El primer mes real

23 12 2010

I write this a couple days before Christmas, having just had another busy month- settling into work, my apartment etc… and again, not much time to blog… But I’ve realized so many times during the past weeks just how happy I am to be here doing this! I know I’ve barely begun, but it is so cool and different here, and there are so many new things to learn about. I also somehow feel like I really have the potential to make an impact. I was sitting in a meeting the other day about market entry strategies thinking that I used to do this sort of thing back in the states, and I had become so uninterested in it, although I find the subject pretty cool. But here, it just strikes me that people can really use my help and it seems a much more useful a place for me to be right now, than working with some Fortune500 type company which can find tons of smart consultants in the states. I’m sure I will have more to say about all this in the future, and while it is hard to be far away from home, family and friends during the holiday season, suffice it to say I am feeling really good about being here.

First of all, below are a few photos from our last few days of training and swearing-in (sorry it took so long Mom…) While I think we were all excited to get started in our sites and projects, it was also emotional saying goodbye to so many good new friends. We had spent so much time together the last 3 months of training, it was hard to believe that we were really saying goodbye. But as I have learned over the last month, PC is really very different than training. I have had a few chances to reconnect with some PCVs in the last month and I really look forward to seeing my fellow classmates at our reconnect in a couple months.

I’ve made a bunch of new friends here in town, and feeling like I’m getting into a good rhythm with a good crew. Where to begin… for one, I found a new band that I’m playing with! They are a really good group- been together for several years and have a few records. Interesting, they actually have 2 names: one is Atletas Camposinos, which is the name they use for ska stuff- and it more or less means Country Athletes. The other is Leones Negros, which was a side project that got bigger- its the name they’ve used for their reggae stuff and it means Black Lions. They’re a nice bunch of guys and very good musicians with a lot of experience. I hooked up with them in a really bizarre way: along with PCV Sarah I was asked to help judge the final student presentations for an engineering/industrial design class at the main university here in Qro. I was chatting with one of the student team leaders during a break and he tells me that in addition to studying industrial design, he’s also a musician.. in a ska and reggae band. And of course the rest is history- just proves how you never know who you might meet or how you might meet them.

I’ve also discovered a pretty snazzy cafe here in town called Sumeria. Its just opened and is owned by an American woman who’s trying to get an international vibe going, with language classes (in both English and Spanish), and a free lending library among things. And the coffee and food are freaking awesome. Like really surprisingly good. I’ve become an especially big fan of Ana’s mamey/banana smoothie. They also have an awesome roof deck. Something tells me I may be playing some tunes up there in the not-too-distant future… Its already attracting an interesting crowd of Americans, Germans, Canadians, and others. And Mexicans who speak English. So its a comfortable place to hang out and meet new people, but not the best place to practice Spanish!

I also had my first party at the apartment, a couple weeks ago! I decided it was a combined housewarming and holiday party, and I wanted to figure out how many folks I could have over in the apartment at once. Without spilling into Senora Aguillar’s terrace (which they happened to be having a party on) I could do about 12-15. But its pretty tight. I had a great time and I think guests did too. While I invited a number of PC people, I was very happy to have a bunch of non-PC folks there, including new friends from around town. Next time (thinking Thomas Edison’s / Lincoln’s bdays in Feb will be a good excuse) I will plan a little further ahead so I am not chopping crudite after guests arrive and trying to chat at the same time (sorry Rob.)

For better or worse, I have also gotten back into my late night rhythm, at least on weekends. I have discovered on various occasions that Qro’s famous late night taco stand at the mercado, se llama Garibaldi’s (like the pizza in Brooklyn) actually closes at 4:30a. Once this past week I made it in time, once I did not. There is another late night place, called Taco Loco on Avenida Consituyentes, which I thought was 24hrs, but no, it was closed too when we wound up there the other night. But fortunately there is a little side street at an intersection near me where the taco / gringa stands stay open way past bedtime. I will not forget.

I also may have a lead on playing some classical music here in town. I saw an ad for a free concert by a brass quintet in the Jardin del Arte – yes that really is its name – and of course went. I chatted with Fidel, the tuba player, before their show about the scene here in Qro for folks like me. I’ll talk to him again soon. But the show was really impressive – they’ll all from the conservatory here in town and know what they’re doing. We’ll see what comes out of it.

I also managed to go out with a bunch of work folks- there were a lot of department comidas for Christmas, which were a good way to meet people outside of work. Also wound up going out one night over the weekend with a couple new work friends, who don’t speak much english. Despite the fact that I had really bad info and we were unable to get to the concerts I wanted to hit, we had a lot of fun- and it was probably a solid 7 hours of Spanish chat!

So that’s latest- after a last-minute change in plans, I’m going to head to Guadalajara – Mexico’s 2nd biggest city, after DF – for Xmas for a few days.  I am planning to see the Dyes and Rob (PCVs), an exPCV and some others. Then plan to host PCVs Arpan and Jill back here for a couple days too. And may make it up to their site, called Xichu, where there is some kind of indigenous Huapango battle of the bands over new years going on. Sounds pretty awesome- its a bit far tho, so I may or may not make it – since I may have a show on 12/30 with the new band, back up in the farm town of La Griega. We’ll see what unfolds but it should be an interesting couple weeks!



5 responses

24 12 2010
Cathy J

Viva Guadalajara!! Don’t miss the murals at the orphanage, send your email and I’ll send you some contacts there. Cathy J

27 12 2010

Hi Cathy- GDL was great! Unfortunately I was only there for a couple days so didn’t have time to hit the orphanage, will let you know they next time I get there ahead of time. But I did see a bunch of churches (of course) and had a very fun and relaxing time with some fellow PCVs and other visitors!

28 12 2010
Chez Szlasa

We like the way the Zollersystem is working. This all sounds really excellent Drew!

6 01 2011
Christian Latino

Drew! Nice Post! Sounds like you’re getting all of the good spots down! Next time I come I went to hit the taco stands that stay open till 4 in the morning!

6 01 2011

Thanks buddy– still digging Qro, you should visit! how were your holidays? site going well?

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