Published: September 2nd 2006September 2nd 2006
View from Class
This is a partial view of Monterrey that I can see from my photo class.
I started off last week with finally completing the first and most complicated stage to obtain my visa. Other than that, I've had more group projects in the past few weeks than I would have in a year at U of I. Everything is very group orientated and it was explained that you aren't an individual here, you are your family, you are the group you work with. Also, I have learned that they are really into titles. Even if a person has earned their bachelors you still have to call them "Licensado" (I don't know if that is how it is spelled but it sounds like that). And for example on my business card it would say: Lic. Alex Orozco.
This past week, I visited the Modern Art Museum again and I went to the free day at the Mexican History Museum. I have been learning a lot about Mexican history, from events, museums, and class. In my Social and Cultural History of Latin America class I had to give an hour and a half presentation in Spanish on the entire colonialization of Latin America with a focus on Mexico. It ended up being 3 hours long but it
View of the mountains that make up "Cerro de la Silla" from down the block.
was the teacher who took up all that extra time. He likes details. And in Culture we have been learning about ancient history and Mesoamerica.
Everything here is dated as BC and AD which is disheartening. I understand that Mexico is a Catholic Country but not everyone is Christian, as in the USA. And it is strange too because the international program's teachers talk so much about how they want us all to respect each other because we all come from different cultures but there are so many references made to Christianity I find it hard to believe that they consciously consider it themselves. I liked Anchon's method in Spain in which he put BCE and ACE which stand for 'Before Common Era' and 'After Common Era'. This makes a little more sense anyway since there are a few religions which share the same general time period. But what about the athiests and agnostics? I have learned other interesting things like how there is a theory that the Virgin of Guadalupe was created by the Spanish to convert and reaffirm the beliefs of the 'souless' Mexicans. At this point I am pretty much an expert on the Aztecs and
This is a version of their school mascot "los borregos" (I think it is a Ram). Anyway, they have a whole bunch of them decorated differently around campus, like cows on parade in Chicago. This one is my favorite because it looks friendly.
have general knowledge about many other civilizations.
Otherwise, my classes are going well. In International Business, I get asked questions by the professor who lived in Wilmette about American business at least three times a class. And in the Professional Women's class all the students ask me if we have the same non-discrimination laws in the USA and to explain things like "what is the difference between 'gender' and 'sex'." Today, I took my first exam in Spanish for photography. You're thinking "photo= easy". No. Try explaining "Porque no es posible ver el efecto de profundidad del campo mientras esta enfocando la toma fotografica?" in Spanish. I also turned in my first roll of photos, which I have to say were quite fantastic. Let's just hope the teacher agrees. I have 1 of 3 major internship papers due and three exams next week- two in class meant for Mexicans- one essay test. Some other international students and I have chatted about how many of these Mexican students are disrespectful to the teachers and other students, concerning talking, the use of their cellular phones, and leaving the class constantly. I think most of it is because they come from well
in one of the town squares in Saltillo. Mass was going on so I didn't take photos inside.
off families, they don't need good grades or to learn, their parents own a company that they plan on working at. I have to say, though, that dispite their rudeness in class, they get so much more excited and when they're not taking a 20 minute break in the bathroom... they participate so much more than USAmerican Universtiy students.
I have had a few assignments from the Consulate already but my paperwork just cleared this week so today was my first day actually being there and figuring things out. The projects start Tuesday.
Salsa has been ok. I definitely learned a lot more if I just go out dancing but it isn't very correct so good thing I have lessons. The teacher is a sexist and homophobic jerk but I am staying in this class mostly so I can learn the dance and go against the system with it!
Thank goodness for skype because it'll have to due until Bridget comes to visit me in October! woot! And congrats, Bridget, for being on the Dean's list!
To experience more of Mexico, this past weekend I took an impromptu trip to Saltillo with Collin. We took an
about coloniztion in Saltillo
hour and a half bus ride with breathtaking views of wild horses, interesting looking cacti, and the mountains on either side of us the entire time. We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our stuff, and then walked about Saltillo being touristy, checking out many outdoor and indoor markets, and eating Mexican goodies until about 9 PM.
We headed to check out the night scene around 11. We started off at a yuppie bar a few blocks room our hotel. After driving around in a taxi for a while, looking for a club that Collin could get into wearing shorts, we found an artsy bar called "The Pig" where we had our tequila shots. We made some friends there (note how 'friends' follows 'tequila shots'). The first guy is named Pablo and (photo-less so I will describe) he had a shaved head, strong jaw, soul patch, many very cool facial piercings, and many tattoos. Turns out he is a tattoo artist from Mexico City. He was a great guy and I hope I get to visit him again before I leave. The second guy was Edgar. He took us all (6) back to the bar where Collin and I
started that night. Edgar is a Mexican hippie with dreads and all. He makes jewelry for a living. After asking, "What happened to my boyfriends hand" and finding out that Collin and I are not dating he invited me over to his house after the bar. Collin and I left soon after. I think Edgar was a disappointed about the night's outcome.
We visited him the next day before we left, though. He told us last night that he was selling his jewelry near the Desert Museum. So Collin and I checked out before we left Saltillo. Earlier that morning we had a delicious Mexican breakfast. The city had not only many shoes stores with low prices but many ice cream places with frozen yogurt, fresh fruit juices, and fresh fruit stands as well. I have to say that I highly enjoy being in Mexico because of the quality of all the food here. It is definitely a better way of life if you can manage to eat only fresh food here and you get to live with this warm weather year round.
There are more photos below