Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marcos Witt

Last night 7 of us girls went to the Marcos Witt concert here in Guadalajara at the Plaza del Torros (a big, round, bullfighting stadium). I didn't know anything about Marcos Witt, but some of the girls did and liked him. I wasn't going to go originally, but some girls ended up changing their minds so a ticket opened up for me. I am glad, because I had a really good time! Marcos Witt is amazing! He is apparently American-a Missionary Kid, but his music is totally Latin, all in Spanish. He never spoke English and I wouldn't have known he was American if no one told me. His music is very upbeat, fun, Latin praise songs. Some of the churches that I've been to in town use his songs during worship.
Our tickets were the cheap, nosebleeds... but they ended up being just fine because it rained during the entire concert, and our seats waaaay up top were the only ones with cover!
After the concert (at 11:45ish or 12:00... we were hungry so we walked around the corner with Quetzal and his 80 friends to the little bitty restaurant run out of the house of a friend of his. It was so cute! There were only a few seats out in the restaurant area so Quetzal went and talked to someone and then we ended up inside their living/dining room. About 10 minutes later all the Mexican friends showed up and their house was filled with us! The dad and brother were running around and very graciously waiting on us and trying to meet our every need! I had a wonderful chicken mole tamale for $1. Yay for true Mexican hospitality! It is almost embarrassing how well Quetzal and his friends treat us-- making sure we get tickets for what we want, driving us home when the buses stop running or we don't know where to go... showing us around the city. I must say it's quite useful, but I feel bad being totally helpless and unable to return the favors.

So, I went to bed late and really looked forward to a nice long morning of sleeping in. But, no. Apparently the garbage men bang a cowbell really loud to let you know they're outside... so at 9 a.m. I was not-so-gently awakened to the lovely clanging of a cowbell right outside my window! wow. Lately I've been getting more sleep during the schoolweek than the weekend.

Well, if you have iTunes you should check out some of Marcos Witt's music!

Another great one is Danilo Montero. I may even like him better.


There are a lot of words here that begin, or contain, the letter T followed by L. I'm pretty sure it is from the indigenous Mexican people and their language's influence on Mexico, because it is not a Spanish sound. Tlalpeno is a really yummy soup. Tlaquepaque is a neighboring Artisan town where I went on Thursday with Jenny and our friend Quetzal (remember- the guy who set up the amazing fiesta at our house). It was such a cute place, with a beautiful downtown area, cathedral, gazebo, artsy stores, streets with no cars. It was cleaner and much less crowded than downtown Guadalajara when I went a month or so ago.
We ate sugar cane (all cut up in a bag)... you just chew it for the sweet liquid it has and then spit out the stringy remains. It was good!
Rainy season is almost over, I think. I can't decide how I feel about that because apparently the dry season gets pretty miserable. But after Tlaquepaque we ate dinner at a really cute place, but it started to pour halfway through it. The result was that the streets were completely flooded and, since this particular street was on a hill, the water came rushing down it and the sidewalk. In the dark, it looked like a mudslide you would see on the Discovery channel! So, we tried to wait it out but it lasted a long time, so we waited until is slowed down before we left.
I'm now on a search for shoes b/c some of the few I brought are ruined now from the water, or they dye my feet brown since they've been wet so many times.
However, like I said, I can't decide if I want the rain to end just yet... because there is always such a refreshing change of weather after the rain comes. A hot day turns breezy and cool enough for jeans and a jacket. It's nice. I'm afraid that after October, when the rain stops, it will just be hot. And this being a dirty city... well, there will be nothing to wash away and temporarily drown out the exhaust and smog.
We'll see how it goes.

(pictures will come of Tlaquepaque... since my 'rechargable' camera batteries have decided to hold a charge for about 32 minutes...I haven't been taking pictures with my own camera and must rely on others. no fun. so I will look for new batteries today)

Package Update!

Ok, I don't know what I've posted here in the past, but here's some scoop: The Texas address can only be used to send me letters or magazines. I was told in the past that little manilla envelopes with small things would be fine, but they neglected to tell me how much it would be taxed---a LOT. so I've gotten some packages to that address which I will now have to just decline and leave there for someone to take to their daughters, neices, and nephews, because the amount they want me to pay (either for the tax, or to ship it back to the sender) is more expensive than the total value of the items inside.
so sad.
SO, here is the new correspondance information for me:


Tara Peterson
413 Interamerica Blvd. WH1
PMB 070-329
Larendo, TX 78045

FOR PACKAGES (I posted the school's address previously, which is fine, but here is my house address, also fine)

Tara Peterson
Circunvalacion Sur 44
Las Fuentes Zapopan
Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico 45070

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fruits and Veggies!

I love little markets! I started shopping at this little mercado down the street where there are different stalls selling different types of food. There were a couple fruit/veggie people, a cremeria which sells cheeses and tortillas and bread, and some meat places (yuck...), also there are little shops around the edges selling cheap plastic/household items/toys. Saturday morning I walked down and came back with two bags and a purse full of food, for about $9. I bought Panela (a soft, mild cheese), tortillas, lettuce, carrots, fresh green beans, strawberries, a pear, green pepper, apple, orange, and peach.
Saturdays are turning into my domestic days. After I buy the fruits and vegetables I have to soak them for 15 minutes in water with this disinfecting solution. So I end up spending a good portion of time in the kitchen. Saturday was, "hey...Why don't I make soup", "Oh, I should cook some of my brown rice for the soup", "Why don't I make some of these green beans to eat with the rice"
Yay for having a job! I love the feeling of not having papers, reading, projects, and tests looming over me. Although I definitely have "homework" as a teacher, it's not the same. I feel much more free.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Today was one of those days when I just couldn't help but smile when I was with my class. I am not even sure why--they weren't being particulary well behaved or sweet.... but they are just incredible. I love them.
I hope to take more photos of them soon, so someone remind me if I forget!


Just a note: If you post a comment on an entry, but you have logged in as "Anonymous", I won't know who it is from unless you say "from _____".

Don't leave me guessing!

p.s. Tuesdays are much better than Mondays!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Black Beans

Do you know why in Mexico there are aisles that contain bags of dried beans, but in the states there is only one tiny section for the dry kind? I do now. It's because the average American would not have the patience to deal with what it takes to transform beans from their rocklike state to edible. I tried this weekend. It took almost the whole weekend, too. Friday evening I remembered I had these black beans that were meant for a cold bean salad, so I stuck them in water to soak for 6 hours, like the recipe said. Well, I did that. On Saturday, I realized that I didn't have the ingredients for the salad, so i decided to cook the beans just to have. I put them in a pot with water on low to simmer while I went to Costco (yes there's a Costco here!). I informed Joy that they were cooking before I left. Well, I guess since they had soaked, they didn't need much time. Or the heat was too high... I don't know, but for some reason, while I was gone smoke was billowing out of the pot. Luckily Lindsay had come to the door because poor Joy has had the cold from Hell and can't smell a thing, so she didn't realize what was happening until she came downstairs to get the door.
Needless to say, I threw those away, and our house smelled (smells...?) really really bad.
BUT, if at first you don't succeed.....

So this time I didn't have the patience for soaking. I put them in a pot with water and simmered. It took all day, but I have blackbeans!

Today for breakfast and dinner I at blackbean and rice tacos. :) Go me! I promise to know how to cook lots of new things after my time here!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dia de Independencia

Happy "July 4th!" to all of Central America today! Last night was a fun cultural experience. Even thought the 16th is the real Independence Day, on the 15th everyone celebrates. There are places all over town where people congregate for festivities and the "grito", or the shout of Viva Mexico! A few of us went to a place called Chapalita, which is just the name for this part of town with a pretty glorieta. It looked like a big carnival, with rides and games and food stands and people, people, people! It was really neat. Then, in the middle of the glorieta was a gazebo/pavillion where, around 10:00, some poeople came up had a flag salute, sand the anthem, and cheered for past (important?) people, ending in one big grito of "Viva Mexico!" Very patriotic and exciting. Then there were fireworks.. very wierd ones at first that were spinning and spraying off of this metal contraption. then they did the real kind, right over our head... which I have to admit was a little unnerving.
It was crowded. It was bright, but also dark at the same time. There were street vendors (I bought a purse!) and food stands (the most common dish was corn with cream and cheese...but I found sweet potatoes!). People were selling empty eggs full of confetti and bottles of what looked like it would be silly string, but was really this soapy foam stuff. By the end of the night, half of the people were covered in one, the other, or both.
Very fun!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hiking pictures!

I got some hiking pictures from someone who remembered a camera!
These were taken at the bottom of the "mountain".

Independence Day weekend

Random picture of the street outside of the school.

Saturday is the day that all of Central America celebrates their independence from Spain. So, tomorrow morning in school we will have a flag salute (that apparently some kids have been practicing dances and songs for. Then, tomorrow night is a big deal in Mexico. There will be lots of parties and festivities, then late at night there will be a very patriotic shout, called the "grito", saying "Viva Mexico!" and they call out the names of past presidents. I've read a bit about the current political climate and how, with the narrow recent presidential victory, there may be another 'grito' for the loser and his fans. Don't quote me on any of this, because I am the last person to ever listen to when it comes to politics or current events. When it's the two combined, I'm hopeless. But, nevertheless, tomorrow should be really fun. We are going to a part of the city called Chapalita, where there is supposed to be some art (which makes me happy). I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, September 11, 2006

One month

Yesterday, September 10th, was not only my mom's birthday, but was also the one-month mark of my time in Mexico. It has gone by super fast!

Another new week has begun, and will fly by I'm sure. I'm having a problem keeping day's straight. At the end of the day on Monday I am amazed that it is only Monday. I usually think it's Tuesday or Wednesday at least.

Well... I hope everyone in the states is wonderful and happy! Adios.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Quick weekend update:

Friday: Bible study. Took another bus, a long walk, and a taxi that got lost. But it was worth it, as always.

Saturday: Went for a hike with 8 other girls. It was really great to get out of the city and see a little of Mexico's flora and fauna. It made me happy to see trees and caterpillars and birds and lizards. But, it was so hard. Steep, winding, downhill trail...then back up...for miles. Ouch. I'm feeling it this morning. (Pictures might come if I can steal them from the other girls)

That night we went to a huge mall called Galerias to eat dinner and see a movie with Quetzal and some of his friends, but it was hard to pick a movie to please everyone, so the alternate option was going to see someone's band play. I was too tired, so four of us stayed behind to watch a movie. (On a side note-they have caramel popcorn at the theatre... yum!)

Sunday... that's today. Church, then get some work done, and rest. ahh....

p.s. Thanks to those more knowledgeable than I, I can now inform you that Zapopan is a city, not a state.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fiesta update...

I should be grading some papers right now, but instead I'm going to write a little about Saturday--our fiesta day!
So, if you've been reading you know I've been going to a bible study on Friday's and it is a mix of med. students, Language school students, Teachers, and Mexicans... Well, this one super fun, big mexican guy named Quetzal who is now our buddy. Well, it was two Friday's ago when a conversation about food led to an invite to the Big House for a fiesta. Later that week, Quetzal dropped by to see the place and decided to expand the party to be for his sister's 'going away to canada to study English for six months' party. He and his other sisters (who are all the most amazing people!) hired a taco bar service to cater the party! They were making tortillas right there and had all the fixings for any kind of taco you'd care to eat!
There were SO many people there! Some that we knew, some we'd never seen before. A lot of our bible study friends came. I also met some more awesome new people, some Mexicans and some Americans.
Quetzal hooked up a stereo and for hours we played the most random mix of mostly Spanish music and danced and danced. Quetzal taught some of us a few dances... I remember one is called Kumbia, which is like Salsa.
(On a side note, the backyard at the big house is the BEST place for a party. It is HUGE, shady, beautiful, and has two covered areas for food/eating, and a big dance floor (or what we're assuming is a dance floor... what else could it be?). )
(On another side note I would like to add that we danced to Achy Breaky Heart in Spanish! hehe... so loco).

Ok, so around 8:00 or 9:00 a real Mariachi band marches it! There were probably 10 of them in all and they played authentic, fun, amazing Mexican songs. I learned that Zapopan, the state (i think it's a state?) that this city is in is where Mariachis originated!
So we danced to the Mariachis for a while and then they left. We were worn out so some of us walked to the Oxxo station for some Ice Cream and came back to the party to finish with a little more dancing, some conversation, and some guy's guitar.

I left tired, woke up sore, but had SOOOOOOOOOO much fun at a totally free, totally planned for us, Fiesta! I met a gazillion new people and got to know some friends even better. I want to do it again every weekend!

Oh! And it didn't rain! Probably only the 2nd rainless day since I've been here! THanks, God!

This is the BIG backyard! Isn't it great?

Here are Quetzal's three sisters! They are all amazing! And they are great dancers (like every Mexican is!)
Oh.. and the mariachis, too!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Fiesta Tonight at the big house with all our new friends! And probably many we've never met before!

Memories of a friend...

This post is in remembrance of a dear friend named Bo Jangles, affectionately called Bo Bo by those who loved her. Joy, Megan, and I met her Thursday evening on our way to eat tacos... well, Dairy Queen actually. There she was, crossing the street in front of oncoming traffic, a black Cocker Spaniel mix with a red bandana. Well, I of course jumped out of the car to come to her rescue and it turned out that we had a bond. Many dogs stroll the streets around here, but usually we recognize which yard they came from. But not her... she wasn't from around these parts. So, after directing her back to the sidewalk I turned to go back to the car, but she followed me. Almost got in the car. So, we decided to walk her back to our house (she just followed me the whole way) and put her in our yard while we went for dinner.
When we returned she was still there. She was such a sweet dog! We made Dog Found signs (in Spanish, of course) and posted a few around our neighborhood. We let Bo Bo sleep in the yard of the big house that night because our yard has no cover.
But, alas, Friday morning when the girls were leaving for school, BoBo saw freedom through the gate and bolted out the door and ran for it. I guess she didn't like the confinement.
And that is my story of our pet for a night.

I miss you, Tucker!