Wow, another week has passed in beautiful sunny Mexico (sorry to rub it in I hear there has been lots of snow in Ontario!!!) Many thanks to everyone who e-mailed to wish me a happy birthday. At CETLALIC (my language school), they have a tradition of having a small party every Friday to say goodbye to the students who studies have finished. This week it was also in celebration of my birthday. The "happy birthday" song in Mexico is about 5 verses long and is much more profound than the song I am used to hearing. Also they have a tradition where the people being "celebrated" in this case, me and two students who were leaving, each have to bite the cake with their mouth. People did suggest to me that I take a small bite and then when the cake is cut, your piece becomes the one with your bit marks in it! Very fun. After classes, another student and I went to the Centro (historic downtown Cuernavaca) walked, shopped and had dinner. When I returned to my house, there were a couple of lovely small gifts from my host family. I had been talking to one of her grandchildren during the week about if he preferred Toy Story or Shrek. Her grandson prefers Toy Story, but I said I liked Shrek. One of my gifts was a Shrek key chain! I was very touched that Angeles (my host mother) had paid so much attention. I really appreciated all all the e-mails and the cards that people sent with me.
On the weekend I joined some students from other language schools for a tour to Puebla (the 4th largest city in Mexico) and the site of the battle that is celebrated on Cinco de Mayo (5th of May). On this trip we also went to two archeological sites and saw pyramids -- very cool! The historic centre of Puebla is an interesting as it was a city built entirely by the Spanish. It did not exist prior to the Conquistadors and as a result is very European looking in parts. A great weekend and a memorable way to celebrate my birthday.
This week I was reminded of something we discussed in the Orientation training in Toronto...the danger of the single story. This is where you get one point of view on something and extrapolate. It is important that whatever you learn from my experience, you remember is from one person's point of view who spent a little bit of time in one part of Mexico. This week I made some comments about "Canada" and "Canadians". Some other students said, you really think that. I said absolutely. Interestingly a Canadian student who left last week had said the opposite. If people from Mexico or the US only heard one viewpoint they might believe that this is what we all think. I found the other Canadian's viewpoint bizarre and I truly hope that people here don't remember this as the point of view of Canadians in general ---the danger of the single story. However, in reality my story doesn't explain it all either!
This week I am continuing with my spanish studies (in spanish, languages aren't capitalized). I am learning lots of new words and verbs. My maestras (teachers), other students and my host family are working hard to help me sort out my pronunciation issues ---which are significant. Who knew -- in spanish your tongue goes to all different places in your mouth than when making vowel sounds in english!
So until next week...Saludos (greetings) to everyone!