A whirlwind of emotions has already flown through me and I've only been here five days. This will no doubt be an amazing experience and in the end I cannot lose.
My school is only a five minute walk from where I'm staying. I'm in a beautiful home with a woman and her two young daughters. Luckily, they all speak some English so I'm not totally lost. The first day at the school, I felt like an idiot. It seemed EVERYONE else spoke Spanish. The second day, I was on top of the world, overwhelmed with how much I'd learned already. Yesterday, my whole school went to an orphanage where we cooked for, ate with and played with the 37 children living there. I was humbled. Their living conditions are the best they can be for them in this country, which means they have everything they need but nothing else. I sat for a while watching everyone play and a young girl no more than six came over to me, took my finger and led me to the crayons and coloring books. Children all over the grounds were soaking up the time with the visitors. In the end, I wished we'd been able to stay longer, to do more.
Today, my conversational teacher and I walked into the center of town to visit Palacio de Cortes. This is a museum that chronicles the history of Mexico and specifically Cuernavaca with pictures and artifacts. The Palacio was built in 1526 by the people of Cuernavaca. Conquistador Hernan Cortes had it constructed on a hill to symbolize his dominance over the conquered territory. Over the years, the building has been used as residence, church, prison and now, as a museum. I was able to read some of the information cards in the museum and my teacher explained, mostly in Spanish, some more details.
When we left Palacio de Cortes, we wandered through the center of town again. People had stalls all over selling all sorts of items, from food to clothes, to Mexican trinkets and balloons. There was also a giant screen with a World Cup game on and I thought about how wonderful it would be to come down here for the next Mexico World Cup game on Sunday.
Tomorrow marks the end of my first week of Spanish classes and I have an exam. I'm not worried, though. I've been studying all week and I've already learned more than I could have imagined inside and outside of the classroom!