Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Definitely a Better Week !

A Wrestling Match in Guadalajara

No your eyes are not deceiving you! The Director of the school, a unique individual to be sure, invited the Spanish students to go to a very interesting cultural experience. Several of us including a young teacher and two former students piled into his car and off we went to Guadalajara.

A Show from beginning to end.

Though I'm only guessing, I suspect the wrestling matches in the U.S. are quite similar. I decided early on that the wrestlers were 2nd tier gymnasts capable of some tricky jumps including over the ropes and into the crowd!

The fans yell what were foul epithets in Spanish. Each wrestler wore a colorful mask. The young teacher bought one prior to the event and wore it often during the matches. I decided to forgo the purchase!

It was fun, curious, long, and stupid - in equal mixes! My companions were in great spirits & got caught up in the game - all quite fake. My analytic mind was of course at work. I know it's time to relax & I did, but I mean. Here we have 100's of people getting all involved as if mattered in what is totally fake!

In between matches, scantily clad ladies introduced the next wrestlers who paraded onto the stage in flamborant cloaks etc.

We posed for some pictures after. One I should be able to share soon is the teacher mit mask standing on the edge of the ring leering down at me in a menacing fashion. Except for its length, it was fun to be with everyone at a very nutty event.

The fun wasn't over! The Director took us to an outdoor taco market around 11 p.m. It is open every day from 9 p.m to about 6 a.m. Wow, were the tacos excellent. We stood, ate, laughed, shared reactions, and talked with others in both English & Spanish. NOT BAD for an evening of fun - all covered in the tuition - about $ 4-7 a day more than other schools offering private classes without any of the extras!

Incredible Classes:

Of the 3 schools I've attended in Latin America, this is by far the best

Out in the streets using Spanish.

Imagine having your own teacher take you into the streets to shop for needed items, stop for an milk based ice treat, coffee & desert. I have been out now on seven ventures in 16 classes. Rather than beinng stuck behind a desk non-stop, I get to try out my Spanish, ask questions, have a private tour by my teacher - all the while taking notes as I want.

Trips have included:
  • several tours of historic building & churches in Gaudalajara & Zapopan.
  • a trip to the barshop for a much needed haircut. My Spanish worked well enough to entertain the waiting customers. When I made am mistake or got stuck my teacher was at the ready.
  • Shopping for a money belt - one that flips out & in easily - without having to partially undress!
  • Spending a 1/2 over outside the ice cream shop talking & listening in Spanish to an older & very educated Mexican gentleman.
  • Enjoying cake & coffee at a local coffee bar. (BTW all of this is paid for by the school.)
  • A trip to a local seminary with a tour by an Italian seminarian. Julio had been my teacher's student in Spanish for 4 months. The Provincial for the Order's Latin region entertained us with great stories. He is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish, and his local Italian dialect. I've been invited to Julio's ordination in Rome in 3 years. I'm going out to dinner with the Provincial after my 4 day trip to Puerto Vallarta.

Still this week - a trip tomorrow to Tonala - market day for crafts.

A trip Friday to local churches known for their art.

I even spend some time in the classroom!

1 comment:

Jim and Nancy Forest said...

Phil, you live an adventurous life! One of my books, Road to Emmaus, has as its subtitle "pilgrimage as a way of life." Indeed you have made pilgrimage a way of life.


Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.