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 Bajío, 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)!