Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Veracruz - Tues., 10/27 '09

Aside from the usual schedule of morning class, field trip and afternoon class, and the steady gains I'm making in my Spanish, there's not much to report.
Today's outing was to what's called the city museum. The building itself and a large statue at the head of the exhibit hall are dedicated to and named for Benito Juarez, the Zapotec Amerindian who served five terms as president from 1858 til 1872. The contents of the building were a great disappointment for what's supposedly a showcase of all that's great and historical about this city. There were only a few more statues of statesmen, a small exhibit of photos documenting the fall of the Berlin Wall, and a sampling of paintings by Veracruzano painter, Carlos Lozano.

This morning two of our maestras showed up for work not feeling well. One said she had alergies; the other—with a sore throat—thinks she just got a chill from her other job, as a greeter at Costco, standing directly under the constant cold draft of the air door. The latter, Anna, is my teacher in the mornings, so I'm trying to tactfully (making it look facetious) keep my distance and avoid touching things she tries to hand me. (Turns out everyone was fine.)

Again today I found chances to converse with the charlantes and, after PM class, with a fisherman I met along the seawall just down the block. We chatted— along with a few other passers- by for a few minutes about fishing before it came out that he'd lived all over the U.S. for almost 20 years while working for Ringling Bros. & Barnam & Bailey Circus. When the other guys left, my new friend asked me, despite his not looking the least bit disheveled, if I had any extra clothes I could give him. I explained that I'd had to pack very light, but that I'd see if I could find something for him. Maybe I'll buy something for him— small price to pay for making a new friend, no?

Tonight, beginning to dread eating dinner alone again, I asked fellow student Mike (Miguel) if he had plans for dinner. He told me he did, but, with no hint of an invitation, I figured he'd rather be alone. So I headed down our street a couple of blocks to Restaurant Suriana, which comes highly recommended by our hosts. On the way, I ran into Christine, a student I hadn't yet met because she'd been in the capital city, Xalapa, a few hours northwest of here, doing research on ancient women. She was nice enough to turn around and chat with me (in English) as I ate (at the same place she'd just left). Anyway, the conversation was good and the pechuga empanizada (pounded, breaded chicken breast) was excellent.

A special hello to you, Cris and all our students. I hope you are all feeling well and continuing to work hard in class. I wanted to post this message tonight (Tuesday) because I know class begins at 5:00 PM tomorrow, and I probably won't be able to post tomorrow's report before then.
Anyway, I hope you're enjoying my reports and that they're giving you a chance to practice your growing skills in reading and speaking (that is, if you ask Cris and me lots of questions!!)
Isn't it nice to know that your teacher volunteer is now also a student?
I miss you guys and am sorry I can't be in class with you tomorrow!! Take care until I see you all again. Best wishes to all -- Jeff

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