Wednesday, June 24, 2009

La vida

I don't pay much attention to my watch these days. There are certain things that happen at appointed times: devotions at 7am, breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 12:30, church at 5 or 6, but for most of the morning and most of the afternoon, time doesn't matter. It is a welcome sigh of relief after a lot of rushing around at home. Be at this school at this time, and on the other side of the city in an hour. Scurrying from a sub job to school, or a sub job to a nanny job, and carrying extra clothes and food in my car and in my bags. Leaving the house at 7am and getting home at 10pm or later on busy days. Even at subbing it's having to be getting the students ready for lunch at 11:13am or making sure the room is cleaned up by 2:22pm. Life is slower here, not because it's Mexico, because surely the students and workers and businesses here operate on a certain time schedule, but because our work gets done when it gets done. No need for a rush. Not having to be at a certain place by a certain time. Watches are useful, but they do not run our lives.

I went out to a work site with Dad yesterday morning and this morning. This actually isn't usual for me, because I'm not needed, but Dad needed some extra hands, especially yesterday. I spent a couple of hours shoveling gravel into the cement mixer and woke up incredibly sore this morning. Yesterday the sun didn't come out all morning, and I was fine, but this morning I didn't put on sunscreen and I'm feeling the effects right about now.

We were laying the foundation and floor for a house being built not far up in the hills, but far enough that it felt like a little drive. This is actually only about a mile from the freeway, and as all roads off the freeway here are dirt and rocks, it was bumpy and feeling a little treacherous.

So we head up off the highway, into the neighborhood:
And we pass by a school that was built to provide schooling for Oaxacan children (complete with ocean view):
And after we've reached the top of a small hill, we go back down into a little tiny valley in front of the big hill:
And we reach the lot where we're building the house. In the above picture, you can see the existing house which is mostly made of plywood and tarps and other various building materials.

Yesterday arrived a group of five guys from California, so they helped out this morning, pouring the floor for this house, and we got it done really quickly.

And all I can think of is my Educational Psychology class and how our minds categorize information. I thought about how my mind has no categorized everything I've learned over the past couple of days: where this house is, who lives here, how the cement mixing process goes, the formula (2 1/2 buckets of water + one bag cement + shovels of gravel until it looks good). How Colores, our construction man, moves and shapes the floor, how he moves the 2x4 over the entire floor to smooth it out, and how he uses a stamper to push the rocks to the bottom and bring the water to the top. And the finishing touch of the smoother.

Among other things, I tried to make a new dish. My friend Nina made it for a church potluck. Our theme was international food, and she brought an Indian dish called Chicken Saag. I think this was the most intensive cooking experience I've ever had. Mom helped with the whole thing, and it was pretty delicious.

Our "compound" is right next to a small baseball stadium and Sunday we were "blessed" with a concert that started at 9pm and went until 2:30am. Needless to say we were tired on Monday. I have some video that I might try to post later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home home home

Earlier this month Mom and I made a trip to the Southern part of Oregon to visit my sister-in-law and nieces. My brother is unfortunately stationed in Idaho, and so he missed out on our visit. We had a fun couple of days together. We took some fun and silly pictures using the PhotoBooth feature on my Mac.
One fun part of our visit was watching the poppies together. These poppies are right outside of their house and we happened to be coming home one day (or leaving?) and someone noticed that one poppy was about to pop! It had already lost half of its outer shell and was on its way to blooming. As we stood and watched, the bottom half of the shell dropped off. It was pretty exciting and the girls were happy.

One poppy already in bloom, you can see how none others are blooming:
Then later on:

Mom and I left Southern Oregon and drove North, and took hwy 22 West from Salem, out to the coast. I've never been this way before, and although it was a little slow-going due to the windy roads, it was beautiful and a nice scenic tour through the Oregon countryside.

And you Oregonians know a drive through Tillamook needs a stop at the factory. Does this picture make you hungry?
We left last Friday for Mexico. We stopped once in Madera, California and stayed the night, then drove to San Diego, met up with my dad, and stayed the night again. Sunday we headed in to Ensenada Sunday at lunch time where met Stephanie at her house. Stephanie is one of my best friends from college and she's been teaching in Ensenada for the past year. Mom, Dad, and Heidi, who had driven with us, took off for home, and I stayed two nights in Ensenada.

Stephanie and I spent some time down at the boardwalk in Ensenada, and visited a friends' cafe and saw a movie there. We ran around town, basically. Monday I went to Stephanie to the school and sat through her classes. The kids are incredibly cute and I'm exciting about teaching there next year. I got to meet the directors and other staff at the school, which was nice. Stephanie's third graders were super excited to meet me and had prepared questions beforehand to ask me. So, I got to stand up in front of the class and answer questions about my siblings, my favorite color, where I live, etc.

Monday after school Kelly, who is Stephanie's roommate and also teaches at the school, and her boyfriend Gilberto, took us to an empanada place to eat, and to get juices from the place down the street. Later on Stephanie, Kelly, and I went to a cool coffee place with an upper balcony under a tree. Basically we just ate the whole time I was there.

So... this is the only decent picture, wherein Kelly is doing something funny with her face, and Gilberto is obviously trying to tell us something.
View from the school:
View from the hill above Stephanie's house:
Gilberto gave Kelly a baby duck. Yeah. He gave her a baby duck. You read that right.
Tuesday morning I left Ensenada for the drive South. The drive home. Unfortunately there was a bit of a detour that made me question my decision to bring my car to Mexico. It wasn't too long, but it did take a while, since the terrain was so rough.
But, I drove home, through these wonderful mountains, and my car survived, and I arrived "home". Home, home, home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I slept horribly last night, due to my allergies (hay fever). They seem especially bad this year. I don't remember being kept awake at night last year. This is just one more tiny reason why I'm ready to leave on Friday for Mexico. They don't have pollens in Mexico! :) At least, I've never experienced allergies in MY part of Mexico.

I leave on Friday, the 12th, and I'm trying to tie up all loose ends here. I've made multiple trips to the Salvation Army, to my friends' place to store things, and more than a handful of trips to the garbage and recycling bins outside my house. I've put plenty of things in storage, but said goodbye to my comfortable reading chair (fairly ugly, but so comfy!), our family's old record player, and plenty of old clothes. I have to pat myself on the back for being able to fit all of my clothes in two suitcases. My room is currently very scattered looking and it's taking just about all of my gumption to try and sort it out. Small pieces here and there are the worst thing about moving.

I had planned to spend the summer helping out mom and dad, and all-around hanging around in Vicente, but I also signed a teaching contract for next school year in Ensenada. My job starts in August, and I'll be teaching at a private bilingual school, 6th, 7th, and possibly eighth grade. Yes, I will teach in English. Most people assume that I can speak fairly good Spanish, but I can't, and so any attempt for me to teach in Spanish would be fairly chaotic.

Mom and I had a good trip to Klamath Falls to visit Rinda, Hannah, and Dana. We drove from there up to Long Beach, WA, to visit my cousins. On our trip we decided to take an unfamiliar road, hwy 22 out west of Salem, to the coast, and headed North. Hwy 22 was gorgeous and I'm glad we decided to take the detour. It was like tour de Oregon... one last rich, green hurrah before I live in the desert-y coastal towns of Baja California.