This week I came down with a cold and decided it would probably be better to hold off on writing so that my posts wouldn’t become more self-indulgent than blogs inherently are.
Pre-illness I had a great time going to see a Mexican Blink 182 cover band playing at a club here last Saturday night. To paint a quick picture, imagine a packed audience of sweaty men and a stage of four fairly scrawny teenage boys screaming into microphones with thick Mexican accents: “Feet fell short dis time her smile fade in da summer place your and in my I leave when I wanner…”
On Sunday there was an excursion to San Crisanto, una a villa de pescadores, where we went on a beautiful boat ride through mangroves and were able to witness firsthand a buttload of mosquitos.
I realize I mention mosquitos a lot, but they are an important part of my abroad experience and should not be overlooked. Some unique locations on which I have found mosquito bites include: palm, knuckle, bellybutton, armpit, and eyelid. I’ve begun to think of the ways in which I refrain from scratching my constantly itching body as a type of meditation, which is sometimes almost nice. Alternatively, I’ve discovered that the coarse, uneven wall in my room is an invaluable herramienta.
(So much for this blog post not being self-indulgent.)
In San Crisanto we were able to rent bikes and ride them to a private beach, lined with palmeras and totalmente empty.
I’ve officially been here for six weeks, longer than I’ve lived in any other place beside New York and Wesleyan. At UADY, people recognize me and stop to say hi. I have more of a horario fijado since I’ve started taking weekly Salsa classes and teaching English at UADY’s Facultad de Educación. I’ve discovered the best spots to go to do homework when I need a change of ambiente, AC, and dependable wifi. I’ve gotten used to the incessant barking that echoes up each block I walk down, and when a car is approaching on the opposite side, its distant grumble making me feel entirely enveloped by growls; I’ve gotten used to that too. I have a frequent costumer card at the Oxxo near my house for the overly sweetened iced coffees I get more times a week than I’d like to admit. I know how to cross the streets without looking like a tourist. Someone actually asked me for directions the other day.
As I’ve acclimated to more and more here, I’m able to claim them as my own: my school, my room, my neighborhood, my Oxxo, my lavandería, my city. But as much as I feel like they’re becoming a part of me, I’m also realizing more and more that I’m never going to belong here. No matter how well I know where I’m going or how conventionally I dress, my skin is still a light beige color and my hair shines blonde in the sunlight. And for those two qualities, I will ceaselessly be stared at.
As a young and somewhat attractive female, I know what it’s like to be stared at. But here it’s entirely different in that nobody tries to conceal it. People stare blatantly, continuously, whether or not they’ve seen me see them staring at me. I’m not sure if there’ll ever be any getting used to this. My current coping mechanism is returning their stares with a fairly goofy smile and then going back to whatever I was doing, trying not to mind the audience.