Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week 1: How to break a toilet in Mexico

by Grace Costa

Hola a todos!!

I have been south of the border now for a week now and I have SO MUCH to share with you.

The first night I flew in from Nashville into Mexico City. If you can imagine someone taking all the legos in the entire known universe and dumping them from horizon to horizon, you might have idea of what Mexico City looks like from above. 23 million people. I stayed in a hotel that night where I finally acknowledged that the nagging soreness of my tonsils was not going to beat it like whip cream  so I started to wonder how horrific it would be to have tonsillitis in another country.

And I did what any intelligent adulting college student would do and called my mom. A couple ibuprofen later and some sleep, I was on a bus for Puebla, Mexico, two and a half hours away. Some guy sat next to me who said to his friend across the aisle "Si no hay droga, no hay vida" (No life without drugs). The bus was the kind your parents pay $300 for you to go to six flags with the choir in grade school. (It was really really nice.) Will be using for future excursions.

When I finally arrived in Puebla, I took an UBER to the college, stumbled around with my 4 months worth of luggage, and got directions from someone who noticed my obvious confusion. I met up with my host mom we took a taxi to our neighborhood, "Las Estrellas del Sur".

Let me start out by saying I LOVE love love my host family. It's only been a week, but already feel at home in our little house with two little white dogs. My host mom speaks a bit of English, but for the most part we speak in 100% Spanish. She's happy to talk for most of the conversation, knowing that I'm focusing as hard as I can to understand and react accordingly. What I mean by that is smiling, saying "Si, si, si" and butchering the Spanish language completely if I do try to make actual words.

This week was orientation and I was blown away by the number of internationals here. There are at least 140 of us. Probably 30-40 from the US. A lot of Germans, Colombians, and Chinese. And a few from other countries around the world. Making friends was such a breeze because we were all in the same boat, so we had already exchanged numbers, social media, and made whatsapp groups before the first day was over.

And without further ado, I give you the following steps for breaking a toilet in Mexico:

  1. Take a short shower
  2. Use the toilet promptly after showering
  3. Use TP
  4. Flush
  5. Congratulations, you broke the toilet

Here in Mexico, TP goes in the trash because it clogs the pipes. Also, many houses have a water pump on the first floor, so if you want to use water on the second floor (where my room is located), you have to be aware of how much water you're using in a certain amount of time. 

Now that I've roused your appetite with my pleasant bathroom story, here are some of the foods I've tried so far:
  • Guayaba (Guava)
  • Papaya
  • Tacos al Pastor
  • Churros
  • Horchata
  • Chiles Aquiles (if that's how you spell it)
  • Tacos rolled up really small with cheese sauce, tomato and lettuce
  • Camote (a sweet native to Puebla)
And I have SO MUCH MORE on my list to try. Will keep you updated ;)

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow I climb a volcano so stay tuned for more trailblazing in Puebla, Mexico.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Solar Eclipse on the 21st

Picture by National Geographic

Hello CIE blog readers-

We are trying to get this information out in every way that we can think of:

MC Eclipse Viewing Event
Football Field
Monday, August 21st
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Current students-
Please promote this event to new students so that they do not miss out! It is going to be incredible. From what I hear, it is a powerful experience and could be a wonderful way to bond with new members of the community.

P.S. If you know how to explain what a solar eclipse is, you'll be more likely to convince people to go! Check out this event if you want to learn more about how solar eclipses happen and why they are important:

Free Public Presentation by Dr. Guerinot
Clayton Center’s Lambert Recital Hall.
Tuesday, August 15th
6:00 pm

If you can't make that event, check out this straightforward explanatory video on YouTube:

Thank you for the help.

Cindy Columbus
International Programs Coordinator
Center for International Education