Last Days

I’m looking at the last few days of being in Mexico. I got sick and had so much time, and then finally but yesterday I was better (though now I appear to have a cold…) and I have only days. I am looking forward to going home, but it’s definitely sad to be leaving.

I’ve spent my time buying books for the semester, switching classes so that I’m taking chemistry so I can be a doctor and to an independent study to write something about this trip, etc.

Friday I got some of my interviews done–the doctor asked women that he saw if they’d be willing to answer a few questions for a crazy gringa, and they all agreed, so I got 5 interviews done that way, even though I was still feeling under the weather.

Sunday I finally left the house for the first time since Tuesday. I went to Amparo’s parents’ house, which really is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been to. I just feel so peaceful there and the people are so incredible. I love her family. Anyway, they also got me 11 interviews. Seriously? yes. 11 different people. We literally walked around the town, and asked women if they would answer a few questions. So, on Sundays in Mexico, it’s also the day to visit your family, so not only did I get this, but they were women who lived in different places. It was ridiculously perfect. A lot of them also happened to be young women, which I was missing in my sample. So, it was really one of the best days of my life. On the other hand, I still have 3 hour-long interviews I’m supposed to do, but can’t get ahold of Juanita to schedule them, or say goodbye to them. I have today (it’s already 11am) and tomorrow. Then I leave. So I’ve got to get on that, if I’m going to do it. But I’ve found the short interviews just as interesting as the long ones, but I get more people. I like them more. I don’t have enough questions for the long ones and I feel bad. So. I’m not actually going to be heartbroken if I don’t get all 5.

Yesterday I didn’t really do anything…I called Juanita. She wasn’t there. I went to get coffee with Mariana and a few friends of hers and she told me she’s going to try and come in September or October to visit, which should be really awesome! So today I’ve got to go visit people. I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself in the morning, but also difficult to get to sleep at night….I really hate these transition times. I just want to suddenly be back in Chapel Hill with all my stuff. It’s like going to the dentist, I try to just…not be there emotionally or consciously. But then I’m still in Mexico, and I still have things I need to do. Anyway, speaking of which, I’m gonna go work on my to do list. I’ll see you all soon!

Sickest sick of my life

So, I’ve been told before that I complain a lot about my illnesses. But seriously, this one takes the cake. Firstly, let me note that I’ve added some more pictures, this time of the Michoacan trip. They’re mostly pretty and not particularly interesting, but it’ll let you see a little of what we saw, and it really was so incredible. So yeah. About the sickness.

I thought I’d be relaxing on Monday, and I was wrong–unfortunately, I made a grave mistake in agreeing to eat some kind of plant that Juanita & Kiko assured me would be safe. Needless to say, it did not sit well with me and Tuesday night at around 11pm I started throwing up. That continued until Wednesday at 2pm, but only because the Doctor gave me some sort of injection. I’m not sure what it was–at that point I didn’t care. I just wanted to stop throwing up. So now it’s Thursday at 5pm here and I’ve eaten some ceral, fruit, a cookie, two 500mL of Pedialyte, and drinken some water in the last two days. So I’m still recovering. I’ve been watching The Office, which has kept me in good spirits, and I’ve talked to some people back home. I’m actually enjoying the excuse to just do nothing, so it’s really not that bad.

Anyway, hope all of you are better than I am in health. I have never been more thankful to live in a pharmacy. Seriously lucky.

The week my mom was here and Lorene was not, a wedding and a ridiculous day of “rest”

Wow. I haven’t written in so long that I got an email from my dad asking if I was dead…well I’m not dead, but definitely exhausted. This might be really long. Sorry.

Firstly, I’d like to note that I’ve added some more pictures. Enjoy them :-). I’m working on adding more, the next ones should be Michoacan, which are awesome. Hopefully I’ll also get to the pictures of the Boda yesterday (wedding, we’ll get there).

So PPS without Lorene…well, let’s just say that it went a lot better than I’d thought it would. But I think only because she’d had everything laid out so well that it was all set up. I have to give the boys props–they really did a good job finishing everything and keeping it pretty orderly. The last two communities were not too terribly exciting…Garambullo and San Julian. I didn’t go Sunday to Garambullo because I took my mom to my host mom’s parent’s house, which went well. Nothing too terribly exciting. Whatever. Monday we were in Garambullo. I got to do some depression counseling with my mom which was cool. We didn’t have too many people though. The exciting thing that happened that day is we found out we’d be in the region’s biggest newspaper, El Sol Del Baj√≠o, but we had to write something for it. Which, of course, which no leader, was difficult to delegate. I ended up helping Alex, one of the doctor’s who was there with us and is Peruvian, to write the damned thing. But it was just fine–we got it done and it got into the paper, though it says that I wrote our little statement.

The next two days in San Julian went well, but were also pretty not-well-attended. Wednesday I spent about 4 hours sharing music with the students (taking it off of their iPods, putting some of mine on) and making picture DVDs. Fun times. It was definitely not a bad way to go out. It was also nice having my mom there. I think she really enjoyed being here and got a lot out of seeing what I love about Mexico. So that was it. We’re done with 2007 Proyecto Puentes de Salud. I’m really glad that I ended up helping out with it, even though it was so time-consuming.

Thursday mom & I decided to go to San Miguel de Allende, which is quite a story, simply because I have put it off for so long. So San Miguel de Allende is a historic and beautiful colonial city that’s about an hour away, and it’s where all the gringos (Americans) are. There is evidently a huge population of older, retirees who live there, enough that everything is completely inflated–the houses are incredibly more expensive than the surrounding areas and there are people selling obnoxious trinkets all over the place. So last year when I was here for only two weeks, I elected to go to Guanajuato instead, because I heard it was pretty and also that there weren’t TOO many gringos there (though there are still a fair number). When I am out of the country, I prefer not to see random American people and would rather be inundated with Spanish from natives than hear English or butchered Spanish. So anyway, this year I decided that since I’d be here for a total of 8 weeks, I’d better go to gringo-land, just to see what’s so flippin’ great about it. So anyway, when my mom & I had said we would go, Alex (doctor with the project) said he’d like to go too, and his host family, one of the richest families in Juventino, offered to hire a driver for us and let us take one of their cars. Pretty sweet, not gonna lie.

So we went to Dolores Hidalgo, another colonial city, first, then to San Miguel. They were both pretty, and it was a really nice relaxed day. I still prefer Guanajuato and I’m really glad I didn’t go to San Miguel before. It’s not that it isn’t nice, it’s just that not only are there gringos, but they are all older people, which means there is not really so much of a night life. Guanajuato on the other hand has at least something of a night life. Probably I feel more familiar with Guanajuato and that’s why I like it…but I am glad I went so I knew I wasn’t really missing anything.

Thursday night we were invited to a party in our honor, saying goodbye to the students. The best part about this party is that as soon as I arrived, Tonio’s wife (Alex’s parents) asked me where my computer was with the display of pictures. Evidently, Alex was supposed to tell me to make a slideshow. We’d only been together all day…but I had to go back to my house to get my computer and make a slideshow to show. It took me a while (2 hours?) and I was freaking out b/c it wasn’t working with the computer they had hooked up to the projector, but eventually it worked and everyone loved my pictures, and then I got to drink lots of tequila and make it all better (hah). It was actually a really fun party, but the fun REALLY started after the party–we went back to Tonio’s house (which is incredible, even by American standards) to hang out some more. The students left around 4am, but the rest of us were up until 6am listening to music, dancing, and chatting. We’re talking middle-aged adults who are professionals–doctors or politicians or whatever–and pulling us, the jovenes (young people) out to dance. Dr. Narvaez was the funniest–he danced almost the whole time and looked hilarious. It was great fun.

The next morning I got about 2 hours of sleep because we talked to our host family and then I went out with Marianna (Tonio’s daughter who’s 21) and Alex to an Andro (nightclub) that was ridiculous–huge with a dance floor that had colored lights and a HUGE screen to play music videos. The best part about the andro was that they played all different kinds of music–80s music, techno, DMX, current pop music in Spanish and English, and even some stuff that resembled country. It was a really fun night and, as they say here, the andro was “padre” (which literally means “father”, but they use it to mean really awesome). Anyway, we came back to Juventino in the morning in time for me to take my mom to the airport, which meant that once again, I got about an hour of sleep.

I got a little more sleep after taking my mom to the airport, then went to Tonio’s house to watch a movie with Alex and Rosario, Tonio’s wife. We saw “The Lost City,” a film about the Cuban Revolution that was really great–the music, the acting, everything. Then we went to the new fast soccer field (it’s really small, so the game goes more quickly), which was really nice. We came back and watched “Deja Vu,” which was also really awesome–very Jerry Bruckheimer, if you like that sort of thing. Finally I got 7 hours of sleep…finally. It was still only 7 hours, trying to make up for two nights of basically none.

Sunday was la boda, the wedding of Kiko & Juanita’s daughter Claudia. Before that I went to lunch at Ampa’s (host mom) parent’s house and talked to her niece for a while about music, immigration…various things. Good Spanish practice. I went to the mass at 3pm, which was beautiful, though a little long, and just me, Ian and his dad were there to represent all the gringos of the summer. Ampa went with me, which was nice. I really like her so much. We picked up Carlos (8 year old host brother) and the Doctor and went to the after party, in Salon Silver’s, a huge party-palace that Tonio owns, where the Mariachi band was a week ago.

The after party was awesome–we ate, danced, and just hung out. I have happily been not drinking that much recently and I’m more than relieved to keep up that pattern. It was still incredibly fun, but I ended up staying until the very very end (2am) because my host parents left and I had to get a ride from Kiko and Juanita. We watched Claudia and her new husband drive away (though they just went to Kiko and Juanita’s house where they’ll live–honeymoons are not a tradition here…) and Juanita and her other daughter, Coco, cried. Ian got really ridiculously drunk and was crazy and I just waited. Still, it was good. I slept until 1pm today. That was the best part. Coco & Juan, her boyfriend, told me to come by the house tomorrow at 2pm to do an interview with Juan’s mom, so I did.

Well, I got there at 3, but still. No one was there. So I stood there for a minute, trying to think what to do, when I say Ricky, one of their other kids, with his wife and two kids. I told him what was up and he let me in the house and we called Kiko, who came and picked me up–they (Kiko, Juanita, Coco, Juan, Claudia and her new husband) were eating at a restraunt. We sat and talked for a while, they forced me to drink beer and eat shrimp and clam. It was joyous and very Mexican. Finally we left went to Juan’s mom’s house, where I did an interview and just talked to her in general. It was fun.

Kiko, Juanita, Coco and Juan picked me up and we were going to go back to my house, but we drove by a hacienda (ranch) and they told me we should stop and take pictures. So we did. It was not too terribly exciting, but I’m actually glad we did. It’s such a great example of just…going with the flow of life. So after that, they were going to take me home again, but we drove by their other son’s bread store and so we stopped to say hi and got a piece of pie, and I was once again forced to drink some beer. By this time it was about 8pm. I was exhausted again and began to have some trouble following the Spanish….finally they took me home, though they wanted to take me out with them to cenar (have their light late dinner). Tomorrow I am going to their house at 9am to have some sort of plant that we found at the hacienda (verdelagos?) that they say are really good. So I’ve got to go to sleep…I’m also going to see Harry Potter with Marianna tomorrow in Celaya. She is, by the way, really awesome. I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with her and it’s really cool to have a friend here my age. It’s what I really wanted all along. I am amazed, by the way, by how down to earth the rich people here are. Though I’m sure there are some snooty rich people, these people are political and rich, and they’re still so nice. Anyway, I will try to write more, more often. I’m working on more pictures. I’d love to hear from you all, if anyone’s still reading this. Talk to you all soon (sooner than I’d like :-(–I have less than 2 weeks left at this point)!

Email messages called “I miss you much, spirit fingers” are junk mail.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated–I guess I’m not that good at realizing when I’ll be able to update soon and when I won’t. But whatever. So Thursday we went to visit the Padre’s mom in Leon. We left around 9am and ate a sort of brunch at her house–it was pretty delicious. We got to go to some of the jardins in Leon, one that was beautiful and one that turned out to be a mall, so I got to shop a little bit. I found some nice tops, which as exciting. The mall was like being taken to the US–very American. Although at this point I guess I’m used to things here seeming really familiar.

When we got back, I went for a run and then was invited to the movies with my host familiy. They have a very different way of going to the movies–instead of looking online or in the paper at what movies are playing where and at what times, they just go to the theater (which is about 20 minutes away in Celaya, though there is one in Juventino) and look at which movies are playing when, and if it’s not to their liking (the first theater wasn’t), they go to a different one. So we ended up at a theater about 10 minutes before the Fantastic Four–Silver Surfer began, so we went to that. It was dubbed in Spanish, which I expected, but I was still pretty proud that I understood what was going on for probably 95% of the movie. The other parts were minimal too–I really got the gest of it (though it wasn’t a particularly complex plotline…).

Friday I got up and went to pick up my computer and mommy! I was very excited to get the computer back, as well as see my mom. We came back and immediately got dropped off at a party for the delegation that the students (and me) were “hosting”–food, a band, dancing–quite fun. I think mom enjoyed it and I was impressed with her ability to relax and enjoy the people and atmosphere.

Yesterday we went to Guanajuato and stayed for the night. It was nice to have my mom get to meet all the students, especially since Lorene left today. We all went out in Guanajuato one last time and Lorene and one of the doctors and her sons left today. It’ll be interesting to see how the students get along without Lorene, but I’m not going to the community today, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how they do. I’m pretty exhausted from last night–we were out dancing until 4am…so I’m going to go take a nap before we go to dinner at my host mom’s family’s house (hopefully), which I’m really excited about sharing with my mom. Also–I’m finally able to put up pictures (still slow…) so there are some new ones, to both the albums that are already up and I added one from Pozos.

Don’t get your hair cut in a foreign country.

Sometimes I have really dumb ideas. Today was one of those days.

Working in the community was great yesterday and then I went to the students’ house and we hung out and it was really fun. So that was all well and good. Today we went to Jaralillo and I got to drive, which was awesome. It was especially awesome because we got to got back to Pozos (one of the earlier communities, if you don’t remember) and look at this guy’s leg that has been infected for 7 years. Doctors just…don’t know what it is. So since we have an Infectious Diseases specialist here from Duke (no hard feelings…almost), he took a look a the guy.

He had this lesion on the back of his knee…it was really gross and awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, though we were really not able to solve his problem at all. It was cool to go back to Pozos too.

So after that we headed back to Juventino for a rato (little bit) and got some ice cream, sat in the jardin (garden) and then in a little cafe. Then I made the most disastrous decision of my life.

I should probably preface the explanation by saying that I have been just dying to get my hair cut for the entire time I’ve been here, over a month now, and that I had wanted to get it cut before I came, but couldn’t because I like to procrastinate. So I told myself, “if this one beauty shop is open, I will FINALLY get my hair cut because I actually have some time now.” So it was open. I asked her for my same cut but shorter, thinking she would follow my directions. She gave me a Mexican cut (ridiculous layers) and really short bangs–I pointed to my cheekbone, she cut them (wet) to my eyes, then did lots of fancy thinning to it to make most of it even shorter, but just enough long that it is still obnoxious. Obviously this part has not changed (the bangs). But after the mexican-layer-cut, I asked if she would cut it a little more the same length. I should have recognized now, thanks to the bangs mistake, that when I said shorter, she thought SHORTER. But I didn’t. I thought showing her a picture would help. Anyway, after the whole process, I have nearly no hair. I almost cryed, or at the end, ripped the scissors out of her hand. But I was patient, gave her a nice tip, and came home and showered and made the most of it. The hair is actually not HORRIBLE…just short. Pixie-like. The bangs make me want to scream. So…I’m stuck with it. Maybe I’ll like it in a week…or 8…my hair does grow pretty fast…But for now I am stuck looking like a boy (or emphasis on my round face at the very least).

So that’s the update. I guess I was just kidding about the not writing for a while last time. Remains to be seen this time.

Last for a few days…

I just wanted to let you all know the plan for the week, as I’ll probably not be able to write again for a while.

We’re going to a community tomorrow called Pipila, then Jaranillio or something similar for Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m hoping to ge a heap of my interviews done (I did one today when we were in Pipila for a few hours).

We have tons of new doctors again. The students were exhausted today after they went to Guanajuato last night. I stayed here in Juventino because a) there wasn’t room in the van and b) it was my dad’s last night. So me and the host family took my dad to the airport today. It was weird to have him leave and to be staying here or almost a month more…my mom comes on Friday–I’m really excited about getting to show her around and I think i will be really fun to have her here.

Anyway, my plan for this week is communities, dancing at Kiko and Juanita’s on Monday and Wedneday, Thursday we go to Leon to have lunch with the Padre’s mother, then see the greatest mariachi band in Mexico (so also in the world), and Friday my mom comes, along with a ride to Irapuato, where my computer is stuck. Anyway, it’ll be a good week. Full as usual.

Today the chicas (girls) went to the bachelorette party of Juanita and Kiko’s daughter, Claudia. It was much shorter than we’d imagined (happily surprised) with zero alcohol, also a surprise considering the Juanita is the biggest tequila-pusher I’ve ever met in my life, but it was equally as rique as I imagine bachelorette parties in the states to be (minus male strippers that may or may no be a part of that…). Anyway, it was much more underwhelming than I’d thought…really the first fiesta I’ve been disappointed by. But whatever. I get to go to the wedding, and I have a feeling THAT will be incredible.

Well I need to get to bed, considering I’ve got to wake up in about 6 hours and start this crazy (once again) week…Lots of love to all.

Uruapan and Patzcuaro

Yesterday was one of those incredible days that you cannot believe you get to live. While it did start at 2:45 in the morning, it was worth it. Dad and I arrived at the Jardin at 3:35ish and Juanita and Kiko, as well as the students, were still not there. Big surprise. We settled down and tried to get to sleep, the bus finally left at 4:40am. That’s a lot later than 3am, but whatever. We were off. We drove South to the state of Michoacan–see here:

We first arrived at a waterfall near Uruapan at what looked like a campsite. Some little kids jumped on the bus and recited some poem that was evidently hilarious in Spanish, though I wasn’t all that sure what they were saying entirely. Then they asked for money. We ate some tortas (sandwiches) and though it was only 9:15am, were encouraged to drink this milk and tequila shot-like drink. It was alright, but the fact that we were drinking tequila, in ANY amount, that early was somewhat unsettling…oh, Mexico.

After eating, we bought some panchos because it was raining and we were going to hike down into an area with waterfalls. All they had were child-sized panchos, which was pretty funny for all of us. They had horses and, as promised, I was able to ride the horse down to the waterfall and back up–super-extreme plus side of this is that I did not have to hike down a muddy, pebbly trail, nor up it. Pretty awesome. Plus riding the horse was fun.

The waterfall was breath-taking. The horse-back riding was beautiful–on the side of bascially a cannon that was lush and green. The horse slipped a few times, but he was a generally sure-footed and good horse. We took lots of tourist-y pictures by the waterfalls and admired them for a while, then headed back up the mountain. This time, my horse (who liked to follow, not lead) decided to try and catch up with Trista’s horse (one of the med students from last year) in a canter. I was freaked out for a bit because I kept trying to make him slow down and he wouldn’t…but I eventually got used to it and enjoyed the variety.

We loaded back onto the bus and napped again while we drove to the city of Uruapan, to a national park (though we were all pretty unclear about where we were going until we were actually there. That was basically how the day went…it was somewhat unnerving, but also kind of fun to just go along for the ride. I’m just real glad I didn’t get lost). It was also really incredible. I’ll definitely have pictures when I get home, hopefully I’ll be able to load them more easily when I get my computer back sometime next week! It is ready (I got the phone call while I was on the horse in the middle of a rainforest…talk about crazy)! Anyway, this jungle was also gorgeous–smaller waterfalls, but we explored a lot more. There were guys jumping off of rocks who then would collect change. Sort of like one of those guitar-playing beggars, but way cooler. We headed back to the bus, loaded back on and drove some more to a place called Patzcuaro where we parked outside of a ragged-looking line of shops, boarded a boat that took us to the middle of the lake where the Isle of Janitzio is.

Janitzio is a fairly small island that has become a huge tourist attraction. It has a huge celebration for the Day of the Dead in November that some of you may have heard of and it’s essentially just restraunts and shops. But it’s pretty, and it was very tranquil. The lake was beautiful and the ride to the island and back was really fun–we danced on the boat, which is really low and close to the water, so it feels like you’re just flying on the top of the lake.

We got back in the bus and just chatted and hung out the whole way back. A very good trip overall. I’ve uploaded a few more pictures from Xoconoxtle, but not all of them. I’m really frustrated with picture-uploading inability. But whatever. All I can say is I’m sorry and I have tried! Until later–

In Mexican time, 3am=3:30am…but it’s still before 7…

My adventure continues. So I added some more pictures, I’ll keep adding more, since I figured out how to do it–long and tedious at the internet cafe. But it’s worth it. Today was a good day–even though I had to get up early, we went back out to Llanos and had only three people, so we just hung out most of the day. We went back to the hacienda and played toss-the-rock, which took its toll on my hand (my thumb kinda hurts…) but was surprisingly fun. We lost the key to the van and Kiko had to bring us a spare one.

We had la comida (dinner) at Berna’s (one of the delegation)–a cook out to celebrate the 4th of July, which was nice. We played some guitar and sang, also home-y. It was a nice celebration, with plenty of gringos to compartir (share).

Then we went to Kiko & Juanita’s for la cena (after dinner) at 8pm. They were having their dance class, which I joined in on. It was so fun and I asked if I could come again–they have classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and she said I could. So I’m pretty psyched about that. Then we ate and hung out…good Mexican fun. I got to hold a 3 month old baby, Kiko & Juanita’s granddaughter who is so cute and was smiling at me…adorable.

So tomorrow we’re going to Michoacan, to a lake there and evidently 4-5 other places. The delegation has rented a 60 person bus for this excursion and we are leaving tomorrow at 3am. Yes, 3 in the morning, like the time we usually stay out dancing until on the weekends. What’s more, we’re leaving from the central jardin (garden) at 3am. I feel like that’s pretty sketchy. But we were talking to Juanita tonight and asked her if she REALLY meant 3am, because we know that Mexican time means at least 30 minutes later than stated. Plus it’s so early. So she conceded that 3:30 would be appropriate. Anyway, I’ve been promised that I’ll be able to ride a horse and our host family told us the lake and are is vale la pena (worth the pain). Plus it should be crazy–60 people in a bus? Mexicans and gringos voyage? Yeah. It’ll be awesome. So, I’ll take lots of pictures and make sure to update soon (hopefully). Hasta!

Guanajuato part dos, Sans and Hacienda

It’s been quite a while since my last update–I apologize once again.

Guanajuato part two was pretty nice. We went up there Friday “morning” (it was about 11 when we left) and just hung out in the afternoon–went to the mercado (market) and got some fun stuff–seasons 1 & 2 of The Office for less than $13, fake Pumas, some fun decorative stuff, etc. One of the doctors, Beat, and his son Alex had to leave along with the esteemed Dr. Dent, an associate dean of the medical school (who is really awesome). So they left and we (the students) stayed and enjoyed Guanajuato. Dad went to sleep early and the four med students, me and Mauricio, one of the other doctors, all went out dancing until 3am. Fun times as usual. The next day was lovely–really laid-back. We went to a cute little cafe in Guanajuato that looked like it was just out of Europe and had quiche and lattes. Then we stopped by the presa (dam) on our way out of town. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it ended up being so beautiful. I took a ton of pictures that I would most definitely upload if I only could. I’ll try again soon. But it was gorgeous, mostly because there were lots of huge older houses with incredible architecture, as well as an area with rides for kids and carts with food–very fair-like.

We headed back to Juventino and ended up going to one of the doctor’s house’s (Dr. Narvaez) to see everyone who’d come in to help out for this week–we have 4 doctors and 4 kids…lots of people. It was a fairly uninteresting meeting though, plus we were so tired.

Sunday I went to breakfast at my host father’s parents’ house, as per usual on Sunday mornings. The other usual part of that meal seems to be goat meat. Not bad actually. But breakfast was cut short by going out to a community with the students–this week we were in San Juan de la Cruz Sunday and Monday and switched to San Jose de los Llanos today.

San Juan de la Cruz was nice–I got about 5 interviews done also, which makes me feel a lot better. The people were really nice and interesting. The platica last night (talk/information session) was also really engaging and they had lots of people. Mauricio did a little platica of his own after the students and it was hilarious.

I also got to drive Mauricio (who is from Argentina) to a dentist appointment in the middle of the day on Monday. He is pretty hilarious, and it was interesting to see how much more relaxed (though still really clean and good) dental service is here. I sat in the room with them during the appointment and the dentist talked to me about what were were doing in the communities and such. Unfortunately, that was the last trip our camioneta (the van that belongs to the municipal president or mayor) took…it, much like my computer, decided to stop working. So it’s in the shop.

An exmaple of Mauricio’s insanity is his *great* idea to put the alacran (that would be a scorpian) that he found in his room in a small baby-food jar with a hole in the top. He brought it with us to San Juan de la Cruz and we fed it flys that he stunned by throwing them on the ground really hard. The alacran didn’t like them. I’m not sure why…it was hilarious though, and I have video o the awesome alacran to show eveyone when I get back. In general, I liked San Juan de la Cruz. Good place.

Both nights though, we got home really late. Sunday, we went to eat in Celaya after 9 when we finished working with the Padre and all us gringos. Last night with the platica, it was late when we got back and then Mauricio gave a platica to the local doctors, which we also went to. It was supposed to start at 9pm, but true to Mexican time, didn’t begin until 9:30. I was already exhausted, and then attempted to follow a lesson in cholesterol and hypertension management for doctors in Spanish…I got the Spanish pretty well, but the science stuff was only about 30% there. But I did get to see what a mexican high school looks like (very pretty, actually).

Today we left (as usual) at 7:15, and by that I mean 7:30am to go to San Jose de los Llanos, a community that has fewer than 200 people in it. There is also a hacienda, or ranch that resembles a castle more than a ranch. We had a few people in the morning, and some very cute kids. I got to hold a baby (2 months old) named Jesus and he fell asleep on my shoulder…very cute.

After working in the morning (we only had about 20 people come and they told us that was basically the whole town or at least anyone who would or could come), a few of us went to explore the hacienda. It was really one of the coolest things I’ve every seen. For one thing, the area around it is very green, but with cactus in addition to the other plants. It gives it a very mysterious feel. The hacienda/house part is HUGE–the walls are about 20 feet high and the doorways open almost all the way to the tops of the walls. There was this main courtyard and then rooms off of it overgrown with grass. There were also stairs that went up onto the roof, which seemed somewhat precarious despite being made of concrete. The front yard had an area for cattle that was still being used and there were many barrels of hay stacked out in the front “yard”. It also just had this really great mysterious feel to it, like you might walk into one of the rooms and find yourself back in the times of Spanish colonialism.

After exploring the hacienda, we returned to the tiny templo (church) and just chilled. I took a very rewarding nap on a pew, some of the other students entered data and checked over our forms to make sure everything was bubbled in and all. We went to lunch at the house of one of the delegates and then the students returned to Llanos to do a platica there and I decided I needed some R&R and to update/check my email. Anyway, there’s the update. As you can see, I’ve been really busy.

My research has become more interesting as I’ve been down here. I have been shocked at the number of women (really all but 2) who have said they make decisions with their husbands, juntos as they say here. None of them have taken more than a second to think about it. We’ll see how that continues, but it’s certainly interesting and not something I particularly expected.

Funeral for my computer

My beloved MacBook has died. I lost all of my information. I will hold a funeral when I return to the states.

Guanajuato again tomorrow, resting for now–I’ll definitely need it with the students, last year’s students and sight-seeing. Can’t wait!