I began January in my cold home of Oklahoma, waiting to go back to my much warmer home in Mexico. Winter used to be my favorite season, but this year, going from the warmth of Mexico to the shock of frozen weather in Oklahoma was just too much. Who knew that I, who used to love cloudy, dreary days, would miss the sun so much? By the end of my time in Oklahoma, I was over the weak sun and early sunsets. So off I flew to my other home in Mexico (a couple days late, but that’s another story) to finish up Spanish School and enjoy the beautiful weather. January was pretty great: Here’s What I Was Into inspired by Leigh Kramer.
My travel to Mexico was supposed to be simple. I would take two short flights, then get picked up at the airport about 2 hours away from my final destination of Roca Blanca. However, thanks to bitter cold, changes in the FAA’s rules for how long pilots can work before they have to rest, and incompetent airlines, my travel became much more difficult. My first flight from Tulsa to Houston was cancelled the night before it was scheduled to leave, and despite the promises of United’s website, I could not just easily rebook online. And when I tried calling (approximately 15 times), the automated system asked me a number of questions then simply told me it wished it could help, but operators were too busy, call back later, CLICK.
It was very stressful to go to bed not knowing if I was going to travel the next day or not, or if I would have to wait another week for the next flight to Huatulco. When my mom and I went to the airport the next morning (a Monday) to talk to an actual human to fix my flights, it was 5 degrees. All I could think was: I was supposed to be in 80 degree weather today!
Fortunately, the human employees of United are excellent. A wonderful ticket counter attendant was able to switch my whole itinerary to fly to Puerto Escondido, an airport only 45 minutes away from Roca Blanca. That was a much better alternative than waiting a whole week more for a flight to Huatulco! My flight to Houston would leave on Tuesday at mid-day, I would spend the night in Houston, then fly to Mexico City early Wednesday, then go from Mexico City to Puerto, arriving in the early afternoon on Wednesday.
My itinerary was changed at no cost to me, but because my flight issues were allegedly “weather-related,” the airline did not have to pay for my hotel in Houston. I bet the airlines were pretty excited to have that terrible weather the same weekend as those rule changes, because it sure saved them a lot of money in hotel and food vouchers.
Once I actually got on my way, everything went smoothly. My hotel in Houston even had 2 TVs! I also got to experience the Mexico City airport for the first time, which was awesome because I could actually communicate with workers and others in the airport. Hurrah for international travel! It was a lot of traveling and a medium amount of stress, but I made it to Mexico, just two days late. It was such a relief to finally arrive in my other home.
In January I started my final level of Spanish school! Once again, I am the lone student, which makes decisions like who in the level will give the first devotion pretty simple. My speaking is improving, but I am still struggling with understanding more complicated conversation and almost any conversation from someone speaking at a normal speed. I’m glad that I’m staying here until the beginning of April after the end of my time in Spanish school to have more time to practice here.
I’m a big fan of shows from the USA Network, like Psych, White Collar, and Monk. One show I always knew I would like be never took the time to watch was Covert Affairs. I’d seen an episode here and there with a friend, but if I were going to watch it, I wanted to start at the beginning. I bought the first three seasons on sale once, and kept them for a rainy day. Or, as it turned out, a sunny month in Mexico. I finally started watching, and promptly finished all three seasons in January. It was amazing. Spies? Strong female characters? Washington DC? Trips to the Smithsonian? Positive inclusion of a character with a disability who doesn’t constantly need help and is most often the one who saves others? SOLD. The fourth season has aired, but is not yet available on DVD, so I will have to wait until I go back to the US to find out what happens next. I highly recommend Covert Affairs.
I set an ostentatious reading goal for 2014: 100 books. I basically need to read 8 books a month to pull that off, and I only finished 4 in January, so I’m going to need to pick up my pace. I might not read 100 books this year, but I definitely won’t if I don’t give myself that goal, so I’m at least going to try.
The two main highlights of my completed books in January were Shatter Me and Under the Never Sky, two dystopian young adult literature (YAL) novels. I’d been in the beginning of both of these books for quite a while, but could never get into them. Then one day that changed and I I was quickly reading both of them. This was occasionally confusing, because while they are unique, the female protagonist and strange dystopian world combination sometimes made me forget which one was which.
I loved Shatter Me more, because I thought the author’s writing style was fresh and different. For example, the main character’s thoughts that she is ashamed of or scared of are presented with a line through. It was a great way to show her confusion, without constantly having her say, oh I don’t know, I’m confused. I identified with the character, because sometimes my thoughts feel that way, words running across the screen of my mind, some of which need to be struck through because they aren’t quite right or just not ready to be thought yet.
As always, I’m currently reading many books, including Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist and the sequels to the aforementioned dystopian YAL, Unravel Me and Through the Ever Night . I really enjoy
Thanks to church and worship services here, I listen to a lot of great worship music in Spanish. In my down time though, I prefer to give my brain a break and listen to some English. In January, I listened to a lot of Florence + the Machine, Brooke Fraser, and Alison Krauss. Apparently January is the month for female artists for me?
When I came to Mexico back in August 2013, the main thing I was not looking for was a man. I came to Mexico to learn Spanish, to get away, to live in another country for awhile, to spend time with my sister. Starting a relationship was not on my list of things to do. At all. Well, then Kevin came to Spanish school in October. And then we became friends. And then he liked me and I liked him and then I went home for Christmas and we communicated nearly every day and then I came back to Mexico and now we’re dating. !!!
I was here in Mexico last January, visiting Emily. My life is literally nothing like it was then, except that I’m back in Mexico. Had you told me then just how much new there would be in my life now, in January 2014, I wouldn’t have believed you. But now here I am in Mexico learning Spanish, and so is Kevin, and it’s pretty wonderful.
In February I will be graduating Spanish school. I’m not returning to America right away, not until the beginning of April. I wanted to spend more time practicing Spanish after school and to spend more time with my sister. Alas, my sister is still in America waiting on things like paperwork and redtape to sort itself out. I’ve gotten really good at explaining in Spanish the whereabouts of my sister—that happens when everyone is asking you in Spanish where she is. I hope that in February I can report her return!