Friday, October 1, 2010

What did you learn in school today, honey?

Yesterday in my psiciología medica class, something truly blogworthy happened. Let me detail it below for your reading pleasure.

We (me, Alexxis, Kelsey, and Erica) get to class to discover we are watching a movie. At first thought, we were ecstatic, because we didn't have to listen to 'ole Yolanda blabber on about the spiritual world and the collective unconscious (whatever the hell that means) for an hour and a half (or hour and fifteen minutes, we're still not sure exactly how long the class is- we obviously pay lots of attention). But then, we realize the movie is about a topic we have discussed once before- the ability of water to retain information: to hear words, to understand thoughts, to read, and to listen to music. During this movie, we learned that water from happy, peaceful places (like mountain springs) has "pretty" crystals when it is frozen. Water from the tap has "ugly" formations. These whackos have literally made a SCIENCE of this, and they've spent years and thousands of dollars developing it. Part of their extremely scientific method includes:

-tapping the bottom of the vile of water to "activate" it.
-freezing the water, and then looking at it through a microscope. Surprisingly, only one out of about fifty samples "reveals its true nature". Hmmm... I wonder why? In real words, that means they only get good results 2% of the time, and in scientific terms, that means their results aren't valid.
-placing a little vial of water in front of a stereo system and blasting Mozart or Beethoven for it. Apparently, people, water can hear. And this also apparently proves that "music can readjust the distorted vibrations of history."

Another fascinating discovery they have made is that water can, in fact, read. Because when you tape a word like "love" to the outside of a water bottle, it reads it and reforms its structures into more aesthetically pleasing shapes. But words like "hate" anger the water and hurt its feelings, and it thus makes ugly shapes.

And here's the kicker- water can read our minds. The "scientists" had people stand in a circle around a tiny vile of water, holding hands, and think things like "I love you water, I appreciate you water, I will take care of you water." All of these positive messages send vibrations to the water, and... well, you know the rest.

After this extremely accurate piece of scientific research was over, our teacher stood up in front of the class, proclaiming that if our bodies are 80% water (or more! she was very keen on emphasizing that it could be more than 80%), then this obviously has HUGE significance in terms of the power of music therapy, the doctor-patient relationship, and positive thinking. Well let's just consider cancer cured, then! Obviously it's all about attitude. Because all of the happy water in your body is certainly going to kill that malignant melanoma.

When I began to question her about the methods of this "science", she looked at me as though I had just murdered her first-born son. How could anybody POSSIBLY question this giant crock of shit? They only have a 2% success rate? Shhh.... that part doesn't matter. It's a miracle.

Alexxis then asks the very logical, reasonable question of "why do the shapes of these water crystals have significance in our bodies?" Yolanda's response was a look of horror. Apparently Alexxis killed her second born son. She clarifies, asking "do we know how this can help us or how it relates to our health?" Yolanda's response? Some mumblings about vibrations. Right, riiight, the vibrations. It's all so clear now! Crystal clear, if you will.

My dear readers, this is what I am learning in Mexico. It will, in fact, be on the test. I have to memorize things like "through crystallization, water can act as a mirror, reflect human thought and show us what we don’t want to see" as well as "it can tell us what is important to our planet and our people, and it can catapult us forward as we begin to contemplate the future."

Today, as we were sitting in our Learning and Memory class (another psych class) and watching our teacher mimic someone by flailing her arms about wildly and kicking her legs frantically, I think Alexxis summed up our psychology education in Mexico quite nicely:

"Why are all Mexican psychologists absolutely insane?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mexico continues to rock.

Hello friends! So, so sorry I haven't updated my blog in about a million years. This semester has turned out to be a lot busier than I originally thought.

Well, I don't really know where to start. This week (since Wednesday morning) I've been with my host family, and it has been so incredible! I absolutely love this family, and I am so sad that I can't stay with them for the whole semester. Maybe I could start by describing the members of my host family.

Let's begin with Mama Lupita- She is so wonderful, kind, giving, and I swear on a stack of bibles she is trying to make me fat. Haha. Every thirty seconds or so, she offers me something to eat or drink. "Quieres huevito, hija?" "quieres jugito, hija?" Haha. I love her so much, and I feel like she really tries to include me in her family.

Paulo is my host brother, and he's great, too. He includes me in all of the things that he does, like when he goes out with his friends. I appreciate that he always makes me feel welcome. Also, I love how much he loves his family and is a gentleman. For example, he always opens the car door for his mother and kisses her goodbye on the cheek when he leaves to go somewhere. It's really cute, and I wish americans did that more. I feel like chivalry is often lost in the hustle and bustle of the American lifestyle.

Sami (short for Samia) is my host sister. She's so wonderful and friendly. Tonight, she took me out with her friends to "ming", which is a bar in Cholula. She is absolutely hilarious, and I've recently discovered that we have a lot in common. (Who would have thought that I could find so many things in common with a person who speaks an entirely different language!!) I am so glad I have her as a host sister!

Gabriel, the host dad, isn't here a whole lot. From the times I've gotten to spend with him, he seems nice and has a sarcastic sense of humor. He likes to tease me a lot, but I don't really get the jokes all the time because they're in spanish. Haha.

Well, that's all the members of my host family. It's so nice to have a sense of family in a world so far away from home!

So far mexico has been a really incredible experience. It's so different from the US in the sense that everyone is just so chill. The pace is much slower and more relaxed, and it seems like people take a little more time to enjoy life. However, this easygoing lifestyle can sometimes make the times when you need to get stuff done a little more difficult. I have also discovered several similarities between mexico and our lovely country. My favorite, and most recent, discovery is that girls all over the world LOVE to dance. Last night when I was out with Sami, a group of us girls ended up dancing in the classic "girl circle" with each other. I honestly felt right at home.

Speaking of last night, I have a hilarious story to share with my avid readers. Well, as you know I went out with Sami to Ming for the cumpleaños of her friend. At first it was a little difficult and awkward because I couldn't hear anyone and my spanish is always worse when I'm nervous. Then, out of nowhere, this random guy comes up and starts talking to me. He was very forward and flirty, but I thought, "what the hell, maybe I can at least practice my spanish." So I got two free drinks out of it (don't worry mom, I went with him to the bar to get them to make sure nothing was put in them) and about an hour's worth of good spanish-socializing practice. But then, (here's the good part) I think he decided that after an hour of small talk it was time to lay on the moves. So what does he do? He buys me a rose (there are rose vendors in all of the bars who walk around and sell flowers to people like this guy who want to lay it on smooth to their current pick-up) and tells me that my moon is beautiful. That's right people, you heard me. My "moon." I kind of stand there and stare at him for a couple of seconds, trying to figure out what in the WORLD he could mean by telling me I have a pretty moon. Then it hits me: the spanish word for "birthmark" is "lunar", which is very close to "luna", which means "moon." Apparently he was complementing the birthmark on my face... that's a first. After that I excused myself to the bathroom and tactfully avoided him for the remaining 15 minutes that we were there.

Anyways... what else is new? School this semester has been a little bit more work than I thought it would be . All of the students who came here last year said it would be a breeze, that I wouldn't have to do homework very much at all. I think they lied. Some of my classes have been very difficult, especially because they are in Spanish. Overall, however, they are not nearly as difficult as the classes at Notre Dame. I dread going back there and working my butt off every day without rest and getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night. Notre Dame academics are, to say the very least... competitive. But at the same time, I can't wait to get back to my family and friends in the states. I miss them all a lot.

I am currently sitting in Mama Lupita's kitchen as she makes me something delicious-smelling for lunch. She is also sending me home with food in little tupperwear containers. I don't usually like leftovers, but I can't WAIT to eat her delicious mexican food. I wholeheartedly believe that Mexican food is the best type of food in the world not counting everything my mom makes.

Alright, well I think I'm going to do some studying for my test tomorrow in Psychology and Gender. Sorry there are no pictures in this one; I am having trouble getting the picture uploader to work. I will write another post soon and include descriptions and pictures of our most recent adventures.

Paz y amor, mis amigos.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sooo this week has been CRAZY! And not to mention crazy fun! I spent a lot of the week doing schoolwork (reading this INSANELY boring book called "Walden 2"... not a bit of light reading, I can promise you that) and working on my anxiety project (which is still making me anxious). But then on Thursdaaaayyyy we went to a back to school bash kind of thing, hosted at a nearby club/venue. It turned out to be a really fun party! I went with my roommates, so it was my first roomie bonding experience, although only two could go. Here is a picture of us:

I also met up with my ND friends there, and we walked back together early because we all had class in the morning. Here are a few pics with them.

On Friday and Saturday night I stayed in and did some homework, because this Sunday (today!) we went to Tepotzlan (a city about two hours west of Puebla) to CLIMB A GIANT MOUNTAIN! It was one of the coolest experience of my life. There was a pyramid on top, but that was insignificant in comparison to the view at the top (and not to mention the 45 minutes we spent climbing straight up a mountain). Here are a few pictures of the climb.

This one was just a few minutes from the start. We all look pretty good here because we're not thinking we're going to die on our way up the mountain at this point.

A little more tired here. My legs were starting to shake. Look at Mitch's face. (side story- see those stairs on the right? I literally monkey crawled/ dragged myself up them just moments before)

Getting closer. This was a nifty little photo-op spot.

While this is a cool photo, we're not quite at the top yet! This view was just too good to pass up.

When we got to the top, we found these bizarre little raccoon-like creatures scavenging for food. They were cute! (but really smelly)

Here are some people sitting on top of the pyramid! Almost to the top!

And here, my friends, is a the incredible view from the top of this mountain. Thanks to the awesome camera my dad bought me, I can provide you with a great panorama of the whole thing! Cool, huh?

BUT WAIT! There's more!!!

On the way back down, we found a little stream. The others had already gone ahead, but Mitch, Regan, and I decided to follow it upstream to see where it led. Here is a pic of us starting to go up the unpaved mountain.

As we continued to ascend, we discovered a WATERFALL!! It was so incredible and beautiful and majestic. What a cool discovery!

Afterwords, we had lunch at a cute little place in the city and shopped around the mercado. Here is some interesting artwork I found on the walls of the city

It's all made out of beans and seeds. Sweet!

Well, it turned out to be a great day! Unfortunately, now I have to finish up some homework. :( Yuck. What an incredible end of the weekend though!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

schedules and fruit

The last few days have been so hectic! Just when I thought my schedule was all settled, the people in administration informed me that there had been a "miscommunication" between the med school and UDLAP. Therefore, my "psicología médica" class is actually on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which conflicted with my hospital rotation schedule. So I had to change all of my classes around and drop the "cognitive psychology" class that I was really excited about. BUMMER! But it finally all got worked out, and this is what my schedule looks like now

Monday/ Wednesday-
Hospital rotations in the morning
Psychology and Gender

Tuesday Thursday-
Medical psychology

Learning and Memory
Physics lab (done by 1:00!)

I am actually very pleased with my schedule now, even thought it was quite an inconvenience to change it. I have my first Learning and Memory class tomorrow (it's 2.5 hours long!), so I'll let you know how that goes!

In my Psicología medica class today, we were all assigned the dates for our projects. We each must give a 20-25 minute presentation (in spanish!) about a certain topic... mine is over anxiety. And... I'm going SECOND. AHH. I'm very nervous about talking in spanish for 20ish minutes. I will be doing lots of practice before I have to give the presentation on September 7th.

Physics was good today... I understood what the crazy russian teacher was saying. Oh, actually, we discovered he is Polish. He's a very odd bird. Every day, he wears this little tiny pocket thing that fastens onto his belt. It's maybe 1 in tall and 1.5 in wide, and that thing captures my attention every day. I am literally DYING to know what he keeps inside that pouch. I asked Libby yesterday what she thought he keeps in it. She thinks it's drugs. (sarcasm) I haven't decided what I think. I'll let you know when I come to a conclusion or actually find out.

I've decided that I really like Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have class from 10-1, and then I'm free the rest of the day! It's great!

With our free time after physics today, a few of us ventured off campus to a small little mercado (market) that sells fruit and stuff. The amigos internacionales told us it is safe to eat anything we can peel. Here are my treasures!

Bananas, a cantaloupe, two avocados, and some tomatoes. Since you can't peel the tomatoes, I'm going to cook them with some pasta that I bought also (assuming that I can figure out how to cook things). I also realized I'm going to need to find a knife to cut that cantaloupe.

After our adventure to the mercado, we went to a place where they were giving out free food through a religious organization on campus. It was pretty delicious! They had really great guacamole!

MMM Tacos!

Tonight around 530, most of the group is going to the Ángelopolis mall to go shopping I plan on getting a few sweaters because it is a LOT colder here than I expected! I also hope we can make it to wal mart again... I need some yogurt, milk, cereal, etc!

Well, I think I'll take a nap before the Ángelopolis excursion. Ta ta for now!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First day of Class

Today was the first day of Classes! I had my cognitive psych class at 8AM, but the teacher was confused and showed up a few minutes late. Also, 2/3 of the class showed up 30 minutes late... seems like everyone is late around here. Anyways, here is my first day of school outfit, complete with cheesey grin! Haha. It's an awkward angle, but oh well.
On my way back from cognitive psych, I found a bookstore! (pictured below)

I decided it would probably help my spanish a lot if I read some books in spanish, so I stopped in and made a purchase. It was 270 pesos for the two books, about 26 dollars, and by far my most expensive purchase here. I think it will be worth it in the end, though! The books I bought were...

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter y la piedra filosofa) and Love in the time of Cholera (el Amor en los tiempos del cólera). I am so excited to read them! I think I will start with Harry Potter.

A little while after my excursion to the bookstore, I went to Physics, which was uneventful. The class, though in english, is taught by a man with a VERY thick Russian accent. It at least provides a little entertainment.

After physics, I decided to wander around campus and snap a few pics para el blog. Here is the beautiful campus of "La Universidad de Las Americas!"

The Library (la biblioteca)

Flags representing the nations of all the students at the university!

Some of the pretty landscape of the campus

Cool Cacti.

Hey, who's hiding in the tree?

There are so many interesting tiles like this all over campus!
Lovely structures...

y finalmente, LA HACIENDA!

That's all for today! Hasta Mañana!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


So, I've decided to start a blog about Mexico so that I don't forget all the memories made while I'm here! I'm a little late starting this, since tomorrow is the one week mark, but better late than never, right?

This past week we've had several events for international students, like "noche de tacos." I've gotten to know quite a few students from all over the earth- Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, etc., as well as a bunch from US schools, and of course, many from good 'ole Mexico. One of the "amigos internacionales" that has been guiding us through this first week is named Guillermo, and he has been so helpful and informative! He helps me a lot with my spanish, and I think it's hilarious that my first friend from Mexico is named Guillermo. So stereotypical.

Yesterday we had a breakfast with our "host moms." They're not really a host family since we can't live with them this year, but we do each have our own, and there will be lots of activities planned with them throughout the semester. Anyways, mine is named Guadalupe (or Lupita) Rocha. She has a son, Paulo, who is seventeen, and a daughter whose name I didn't catch. I got to meet Paulo yesterday, and the three of us toured downtown Puebla where Señora Lupita filled me in on a lot of history of Puebla. Later, they took me to walmart to get some things I needed for my room, which looks like this:

And then finally, they took me out to eat a late lunch/ early dinner. We had tacos al pastor, a traditional food of Puebla!

This morning, some of us got up a little early to go to a church in downtown Cholula. It was built on top of a pyramid (which is inside a mountain) by the Spanish when they took over the country. The church is beautiful and very ornate. It was also PACKED. Good thing we got there a little earlier than mass started, or we would have been standing with the masses. Literally, the entire church was filled with people. There wasn't a single bit of standing room, and there were people out the door, too. Here are some pictures from that.

That last one is from church this morning. It is quite a hike to get up there! We were all huffing and puffing. After church was over and we were climbing down, we saw this strange indigenous religious ceremony going on outdoors. There were hundreds of people dressed in all white surrounding these intense looking guys dressed in traditional ceremony garb that were dancing and shaking maracas to the beat of a drum. It was very odd, but cool to watch!

After observing the ceremony for a while, we went and had lunch in Cholula, looked around the markets, and found a PANADERIA!!! (a place that sells pan dulces, or sweet breads). All the pan dulce was fresh and hot and soft and delicious. I limited myself to two items, one for right then, and one to try later. I have yet to try my one for later.

And that was my day! Now I am just reorganizing my room and getting ready for my first classes tomorrow! I have two: Procesos cognísticos and física, or "cognitive processes" and "physics." I am so nervous to have all of my classes (except for physics) in spanish. I hope they speak slowly at first.

Well, I think I will go scrounge up some food. I never thought I would say it, but I really miss the convenience of the ND dining halls. That and food that doesn't include meat and bread. I swear that's all people eat down here. Meat. Bread. Haha.

More tomorrow! Ta ta for now!