Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Big City

We have had quite a time in Mexico City this past week. Just returned from dinner- tacos of course- with David and Danielle. We met so many intelligent folks this week with amazing goals... about 80 other Fulbright recipients from around the country, who will be living in various locations throughout Mexico. The range of topics scanned from family art therapy; geographic variation in the mating system of the Mesquite lizard; preventing gestational diabetes; the impact of immigration on women and children; comparing Cuban and Mexican boxing; Autism research; migration of tree fruit crops; language and identity among Syrian Jews Mexico City... and much, much more.

Figuring out our cell phones in the hotel room with our new friends Jose and Naomi

We attended a fancy cocktail party at the U.S. Embassy, visited Teotihuacan, a 300,000 person settlement from many, many years ago (with the third largest pyramid in the world),

We visited the Palacio Nacional where Diego Rivera´s murals cover 16,000 square feet of wall space.
We also made plans to visit newly made friends who will be living in Queretaro, Oaxaca, and Merida, among other friends in other locations perhaps. One of the craziest moments of our trip was taking a taxi to a Mexican family's home for dinner (arranged through Fulbright). Our taxi trip was 2 and 1\4 hours long, as the cabbie became lost (unbeknownst to us for quite some time). The family was so great- the father tried out his English and played songs by various American artists for us and had us guess who was singing. Other than the little bits of English thrown out by the father and oldest son, Spanish was spoken and Josh was a real hero for keeping the conversation going. I sputtered words here and there, but mainly did a lot of smiling and laughing- even if I didn't know what was being said.

Mexico City is one of the craziest cities I have visited. There are just so, so many people here. We hope to return soon to visit more sites and friends. A last highlight of the trip was our visit to Frida Kahlo's house- she is a fascinating Mexican artist with an alluring life story. I hope to post more photos and stories soon, but wanted to get this out there for now...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mexico City Bound

Tomorrow Josh and I leave for Mexico city for his Fulbright orientation. We will be there through Saturday, so my blog postings may be on hold until that point. Last night I was not so sure I would make the trip. I completely emptied out my insides puking from- what I think was nieve (ice cream). Wow. On the mend now. Chicken noodle soup and saltines on the menu tonight.
Just walked with Josh to sign up for 4 weeks of intensive Spanish. I am really looking forward to this. Also stopped by the library to see the CODENI kids working. I am REALLY looking forward to working with them. Josh was sidetracked on our walk back to Danielle's by a street performer... a man who was standing at a busy intersection juggling for money. He will surely have images on his blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Glimpses from the City


Rooftops near Danielle's balcony

Nieve (ice cream) vendor


Spent yesterday squaring away our apartment... met with Sergio, the manager. I will post photos of the place in another week. Later we went out to eat with Danielle and David... Josh and David dug into tacos gusanos (gusano=worm). If only I could be so brave. This morning we went running along Av. Juarez- an avenue that they close off to traffic on Sundays. Hundreds of bikers, runners, skateboarders, and other interesting wheeled contraptions. We will soon head to Mercado Baratillo - a 40 block market with over 10,000 vendors.

Danielle and David

Friday, August 22, 2008

Estoy Aquí

Smooth flight here, and now I have spent the morning furiously studying Spanish! More soon...
Below is a photo of Oso (bear) or Osito (little bear). He is currently fast asleep, snoring loudly.

Josh, Jorge, and I just returned from taking about 24 children from CODENI to play soccer. They were so funny. My favorite was Panchito (Little Pancho). I was happy to finally meet Jorge. He is so kind and speaks very slow Spanish for us, which I appreciate immensely! See Josh's blog for images.
I am quite overwhelmed by today, but it was very good. I feel like there were four days in one. My Spanish as of now is so horrible, but hopefully each day it will improve. Oso is now sitting on my feet, cuddling.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Big Adios

Left Moose Lake this morning to fly down to Guadalajara. My dear hosts John and Sandi are pictured above. They run the most fabulous all-inclusive resort I have ever visited. Meals, drinks, transportation, laundry, lake access... all "services" provided with charm. And such a lovely loft room with a comfy bed. I thank them. And to end, a nice visit with Shawn for breakfast before my hosts dropped me off at the airport.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Sister's House

Spent a couple days with the Holmes family in Lino Lakes. Natalie, Casey, and I rode bikes to the lake and had a picnic and swam. Alexander is getting cuter still, as he is excited about his new bed where he had me hide from "sharks" in his fort with a flashlight. It is important to him to wear clothes with pockets, as he stuffs whatever he can inside them: coins, keys, candy, plastic monkeys... Below follow a couple of photos of Alex struggling with his neighbor friend to get the hose in working order.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Carlton County Fair

My mum and I headed to the fair today in Barnum. On display were award-winning vegetables, flowers, breads, cows, horses... on and on.

And a sunset over Sand Lake to end the day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Ollie Visit

My mum and I drove to Wadena, MN to visit my grandparents. Here we are inspecting their HUGE garden.

Hen and chicks

Just a few of their canned items

Meanwhile, word from Josh on his second day in Guadalajara:
"...had a great last half of the day. met a woman with Danielle who has done a lot of statistical research on the Otomi (indigenous group) and then tonight met with the group (of children) who has already started learning photography and it was awesome."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Goodbye Sally

We will miss Sal, but she is in great hands with our friends Katie and Dony.