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

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Fitness: Bringing it back this September

I’m not unhealthy, but I am unfit.  I don’t dislike my body – quite the contrary, I love my body, it serves me well and I’m thankful, which is why at the moment I’m feeling determined to start treating it a little better, feeding it better food and doing a bit more exercise.  And, it can never be a bad thing to get a bit more sleep.

I’ve got a couple of aims which have been in the back of my mind for a while, and now (finally) feels about the right time to get started.  So, here goes.

  • Do a press up.  At least one.  Maybe even four or five.
  • Do the splits.  Yep, I believe I can do it with a bit of practice.
  • Run.  Last year, I semi-took up running and surprised myself with the results, but with the hectic summer (my excuse) I let it slip and I’m back to barely being able to run for 10 minutes on the treadmill.  I so badly want to be good at running but it’s going to take some serious hard work!

This is my team! :)

This is my team!

 I say I’m not unhealthy, but I do have a lot of unhealthy habits that I’d like to kick.  I eat a lot of sugar.  I spend a lot of time sitting, staring at a screen.  I don’t eat regular, balanced meals.  Here in Mexico, with an endless supply of fruit, vegetables and other healthy, nutritious food at the market, and a gym five minutes away from my house, I’ve got no excuse.

I have noticed that, without meaning to, because of the way food is sold, I’ve changed my diet in a way I’ve been wanting to: I’ve cut down a lot on meat and dairy products.  I just don’t like butchers’ shops! So, when I do cook for myself it tends to be vegetarian, and I also eat a LOT of fruit (probably too much), so it’s not that I’m not getting my 5 a day (or is it 7-10 a day now?) The problem I have is that I need to learn moderation: one piece of chocolate is not enough for me.  Nor is one tortilla.  Or a handful of nuts.  I will eat ALL THE ALMONDS.

Anyway, back to the point about fitness.  I came to Mexico to challenge myself, and finally getting fit seems like a very worthwhile challenge.  It won’t be any easier here than at home but, here, where I don’t know anyone and no one is judging me, I can go into the weight room, pick up the lightest weight and get to work.

I don’t want to be thinner.  I want to be stronger, more flexible, and more energetic.  I want to do it to make the most out of this year and if I can, I will.

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The Awkward Atheist

I’ve been looking for a while to join a decent yoga class, trying out a few but not having much success.  It all started when I came back to Uni after Easter having had conspiracy theories driven into my head for three weeks by my brother…and a totally new perspective on the mind (which I’ll probably write about another time).  Basically, I started wanting to do yoga again to see if I could find some sort of enlightenment or inner peace or something.  The classes I went to didn’t even touch on the spiritual side of it, so I was a bit disappointed.

Then, out of the blue, I thought I’d found the perfect solution on the notice board in Sainsbury’s.  It advertised a class run by the Hare Krishna movement, along with meditation, so I Googled it when I got home and found out that they were running a discussion the next night about “judgement, feeling judged and how we can use judgement in a spiritual and healthy way”.  I thought it sounded super-interesting and that perhaps I’d finally found someone who could teach me about greater consciousness and opening the mind.

I think I accidently joined a cult.

I went to the discussion and found that the other people there were really welcoming and friendly, we chatted for a while before the meeting started and I met the woman who runs the yoga and meditation classes, who was also running the discussion.  She immediately told me that yoga is so much more about the mind than the body, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  Then, we started the discussion.  At first it was great, it was open and interesting and quite informative, but then all of a sudden it became very, VERY focused on serving God, pleasing God, praying to God, being a devotee of God…And it got confusing.  I thought I understood the difference between “judgement” and “discrimination”, but I don’t think it’s what I thought it was.  It was made clear at the beginning of the talk that “judgement”, i.e., putting people into boxes, labelling them and having expectations of them, is bad and fundamentally untrue.  Okay, I thought.  But by the end of the talk, it had transpired that “discrimination” is good and a means of protecting ourselves, and we discriminate by seeing people as either: 1) God. 2) Devotees of God. 3) Receptive to the spiritual messages of God, or 4) Against God, a.k.a. Demons, a.k.a. Atheists.  

I’m an atheist, by the way.

After that point, I just didn’t understand what was going on.  Is categorising ALL people as one of four types NOT judging them/putting them in boxes/having unfounded expectations of them?  That seemed extremely closed-minded coming from someone who is supposedly enlightened.

The point of the entire discussion ended up being: To be enlightened, and to end the cycle of reincarnation, all you have to do is devote yourself to God.

At the end, she asked me what I thought and it was all very awkward.

I will be going back, though.  I’ve yet to try out the yoga class and I’m still quite hopeful for that, and maybe I’ll ask for a bit of an explanation on some of the things that didn’t make any sense.  I’ll probably also go to more of the discussions, even if I disagree with the ideas, they were certainly interesting.