When we signed up for the Peace Corps, I imagined our life to be peaceful with a twinge of boring. I had already picked out my obligatory instrument of choice to master during my 27 months of isolation – it was the harmonica, btw! I planned to delve into innumerable novels to keep me sane. I had made peace with the lack of internet, friends, and basically any remnants of my life stateside.
Well, all of my assumptions turned out to be completely false. We’re SO busy; we’re either in salsa class three times a week, Skyping with family back home, or out climbing some mountain or rock with our new friends. There is no time for playing the harmonica, let alone keeping up with the blog for goodness’ sake! We decided that if nothing else, we would keep posting these lessons learned blogs as a way of documenting our time in Mexico. So at least you can rest assured you’ll at minimum be getting monthly (ish) updates from us. Without further ado, here they are!
- Situations change the vocabulary you’re using and learning. This month, I learned plenty of vocabulary related to the body due to my extended time at physical therapy. Neal, on the other hand, has been working intensely with the department of environmental impacts where he has been using and learning technical environmental words. Thankfully, we continuously learn from each other as well!
- Fermentation is fun! And by fun, I mean SO fun. We started on this kick after realizing all the different benefits of consuming pro-biotics found in fermented food. Right now, we have three different food projects. First, we are brewing kombucha which is absolutely the hippie drink that it sounds like. We’re also producing sourdough, gluten free at the moment but we may start introducing whole-wheat to the starter due to studies and speculation that the gluten is actually consumed in the fermenting process. Third house project would be pickled vegetables, which are delicious and nutritious.
- Mexican birthdays most always involve cake in your face – and in my case, up the nose too! It starts out so innocent with a song called Las Mañanitas – then you blow out the candles and people are already chanting Mor-di-ta, Mor-di-ta! (little bite). As you go in for your bite of cake, hands gather behind your head to shove the cake in your face. I do believe my three closest amigas here are responsible for this year’s round. Watch out chicas, I’m comin’ for ya!
- Computer viruses in Mexico are rather vicious. This month, both Neal and I got viruses on our work computers. The worst part is that the symptoms were so subtle that we didn’t even notice the virus for weeks! My symptom was that my accent key produced two accents with one tap of the key; it turned out to be a tracing malware and I had to change all of my passwords. Neal’s symptom was that it “erased” all of the contents of his iPod while it was connected to the computer and thought it was a problem with his work computer. When he connected it to our home computer to check it, it spread to ours at home.
- Puebla and Cholula are full of entertainment that don’t require arm movement. Having a bum arm when you’re an active person is pretty rough on the soul, no doubt. Thankfully we put a positive spin on the whole situation by seeing plays and trying out new restaurants.
- The rainy season here in Cholula earns its name. I mean, it REALLY rains here. Thunder, lightning, the whole bit. Plus, our street floods on heavy rain – so you better hope you’re home when it hits. One time on a heavy rain, our neighbor’s car was parked in front of our house and the whole vehicle got flooded. That rio which is normally our street was about a foot high.
- Always buy the cheapest seats at a theater. As mentioned above, we got to visit the theater this month. Being typical Americans, we bought the cheapest tickets we could find to see STOMP. Upon arrival, the theater notified us that no other tickets were sold in the upper balcony and it would not be open for this show. They marched us down to the ticket counter and they gave us complementary orchestra seats instead. We’re volunteers, so of course we took them!
Our life really does revolve around food. We’ve got a routine down for making healthy comida for the week, making breakfast smoothies with homemade granola, and locked down our favorite store to buy the best natural yogurt in town (it’s Santa Clara, by the way!). We’re also perfecting a smoothie that tastes just like pumpkin pie with a local fruit called mamey, and figuring out how to get to our Italian friend’s pizza place more often.
That’s all for now. Until next time!