The worldwide Augustana College experience

Bienvenidos a Mexico!

Things are finally settling into a normal schedule here in beautiful Cuernavaca.

We arrived in Mexico last Sunday night, and by the next morning, we had met our host families (just in time for lunch, too!)

It’s been a few days now and I’ve had time to unpack and get my laundry done (Hallelujah!). There are three members of the family that live with us, our mom, Marisa, our dad, Alfonso, and the live-in maid, Gris. Our family is hosting another girl from Switzerland, Claudia, who is studying for a month at Cemanahuac (the school we’re based out of here in Mexico).

From what I’ve noticed in the last few days, the family dynamic is much different than our family in Ecuador. I don’t think I’ve eaten a single meal with the family. Claudia, Natalie and I usually eat together, and our mom will pop in every once in a while during lunch to talk to us a bit. Our dad usually watches the news in the living room while he eats. Maybe it’s just because our schedule has been really weird the last few days, and we haven’t been home from classes until late at night, that we don’t see our family much. We’ve had a couple of conversations with our mom over lunch, and I don’t think I’ve said more than “Hola! Como esta usted?” to our father. I’m really looking forward to talking with them more over the next couple of weeks.  I’ll have to interview them for my history class, which means I’ll have to brush up on some of my vocab :-)

Yesterday we took a city tour of Cuernavaca and saw the main Catedral and the old palace of Hernan Cortez that is now a government building and a museum. In the Cathedral, We learned the history of the famous bishop Méndez Arceo who was the main hand in the major transformation of the church both physically and spiritually. Bishop Arceo completely redecorated the interior of the church so that the “sacred” images were hoisted up and out of reach, turning them into inspirational objects rather than holy relics, turned the pulpits sideways so that whoever was preaching, would teach not only the congregation, but the acting bishop as well, and he led the restoration of the the walls of the church to recover the old frescoes underneath.  He was the youngest bishop (only in his 40′s when he started) and he retired in the 80′s after over three decades of serving the church. He was popular in the time when there was a severe separation of church and state and member of the church could not distinguish themselves in any way outside of the church walls, nor were they permitted to publicly comment on the government. Arceo frequently commented on the politics of the time during his sermons, but he was such a popular bishop, the government didn’t dare do anything about it.  He did many great things for the church in his time and his presence can still be felt in the walls of  the Catedral de Cuernavaca.

In the former palace of Hernan Cortez, we focused on the mural painted by Diego Rivera depicting Cortez’s conquering of the Aztecs and his subsequent rule after the conquest. The mural read like a story, starting with Cortez’s arrival, the battles that played out, his life in charge, and what life was like after the conquest. I got a ton of pictures, but alas, I forgot to bring my camera with me to school, so I will have to upload them later.

Classes have been going well and in fact, I’m off to lay by the pool and read for history :-) Expect some pictures soon!

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