So it's the end of my fourth full day in Mexico. I'll try and sum up the events thus far.
I landed on Saturday night where I was met by Shereen, Mrs. Betty, and José, and we went out to eat immediately. I was quickly impressed with the quality and cost of the food. This place is great when you're hungry. After that we got to the BAM Center and I got a quick tour, then I stayed up talking for a while before crashing into an amazingly comfortable bed.
Woke up for church in the morning, which was in Spanish, and there were headsets available for translation. I hate having to use them, so I have decided to make it a goal of mine not to need them by the end of my time here. Met a lot of people (names are so difficult to remember, but I'll get there), called my mom for Mothers Day, and then I got a tour of Puebla and the adjoining town, Cholula. We went to markets and central courtyards and parks and restaurants, and I found that the area is fairly well off. Something was strange to me as we went, and then I realized, I didn't see any homeless people in the inner city. I asked why, and Betty said that it was different here, that I could find them on the outskirts of the city, rather than the center. It's kind of strange to me, not at all what I've come to expect.
We came home and worked on some school stuff, and then came packing. I helped Shereen get her things together for quite a bit, and it was really cool to share our testimonies and get to know each other better. She has packed what looks to be literally everything she owns, so we had ample time for conversation. I crashed and was once again deeply grateful for my bed.
Which brings us to Monday. Time here doesn't feel like separate days, but like one long day where we just take naps when it gets dark. I sat in on Shereen's English class, trying to pick up how the class should run. I also moved to a new place called Casa Verde that Mrs. Betty had checked out for me before I came (she is pretty fantastic), after having to jump dripping out of the shower and throw all my things together in three minutes flat because they needed to clean the room for a new team that was staying at BAM. Flexibility. Which brings us to a fiasco of a bus ride...turns out that it's very easy to get lost here in Puebla. But, we made it to Casa Verde in the end, and it turns out we made it pretty close for not knowing where we were.
Which brings us to hotcake night. (This entry is not chronological, by the way, as I cannot remember Monday due to the fact it was Monday. We visited Casa Verde earlier in the day so I could see it and meet a few people.) The house is next to a college, and the ministry here is for that demographic, which means lots of people hanging out late into the night eating pancakes with all the fixings possible and having a rather loud overall volume. I had some great conversation, met some more people, and didn't sleep for quite some time.
Tuesday was another blur, but this time it included sitting in on Shereen's Spanish class. I thought my brain was going to explode. But, I was very grateful for the practice of listening to conversation and actually understanding it. We were also invited to have dinner with the family that runs the BAM Center, and that was certainly enjoyable as well. Then I showed up for another hotcake night.
Wednesday was another English class, another Spanish class (this time much easier to understand), more looking for bikes (and not finding any), and Mrs. Betty's last day before taking off for Raleigh again. So, we hammered out some more stuff for the school, and fit a sushi lunch in there too. She will certainly be missed, but I'm glad to know she can enjoy seeing her family. Also, hotcake night.
Thursday was another day at BAM, and I honestly can't remember a whole lot about it other than there was another English class to sit in on, and we jumped on a bus with José's kids as our guides to figure out the routes, this time successfully. Later on, Shereen, Becky (one of José's daughters), and I went to the movie theater and saw the new Avengers movie. I've decided I'm actually resentful of the movie theaters in the U.S., as a ticket here was a mere, like, $2.50 or something. And the theater food was actually reasonable, I could get a bag of skittles for like, a dollar. C'mon, America. Also, never eat the super sour powdery lemon "candy" that they sell here. I'm 95% sure the stuff is basically Comet toilet bowl cleaner, and could clean the rust off a car that's been hauled out of the ocean. Needless to say, my innards despised me for the next two days.
Friday we didn't have class of any kind, but I was definitely sick. Pretty much ate nothing all day, and Shereen and I spent a lot of time trying to finish out a bunch of lesson plans. I have found that I have an intense dislike for lesson plans. We also picked up a cheap little cell phone for me (it was only $18, super cool) so I can call people here in Mexico without it being an international call for them. I was hurtin' for certain at the end of the day (loudest stomach rumblings of my life, it was actually kind of funny). So, José's wife, Enma, was ridiculously generous, bringing me to their home and giving me medicine, some soup, and a flippin' comfortable place for the night on their couch. I've found I don't know how to appropriately thank people for generosity and care like that. Perhaps it's not something I'll ever feel I can adequately respond to.
Saturday rolled around, and I felt much better than the day prior. So, I taught my first English class. It was two hours of practice for me, and while I am keenly aware there are things I need to work on, I'm certainly hoping to adapt quickly. My stomach still gave me trouble throughout the day, but it was overall much better. So, after coming back to the house and Shereen and I did one more lesson plan, then we went to the mall with Becky. I'm not one for malls, but this was actually super cool, on account of the way the place was built with plant-covered pillars, a pet store, and a 4D movie theater.
Again with my dislike for American theaters, this ticket only cost what a normal ticket in the U.S. would be. COME ON, AMERICA, get with the program. I got to see Mad Max in Spanish with 3D glasses on seat that moved around like a rollercoaster, with wind blowing through the theater, mist when the dust was kicked up in the film, blasts of air next to my head as bullets zipped around the the characters, and water spraying at my face whenever a water tank got shot or a bad guy gets his at close range. It felt like going to the movies for the first time again. It was super intense, fairly scary, and had the whole theater giddy with laughter at how much of an experience it was.
I came back to Casa Verde and found a Harry Potter marathon in the room I was to sleep in, so I said "what the heck", and watched two of those before closing my eyes at 1:00, when they started the third movie. Mexican time seems to be, "wake up when you want, eat frequently enough that you're never hungry, work at some point, and stay up as late as you can." That brings us to today, Sunday, when I woke up to a woman and her five year old son cleaning the room for a church service I knew nothing about, so I got off the couch, helped set up, and packed up my things so they were out of the way in a corner. I went upstairs to find that two girls had spent the night on the floor as so many people seem to do here at Casa Verde, so I gave one my spare tooth brush, and then Andy (I'm surrounded by giants here, by the way.) took us all to a place just down the road to eat breakfast. Came back, ran into another group of new people who invited me to lunch, and out the door I went again. Finally, I came back, and here on the couch I sit.
Like I said, life is super busy, but it's certainly entertaining and enjoyable. Spanish, Spanish everywhere. I'll post again at some point, perhaps with a little bit more of what I think of things around here, if things calm down.
Adventure is out there.