theater with our popcorn and icees, and hotdogs and sit down. The movie is about 2.5 hours long, and it was a 9:40 movie, so it was getting kind of late. Yuyo nudged me in the last hour of the movie and we saw and laughed that Darius was sound asleep in his seat. In the last 20 minutes, during the most crucial, epic, and silent part of the movie, he lets out this LOUD snore. So loud in fact, that he wakes himself up. We DIEDDDD laughing. hahaha. It was amazing. The funny thing is, he said he never snores in real life. We told him to try to snore, and he couldn't do it. That story probably wasn't as funny in this blog...but just know, we laughed for 15 minutes straight after the movie ended.
Thursday was a GREAT day. We had our first group of real meetings with all of our bosses and administration at the school. EVERYONE at the school has been helpful, organized, and pleasant since we've arrived. We had some friends over Thursday night and just hung out and played cards. It was great fun!
Friday we woke up, walked to the prepa and met the other American teachers and Ceci to go on a tour of Puebla. The school paid for us to take about an 1.5 hour tour on one of those double decker busses. It's funny because Yuyo looooves seeing cities and new places that way...I, however, do NOT like it at all. But Megan and I both decided to make the best of the tour and it was nice. We both got a little sunburned, but the weather was cool and the city really is beautiful. Here are some pics from the tour.
                                           The touristy tour bus!
                                            The Puebla Cathedral
After the tour, we went to the mercado (market) to eat a sandwich called a "cemita". They are only made in Puebla and are like the original subway. You choose what to put on them: barbacoa (like lamb barbeque), pollo (chicken), milanesa (a breaded skirt steak or chicken), carne enchilada (spicy steak), pata (cow hoof) and the list goes on and on. They were HUGE. Megan and I split one and each only had to pay about $2.
The mercado is also full of fresh vegetables and fruits and even fresher meat-beef, pork, and lots of chicken...
Last night, Megan and I both went into the gates of the university we attended as exchange students and ran the paths around the campus. Because Puebla has such high altitude, it was incredibly hard...our lungs were about to cave in. Funny story: we came back to our house to shower and were both drying our hair and it blew the circuit. Not only did it blow the circuit, but we flipped the circuit breaker on and off and the lights would not come back on. We spent about 30 minutes getting ready by the light of our computers. Luckily, the girl living here before us was next door at her friends apartment hanging out, so she showed us how to flip it back on from outside.
So far, it's been a great, smooth transition. We start "real work" on Tuesday. I am OFFICIALLY teaching 3rd grade. One of the new girls from Chicago is teaching 3rd with me, and our next door neighbor is the other English 3rd grade teacher! I'm super excited to meet my Mexican co-teacher and to see my classroom and meet my kids.
Thanks for reading. Besos de Mexico!! 

Puffy Eyes and Overweight Luggage

So...after 2 2 hour flights, Megan and I are finally in Mexico! We got in around 8:15 pm to Puebla and were surprised by the promptness and organization of our boss, Cecilia!! When we arrived, she immediately handed us the itinerary for the rest of the week and had 2 suburbans ready and waiting for our departure to the hotel (and a Holiday Inn Express I might add...this school is ballin!) The 6 other new teachers also arrived to Puebla on our flight and we got to know them a bit better too. We are from all over the United States and Canada, so it will be interesting to find out different views and perspectives from everyone.
Yuyo, as always, was more than helpful today...seeing as how last night and this morning were some of the most emo of my whole life. I can't imagine what he was thinking last night when I was sobbing every 10 seconds and saying I didn't know why I was moving at all. Or this morning, when I looked a Hayden and started crying immediately because I won't see my precious puppy for 4 months!!! (I really can't think about that right now, I almost started crying again...haha.) Or when I woke up and my eyes were swollen so much from crying I could hardly open them!! Him surprising me last Sunday in my room while I was falling asleep to The O.C. was one of the best of my life. He truly has been supporting me and behind me in every decision I've made in this process so far, and I love him for it. He has made it a lot easier to move here and to calm my fears about everything from finding my kind of shampoo to being anxious about my new job.
When we got to the airport this morning and Megan and I were sobbing as we said goodbye to our Dads, the Continental lady-who was extremely nice-informed us that due to a Mexican embargo, they would not allow over-weight luggage onto the flight. Here's what we were up against...Brittan: 2 bags-1 bag 16 lbs overweight and the other bag, 10 lbs over...Megan: 1 bag-18 lbs overweight. So, we are flying to a foreign country for a year, we can't pay a fee for overweight bags (and our bags are significantly overweight), and both of our fathers have already left the airport. What is the most appropriate solution to this problem? Immediately start crying because we're teetering on the edge of crazy because we've been crying for the past 2 days straight?? Yep...that's what happened. Offff course, Yuyo to the rescue (I swear he's like Batman!). He said to me "Brittan, don't freak out, go stand back there, and I will take care of this." haha...a Mexican in the Atlanta airport tells an Atlantan to sit back, because he will take care of everything. At that time, I stepped back, composed myself, realized I have the best novio (boyfriend for all you gringos) in the world, and jumped right in to move what I was told to move by the master suitcase planner! Tar also came to the rescue by bringing another suitcase so we could check another bag-which logistically doesn't really make sense, because it was heavier than all of our overweight luggage combined...but anyways, other than that mishap this morning, the rest of the day went rather smoothly. We even got to eat at Schlotzsky's in the Houston airport!
Saying goodbye to everyone was the worst thing ever, and I knew it would be, but I am fine here in Puebla. I knew once we got here, we'd actually love it. Megan and I will be well taken care of and this will be such a great experience for both of us. I really do feel like this is where I am supposed to be right now, and that God is going to use me in the lives of my students. Thanks for all your prayers and support in my journey.
Buenas noches!! <3 

Sitting in the kitch

So tonight me, Tar and Yuyo are all standing in the kitch just straight up reminiscing about old times and living in the U.S. of A. That'll be way different in about 5 I come Mexicooooo.