Friday, December 28, 2007


It is really amazing how many opportunities we have as Americans (or Europeans.... or any other people group from wealthy, free nations...) . I am researching opportunities for next year. I have so many options. Graduate schools, teaching abroad in international schools, going wherever I please. As cool as it is, it is also intimidating. Perhaps more intimidating than anything else. I'd almost rather have less opportunity. This would make things (like decisions) much more manageable. Goodness.
What. To. Do.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blessings and Gratitude

I am so blessed! This year I celebrated my second Thanksgiving away from home, but I was fortunate enough to have 55+ guests at our backyard Thanksgiving feast! We invited people from school, church, bible study, and friends of friends to our event! We had so much food that we ended up donating 4 pies and 2 entire casseroles to an orphanage!
It was a LOT of fun, and I felt so grateful to have met so many wonderful people over the past year!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Save the Pandas!

I promise I had nothing to do with this!
Zuriel, one of my wonderful students, loves the Giant Panda bears from China. I've been hearing about his fascination since the first week of school when, before our morning prayer, he asked, "Miss Peterson, can you pray for the Pandas?"
"The Pandas?" - my intelligent response.
"You know, the Pandas. In China. They are dying".

So, that was when it began.
In the beginning of November, my students brought in science projects relating to our habitat theme. Zuriel, of course, chose to create a diorama showing the bamboo forests 'before' and 'after'. He did above and beyond and created a wonderful project.
But that's not all. Zuriel stayed up late making panda pins (which he drew and mounted on plastic and cut out), and he brought them to school on Presentation day with a poster entitled "Pandas Praying Club" (please read club with a long u sound.. because no matter how much I correct it, he will always pronounce it the Spanish way). Zuriel created a club that now meets on Thursday mornings before school, where we assemble outside to say a quick prayer for our endangered friends of the east (and the west, if you count the San Diego Zoo....) So, the phrase "Save the Pandas" has infiltrated our classroom... I hear it many times a day. I'm excited that I have a young activist blossoming before me. :) (Oh, and I almost have them all refusing the Styrofoam plates from the school's lunch store!)

Zuriel's panda project presentation.

Andrea's ocean habitat.

Hi Seok researched the Sahara Desert.

Tania did the forest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I found this. And I like this. I will share it with you.

When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted

by Rudyard Kipling

When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I let too much time pass. I should have written a decent description of my weekend in Guanajuato immediately upon returning, to capture some of the awesomeness in writing. However, I did not. And therefore I'm not bubbling over with the perfect adjectives to use in explaining the sheer beauty of this place. You will have to come up with some adjectives yourself. And maybe, if you're lucky, I'll add some more to this post in the future, describing my trip.
What I will tell you is that walking through this city is like being in the streets of Europe. And that I went to THE most perfect location for a wedding. And that I loved it in Guanajuato.
Enjoy my 210 pictures at the link below. You wont hurt my feelings if you don't look at them all.

Comment with some good adjectives!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Honesty and Initiative.

So I have this little notebook in my classroom that I use for keeping track of the kid's Spanish (or Korean) speaking.
All it entails is a vertical list of the student's numbers, and the days of the week written across the top. If they speak in Spanish in class, they must put a tally mark next to their name in that day's box.
Well, I haven't touched the thing for weeks! Someone, each Monday, sets up the page with the numbers and the days of the week. This past Monday, after school, I returned after school to see that not only had someone set up the columns for the week, but three students had tallied for Spanish usage!
I can't remember the last time I've actually told a kid not to speak Spanish in class.... they're just so honest about it.

I taught them about "taking the initiative" this week. (That was a common theme at home when I was young... right mom?). However, unlike last year, I taught it to describe what they were already doing, rather than what they should be doing.

Gotta love them.

In other news, there is no school tomorrow OR Friday, although tomorrow is an in-service day. And, I'm going away for the weekend. Expect some pictures soonish!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What you've missed...

Ok... so I felt a little guilty posting about the luxury beach vacation without posting anything about the daily life things that I've been doing lately. Here is my attempt to reconcile....

During our life science unit, we briefly studied animal instincts. The kids tried to build bird nests to demonstrate that they do NOT have that instinct!

Three of the Lincoln teachers and myself were invited to the home of my student, Zuriel (the little guy in the picture) for lunch. His brother Isaí is on the right. Their parents work at Lincoln and they are the most precious family! Just look at that sign above them, "Welcome to your Mexican house". After eating, we went to a local park and played football and soccer for a couple of hours. It was a really good time.... and quite possibly my first time playing soccer!

There are still friendly (or not so friendly) guests in our classrooms. This is a picture of a black widow that I was fortunate enough to watch as she caught her prey, a bee. I took a video and used my awesome Mac computer's abilities to create a video for my kids to watch. It was perfect timing since we were reading Charlotte's Web and also studying insect life cycles and food chains. I will try to post that video somehow, someday.

A couple of weeks ago was the fifth anniversary of the kid's club in Arenales, where some of us have been volunteering on Saturdays. There was a big party, and Holly, Christen, and I were in charge of face painting. It was a big hit, even though our designs were pretty bad since the only tools we were given were QTips and very sticky, thick paints. The kids didn't seem to mind, though. Of course. Only Americans like me have high expectations for all things, including face paints.

Megan, Melissa, Christen, and Myself
(On a side note, 4 Mexicans have now told Christen and I that we look like twins. She is the girl next to me in this picture. What do you think?? We don't see it.)

Birthday parties are a big deal here. The biggest so far for my class was Michelle's ... her mom brought lunch plates for each student in both third-grade classes, and gave out boxes of chocolates to each student after school!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Soy de Gua-da-la-ja-ra!

I had a bad attitude going into today. After school we had to participate in a festival, in which each class was required to prepare some kind of game or activity. Fortunately, my room-mothers are awesome and took care of a lot of stuff, bringing supplies and food to sell. However, I was still negative-feeling sorry for myself for not getting planning done before Friday, and thus having to work on the weekend.
I cheered up about everything, though. Our booth was the Water Balloon Toss. Noone really played it the right way, but it turned out to be really low-key, and VERY popular! What really changed my attitude was a short, funny conversation with a tiny and cute little boy.

boy: after hearing me speak in English: "ohhh.. hablas inglés?" (do you speak English?).
Me: ". Y tú? Hablas inglés?" (Yes, do you?)
boy: "No! Soy de Gua-da-la-ja-ra!" (No! I am from Gua-da-la-ja-ra)

I think you probably had to be there. But he made me laugh. And even though we were the last table to clean up (because the balloons became so popular that all the big kids wanted to buy them just to throw at people), I left feeling satisfied.

(Ok... so satisfaction came in a large part from the fact that we raised $100 for our class! All from water balloons and these snacks that look like styrofoam and taste like nothing until you smother them with chili, lime, and salt--a local favorite.)

Now I'm off to bible study.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Third Time's a Charm

I had been to the beach town of Manzanillo twice last year. I really didn't need to go again. However, when the opportunity presented itself to rent a private house on the beach - splitting the cost to make it affordable - I had to jump on it. Especially since it came after a particularly hard week and a year that, to date, hadn't given a day off yet.
I owe a big thank -you to Charla for spending most of Friday (our surprise day off of school) on the phone with a travel agent in Texas, and for getting us a price that ended up being $200 cheaper than the listed low-season price.
Can you believe that we could only round up 4 people to go? Well.. I guess that making the decision the day we wanted to leave didn't help our cause. At 6:00 p.m. we had the OK to come to the house that night. So Charla, Megan, Becca and I left at 6:40 to get to the bus stop at 7.
It was pretty spontaneous. But totally worth it . Check out the pictures below.

Waiting for the bus on the side of the street.

The front of the house.

One of the bedrooms. I am in love with the paintings in this house!

Grilling up some veggies!

A breakfast with a view!

This is our private pool/bar/grill in the back of the house, ON the beach.

The sunset view from the house.

Becca, Me, and Charla in our pool.

You can't help but praise the Creator at times like this!

The dining room... with more awesome art!

The inside view from the back doors

A pretty flower in a photo that I didn't rotate (sorry)!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

and beyond.

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." James 4:13-15

I found verse this sometime last week. God is certainly trying to tell me something through it, because I have been worrying and wondering about next year. Do I stay? Do I go to another country? Back to the States?
After reading and returning to these verses, I understand that I'm not supposed to know right now. I wont know until I know, and that is okay. In fact, it's better. If I knew, I would always be living with one eye on the future, instead of giving my 100% here.

So, just to inform you. (Whoever you may be who still reads this blog...)
I could be here another year. I could not. I could be here forever. I could move to Calcutta and work with orphans and widows. (
Okay, maybe not on the last one...but you never know.) The point is, I'm going to have to give up the control once and for all and just ride this ride.
That's actually a pretty exciting thought, isn't it?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Independence Day Fun

Click to see pictures!
September 2007 at Lincoln School

September has come and is halfway over. The mid point was marked by the celebration of Mexican Independence Day at Lincoln School. On Friday we had a special flag ceremony with Mariachi guests and costumes. Some of my parents sent in cakes, drinks, and candies for a party. (Unknown by me until that morning!) It was a busy, but fun day... a good prelude to the holiday this weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Por Fin!

I finally did what I've been wanting to do since I moved here-I helped in an impoverished community. My roommate, Jacque, got in touch with a girl from a local church who is ministering to a poor community called Arenales (I think that's how you spell it). She does a bible club with the kids (ages 3 to 12) on Saturdays, and she goes during the week to have bible studies with their parents. Six of us Lincoln teachers went to the kid's club last Saturday. We didn't know what to expect, but our only job this week was bringing the snack. We got there and cleaned up the musty, moldy, cement house where the club is held, and we prepared the food. There is no running water in the house, so some of us went across the street to borrow water and haul it back in buckets. The kids began arriving soon after we got there, and we spent a good hour just playing with and getting to know them. I must say, they are pretty darn good at understanding my gringa Spanish! The bible lesson was so cute! The girl who leads it, Jessi, is so fun and animated. She held the attention of the three year olds all the way up to the ten/twelve year olds!! She had the kids get in a big circle, lay hands on us, and pray for us. It was so sweet to see the tiny little kids with their eyes squeezed shut repeating her sweet prayer. Before the kids left, they all came to give us our goodbye besitos, the cheek kisses that are the normal greeting/farewell here. From the tiniest girl of 3 to the bigger kids, they all made sure to despedir us before leaving. I loved it and I loved them and I want to continue helping there every weekend!!The house across the street, where we got our water.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"...and it comes with snacks"

Wow. I love my class. And it really doesn't have to do with the fact that I get presents from them. I've been with them for 8 days now (not 10 since I missed 2 for the wedding) and I've already received 3 gifts.
-a sushi lunch from Hi Seok, a new Korean boy to our school.
-a thermos/coffee mug from Larissa.
-some sort of yummy caramel treat made by Jorge's grandfather ("My grandfather makes these, Miss Peterson. Not my grandfather")

I can get used to this. :)

By the way. Does anyone recognize the quote in the title?

Monday, August 27, 2007

One week down.

I thought that I could never love any kids like I loved my first class, but I'm realizing that I was wrong. I realized it on the first day of school. They are so darn sweet! And so far they have had wonderful behavior! Today was the start of the second week of school, but it was only my fourth day with my kids, since I took off Thursday and Friday to be in Jess's wedding in Lansing, Michigan. It was a whirlwind trip, and right now I am exhausted, sick, and without a suitcase...but it was worth it. I had a great time!
Now I must buckle down and get things done. This year is already feeling different. There are new teachers (and they're all great!). I have new roommates (and they're great, too!). But I'm not tutoring Alvaro anymore, and once I get this schoolyear under control, I feel like I'll have more time on my hands than I should. I am still wanting to find a place to serve in my free time... especially now that I am less stressed about the whole teaching thing. Pray that I can get involved somewhere!
Well, I would love to post pictures and update you some more, but it is time to grade and plan.
I miss everyone!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

...and more birthdays...

The time is here. We met. We planned. We worshiped. Last week was a typical back-to-work week at Lincoln. We start the day with a bible study, break into departmental meetings (in which we take forever introducing ourselves to the new people, and the Mexicans who have 20 something sons or brothers advertise their availability...), and try to find time to prepare for the first week of school.
This week was better for me this year because, since I am not new, there were a whole slew of meetings in which I did not need to participate.
I think I'm ready for the first day of school. This week is going to be weird, since I will be gone Thursday and Friday to be in Jess' wedding in Michigan, so planning was different--but also easier as I consulted last year's plans (being a second year teacher already has so many advantages!!)
Tonight was the third birthday celebration I've had since returning to Mexico! Yes, it is the 19th and a full 11 days past my birthday!
The first celebration was at school, where the August birthdays had a cake and a small party with the administrators (and a small bonus!). Then at bible study Friday night the August people were celebrated also. FiNaLLy ( I hope) tonight everyone and their mother came over to our house for cake because today is Chris' (a new Lincoln teacher) birthday. Despite my protests, I was included in this as well.
I think my birthday "party" total this year is six.

Tomorrow will be here so soon. I'm nervous. But in an excited kind of way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Family, Friends, Birthdays, and a Brother from Belgium

Florida's tax free week and “Back to School” sales have brought me out of my summer repose and back into the reality that is work and real life. I returned to Mexico last night to begin my second year of teaching.
Despite this being the shortest summer I can remember (about 5 1/2 weeks), it felt longer because I didn't have much planned. In fact, I think this is the first summer I've had without a trip to some place (although coming home was my trip, as Mallory pointed out). However, I did manage to have some mini vacations.
Some of the events of my summer included:
1. A visit from the Caligiuris—close family friends. Well, ok. Basically family.
2. A wedding.
3. A morning helping an organization talk to the Spanish speakers of Deland.
4. A couple of trips to see friends (Vero, Sebastian, St. Augustine, Jacksonville)
5. A mini vacation to Orlando with Mom, including Arabian Nights and Epcot.
6. Some knitting.
7. Back-to-school shopping (as a teacher this time, not a student)
8. Dress fitting for my upcoming appearance in Jess Albright’s wedding.
9. Turning 23 on August 8th.
10. The arrival of Nathan from Belgium, Mom’s foreign exchange student until January.

It is always a little hard to say goodbye and leave everyone back home, but this time I knew what I was returning to. I am excited about my new roommates this year—Jacque and Charla—who are joining me in my same house as last year. I have a new group of students for whom I will begin planning and preparing tomorrow.
I think I’m ready.
I DO really love summer. But I love all of this more.
Hasta Luego. ;)

Me, Mallory, and the birthday cake she made me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm sure you already know.

I have been home for a while, but I just checked out my blog and I didn't want the last post to be "Longest school year ever", because that is over and done with.
I've been home for almost a month now.. wow! I return to Mexico on August 11th and will update you then (if something worthy happens).

God Bless!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Longest school year ever.

It was mentioned that these extra, unnecessary weeks of school required by Mexico's Secretaria de Educacion Publica are counterproductive. I like that word. It sums up perfectly what it feels like this week. So much for teaching my kids to come inside quietly after lunch, or to not turn around in their seats to chat to a neighbor. They can sense, as well as I, that the end is near. here. long past!.
Yesterday and today were full of randomness. We painted. We made picture frames. We filled out "about me" questionnaire's and guessed who they belonged to. We had a mini "awards show" with the recognitions I'd made for them (Most Friendly, Best Sense of Humor, Most Likely to Be Famous, etc...)
Tomorrow we have practice for Friday's program (we're reciting Philippians 2:5-11, with each kid saying a part. Pretty lame, but last minute...) and then a party.
Friday we come for only the program and then leave.
I love my kids. So much. I will miss them! But this is just TOO much!

Friday, June 22, 2007

What the....?

I saw this in my local grocery/everything store. I feel very sorry for the poor non-English speaker who unknowingly buys it. Sure makes me think twice about buying anything with any other language on it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Absence from and return to the real world

I have been so fortunate to have my mom, sister, and best friend visiting me for the past week and a half. They arrived on Thursday the 7th. Mom and Mallory stayed until Friday the 15th. Mackenzie extended her trip until yesterday (Tuesday) morning.
While they were here, I tried to show them the most Mexican, or just nicest, areas. We visited Tlaquepaque, a quaint artsy town nearby, we did all usual the downtown activities, went to the VIP theater, and took a tour of a Tequila factory in the town of Tequila. They also spent some time in my classroom and got to meet my crazy kids. After Mom and Mallory left, Mackenzie and I went to the beach (Playa Manzanillo) with Joy and Jenny for the weekend. We stayed at a hotel where Joy had stayed previously, and it was SO cute! A little family run place right on the beach with a nice pool. We ended up spending most of the time in the pool because of the startling amount of washed up jellyfish and puffer fish on the shore. After another day at school with me, Kenzi took off back to the states, too.
Now, I'm trying to finish up the week and 2 days I have left of school, without becoming the monster I sometimes feel is growing inside.
This year is just toooo long.
Today's insane field trip didn't help my nerves much, either. I wont go into it, but I'll summarize by saying that it would NEVER have happened in a school in the states. We were downtown, in busy streets, crossing busy streets, with very little supervision. More than once I almost cried or puked from frustration.
However, I don't want to end on a bad note. All in all, my last few weeks have been glorious and I look forward to my summer at home. I return on July 1st.
Click below to check out my pictures!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yay for Visitors

This time tomorrow three of my favorite people will be here!!! I am very excited to show them around and have them experience what is now my day-to-day. Hopefully I will have pictures up here soon of our time together.

Monday, June 04, 2007


It. Is. So. Hot.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Barranca Pictures

Here's the link to the album of photos from the Barranca clean up. Enjoy!

(Read about the trip to the Barranca in the previous post)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Clean Up

Yesterday I woke up way too early for a saturday to head out with some of the bible study friends to clean up an area called La Barranca. Charla organized it after visiting this spot with friends, and noticing that it was full of trash. This, of course, is true of many places in Mexico, but the beauty of this place merited our help. We drove down the cliff/plateau edge to reach a spot where we further descended over 400 stairs and a ladder into this absolutely gorgeous canyon. We were wedged between two cliffs, with waterfalls fed by hotsprings, a river with huge boulders, and greenery (in the dry season!).
The 17 of us workes for 2 or 3 hours filling over 50 garbage bags with nasty garbage. Then... this was the interesting part... we hauled it up to the car level assembly line style. However, because we only had 16 people helping, it took many trips. For the last stretch we just grabbed bags and carried them up. What a workout!
After that we went back down into the canyon and ate lunch, relaxed, and some swam in the water or waded in the hot springs.
It was a successful and fun day.
Unfortunately, yours truly did not bring a camera. So, I am awaiting pictures from someone who did. They will come.

Swan Lake, etc.

We have had many short, weirdly scheduled weeks lately. On one such week, instead of doing our normal stuff for reading, my students worked in partners and created their own countries. They had to think of things like the language, who is in charge, the landforms and weather in the country, three important laws, a national anthem, a flag, etc. Then they created a map and a poster advertisement. We did it all very quickly, and if I do it again I would change a ton of stuff, but they had fun and were creative.

This past friday night I went to see the Russain Ballet perform Swan Lake at a theater here in GDL. It was lovely, and awesome to see in person. Even though our Mexican "salary" only permitted us the nosebleed balcony seats, the binoculars and camera zoom helped us out :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Have I really lived here for 9 months?

It's quite an interesting sensation, to linger somewhere between feeling like time has rushed by at light speed, while also feeling like it is dragging. That is where I'm at right now. This week began the six-week count down of the school year, which leaves me wondering: have my students learned anything this year? I must say (much like Macayla stated in her blog) I don't feel like my first year went like so many first year teachers, who tell of unending stress, tears, and not knowing what was going on. It wasn't horrible, scary, or intolerably stressful. My students haven't made me cry (although I have had to pause for long periods during read-aloud time because I couldn't stop laughing at them!) and I haven't ever thought of quitting.

I HAVE received hundreds of hugs. Letters and pictures. Questions upon questions. Compliments and smiles.
I have taught them to divide long numbers, and to see patterns in multiplication facts (For those of you who know about me and multiplication-Fear NOT! I'm ok now!! :)
I have told stories about Jesus, and discussed the most precious, from-the-heart questions that have never been answered for them. I have tried to explain why the English language rarely follows the rules. My kids now "watch" their stories like movies, and beg for their read-aloud.

You know, I'd say that I'm very happy with the profession I've chosen. I can't thank God enough for guiding me to take the path I've taken. I can't say there haven't been problems... but I do think I spent too long lingering on them. My classroom probably wont get bigger. I probably will always struggle with understanding how to reach every student's needs. And I doubt I'll ever know what to say to make them all get along. But I am excited to try.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


The sun is shining. blazing. scorching. The rain is not falling. The birds ARE chirping. It's springtime! There has (and will be) a lot going on at school after spring break. It is making this school year fly by very quickly. Two weeks after spring break, one of my students, Yuri, left for the states with her family. They are missionaries heading back for furlough. We planned a suprise goodbye party for her and her sister. Now that she's gone, the class is a very different place without her.
We had the mini-olypics in April, which I wrote a bit about below. And on April 30th it was Children's Day (Dia del Niño). I remember asking my parents why we had Mother's Day and Father's Day, but not Kid's day. Well, here in Mexico they do, and it's a pretty big deal, I guess. The kids all get presents from their families and apparently all of the bowling, skating, pizza, and ice cream joints in town are packed! So, for school we took the kids to a water park (I know, scary right?). Well, it didn't really have pools, just a slide, a wading pool with rafts, and a pirate ship that shot water around. There were many counselors there for supervision and for some games in the morning. The kids had a blast.
That's pretty much it, so far. There will be more to come this month.
Check out the pictures of these events by going to my picture website and clicking on "Springtime at Lincoln School"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mini Olympics

The school planned a mini-olympics for all of primary a few weeks ago. It was at this really nice club with large fields and a track. The students participated in events like running, the long jump, and the long-throw (is there a better name for that?)
They were all so cute!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mexico City.

I've been delaying writing about Mexico City because I did SO much and saw SO much and I feel overwhelmed at the thought of documenting it all. So I wont. But I will tell the basics and give you a link to the photos and let you read more there.

Our trip began with the night bus that drove us the 7 hours to Mexico City (more commonly referred to here as D.F., for Distrito Federal). That ended up being somewhat of an adventure, though, because when we showed up at the makeshift bus 'station' in front of a hotel, we were told that our tickets were for a bus leaving in 20 minutes from the main station in the other part of the city. After giving her a look that probably resembled shock and unmasked fear, she called up her people and worked out a plan. The bus at the hotel (which was also going to D.F., but for some reason we couldn't stay on..) took us to the street of the main bus terminal, where a bus employee walked us the few blocks to the station and transferred us to some other bus man, who changed our tickets. We only left an hour later, which turned out to be a plus, because we arrived at 7:00 a.m. --instead of 6:00.

We met up with Jacque and her sister, Amber, who had arrived in D.F. two days before us. We spent our first (their last) two days with them, seeing the things they hadn't yet seen.
We visited the Secretaria de Eduacion Publica, or the SEP, which is who controls our crazy school schedule. We went for the Diego Rivera murals that are plastered over nearly every inch of three floors of their inner courtyards. An English speaking guide met up with us, almost giddy at the fact that he could be giving a tour (this could have something to do with the fact that the SEP was not even mentioned in my guidebook, despite the fact that it had more Diego than any other place we went to!). He was great and really knew his stuff, which made the murals make a lot more sense to us.
Next we braved the metro (from then on out) and (after getting off the metro due to a delay, taking a bus, getting off too early, and walking for miles on very empty stomachs) ended up in a part of the city called Coyoacan, where the Blue House is located. It's the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
While there, we made plans to go to the Ballet Folklorico (which isn't ballet, but rather traditional Mexican dancing from all parts and times) for that evening. So we returned home and got ready.
The ballet was probably one of my favorite things! I wasn't sure I'd like it at first because it began with ritualistic aztec type dancing, but then it progressed through to Mariachis and women in the huge, colorful skirts, men dancing with sombreros and stomping out a beat with their boots. It was really cool. Even from our nosebleed seats a mile high.

We woke up our exhausted bodies and left at 7:00 to go the the pyramids that are a metro trip and an hour bus ride from D.F. They were worth it, though! Walking through the ruins of pyramids from one of the most ancient and advanced civilizations! The third largest pyramid in the world is here, and it was built without tools or the use of the wheel. Incredible. We climed the pyramids and enjoyed the scenery. We saw alters built to well know Aztec gods, and remnants of decorative carvings and such.

After the pyramids we headed to a part of the city called Xochimilco, stopping early to go to my favorite museum of the drip, the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino. She was Diego Rivera's long time model, patron, and one-time mistress. We ate at a great cafe in the museum, and then wandered the rooms full of Diego and Frida's art. The grounds of the museum were beautiful too, full of peacocks and even some hairless Mexican dogs, favorites of Frida and Diego.

Without Jacque and Amber, the four remaining white girls went to a really pretty part of D.F. called Chapultapec. There is a huge park there and lots of trees lining the streets, so it felt much cleaner and scenic than the rest of the city. The first place we went was the Museo de Antropologia (Anthropology museum). This was absolutely amazing. One of the nicest museums I've ever been in, and full of some of the most amazing, ancient, incredible things. Like a huge, stone Aztec calendar, innumerable stone carvings from ruins, pyraminds, and other ancient Mexican dwellings. There was a headdress made of Queztal feathers believed to have been a gift from Moctezuma to Cortez. I saw tombs with intricately adorned skeletons, jewelry and figurines that look impossible to have been created by hand, and books that are still intact with Mayan and Aztec drawings. The museum itself would literally take days to see everything, so we had to just choose a few rooms and spent about 3 hours there.

We split up after this and Megan and I visited the museum of Modern Art. I saw a lot of amazing paintings by artists I knew and some that I now know and love.
We met up and went to a trendier part of town for dinner and coffee, and then headed back to the hotel and crashed.

This morning we were up and waiting in front of the Palacio Nacional when it opened at 9:00 a.m., because we had to leave for the bus station by 11:15. The Palacio had more awesome Diego murals.
Next we hit the Templo Mayor, which is a museuma and ruins of an Aztec city and pyramid. Alot of what we saw in the Antropologia museum had come from this site.

We left on a noon bus. I was tired and happy and trying to wake up to the fact that I had to teach in two days. It felt like summer vacation.

Check out my photo website for many, many more pictures.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Semana Santa

A week of my spring break has gone. One more to go. I'm surpirsed at how quickly it flew by, but I did manage to get out and do some fun things. Many of the girls have visitors from the states, so on Monday a few of us tagged along with Megan and her mom to see the downtown sights. We saw another awesome Orozco mural in the Governor's palace, shopped at the biggest jewelry store EVER, went to the huge market San Juan de Dios, and ate delicious Mexican food at La Chata. Some friends of Cinthia's picked some of us up downtown and we went to a soccer game! My first since I've been in Mexico! Guadalajara's team is called Las Chivas (I think a chiva is a goat..?) They played against an American team- D.C. United. The Chivas won. It was a good game-enhanced by all of the crazy things the fans yelled. It's good that I only understood a little.
On Wednesday I accompanied Megan and her mom, and Charla and her cousin to a pueblo called Mazamitla. It was a lot like Tapalpa, with a little less to do. But it was nice to get out of the city.
Some of us went with Jacque and her parents to a park called Bosque Colomos in another part of GDL. It is a nice, well kept park with a 5k paved trail through the forest. They also have Japanese and Mexican gardens. They weather here is great now because, although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable for being outside.

Today is Easter and even though Mexico gives two weeks of vacation for this holiday, apparently it's not a big deal. It wasn't even mentioned at church until the final prayer, and even then it was only a "thanks for easter" kind of thing. We were the only ones dressed it our spring best. And noone that we asked had any plans for the day.
Megan, Lindsay and I decided earlier to treat ourselves to a homecooked meal, since everyone else is either in the states or invited to other activities for the day. Our group has grown, so there will be 8 of us (teachers, family, and Mexicans) enjoying the meal. I should be going now to make the biscuits! Happy Easter!

P.S. To see pictures of the events mentioned above, look at the post before this one. It has a link to my photo-website.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I discovered that it is much faster for me to upload photos to a photsite than to this blog. And since Google is pretty much the most amazing thing ever, they now run my e-mail, my blog, AND my new Picassa Web Album. Here's a link to some spring break pictures.

Leave a comment here or there to let me know if it works. This is my first attempt.

It's nearly resurrection day! Thanks Jesus!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Playa Guayabitos

Despite the cautions from many well-meaning friends here in Mexico, I headed to the beach this weekend to jump-start our 2 week Semana Santa (holy week). We were told that since all of Mexico gets the same spring vacations, the beaches are crazy and there are no rooms to be found. Well, 5 of us decided to take a chance. We left right after school on Friday when Lindsay, a friend of ours in med. school here, came to pick us up in her wonderful, not-a-bus, car. We packed 2 tents just in case there really would be no place to stay. However, they were unnecessary because we found a great room at the second hotel we tried!
This beach was different from the other two I have stayed in because it was very Mexican. It was touristy, but in a way that catered to the Mexicans and not the foreigners. The beach was crowded, but not impossible. The water was really nice and the waves were pretty mellow, but fun.
We joined up with a group of Mexicanos and played beach vollyball. It was, interestingly enough, my first time to ever play it! I had a lot of fun!
As usual on a vacation, I ate well-enjoying the amazing fresh fruit from the beach vendors, and the fresh fish for dinner! Delicious! I must say that, as a Florida girl, I have been missing the good, fresh fish that is not available in a big, inland city.
So, now I have two weeks of freedom. This week many of the girls have friends or family in town, so I may be tagging along as they show them the sights. Next week 5 of us will be going to Mexico City (a.k.a. Ciudad de Mexico, D.F., or simply "Mexico"). I need to read up on it because there is a TON to do there! I can't wait!

Happy Palm Sunday!

Thanks to Betsy, I have some beach pictures. Check out my photo album (link above) for more!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why I am a good teacher...

...according to Elizabeth.

This was included in her letter to a third grader in Florida. I asked that she remove it from her letter, but I thought I would share. I think she was shooting for an "A" :) Once again, I'm including the mistakes.

I love a lot my teacher because 9 things:
1. that she is kindful
2. she is thruthful
3. lovely
4. she is just and have fun and cool Ideas
5. she is realy fun
6. she love me a lot and
7. teach very well
8 when I'm sick and I don't go to school my teacher splane me very good in a paper the homework.
9 Is GREAT my teacher!

Gotta love her!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Student Letters

My students have written letters about themselves which I will be sending to third graders at Edgewater Elementary. Before I ship them off, I had to share a funny one with you. I am typing it (I'll include the errors...), to save time trying to figure out the scanner. It's from Pablo (who wants his new penpals to know him as "Paul).

Dear Stranger,
I am Paul, A happy mexican hat learns English every week. I like to read, cook, sports, and video games. I would like that you write me a letter and to know where you live. I would like to know if you have a Pet. I am 10 years old. I live in Bugambilias, a neighborhood in mexico. My favorite color is red. My brother's name is Fernando. My dad is a famos Toyota car salesman in Guadalajara. My mom bakes fresh chocolate muffins. I go to Lincon school. I like math class and. I do my homework every day.

Your new friend,

Note: He does not do his homework every day. And I have yet to recieve any fresh chocolate muffins :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Orozco Murals

So much of today was just perfect. Beginning with my morning jog--the weather was nice. I passed many of the gorgeous, flowering, purple trees that are blooming now. I saw a beautiful family including a dad and two sons dressed in khakis and the typical latino gauzy white button-up tops with a mom dressed to the nines. It all just made me really happy.
I had decided sometime this week that I wanted to go see the murals by José Clemente Orozco. He's a pretty well known Mexican artist who has some works in GDL. This morning I checked out my guidebook and discovered that they are in a building which I have passed unknowingly at least half a dozen times. For some reason I always thought they were in another part of town. So, I gathered a couple of willing girls and we went to check them out.
(Another thing that made today perfect was getting directions to the downtown area from all-knowing Rachel. Thanks to her, we took a quick bus and a nice trainride straight to where we needed to be. It was faster and much more enjoyable than the alternative bus route.)
The murals are in a building called the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, which was formarly an orphanage and some other things as well I think. The entrance fee (for teachers/students) was a whopping 5 pesos, or about $.50 The murals were in the main cathedral entrance area. They are pretty magnificant. Photos-unfortunately-really do no justice to murals. We caught up with a tour, and that was helpful in identifying some of the subjects of his paintings and learning a little about Orozco's life. He lost his left hand. Was very influenced/changed after the Revolution. His murals depicted a lot of his political ideals, most of which were lost on me since I have a very basic knowledge of Mexican history.
The Instituto Cultural Cabañas also had another gallery area, with many styles of paintings and sculptures. I really had been craving a good art fix, and I feel like I got one today.
We went in search of more murals at the Governor's Palace. Never made it (they weren't open) but we did encounter a tent with artisan vendors from all over this area. In another plaza there was some kind of plant-selling festival going on. Jenny bought a turtle (from the one non-plant vendor).
The weather stayed perfectly mild, which was a welcome break from the midday heat we've been experiencing lately. All in all, a lovely day. I am inspired to research some more about Mexican artists. Right now on my list are Orozco and Gerardo Murillo, who called himself Dr. Atl.

The main ceiling. A little like the "Creation of Adam" with the oustretched hands, ey?

The man seated on the left is the Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote. On the right is the Spanish painter, El Greco.