Monday, August 31, 2009
As I learn about rural sociology, today's agricultural system, how we are implicated in it and have the power to mold it, I'd like to share snippets of interesting information with you. The first comes from a reading for my Today's Agrarian Question class:
"For us humans, then eating is never a 'purely biological' activity...The foods eaten have histories associated with the pasts of those who eat them; the techniques employed to find, process, prepare, serve and consume the foods are all culturally variable, with the histories of their own. Nor is the food simply eaten; its consumption is always conditioned by meaning. These meanings are symbolic...they also have histories." Mintz 1996.
This is why I love food so much!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
First Class: Silly me signed up for a doctorate class for students working on publishing articles-not for me. I had no clue, did I pay attention to the "coloquio científico" in front of the class title? Nooooo....I just said, hm, what's that? Who knows, I'll take that class. Luckily the professor was kind enough to explain his class to me and offered to be my adviser in Rural Sociology.
Second Class (after wandering around for 4 hours): No one showed up, no professor, no students!
How did my first day of class go you ask? Well I don't know, I have yet to take a class! Hopefully things go better tomorrow.
One good thing that happened today was that while I was wandering around campus for 4 hours, I ran into the director of social services at Chapingo who also just happens to be the Texcoco Rotary member in charge of the club's community service! My first club meeting will be next week. At least I got that figured out!
I know I’ve been neglecting my blog since I got here, but I’ve literally have not had an opportunity to sit down and write something. The past two days have been crazy and event-full to say the least. After going to a number of meetings where the other person did not show up, being told I could not be an official student at Chapingo, moving three times in one week and being very, very sick for over a week, things are looking up. I am an official student at the university; I now have a home and am no longer sick!
I found a great living arrangement in a house that has rooms rented out to postgraduate degree students attending Chapingo. Everyone is 25 years+, full-time students and most work and have their own families. There are about eight people living here and I have only met one. With work, family and school, you hardly see anyone. In addition to Mexican students, there are two Brazilians and one Cuban here as well. The house is big and beautiful. We each have our own rooms and we share the bathrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen. It’s in a safe neighborhood ten minutes from the university and in the same property as the director of Continuing Education at Chapingo who will be taking care of all my documents and grades. I don’t think I could have found anything better!
Tomorrow is my first day of classes. This semester I only have class two days a week and will be taking the following classes: Today’s Rural Conditions and New Alternative Agricultural Models, Rural Farmer Organizations and Cooperatives and Issues in Today’s Agricultural Sector. I’m very excited to start tomorrow but I am so nervous! I hope the students and teachers are friendly and that I don’t get too nervous and speak sloppy Spanish. I’ll let you know how things go.
As far as Rotary goes, I’ve kept in communication with my host country contact but we have not yet met in person due to the distance between us. I have also contacted the president of the club here in Texcoco. For the moment he is out of the state and will be returning later this week. I’m very excited to meet him and the club here in Texcoco. I would really like to start my community service work and become active in the local Rotary Club. It looks like I’ll have to wait till next week to get things started.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
My uncle, who we all call el Guero (as a joke because the term is used to describe someone who is very pale and he is very dark) is a camion or bus driver in Mexico City. He is such an amazing person for many reasons including his deep knowledge of everything including Mexican history and traditions. He is also the person who inspired my brother to become a break dancer. One year when our family came to visit, my uncle told us that as a teenager, he would travel around the city break dancing. He then showed us some of his moves and that’s when Jason started to dance.
My mom’s sister Evelyn, her youngest sibling, stays at home and takes care of their children Adrian, 9 and Belen, 5. She is such a caring, strong and trustworthy person.
My cousin Belen loves to watch Michael Jackson videos, play with Pulgoso and dance ballet. Once she wakes up, she doesn’t stop talking until she goes to bed and has the most tangled long hair I have ever seen! Belen wants me to tell you all that she sends tons of hugs and kisses to my mom Belem and to our dog Chamaco. Adrian, he big brother likes to draw, play and learn in school. He is so intelligent that he often gets bored in his classes and is very responsible for his age.
The family has a little white dog named Pulgoso/Pulgas (used to describe someone or something with fleas), four turkeys, dos chickens and a dove that they keep for meat and eggs.
I love spending so much time with them, once I start school, who knows how often I’ll be with them. Hopefully I can come back and visit every weekend.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Last night I came home, gave my family their gifts, ate dinner and went to bed early. This morning we woke up at 7 am to make a trip to the university where I will be studying. It is so beautiful, no pollution, trash or smog! Just beautiful buildings, fresh grass, gardens and plots of veggies and fruits everywhere. I´ll post some picture later when I have more time. The academic director that I had a meeting with did not show up and is gone for the rest of the week. I think this is something I´m going to have to get used to. Finally after talking to a number of administrative people at Chapingo and walking alllllllll over, I got my classes figure out and passed by the house where I will be staying. I´ll be returning on Saturday to move in with a family of professors. I´m so excited to start school, to be here and to be spending so much time with my family but I am so tired and exhausted. The funny thing is that I can tell that when I first wake up or when I am pretty exhausted, it takes a lot more effort to speak Spanish and all I want to do is no talk at all! It´s pretty frustrating but I know with each day it will get better. In my next posts I´ll introduce you to my family but right now I´m going to rest!