Two Weeks Later… May 24, 2010Posted by awheble in Travel Log.
Tags: mexico, mexico city, spanish lbat
…and I’m finally getting the chance to write again! They’ve kept us very busy here in Mexico City between visiting and exploring many of the major sites and learning A TON of information about Mexico and the Spanish language.
We spent the first week getting more accustomed to our families, neighborhood, school, and the city in general. After only 14 days, this place has really become a home that I love with all my heart. The neighborhood of Condesa is awesome! We’re very close by to a dangerously delicious Neveria (icecream shop), a gorgeous park where I can get my puppy fix petting everyone’s’ dogs, and lots of very cute shops and restaurants.
Every morning we walk about 30 minutes to the Universidad de Comunicacion en Colonia Roma. Over the past 2 weeks we’ve gotten the chance to talk to and get acquainted with some of the local students at the University. They’re so friendly and love to help us with our Spanish! For the Spanish LBAT, we take three classes: one on Mexican history, one on Mexican business culture, and one on the connection between the two. They’re definitely really tough and intense, but it’s been pretty cool to walk out of the classroom and be surrounded by what we just learned.
I’ve also become very close to my host family, and they are even more awesome than I could have imagined! Senora Plata is the warmest lady who loves to take care of us in every way, especially by feeding us. For dinner, we have had everything from traditional Mexican tacos to Chicken Parmesan and it has all been very-very delicious. Her grandson, Diego, is still as cute if not cuter as the first day I met him. He loves to run in our room and ask Katie and I what we’re doing and about our day.
It would take me a really long time to say everything we’ve done in the last two weeks, so here are the highlights:
The first day of class we took a Touribus (the ones where you sit on the top) around the city and got a very quick look at some of the big sites in Mexico, including the Zocalo (kind of the Times Square of Mexico City, but older and without all the flashing lights), Chapultapec Park, and along el Paseo Reforma.
During the first week, we also visited El Templo Mayor, which is the site where the main temple of Tenochtitlan used to exist. When the Spanish conquered the Mexicas rather than tearing down all of Tenochtitlan, they built Mexico City literally over top of what was there so it wasn’t until the late seventies that anyone even knew the ruins of this massive temple existed. Considering the fact that it had buildings and roads sitting on top of it for hundreds of years, el Templo is in really good condition and a lot of the statues and artwork still remain.
On our first Friday, we went out to Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, where the vision of Mary appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego. They still have the original tilma and after lots of tests they still can’t trace the chemicals of the blue paint of the image. Also, after all these years the colors are still very vibrant and have not sunken in to the cloth: another phenomenon they can’t explain.
This past week was just as busy! On Friday, we went to the Castillo de Chapultapec, which is on this very large hill where you can see all around Mexico City for miles and miles. Half of it is used a national history museum where they have tons of artifacts and artwork (my favorite were the dresses and carriages of the colonial queens) and the other half is a museum of how the castle looked in its glory days. They had a separate, very ornate room for everything from drinking Tea to playing cards and a huge balcony that looks straight down the main road in Mexico City.
Saturday, we went out to a really poor area of Mexico City called Tepito to play with little kids. It was such a blessing to see the joy of these kids who are living in some pretty awful circumstances and be able to share an afternoon of crafts, games, and music with them.
Finally, today Katie and I attended mass at the Catedral Metropolitano, which is the first Christian church in the Americas that was built after the conquest. It was amazing to see and hear worship in another language! Afterwards, we went to a really neat artisan market place with lots of silver, pottery, and other local handicrafts!
Though I’m definitely not fluent, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with my Spanish! Time is flying so quickly here, and everyday is bringing a new surprise!
1) Lunch on the terrace of the famous restaurant, Sirenas, that overlooks the Catedral and the Zocalo
2) Katie and I at the basilica at the top of the hill where Mary appeared to Juan Diego
3) Holding a huge quiniento peso at a finance musuem.
4) At the gate, of Castillo de Chapulatpec
5) On the balcony of the Castillo overlooking the city.