The Bilingual Highlander's Trip to Mexico

 As I work on the Spanish book I am writing, I think of things that have interrupted past tutoring sessions.  I like to tell my students about my experiences as a high school teacher and some of my most memorable experiences with Latinos.

One of my favorite stories to tell is about my trip to Mexico City over Spring Break 2009 while I was teaching at Seymour High School.  At that time, I had known my ex-husband for five years and been married three years.  His mother had already been up to visit us for a week.  His youngest brother just became a father, and the family in Mexico wanted to meet his daughter.  I accompanied my sister-in-law and 6 month old niece.  

I was excited to go to Mexico City.  As a Spanish major at UT, I studied Aztec culture and Mexican history.   I read books about immigrant life and the trip acros the border that so many people take.  I wanted to go to museums and see things like Frida Kahlo's residence. I wanted to do tourist, traveler things I see as I look back now.  Instead, I got a family trip to introduce the new baby to the family and friends.  

We went to markets. I have always been very careful when dealing with meat, especially chicken.  When my mother-in-law picked up raw chicken in the market, it was one of the few things that absolutely grossed me out.  Needless to say, I did not eat that chicken that had been out in the heat and around flies with people walking all around it.  

At that time, I was at the peak of my bilingual life. I have not lost much Spanish, but it isn't the same as living with a native speaker and speaking Spanish 95% of the time.  I spent an entire week living in Spanish except when the Mexican sister-in-law I was travelling with would come to my room or I would go to hers and we would use English for privacy.  I also called my parents each day so they would know I was okay.  

We did get out to two places that I studied and was interested in seeing- Xochimilco and La Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe (a chapel/cathedral dedicated to the Mexican version of the Virgin Mary).  I just remembered that I blogged about the trip when I got home.  I'm going to post some of those links.

Kesi Garcia: My Mexico Adventure

Kesi Garcia: Me and the Virgin (of Guadalupe)

Then- president Obama was in Mexico when I was.  Do you remember what happened just after he returned home? It wasn't Corona, but another sudden, strange disease- Swine Flu.  My allergies gave me problems as I transitioned back and forth from East Tennessee's unpredictable environment to Mexico City's highly polluted atmosphere.  I returned with a cough that sounded worse than it was, and my students feared I had returned to give them my swine flu.

I will save the two sites I visited for future posts, because I just got more inspiration looking back at the old blog.  Those two places were two of my favorite cultural things to talk about in class.  If you are curious about the old blog, it is Kesi Garcia or



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