Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's A Bugs Life

A few of the new teaching crew.
 I am now one of the veteran teachers at Heslington. It gives me good perspective when I meet and talk to all the new teachers and remember I had the same feelings of trepidation and excitement. I can certainly use both experiences as I move on to my next job in January, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

The new teachers are a mix of Americans, Canadians, Australians and Brits that mix in the the existing Canadians, Americans and a Welshman. They are the best group of the 3 that I have been a part of and a few are crazy energetic types. "Lets go hiking, Lets go camping" and other great ideas to spend time on the weekends.

My schedule is decent enough and I picked up an extra class in the morning. That gives me an extra 350 peso's a week to spend and will actually allow me to save a bit of money for the end of term, and by save money I mean about $300 for 4 months. I have 10 days off before I head back to Canada for Christmas and I want to hit up the Yucatan Peninsula before I leave Mexico. We shall see. My schedule is as follows:

9:00 - 10:00 Beginners 6 students
10:00 - 11:00 Pre-Intermediate 6 students
5:00 - 6:00 Fluency Workshop  7 students
6:00 - 7:00 Beginners 11 students
7:00 - 8:00 Pre Intermediate 8 students
8:00 - 9:00 Fluency Workshop 6 students

That is 44 shiny happy faces staring at me everyday. Ages range from 12 to 45 but most fall between 16 and 25 and every student in every class is polite and eager to learn but I am sure that will change a few months down the road once the "new car smell" comes off the class

Gorgeous mural tells the story of Mexico

My new housemates are Allan (55 from Canada), Daniel (40 from England), Lucy (22 from Australia), Jess (27 from England) and Scott (40 from the US). So far everyone is in lock step with each other about living and respecting boundaries but again lets give it some time. People who spend so much time living, working and socializing with each other are bound to start bugging the shit out of each other.

As a part of orientation there is a cultural walking tour of the town on the first weekend. The tour offers views of the Monastery, Cathedral, The Central Street Market, The Town Hall (above) and a wonderful historical and factual narrative of both Tehuacan and Mexico. It finished with a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants in the town square. I get so wrapped up in my routine sometimes that I forget about how busy and interesting Tehuacan can be.

Now we return to the market where I came face to face with the very real world of Mexico.Worms, crickets and grasshoppers all spiced up with chili and ready for consumption. A few of my students told me afterwards that you always choose the grasshoppers. Thankfully, well I guess thankfully I chose the worms. Spicy, crunch and full of protein I was told so I had at it. It did take all my courage to put the little bugger on my tongue and when I did I just closed my eyes and hoped that I did not puke right then and there

It was delicious. Yes that is exactly what I said. It was delicious. So much so that I bought a small bag of them and munched on them for the rest of the tour. Each one was 5 pesos or about .14C so it really was the cheapest lunch I have had in my 5 off and on years in Latin America. I will not eat a tomato at home because they gross me out, but spiced bugs in Mexico, no problem at all. This is definitely not Taco Bell.

The rest of the first week here I did a movie and music swap with a few other teachers, found a new laundry service that was cheaper and better than the old one. 11 pesos for a kilo of clothes which are washed, dried and folded nicely into a reusable plastic bag.

I find myself eating more fruit and veggies so its off to the market a few times a week where for 50 pesos ($3 Canadian) I can bring home 3 decent sized bags of food that lasts a week. Toss in a trip to the butcher for 30 pesos of chicken ($2) and a bit of bread now and then from the bakery I am eating for about $6 - $8 a week, and eating very well. This semester there will be no skittles, snickers, chips, fresca or other sugar laden snack food. So far so good.

So that is it. I am back until December 14th after which I will have 10 days more to discover Mexico. I have to choose between the Yucatan (Cancun, Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, Tulum) and the Pacific Coast  (Zihuatanejo and Ixapa, Cabo San Lucas) before heading back to Canada for Christmas. In my bumbling I forgot to pack anything close to a warm sweater or jacket for the return back. That should create a "Cool Runnings" moment for me.

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