Transitions are tough, especially the ones that are drawn out. It's now been a month since I arrived, and I just completed my Spanish class. That means saying goodbye to a lot of people that I've met here. The school where I've been studying, called IMAC, is full of people who come and study Spanish for a few weeks, or a month or so, and then leave. It just so happens that a lot of the people that I know from school are leaving now. They are heading to Puerta Vallarta for some fun in the sun. As for me, I will be starting a trial week of teaching at a school called ICI on Monday. First I have to go to the government and get my statement of permission taken care of on Monday. Then on Tuesday I will start teaching. It's just a trial week, so I don't think the job is mine yet, but we'll see how things go. The school teaches English to businesspeople. They work for companies such as Hewlett Packard and Hersheys. I hear that I am to avoid jobs with Hersheys because they often involved teaching on Saturday, but I think I might try for those ones anyway in hopes of free chocolate. (Just kidding)
I have been really awful about writing lately because I couldn't think of anything good to say, but I think that was just a low that I hit from the lack of endorphins. I am no longer running because the pollution is too thick, so I am trying to brainstorm other ways to energize myself. Let me know if you have any because I am at a real loss without running. I thought it was a myth that pollution can have a noticeable affect on health. I always thought that people who complained that pollution affected their lungs or their energy or whatnot were just using it as a scapegoat for their own poor health. Oh, those stairs were tough today, must be the pollution, sort of thing. It seemed as though telling the difference between breathing polluted air and clean air would be a lot like teling the diffrence between Coke and Pepsi. This is not the case. Polluted air smells bad. it makes you feel more and more tired with each breathe. It gives headaches, sucks the life out of your step. They don't call pollution toxic for nothing.
In comparison to Guadalajara, Guanajuato is a pure jewel. It is like being in Europe: truly enchanting. The streets are made of the giant stones, as are the castle-like buildings. There are old churches that line the cityscape, and the streets are all very narrow. They wind this way and that in romantic arcs. When you go up to the top of the city, all the buildings look like they are stacked one on top of the other. To add to the cuteness and quaintness of these buildings stacked one on top of the other, they are multicolored: pink, orange, green, blue, white, and purple. It really doesn't seem real, and for those of us enthralled by color, it really looks like a dream town, painted for the pleasure of our muse.
Tacos tacos tacos. The five of us that trekked to Guanajuato together could not get enough of them. Eating tacos was our main activity. They were always cooking meat at our place, a hallway shaped restaurant a few doors down from our hostel. Lured in by the meat on the turning spit, with its juices dripping onto the stove. Then there was the platter of eight salsas and sauces they would bring out: pineapples, chipotle sauce, picante salsa, mild salsa, chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, the list goes on. We must have eaten there five times during the two days we were there.
Every wind in the road begs to be explored in Guanajuato because it is all so beautiful. There is something about the aesthetic quality of windows and doors with thick borders and huge beautiful stones that makes a place really romantic. The plazas have fountains.The people flood the plazas at night. Roam from bar to bar and you'll find plenty of salsa. And you may just find yourself jumping up and down in ecstatic glee when you stumble upon....get ready....a normal bar with normal American music from the likes of the Killers. That's when you may feel the night is just getting going, and you may feel guilty because it's the very thing that does not fit this quaint town that you are the most excited about. But that's when you remember, oh yes, you are American, and you like your own culture quite a bit. That can't be helped.
While I did enjoy the American bar, I also found myself salsa dancing at various clubs throughout the weekend. The challenge of salsa is many times a process of learning how to coordinate things with another person. That's tough. There are hands, feet, hips, all these things are supposed to work together. It's pretty impressive to see people who know what they are doing. So many spins, so much synchronizing.
Right now my goal is simply to learn Spanish. That means making more Mexican friends. It's really fun, actually, practicing all the time. But of course, there is also the difficulty of understanding all the understood ideasa that they live by, those deeper cultural differences that I have only scratched the surface of so far.