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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February Photo Challenge

Surprise! It’s nearly February.

Anyone who knows me knows I am addicted to Pinterest (follow me here: https://www.pinterest.com/marycatherinex/), and something that pops up quite a lot that I always think I’m going to try are month-long photo challenges; just taking a photo every day for a month of the given theme.  So, if like me one of your resolutions for 2015 was to be more creative (and if like me, yours hasn’t really taken off yet) maybe this will help –  I decided to start by designing my own challenge.

photochallenge

(I’m certainly no graphic designer)

Have fun!

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(I made a signature as well)

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!

 

I ♥ Art

Over the summer I got a little bit back into painting, but I forgot to pack pencils/paints/brushes to bring with me to Mexico and, since realising I had no materials to work with, all I’ve wanted to do is art.  I really miss 6th form, spending hours in the studio with some close friends working on sketchbooks and huge canvasses.  Although at the time, I often resented having to do so much coursework which would inevitably be criticised for reasons I didn’t understand, I seriously miss being given time to dedicate to art, having the materials all there for me, being inspired by my classmates and having a specification to build on; I even miss the input of my teachers.  A lot.

They introduced me to some great artists (at the time I hated having to do artist studies, but now I miss that, too!) There are a few who even now make me really want to paint.  My favourite of all time, working in my favourite style, is Leonid Afremov.

 

   

Since doing a project on impasto (thick paint) using only one layer feels like I may as well not be painting at all.  Afremov doesn’t use brushes, only palette knives, and although I quite like my brushes, I like the freedom that comes with not having to be too precise, the emphasis on colour and texture as well as the subject matter – to me it’s more expressive and a lot more fun.  That said, I like detail, and he produces that, too.

I just found out today whilst writing this post that Afremov is currently living in Mexico – I will definitely visit his studio and probably spend an unreasonable amount of money on his paintings!

I haven’t done one since sixth form, but I like portraits.  I don’t think I’m very good at them (I was alright when I was doing them all the time – maybe I can get up to speed again) and I’ve never done one in thick paint.  Time to experiment (:

The artist who made me want to do portraits is David Hancock.  It took me forever to remember his name when I was thinking about this post and I’m so glad I did.  I’d like to meet this guy.  He’s based in Manchester so perhaps it’s a possibility.  I learned through studying his work that he’s a Bright Eyes fan as well as an amazing artist so I feel some sort of affiliation with him (we’re few and far between!) But yes, mostly his art.  He paints people I can relate to, especially when I was younger, his style is overall one I can connect with.

Amanda Monsters of the new wave (Anne) photo

I also miss life drawing.  Being at school made it easy, but now that I’ve left I’ve got more ideas about how to draw and paint figures, but no one to draw!

Finally, photoshop.  I miss photoshop.  Not for making photos look better, but for making them look so different that they are works of art in themselves (another thing I firmly disagreed with in school and now want to dedicate entire sketchbooks to).