Just keep swimming.

On Saturday I will have been in Mexico for a whole month. Wow. Time seems to be really flying lately. Since my last post so much has happened. We finished our second part of orientation, which was again held at a convent, and while there we had the opportunity to visit (almost) everyone’s work sites. There are 9 work sites between the 8 of us and they range from teaching English, to informing people about reproductive rights, to ways on how not to waste your waste. After our week at orientation 7 of us went to Tepoztlan, a nearby small town, for a festival weekend. On Friday of that week 6 of us climbed a mountain to get to the Tepozteco pyramid, which was lit-up for the celebration of the anniversary of the baptism of the king Tepozteco by the Catholics.

Some of us have started working at our work sites, but not me. I am in my 3rd and final week of language school, and I feel like I have been learning so much every day. I graduate tomorrow, and although my Spanish skills still remain pretty mediocre I’m hoping that I will be able to manage when I start at my work site on Monday. I will be working with the Fundacion Berea and I will be teaching English in their Colegio to students in kindergarten  to age 15. I will also be working in soup kitchens (comedores) that help feed the families in surrounding areas (more to come on these communities later). I am slightly nervous about starting work on Monday for a variety of reasons: I don’t have a teaching degree, my Spanish is not super great, and I don’t want to feel lost. But, I will work my hardest to get past these factors and just try to teach the children to the best of my abilities. I have a feeling that they might end up teaching me more than I teach them.

Here I am being introduced to a class at Colegio Berea

Besides language school and my future work site I feel like I have been adjusting relatively well to living in Mexico. Let’s talk about food. I have always considered myself a very picky eater. If something is green there is a good chance I won’t eat it, if something has a weird texture I also won’t eat that, but recently my tastes have been changing. I decided to expand my pallet and eat whatever my host family gives me (with the exception of chiles). I am discovering that there are some foods that I seriously misjudged. For example, Fish. I remember vividly why fish made it to the top of my “Do Not Eat” list. I was in the second grade waiting anxiously in the lunch line because they were serving my favorite meal: chicken nuggets with a peanut butter square for dessert. After I got my plate of nuggets I sat down at my table and hastily popped a nugget in a mouth waiting for the savory taste of chicken to please my taste buds. However, the taste never came. As fast as I had put the chicken nugget in my mouth, I had spit it out on my plate. I had been deceived, fooled, tricked, by Cod cleverly disguised as a chicken nugget. From that moment onward I had decided that I would not give into the trickery of fish, and so for 15 years I stayed far, far away from those watery demons. Yet, my strike against fish ended last Saturday when I was eating some really super delicious tacos that I later realized had fish in them. I loved the tacos, but how could this be? Fish were my enemies, and I was giving in? I then realized how my 7-year-old self had influenced my decision about something so minuscule. I don’t want my pre-judgments or pre-conceived notions to get in the way of all this year has to offer, so I am going to try and be like a fish and go with the flow, and try new things, even when I am “positive” that I won’t like it.  I’m sure there will be many times during this year when I feel lost or confused, but I am going to try and stay positive and take advice from Dory in “Finding Nemo”: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.You know what you gotta do when life gets you down? we swim, swim, swim.”


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