After the final test of a week of exams (their trimester exams I believe), classes ended at 11 and the rest of the school day was spent with celebrations-- September 15th is the day of independence for México. This consisted of honoring the flag, a VIVA MÉXICO yell and a fair-like set up of Mexican food for sale and made by 5th semester students (excluding myself). This was a fun time to hang out with friends- and I even got married…
After a tearing down the stands and dancing a tad- I went home to prepare for La Cabalgata.
For a word that can be translated into either ¨parade¨ or ¨ride¨ both descriptions held true last Friday night- la cabalgata was a parade and there were lots of horses. I participated in the parade with Rotary. Dressed as the typical China Poblana-- I along with Giulia, Isadora and Meg (from Ohio)- marched with our flags through the Zócalo trying to avoid the massive amounts of horse poop. I personally felt strange carrying the USA flag during a celebration of Méxican culture and independence. However it is also a tradition for the exchange students to parade with their flags, so it is what it is.
When the parade had finished I changed out of the heavy dress and went with some friends- Ruth and José Luis- back to the Zócalo. As it typically goes- they asked me if I knew what something was (even now I can´t remember the name) and I said no. It ended up being a state-fair-like ¨scam” game-- but I won bubbles! After, we walked through the crowds of people to get some chalupas and horchata. Later I practiced my cumbia skills.
I already know that dancing is going to be something I will miss about México. I am still not that good, however, the sheer act of dancing with someone to a rhythmic tune is a dream.
Saturday we took a lazy morning, then made our way to Libres for the night and Sunday. If the weekend before I suffered from heat in Veracrúz- in Libres I was reminded of the cold. I felt silly-but also kinda normal- walking around in my Chacos while wearing a borrowed parka coat. In my amazing style my family and I made our way to downtown.
We first found a group of people grouped around a cock-fighting ring- it´s not illegal here. I was definitely an interesting experience- one I had read about several times. The fight was quick and less bloody than I expected. Even if I did not get grossed out it will not be something I actively seek out in the future.
The main event of September 15th is ¨el grito¨-- literally the yell. So in the dark and cold we walked, ate tacos-potato enchiladas for me- and waited for the ceremony to commence. El grito in Libres was a little underwhelming- without much passion and the history incorrectly retold according to my Dad.
Sunday morning we got up, I borrowed a wonderfully comfortable poncho and we drove down to the ruins of Cantona.
Cantona is considered one of the most urbanized prehistoric site-- safe to say it's pretty big. I absolutely loved walking around, up and down, all the pyramids and ¨roads¨ snaked through the city. There was such a feeling of peace and calm going out- far from the currently civilized world- reaching the top of a pyramid to see the city laid out in front of me, and thinking of the lives of people thousands of years before, at least trying to imagine them.
Driving home, we stopped for pulque- and then it was time to make some food!
Chiles en nogada are one of the most typical Pueblan dishes- and Sunday I got to help my tias and abuela make some. These chiles are filled with a shredded meat, fruit and spices, fried in an egg white and flour batter, bathed in a walnut sauce (nogada), and topped with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. For me they were filled with cheese and mushroom.
In my personal opinion kitchens are the best place in any house and as much time as you can spend in them- the better. At first I just observed--which is the best way to learn-- and if I saw a simple task I could easily help with, I did it. After everyone was served- I stepped up to help with the battering and frying of the chiles which was fun.
I continue to see one of the biggest differences is the amount of time given to relaxing- usually centered around food and family. That night we sat around for hours chatting and yes, dancing!
School keeps going. I started staying for volleyball practices. Anything else? Not at the moment I suppose.
see you soooon
What was left out...
Hello, I’m Isabel Hogg, a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student for the 2018-2019 school year. Story 18 is a documentation of my year living in Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico.
Youth Exchange “Slang”
Outbound: A person departing a country, similar to emigrant
“I am an outbound from District 5970”
Inbound: A person coming to a country, similar to immigrant
“I am an inbound to District 4185”
District: Divisions of countries/states that organizes Rotary clubs across the world
Rotex: An Exchange student who has already completed their exchange term
RYE: Rotary Youth Exchange