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Thursday, September 8, 2011

1 + 1 = Two

Holy guacamole. It’s been one year since my last post, and two years to the day that I’ve been in Mexico. Can you believe it? I hardly can.

Well, let’s jump into it. I’ll try and follow some kind of chronological order for the past year.

One of the several graduations of the past year.

Well, in my last post (a year ago) I said that the school I worked for was going to make me a supervisor or something. As it turned out, a little while after that post, they offered me the position of the general academic supervisor of the five schools they run in different parts of the state (Jalisco). After some contemplation, I accepted the promotion and began in January of this year.

I have learned much about the administrative side of running things at a school, and the various problems and successes one encounters in this line of work. What my job now entails is being in touch with the different schools’ supervisors regarding the various comings and goings at each school; overseeing their graduations; implementing new, company-wide policies and practices to make the services more efficient; visiting each school with some regularity to talk with students about the service and possibly give a class or two; completely redesigning the four-level course curriculum all the schools use; creating a teacher's training manual for how to teach the classes that we offer; continuing to teach class in addition to the above mentioned responsibilities. Needless to say, it keeps me busy. I’m happy doing it, and thankful for how I’ve grown personally and professionally.

Some coworkers. I'm kind of being squished in this one.


In the last post, I talked about having formed a rock group—“Jack & James”—with some of my friends. Beginning around February or March this year we started playing gigs around Guadalajara, the second-biggest city in the country, and only a half hour away from my town. We played at various bars and events around the city, thanks to friends in other bands who were helping us gain publicity. In June, we even played in a “battle of the bands” against a collective total of around 20 or so other bands. We got to the final round, but did not place; however, it was a good experience, and we got in touch with other bands for future events. In July we did a mini-tour, playing further north in the state (Jalisco), in addition to almost having in a show in neighboring Zacatecas, but just before we got on stage, it started raining so we couldn’t play. (The event was outdoors.)

Jack & James at the battle of the bands.

A few weeks ago I left the band due to reasons of needing more time for myself. As you probably gathered from my blurb on my job, my work alone keeps me pretty busy. With the addition of Jack & James consuming more and more of my time, it just proved to be too much for me. I’ve gotten sick a lot recently and even lost a few pounds as a result of not having enough time to take care of myself properly. I will say playing in Jack & James was a great experience, and unlike anything I’ve done before musically; I now have many good memories that I’ll cherish of the year and a half spent with them. (They continue to play, as they have already found another guitar player.)

I love that shirt. I think it makes an appearance in
just about every blog entry.

Zip-lining for the first time was fun.

I guess I should also mention a little about my Spanish. I would consider myself fluent, but not bilingual. For me, “bilingual” entails the same level of proficiency of both languages, which I do not have; whereas “fluent” implies an ability to speak…uh…fluently. I guess a very Mexican bit of evidence for this is my ability to use swear words and albur.

Albur is any type of comment that can be interpreted two ways: one way, innocently, and the second way, well…scandalously. Example: chorizo is a type of Mexican sausage (you can already imagine where this is going). So, being innocent and unaware of the second connotation of the word, I was asked very frequently when I first got here, “Chris, do you like chorizo?” And unwittingly I’d respond, “Yeah, it’s really tasty!” ignorantly thinking I was only talking about food, and not the male member. You can imagine the reaction of the people who asked. Well, for better or worse, it suffices to say that it’s no longer so easy to take advantage of me with albur, and I’ve actually made it my mission to help out any newcomers so they don’t find themselves in the same situation. I view it as a type of foreign aid.'s all so clear now.

Dad & Sons, Lake Chapala.

My mom, Mark, and a small fraction of my family.

My parents and my brother came to visit me last October, which was nice—a little slice of my other home for a little bit. Speaking of my other home, I’m headed back to Santa Barbara for a couple of weeks at the beginning of November! I look forward to seeing any of you who will be around then!

That wraps it up for this entry. I intend to post another entry in a few weeks...but we'll see how that timeframe pans out!

I'll leave you with this saying: ¡Portense mal, pero cuidense bien! ("Go on and misbehave, just take care of yourselves!")