February 28, 2011

Red circle...

Each day after school I check my boys' daily behavior report that their teacher has filled out.  If it has a green circle, that means they were well behaved, or at least they weren't caught when they were misbehaving.  If it has a yellow circle, it means they got a warning but it wasn't too serious of an offense. If there is a red circle, I know they did something pretty bad and I usually have to call their teacher.

When my older son was in kindergarten he normally got green circles so I was suprised to see a red circle one day.  I noticed that his teacher had written down that it was for bothering a classmate.  I asked him, "So, Alex, who did you bother at school today?"  He said, "I don't know Mommy."  I thought he was avoiding the issue so I asked him again, "Who were you bothering?"  He answered again that he didn't know. I decided to change the question and see if he would tell me at least what he had done. He answered, " I hit him with my folder but I don't know who it was."  I was starting to get annoyed so I asked him a final time who he had hit.  He said "Mommy, I don't know if it was Rodrigo or Medardo!"  Oh.  They were the identical twins in his class.

February 25, 2011

the Beginning

I came to Mexico for the very first time in 1997.  I was working on my bachelor's degree at Georgia State University when I saw a flyer on a bulletin board in the language department advertising a study abroad summer program.  Since I was minoring in Spanish, I was very interested in getting some credits over the summer while having an adventure, or at least that's what I thought!

When I arrived to my host family's home in Guadalajara I realized that I had gotten in over my head.  I heard them talking all the way from the airport to their home but I had only understood two words: Pizza Hut.  My roommate understood more and apparently the Pizza Hut across from their neighborhood was the bus stop for the bus that would take us to school in the morning.

When I look back on that six week "adventure" a few things come to mind: my crazy roommate who tried to get me to join a cult; my host mom who taught me to say bad words in Spanish; getting the worst stomach infection I'd ever had...explosive diarrhea being not the worst symptom.  I remember calling home weekly to cry and ask to go home!  But I also remember that my host family was amazing and kind and threw me a birthday party.  I remember really fun friends who were patient enough to try to figure out what the heck I was trying to say to them in my broken Spanish.  I went to beautiful artisan markets and saw amazing murals and pretty much fell in love with Mexico.  I realized that people here are kind and helpful and pretty funny too.  And the food was amazing...except for whatever I ate that declared war on my stomach.

So, when I graduated the following year, I knew I had to come back for a longer amount of time.  Of course I had no idea longer would come to mean permanent!  I have to say though I complain sometimes, I really am content with my life in Mexico. The good things definitely outweigh the bad.  And I can't even say how amazing my husband is and how happy I am that we found each other.  But I'll save that story for another day.

At my 22nd birthday party my host family gave me.  My first "mordida".

February 9, 2011

Mexican Patch Adams a.k.a. Pepe Pan

"Conchita" with his big ears on.

We love our pediatrician dearly. When you walk into his waiting room, you can see a lime green strainer, a hot pink serving spoon, an orange lemon squeezer, some pink rollers and a bright yellow fly swatter all hanging on the wall above some brightly colored floor mats and cubes. Above the receptionist's desk there are more drawings and child made thank you cards than you can count. On the bookshelf in the waiting room is a book he likes to show his first time patients called, "Cacanimales" or PoopAnimals in English.  It's a book that shows all kinds of different cartoon animals pooping.  When it is our turn to go back, Dr. de la Concha always comes out to greet us, usually with some huge rubber ears over his own, or a fake rubber tongue he blows up like a balloon. His desk is a large wooden table with a ton of colorful candy under a glass top. He also has a pretend mp3 player that he'll tell you to listen to but instead of hearing music it'll give you a small electrical shock.  He is more like a fun uncle you want to visit so you can play with all his gadgets and get a lollipop. He always has a funny story or joke to tell. I know he's not even my doctor, but I love him as much as my kids do.  I never hear a complaint to go see him, even if it's for a vaccination.

Our last visit was not on a good day.  My then three year old had fallen down our stone stairs onto his face. His teeth were all pushed inward and his lips were sliced and swollen. He looked like the loser of a boxing match. I called the doctor and he said he'd meet us in twenty minutes in his office. On top of everything I was on crutches from an accident from the week before. As we got to the hospital where he has his office, the valet asked if we needed a wheelchair. So, my husband put me in the wheelchair with my baby on my lap and headed to Conchita's office.  As he was wheeling us down the hallway I realized how funny we must look, in a cynical sort of way.

After he examined my boy and said the affected teeth may possibly fall out but he would be fine, he told us the story of when he got a friend at school to flip him upside down by pulling both his arms from between his legs from behind.  He said that day when his mom came to get him, she didn't even know he was standing in front of her due to his hugely swollen mouth.  As we were leaving he told his secretary that of course there would be no charge and to take down our number in case he had a problem and needed to call someone!

Once I took my older son because he was underweight.  Conchita looked at him, checked him out, weighed and measured him and wrote this on his prescription pad: "Estas flaco y sano.  Te quiero mucho. Don't worry Mom or Dad" (the first part means, you are skinny and healthy, I love you so much).  He told us another story that day about how his son was so skinny growing up that everyone called him "bones".

This man always knows what to say to make you feel better and he always has a joke.  He even has a fan club on Facebook by all his medical students who love him.  I guess I'll have to start one of all the moms and dads he's blessed and reassured and shocked (electrically speaking).

Pepe Pan with my boys.

It's Time

I started this blog last year when I had hurt my achilles tendon at a school picnic with my children.  My husband says I was very "imprudente" for participating in a sack race at the age of 34 while weighing at least 30 pounds more than I should (also being an overly competitive person didn't help).  But my boys were jumping up and down volunteering me for the race.  How could  I have said no?  So, I hopped my way to the giant rope web, climbed up to pop a balloon and on my way back down I realized I had forgotten to remove the sack and slipped on the rope falling very hard.  I heard a thud but kept going.  I didn't win the race but my boys were proud.  By the next day I could not even walk.  I borrowed a walker and used it like crutches and we got over to the otrhopedist who could tell without a doubt that my tendon was messed up.

Anyway, that being said, I was forced to SLOW DOWN for a few weeks and so, I started this blog.  I didn't even know how many Mexpats (American/Canadian Expats in Mexico) were out there til I thought of writing about my life in Mexico. Now I've read many many blogs which I LOVE and have made me feel in such great company in this wonderful (sometimes pull-your-hair-out frustrating) country.  Although none of the authors seem to live in Puebla, I feel comforted over cyberspace to see so many going through the same experiences I have over the years.  Now, I've decided to share my blog with the world... or at least with those who want to read, and try to write more consistently.  I guess I'll wait and see who comes along for the ride.