Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Lunes

It began as a Monday like any other Monday.

We woke up around 7, tearing ourselves away from our pillows with groggy eyes and weary bodies, still tired from our weekend. In theory weekends ought to be about rest, but we try to cram as much into them as we can; we know our time in Mexico is limited. Most Mexicans work on Saturday mornings, and Chris did the same, going downtown to the archives while I stayed home and cleaned house. Later we went to a very late football game, and then tried to watch a movie but fell asleep halfway through. On Sunday we hopped a bus for the hour-long ride to Lake Chapala, the largest lake in all of México, from which I'll post some pictures soon. We walked along the lakeshore and then wandered around town looking for various things our guidebooks recommended, but we couldn't find any of them and returned home to Guadalajara at dusk. We had a late dinner, finished our movie, and tumbled into bed late.

So on Monday morning, we were tired. I scarfed down my usual granola-and-yogurt and glass of guayaba juice and Chris made her usual peanut-butter toast to eat on the bumpy bus ride. The buses are seriously customized here, like something from that MTV show. The front of the bus and its railings are often covered in furry decor with vivid colors like purple or red. Blue nightclub lighting sometimes glows even in the daytime. And, because this is Mexico, there's nearly always a giant rosary hanging from the rearview mirror, plus a crucifix with a vivid crucified Christ on it, a large decal with a gothic (not much like that Warner Sallman one) face of Jesus that says "Dios me bendiga en mi camino" ("God bless me on my path") underneath. Chris always finds it interesting that there are fewer virgenes on the buses here - fewer images of Guadalupe and her sister images. But that doesn't mean there aren't any images of women. Sometimes next to the saintly/gothic image of Christ there's a decal of a cartoon scantily-clad woman. Or there will be decals of slang-filled phrases proclaiming the (always male) driver's prowess with the opposite sex. Charming.

On many mornings the bus driver will stop at the 7-11 to get himself a cup of coffee or stop at a tamale stand to grab some breakfast or even once we watched, with disbelieving eyes, as a bus driver stopped to buy himself a lottery ticket, all the while leaving his passengers patiently waiting for him to return. (This would never stand in Chicago. Never.) But today our chofer seems content to take us straight to our destination, delayed only by traffic and stoplights, in the rattly, bumpy old camion. We step off downtown and walk the eight blocks or so until we part ways, Matt off to class, Chris off to the archives.

I approach class today with mixed feelings. I am feeling pretty confident about my español, having finally regained my game after a couple of weeks of illness and then travel all restulting in spotty attendance and inconsistent immersion. But I'm back now, and feeling good. On the other hand, my beloved Pumas lost on Saturday night. They lost big-time. So, as you may recall, this meant that I owed my professor a coffee. Sigh.

It wasn't ten seconds after I walked in that she made a big show of exclaiming how hot it was and taking off her jacket to reveal, inevitably, her red-and-black Atlas jersey. ¡Dame un café! ¡Dame un café! she chanted, while my classmates laughed and I played along, shaking my head in mock shame. But hey, it's not like losing bragging rights is a strange experience for me - I'm a Cubs fan, after all.

Thus began my last week of Spanish class. I think we may even get to the subjunctive verb tense this week, which is especially surreal, since the subjunctive tense is what my more advanced colleagues were struggling through all the way back in August, when I started classes in Cuernavaca. But there's no time for basking in the glory of how far we've come - the increasingly confusing direct and indirect object sentence constructions are staring me in the face, and I can already see the homework piling up for the evening...time to get to work.

It began as a week like any other...

1 comment:

From Michigan with Love said...

but then what....!!?!?!?!?! THEN WHAT!??!?!?!?! You can't leave us hangin' like that!!!!!