I'm sitting in my bedroom (the one I share with fellow student Kathleen / Katalina), and it is POURING rain outside. Our window is open, because it's pretty warm, and the rain is loud as it hits the roof. It's the rainy season here in Morelia (and Mexico City, too). Almost every day there has been at least a sprinkle and mostly cloudy skies...
We arrived in Morelia on Wednesday mid-day, after a week-long tour from Guadalajara (and neighboring towns, Tlaquepaque and Tonalá), to Guanajuato (and neighboring towns Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende), to Mexico City (and neighboring points of interest, Querétaro and Teotihuacán). So it has been quite a busy time so far. I've seen churches and murals and twisty streets and old jail cells and ancient pyramids and museums... I wish I'd started the blog a week and a half ago, but I was just too busy looking at stuff (and smelling DF / Mexico City). Check out flickr for some photos: www.flickr.com/photos/marjorieschreiber.
But now here we are, living in a small house with Criss, a 61-yr-old Morelia native who has two grown kids (one of whom, Manolo, lives in a small room off the patio). She is taking classes in human development and not currently working. Until January she worked with the former governor of the state of Michoacán. Criss loves to listen to covers of 70s rock songs (in English), as well as organ classics, and this morning we listened to some music that had been composed by her grandfather in San Antonio in the 1930s and performed by her nephew, who got a doctorate in music at University here.
The house is about 5 km from school. Our neighborhood is residential, but near some big, busy avenues that have lots of modern businesses - just about every auto company you can think of has a dealership here, and restaurants like Applebee's, Burger King, Starbucks. But if you go a few blocks into the neighborhood, it's clearly Mexico: people standing on the street selling food cooked on a little hibachi, for example.
School is located at the Centro Cultural de Lenguas, in the colonial centro histórico. I'll take photos of that soon. (I just had to buy a new camera because my old one got taken by some Mexican boys at OXXO, a convenience store where I set down my camera to pay for oatmeal cookies. It's my fault; I should've been more careful. But - I had to go buy a new one today. Thankfully I'd uploaded my photos and there was nothing valuable ON the camera.)
I take the combi (bus) to school. A small van that has a loose door on the side which slides open automatically with the force of the van stopping. You hop in, say "Buenos días!" and everyone in the van (about 10 people when it's busy) ALL reply, "Buenos días!" Seriously, everyone always greets everyone else on the bus. Then, if you are sitting near the back, you pass your 450 pesos (45 cents) to the person next to you, and they pass it along to the front of the bus, and if there is change, the driver says "Cambio!" and the change gets passed back to you by your fellow passengers. The combi is one of my favorite things about Morelia so far. As we pass the church, several people (in the midst of conversations, even) cross themselves automatically. I hop off the bus right in front of school for class at 8am every day. Class goes 8am-2pm.
Lunch is a drawn out affair. From 3pm on... as long as we want it to go. But usually after an hour I'm ready to get up and study or do whatever I have to do. Lunch has been interesting. The first day it was some sort of greyish meatloaf. It tasted all right, but didn't seem very Mexican. We've eaten salads and soups a lot. I have been told before not to eat salads, but here it seems we've been reassured that there are ways to kill the bacteria on the lettuce and tomatoes, and so far I've been well.
Tonight we're going to see the illumination of the cathedral, and fireworks. This display happens every Saturday night in Morelia. Last night was a little get-together with the students in my program. We sat outside at an old hotel on the plaza and drank cappuccino. And then went inside to listen to a pianist and enjoy the elegant hotel lobby for awhile... Today's been reading for class. "Talpa" by Juan Rulfo. I've got lots more reading to do, so I'll sign off for now. Stay tuned!