"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." ~Marcel Proust

31 agosto 2011

Mi Puente Verde

Many of you have already heard me speak of "mi puente verde". I cross this giant, green, metal monster at least twice daily and I am more than grateful for this bridge. Without it life would suck (ok maybe I would just have a 25 min. walking detour every day....more exercise). Crossing the bridge on days like today are just a little more fun! hint: It's been raining all afternoon...

28 agosto 2011

Large Rock & Long Race: Weekend Fun!

Our group about to head up
Last weekend was excellent! A bit tiring but fun nonetheless. We survived our first week of school and took off Saturday morning on our first of many excursions as a group. A small bus took us about 45 minutes away to San Sebastián Bernal, where we hiked Peña de Bernal....a huge monolith! Our guide took us up about 3/4 of the way and it was a relatively easy climb. Towards the top I continued on ahead of the group and climbed up a bit further where you technically need equipment to be "safe".... oh well, I'm here now and still alive, Mom. : )

Snapped this while exploring the village
Chapulines!= Grasshoppers!
After returning from our hike we spent some time down in the little village. We walked around, explored the local shops and then gathered for Comida. As I entered the doors of the restaurant, I was handed a corn tortilla hot off the stove. It only gets better. For Comida I tried the traditional plate Chile en Nogada. It is a giant chili stuffed with meat, cheese, and other goodness, smothered in a white semi-sweet cream sauce, and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. Delicious. Topped that off with the village's famous apple beer, but of course I needed one more thing....Chapulines. That translates to FRIED GRASSHOPPERS. A delicacy in various parts of Mexico. So I indulged in taco with a generous serving of grasshoppers. (yes the legs get stuck in your teeth)

Justin Searway. First Round Draft Pick!
We celebrated Emily's b-day Saturday night at our professor's house and wrapped up the fiesta by handing out our race goods for the next morning. (It definitely turned into a sort of Sports Draft as I handed out each race bib and t-shirt!) I went to bed Saturday night a little bit sore and definitely tired from being in the sun all day on the monolith. Good thing I was planning to run a 10k just 6 hours after I got to sleep!... Carrera Por la Paz turned out to be loads of fun! I succesfully ran the 10k in 48:32....not bad considering we are at 6,000ft elevation here. Memories flooded back as I crossed the finish line...Over 3 years ago I "failed" my sports physical due to problems with my spine and was told I could not run cross country my senior year of high school. I had not run a race since then. 2 surgeries and a long road to recovery has brought me here....after pounding the pavement for over 6 miles, I crossed the finish line without pain and yet another reminder of how blessed I am.
 We ran for a good cause. An organization striving to put on community events while sending a message of peace on all different levels. This country is truly a place that needs peace. If you are in the United States and you have seen any news you probably think that I should have died yesterday. I wish everyone back home could see where I live. It is so beautiful and there are so many GOOD things here. My city feels very peaceful and I have yet to feel "unsafe" anywhere. However, there are many other places in Mexico that need peace. Desperately. Two days ago,  a casino in Monterrey was attacked by members of a drug cartel. In a horrific act of terrorism, the men set the casino ablaze killing over 50 people. Today the flags in my city fly at half-mast....a reminder that this beautiful and safe city I live in is part of a country that is still hurting in many other places. Last weekend, as I ran the race, I prayed for peace in this city and this country. Tonight I pray the same. May God bring peace to this wonderful place and safety to our Mexican brothers and sisters.

20 agosto 2011

¡Una Semana!

My beautiful home
I am all settled in and have officially been in Mexico for one week! At this time last Friday I met my Señora and was taken to the place that I will call home for the next 4 months.  I live in an area called the Arboledas, which is pretty far north of the main part of the city. My house is located at the bottom of a big hill but very close to mi puente verde (my green bridge that I walk across almost every day to walk in to town!)
Mi puente verde (looking towards my house)

My Bedroom!
My Señora, Patricia (host mom) is absolutely wonderful. She is so loving, funny, and energetic. Of course my name is pronounced with a soft "J" here so it naturally becomes "Yordan".....but I hardly hear that. My Señora only addresses me as, hijo (son), mijo, cielo (heaven) or corazon (heart). Her son Ricardo (mi hermano!) is 24 and lives at home. Each day we have Comida (the main meal of the day around 2:30pm) and my tia and hermana (aunt and sister) come over as well! Mexican food FTW. That's all I need to say : )

I am now a student of UAQ Lenguas y Letras and love all of my classes and profesoras. I am taking mexican lit, communication, mexican hist, engaging culture, mexican art, and latin dance. The bus gets me  to the University (a story in itself) for lit and comm classes most mornings, and I walk to a language school for my other classes in the late afternoon/evening. Only one class Thursdays and one class Fridays.....this is indeed the good life.

This is just a brief overview of the first week and I can't wait to share more. Plans for this weekend: day trip to Peña de Bernal (a huge monolith!), soccer game, and a 10K race (La Carrera por La Paz or "The Race for Peace" ....My brother Ricardo is organizing this huge event! Check it out!) 

15 agosto 2011

Cosas Novedades

....which translates to "New Things"....but "new" on many different levels. Welcome to yet another new aspect of my life: a blog. A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres translates to "wherever you go, do as you see" and is the mexican phrase equivalent to "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." And so, this blog will document my quest to become Mexican over the next 4 months of this semester. While in Querétaro I will be studying at Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, living with a host family, and diving into a culture that I am already very much in love with.
 I made it to Querétaro safely and am quickly adjusting to a completely new lifestyle. Just wanted to get this up and running but I will be posting again soon with an update on all that has happened already!