I have been in Mexico for 10 days so far and it has been such an interesting time. We had a 3 day orientation in a convent, which was a great way to start this journey, and last Saturday I met my host family. I have been staying with my host family this past week and they are wonderful. My Spanish skills are very rough and I find myself using a lot of hand motions to communicate. Even though I minored in Spanish in college, it doesn’t help me much. Being able to read and being able to speak are two completely different games. My Spanish-English pocket dictionary has become my best friend. It’s unreal how much I don’t understand. I feel like I am stuck between radio stations, there are moments of clarity, but they are mixed in with a lot of white noise.
Since my Spanish skills are pretty lackluster I will have to spend a few weeks at Cetlalic, a school for learning Spanish in a progressive environment. I just finished my first week there and already I feel like I have slightly better conversation skills. In the weeks to come I know my Spanish will improve, but for now there are a lot of frustrations.
Besides the language barrier things have been going pretty smoothly. I made it to school every day on time by taking a bus (la ruta), which in itself is an experience and a half (I’ll write a post solely about la Ruta in the future), without getting lost. I have also been able to successfully lead taxi drivers back to my house (surprisingly with how bad my sense of direction is.)
Back to my host family, they are saints for putting up with my horrible communication skills. They are very patient and help me when I get stuck on words. I am currently living with 6 other people: My host mom is Licha, a leader in many Christian based communities in her neighborhood; My host sister that lives with me is Mireya; and upstairs lives Licha’s brother, Alfonso, her sister-in-law, Minerva, and their 2 kids Paloma, who is 9, and Alfonso, who is 6 and super adorable. Oh and also with their very lovable dog, Galleta (which is like Cookie in English). The family loves to joke around and everyone is always pretty positive so I think I am fitting in well.
The food. It seems like everyone wants to know about the food. I have not had anything that was out-of-the-ordinary yet. I told my host family that I did not like spicy foods, and I have not had any encounters with spicy yet. I have mostly been eating tortas, which are sandwiches with more of a bready-bun (that’s a horrible description, I know), and ham, cheese, and beans. Also, I have not gotten sick yet!! But there’s still time.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned because things may get much more interesting in the future.