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Friday, September 10, 2010

One Year!!

Lake Chapala at sunset.

Uncle John and I grabbing some lunch at the lakeside.

Uncle John and I on a somewhat cloudier day.

At the edge of a jetty. See how it almost looks like
Santa Barbara coastline in the background...almost?

Oh wow. A year has gone by so fast. I can't believe that it was last September 8th, 2009, that I hopped on a plane to Mexico not having the least idea of what to expect or what lay in store for me. Furthermore, I'm aware that I haven't posted since March, and a lot has transpired since then, so I'll try to fill you in a little bit.

I would definitely consider myself more Mexican by now. Yes, I have the advantage of it being in my blood, but also, I now have the cultural experiences and lifestyle to accompany it. For one, as I'm sitting here typing away, I'm listening to Mexican music and thoroughly enjoying it. Now before you get too excited thinking I'm listening to a cacophony of trumpets, accordions, classical guitars, crashing cymbals, and operatic vocalists—I'm not. I've been introduced to really good contemporary music that breaks with the aforementioned tradition.

Considering myself more Mexican would also have to be things like
coming to expect tortillas at almost every meal,
generally understanding people and being understood in (Spanish) conversations,
exceeding the passenger limit of almost every vehicle I enter,
finally liking micheladas (beer with mixed with lime, salt, and other flavorings served on ice),
expecting lime and chile to accompany just about every meal,
having danced "banda" and liked it somewhat,
watching soccer games and actually caring about the outcome,
buying reading material in Spanish,
and having come to know dozens and dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I haven't done as much traveling as I would have liked, but I have gotten around a little bit. The pictures at the top of the entry are of Lake Chapala—Mexico’s biggest lake. It's only an hour’s drive from my town of Zapotlanejo. It apparently used to be a lot bigger, and stretch to near where the Guadalajara airport is, but it has shrunk a lot and been polluted; but remains beautiful. Earlier this year, an uncle (on my mom’s side) had been living at a town along the lakeside, and I took advantage of his presence and got out of Zapo on weekends to spend some time near a big body of water. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about being near an entity that’s so much bigger than yourself, and of being reminded how small we are. It may not be the ocean, but there’s just something about being in the presence of a large body of water that’s calming and reassuring for me. After having spent essentially my whole life in Santa Barbara, on the coast, I feel at home near and around water. It’s a part of me—I need it, and I miss it.

Jack & James on the cover of Voces.

Inside photo from the mag.

A couple friends and I formed "Jack & James" earlier this year as well 'cause we all wanted to get together and play some rock. We have a number of covers that we play, as well as our own material—some songs in English, some in Spanish. We've played around Zapotlanejo quite a bit, and are starting to look for other bars and places to play. (In the course of writing this blog entry the singer called me and told me we are playing at a big, whole-town-attending-event tomorrow. Um, ok.) In other news, we'll be releasing a demo shorty. It's been fun and who knows where it'll go--but I'll be keeping you posted!

My classes have been going well. I'm still working at the same English school—in October I'll complete a year of working there! They're looking to make me a part-time supervisor next month also; and, with more money, unfortunately, comes more responsibility. As regards to teaching, I now feel like I have a good command of most of the subjects I give, whereas before I had more doubts. I still of much to learn about grammar and language, so as I continue to teach I also continue to learn. I also feel (and can observe) that I've started giving the classes better—I've seen the students make progress and it's been rewarding.

A year is a lot longer than some people imagined I'd be (survive) here. I'm not sure what I imagined...I didn't and still don't have any time frame for when or where the next step will be. But, right now, I'm enjoying it, and that's all that any of us can do—enjoy to the fullest where we are and the people that are in our lives right now, because before we know it, they or us move away, or someone passes away, and things will never be the same as they once were. All we can enjoy is right now—the people that we're with and what it is we're doing. At least, that's how I see it.

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