After spending my first weekend here in Puebla, the initial stress of this adventure is already beginning to subside. I spent my Saturday evening with my host sister Geli and her boyfriend and his brother. They took me to a vegetarian restaurant where I tried many different traditional Mexican vegetable dishes and afterwards they showed me around downtown Puebla. We even went on a short tour of the government building which lives up to it’s name “El Palacio del Gobierno.” It is an ancient stone building with elaborate carvings and paintings covering all of the ceilings. I could hardly walk while trying to take in the architectural beauty above me. Aside from the obvious benefits of learning my way around the city, this outing presented an amazing opportunity for improving my floundering Spanish skills! Geli’s boyfriend Aaron explained to me that they would like to practice their English as well as help me with my Spanish, so while I spoke in only Spanish they responded to me in only English. How much better I felt being unsure of what I was saying while they were unsure of what they were saying.
Today I had my first experience with a centrocomercial (mall) in Mexico. My host mother and I ventured into a Spanish speaking version of Macy’s for a wedding gift. Shockingly, the mall was exactly the same as an American mall even selling most of the same brands most of which weren’t even translated into English! I was surprised, as well as comforted by the sights of Levi’s, and Converse.
After this adventure and a brief rest, my host parents and I drove to Chalula for dinner. Chalula is a pyramid, in the city of Puebla that is topped by a wonderfully elaborate church. As we drove my host father explained to me that each of the seven layers of the pyramid represent a different ruling empire. When an empire conquered the currently ruling empire they destroyed the top of the existing pyramid and built their own on top. This continued until the Spanish came and topped the structure with the church that stands there today. We climbed to the top, where I learned even more about the ruins and pyramid as well as the different parts of Puebla that can be seen from the very highest viewing points.
It was a beautiful night, and a perfect way to end my first weekend of my new life. Tomorrow begins my orientation at UPAEP, and my life as a Mexican student!