Tuesday, February 10, 2009

¡Hola! Me llamo Christina y soy de Estados Unidos

So, I'm not going to even attempt to catch up in any meaningful way from the last time I posted here (residency interviews: done; NaNoWriMo: epic fail, but I'm okay with that; knitted: two sweaters, a shawl, most of a pair of socks; holidays: amazing; current educational state: ready to graduate; wedding: mostly planned). However, I do want to start posting again, in order to chronicle this next month.

I'm currently in Guanajuato, Mexico, studying Spanish with my friend Kristen (from med school) at Escuela Mexicana. We arrived on Sunday, and have already gotten a feel for the city. There are about 150,000 residents, and the city is full of plazas, churches and open-air restaurants. There's actually no car traffic in the historic center of the city; instead, all car traffic is diverted to underground tunnels that run beneath the city.

Beneath those tunnels, our tour guide told us yesterday, are drainage tunnels, as Guanajuato is built in a valley. The surrounding homes and businesses tower over the central city, which is gorgeous, but apparently the city had quite the problems with flooding until around the 1920s, when the drainage tunnels were constructed.

But so far we have mostly seen our hostel (Casa Mexicana) and the school. The school is a large building off a small side street open to pedestrian travel only, and there are several stories of classrooms. It's really a beautiful building - here's the foyer:

Just off to the right of the foyer is a large room with tables, chairs and (all importantly) wireless internet access; this will be where most of my posts are made from.

The best part of the school, however, is the roof:

The buildings here are neither heated nor cooled, but constructed to hold heat in winter and keep cool in summer. They are certainly good at keeping cool, at least, and this morning I very much appreciated being able to duck up onto the roof between classes to warm up in the sun!

We're staying at a hostel run by the school, so all the people staying there are also taking classes. The women who run the hostel are very lovely, but they speak no English, and, between the two of us, Kristen and I speak very little Spanish, so we've been mostly miming our interactions. It's been working out so far.

Our room is actually very lovely (if also a bit chilly):
We have a beautiful window overlooking the interior courtyard of the hostel:

And our bathroom, while spartan with regards to light fixtures, is large and equipped with running water that is (so far) consistently warm, so overall, I'm very happy with our accommodations. As for classes, I've already learned the alphabet, how to order in a restaurant, some words for food, some regular verbs and how to tell time, so we're keeping pretty busy "academically." And speaking of classes, I do have some tarea to complete tonight, so I will just say ¡buenas noches y hasta manana!

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