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.

40 Vegetarian Days

Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy. – Pope Francis

 

I’m not religious and I don’t normally observe lent (and when I do, I usually cave within a week) but this year I’m doing something which I’ve been wanting to do anyway, so hopefully I’ll see it through to the end (and beyond).  Even though it’s possible to make a lifestyle change whenever you feel like it, I quite like the idea of starting at a designated time, especially since lent is seen as a time for renewal.  The first benefit I’ve noticed is that my housemate and my mum are both doing the same thing at the same time, so it won’t only be something for me personally but it will be something to share with them.  Since it’s meat that we’re giving up, I’m really looking forward to cooking and eating together, trying out new recipes and finding and recommending things we like.

I’m not planning to be permanently vegetarian, but even after lent finishes I hope to cut down substantially on meat and animal products.  It will be challenging, I do eat meat almost every day but I think the hardest part will be consistently cooking interesting, varied and satisfying meals (especially ones that will keep my non-veggie boyfriend happy), but I just can’t see myself missing meat all that much and dying for a bacon cheese burger by the time lent is up.

It’s not only the horrific things that go on in the meat and dairy industry that push me towards vegetarianism – it’s partly that, but I also believe it is a healthy choice as well as an ethical one.  On top of that, I can’t help but find vegetarian food irresistible.  Going into a butcher’s shop doesn’t exactly tempt you to buy, but seeing fresh, colourful fruit and vegetables on a market stall?  If only there was more room in my fridge.