Another 180

I never thought I could want to stay in a place so much whilst simultaneously wanting to leave…does that make sense?  Although my last post was all about wanting to go home, I’m about to write the exact opposite: I want to stay here forever.  But only if all of these people can stay, too.

Two weeks ago we took a trip to the capital and somehow returned to Guadalajara as more than just a bunch of exchange students: we’re a family.  I’m going to miss them as much as I miss my actual family!

I can’t even write about how it’s going to be when we have to say goodbye so I’ll write about the trip instead.  It would take something really, really special to make me fall in love with México again after I was so ready to leave (and not return for a while) but México City did it! I’d leap at the chance to do a semester there but unfortunately, it’s not a possibility.  You’d need a lot longer than the 4 days we had there to really get to know such an enormous city, but even in such a short time I could tell it’s one of the coolest cities in the world.  It’s so different to Guadalajara – the centre is much more modern, which I really liked, and it’s full of museums and galleries and just has all kinds of things going on.  Anyway, we spent our “free day” wandering around there but had exciting things planned for us the rest of the time.

After a rough night of coach travel we arrived on Friday morning, had a quick breakfast and went straight on to the Museum of Anthropology (probably quite boring if you’re not an ancient history geek like me.)  Saw the actual Piedra del Sol.  Pretty awesome.

Next up was the Castillo de Chapultepec.  To be honest, I was quite tired (and REALLY hungry) by this point so I don’t really know anything about it, but it was pretty and had some nice gardens.  I ate grasshoppers there (not just out of the garden – actual cooked grasshoppers someone was selling out of a cart) – weirdly, they didn’t taste bad but I wouldn’t pay 10 pesos for a bag of them!

The next day was the best! The first stop was Coyoacan and the Casa Azul.  It always surprises me when people say they haven’t heard of Frida Kahlo! Such an interesting and inspiring woman, seeing her studio made me really want to paint – hopefully the feeling will last until I’m home and I can.  Next we went to Anahuacalli, another museum but also a kind of art gallery, I suppose.  It was designed by Diego Rivera, surrealist artist and Frida Kahlo’s husband, with all the architecture based on the aztec visión of the universe.

Highlight of the weekend – Xochimilco.  Canal boats, music, dancing, food and the best company.

Finally, on the last day, we visited Teotihuacan.  A lot of steps, a lot of sun, but the view from the top made it worth it.  Raul ran the whole way (show off).

 

But, the fun didn’t stop there.  On the coach on the way home, Mariana (who organised the trip) taught us a very, VERY intense game called “los lobos” – I won’t go into the rules but it basically turned us all against each other and had us all pleading/insisting/screaming “yo no soy un lobo, soy un inocente ciudadano!”

…And the fiesta hasn’t really stopped since then.  México, somehow, has done the impossible and transformed me into a sociable person.  Even though I’m absolutely rubbish at it, I never want to stop salsa dancing.

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Hi, I’m in a Waterfall

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Another great couple of weekends here in Mexico, I escaped cold and rainy Guadalajara and headed to the beach.  The first weekend I went to Sayulita which is my new favourite place in the entire world! Unfortunately my camera has broken and won’t let me upload any photos but as soon as I buy a new cable for it I’ll be posting, because it really is beautiful.  It has this really cool, surfer/hippie vibe, so it’s pretty much my spirit home.  I can imagine I’ll be spending a lot of weekends there over the next 5 months!

Last weekend I went on another trip organised by InterCUCSH, the society for exchange students at University of Guadalajara.  We went to Puerto Vallarta, another beach town a few hours away.  I don’t like it as much as Sayulita but it was a really fun way to meet a lot of people, and we had a lovely time sunbathing, swimming in the sea, snorkeling, swimming in waterfalls (I dropped my super old brick phone in but it still works perfectly) and dancing all night.  We found a great little restaurant/shisha cafe situated in a loft with no chairs, just pillows all over the floor, with good music and pizza – heaven.  I’m stealing some photos from friends to post for the time being!

 

This weekend I’m just mooching around Guadalajara, feeling a bit sorry for myself because I can’t make it to Electric Daisy Carnaval, a music festival in Mexico City.  Instead, I’m planning to catch up on all the work I haven’t been doing whilst I was chilling at the beach, and getting back into the gym which I’ve well and truly neglected ever since I got back to Mexico after Christmas! Can you believe it’s nearly March already?! I know I say it every single month but the time really does go fast.

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Regreso a Guadalajara

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I’m back in Guadalajara after about 2 months off from everything – including blogging, whoops!  Although I had lots of ideas for Christmassy things, when the time came to it I just coudn’t be bothered to do anything, so instead I had some down time, just chilling out with my family, making a few trips up and down to Cardiff and readjusting to life in the UK.

I’m definitely getting used to changing up! I’ve been back in Mexico for a week but it feels like I’ve been back for much longer (but it will take longer still to get back into the swing of things at Uni!) It’s actually been a pretty hectic week – I had my first trip to a Mexican doctor (ended up spending the week in and out of the clinic) which turned out to be a lot simpler than I had thought, and the system here is very efficient!  It looks like there’s nothing seriously wrong so I can get back on track, and start going to classes properly next week.  I’ve chosen my modules for this term having a better idea of what I enjoy, so I’m excited to get stuck in! I’ll be studying History of the Mexican Revolution, Indigenous Culture, Teaching Spanish as a Second Language and a more general History of Mexico, as well as continuing with German.

Along the lines of changing up, it won’t be long before my housemates take off.  Two have already moved to Queretaro to be closer to family, and two out of the three remaining were only enrolled for one term, so they’ll be off home soon! I’ll definitely be sad to see them go and will miss the nights spent in “Fuente” drinking tequila and dancing to Mariachi.  But, I’ll soon be getting new housemates and hopefully making even more new friends.

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Now, as cliché as it is, I’m going to say it – I’m determined to make 2015 my year!  January has already gone SO fast, but I’ve made a start on a few resolutions – the usual one, to eat more healthily, is going pretty well.  Last term I was a bit apathetic when it came to cooking healthy meals for myself, but so far this year I haven’t eaten ANY pizza so that’s a start! Tonight I made a pretty good chickpea and mushroom chilli and I’ve recently discovered the wonder that is courgette “noodles” – honestly, better than pasta (although I’m definitely not jumping on the ‘no-carb’ bandwagon).  Finally, on the subject of health, I’ve signed up for a free taster session for a taekwondo class at a studio that also runs a yoga course – hopefully this yoga class will be more successful than the others I’ve tried.  And, once I get confirmation from the doctor, I can start training for the Great North Run half marathon in September.

It’s strange that in 6 short months my Mexican adventure will be over.  But I intend to make the most of every minute of those 6 months, see as much as I can of this amazing country and make as many friends as I can here, but also to work hard and write lots, because in 6 months I have to start thinking about being a proper grown up! But not just yet (:

Have faith & a burning desire to just keep on going no matter what happens  via: CUBICLE REFUGEE

Where to Begin!

Well, it’s been a while!  About a month, I think, but it’s been a busy one! In short, here’s what I’ve been up to:

1.  My lovely boyfriend came out to visit me for two weeks from mid-October.  We travelled to the coast and spent a few days at the beach at Puerto Vallarta, relaxing a bit, swimming in the sea…we also went horse riding through a forest and waded through some rivers up to a waterfall.  And, we lay in a hammock, made our own tortillas and ate the yummiest tacos!

2. From Puerto Vallarta we went to Nayarit for an evening of baby turtle rescuing! They were only a day old and so tiny!  It was a bit of a touristy thing, but really interesting and fun – the guide told us all about the rescue programme, how they search the beach every night for eggs and take them to the sanctuary to hatch, and as soon as they do they need to be helped back into the sea, which is what we did.

3. We went to the zoo and met a very friendly giraffe (:

4. Took a day trip to Tequila, enjoyed lots of free samples and bought plenty of souvenirs.

5. At the end of Josh’s two week stay was the Day of the Dead weekend.  This was one of the things I’d most looked forward to about coming to Mexico – it’s unlike anything you’d find anywhere else in the world.  I’ll write a full post about it soon (hopefully!) but in brief, we went to Tlaquepaque, the artesan district of Guadalajara, to see the altars and street stalls.

6. …And then the essays struck! Apparently, in Mexico it’s possible for the term to be cut two weeks short, meaning deadlines are brought forward and six weeks of work has to be done in a month.  It was pretty stressful when ALL my lecturers announced that we had 10 page essays to write, presentations to do and exams to revise for…but now I’ve got about half of it done, it looks like it’s going to be doable!

7. Finally, last weekend I went with some friends to Leon for the International Hot Air Balloon festival.  Despite the absolutely horrendous organisation of the company we went with, the festival itself was good and I got to take some cool photos, which was the main reason I wanted to go!

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So, that pretty much sums up why I haven’t had much time to blog (or write for the other websites I’ve got article ideas lined up for…oops) but in two weeks time I’ll be back home for Christmas, and back on track.  As well as some Mexico-themed posts that have been stored up in my head for the last few weeks, I’ll be writing a lot about my favourite time of year, Christmas!

Corona Capital 2014

I turned 21 on Monday! Even though I spent most of the 13th sleeping on an uncomfortable coach from Mexico City, I celebrated in the best way possible – in a muddy field in the pouring rain (in true festival style) listening to some of my favourite musicians.  On the surface, it might sound like my birthday was a blow-out – I went alone, got extremely wet, cold and muddy and spent a grand total of about 24 hours on a crowded coach over the course of the weekend, BUT: I’ll forever have the memory of going to a music festival in Mexico City for my 21st.  Being cramped together on a coach is a great way to meet people – I’m sure I’ve made friends for life this weekend.

I first heard about Corona Capital when I was at home in England and was thinking for a while that I might go, but probably won’t – I knew if I went I’d probably go alone and the thought of going all the way to Mexico City with no idea where abouts the festival was/how I’d get there/where I’d stay etc. all by myself scared me a bit, but as the time came closer I figured, I came to Mexico all by myself with no idea where to go/where I’d live, I could probably manage! But the main thought that pursuaded me was: there are already too many concerts that I didn’t go to and wish I had, how much would I regret it if I didn’t go? I’ll never get this chance again!  The exact same thought that convinced me to come to Mexico!

So I spent probably a bit too much money (but hey, it was my birthday present to myself) on a package including transport, a night in a hostel and the tickets to the festival.  It was a good buy! An unexpected perk was that the hostel was right in the centre of Mexico City, so we spent most of the day on Sunday there, not wanting to see any bands until the evening.  I’ll definitely be going back to the capital when I can spend a bit longer there; it’s a great city! We visited an art gallery (another of my favourite passtimes) which had an exhibition all about art that relates to/influenced the author Octavio Paz, who I happen to be studying in my literature module.  So, now that I’m back in Guadalajara I’m very inspired to read, write and do some art!