I've had one or two people asking about my lifestyle in Mexico, and thought I'd try to write about it without being too monotonous.
Because I'm working and travelling, my lifestyle is still very much dictated by my job. Much as it would be at home. I currently teach from 4-9pm, with 5 minute breaks between classes; essentially enough time to scoot from one classroom to the other, and to refill my water bottle. Other teachers have morning classes, so I count myself lucky, because in both my previous jobs, in Indonesia and Taiwan respectively, I've had free mornings too.
I tend to use these mornings to go to the gym, read, and to talk with my host family. I usually wake up fairly early; between 6 and 8am, and eat a small breakfast. Since arriving in Mexico, I've made a conscious effort to reduce my sugar intake. I've kept the soft drinks to a small can's worth a day, reduced my portion sizes, and tried to stay away from excess milk and sugar in general. It's worked because I've lost 10kgs in 6 weeks, and look noticeably thinner. I've noticed my energy levels increase too, and don't get out of breath if I have to dash upstairs for something anymore. I'd be very happy to get down to a relatively lean 100kgs (16 stones), which would be a 20kg weight loss in total. We'll see.
After breakfast I hit the gym and do weights. I've retained a fair amount of strength, so I'm just starting to enjoy the weights I'm lifting again. I'm usually done in the gym before 11am, and after a shower, I either have lunch with my family or go into town for lunch before going to work.
I usually spend an hour or two patching up class plans, preparing games, printing off handouts, or lazing around with other teachers in the school. Sometimes it's longer, as I have to prepare plans a week in advance, and this can take a fair amount of time. Also, because there's no internet in my family's house at present, I download any offline apps I need for tablet; books to kindle, a yoga app, a notepad, and an offline Spanish vocabulary app being the main ones.
That's my routine throughout the week.
Weekends have had a fairly consistent routine too; Saturdays tend to be dominated by socializing with other teachers, whereas Sundays are often family parties. On Saturdays, I'll be swimming, sunbathing, shopping, or drinking in a bar somewhere. On Sundays I'll be lazing around, doing my washing, or reading in the morning. I'll be doing the same again in the afternoon unless I'm eating, laughing, talking, and dancing at a family party, of course!
This, in all aspects, is a far more social routine than I had in Taiwan or Indonesia. It's yet to get the better of me, but some days I'll head off to a local mall and stick my head in a book. Other days I'll get home after a long day of talking to people, and have a three hour conversation with my family, and go to bed at far too tardy an hour.
Learning Spanish is a big portion of my lifestyle, and I'm pleased at how my Spanish is progressing. I am yet to sit down and study the past tense, but that gives an indication of my level, as I'm planning to do that this weekend. I can have a conversation, and understand most requests with minimal repetition. I bought Las Brujas by Roald Dahl (The Witches) and have been trying to read it in Spanish. I understand about 40% of the words now, and have learned a few grammar points from the book. Of course, my predominant method of practice is talking and listening; mostly with the family, who are patient and very social. The father, Martin, has a particular knack for using the simplest words to explain things, and to help me understand his points. I've spent hours and hours talking with them, and rarely ten minutes goes by without laughter or me being called a donkey because I've mixed up two words, or used the wrong pronoun. I think that by December, which is when my contract here ends, I'll be pretty good at Spanish, and will also be even closer with the family than I am now. It'll be tough to leave, for sure.
The food! The food here comes in a crazy variety, and is most often a torta (bread roll), or a tortilla filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables. Traditional food almost always contains corn in some form; be it in a tortilla, as a paste in a leaf, or in the corn on the cob form. My favourite food so far is Huitlacoche quesadillas; black tortillas with corn(!) and meat filling. Delicious! I find that because it's fairly hot here, my appetite has shrunk, and with it my portion sizes. I snack on fruit, cereal, and junk food mostly, but I am eating a very varied diet with plenty of protein and nutrients.
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