August 15, 2008

It's my first day in Puebla. This place is totally different. 15/08/08

I arrived in Puebla last night.  I was the last person to get off the plane meaning I was last in the immigration line.  At least both my suitcases made it because on the plane they announced that some bags would arrive late.  The flight from Houston was on a small plane but it wasn't full so I didn't mind.  I had a whole row to myself.  Anyways, back to la aduana.  The customs dude made me fill out another form (the third one of the day).  I did it and he was nice enough not to give me any trouble when I couldn't remember certain info.  They then put all my bags through an xray and made me push this button that decides if I can pass into the country of if they detain me.  It tells you by either lighting up green or red.  I assume that this system is completely random.  My light lit up red which meant that some pour girl had to search my two 50 lb. suitcases, my gym bag, and my backpack.  Needless to say it took her awhile, but she was also pretty nice and didn't mess up my stuff too bad.  The only problem was that she found my giant bag of vitamins which needless to say looked suspicious being that it was just a bunch of pills in a ziploc.  They then made me pull out all my toiletries and I showed them the other medicine I had with prescription.  A doctor came over to try and see if the vitamins were really vitamins but he couldn't tell and because I didn't have the original packaging they didn't trust what they were.  The guy from UPAEP that was picking me up tried to get involved but I told them all to forget about it.  I wasn't about to get in trouble with customs over a bunch of vitamin c pills.  I just told them to take the bag.  They did and thanfully let me through without any more fuss.  The UPAEP guy, his name is Victor, was really nice and was concerned that I really needed those pills or something but I explained to him that it was cool and they wouldn't be missed.

We all got in the car - Victor, the driver, and me - and drove off to my house.  We got lost on the way and they couldn't quite figure out where the street was.  After calling the señora we finally found it.  They helped me bring in my luggage and then drove off.  I went inside with my señora and she showed me to my room.  I started to put my things away while she made dinner.  Her two sons were home right about when dinner was ready.  Her youngest is 23 and named Ivan and the other is 27 and named Abram.  Her name is Patricia.  Ivan, Patricia, and me had dinner together and talked.  Her sons are both competitive swimmers so we talked a bit about Phelps and the Olympics and then somehow got onto the topic of Mexicans in the US and illegal immigration.  I wasn't expecting to approach that topic on my first night but I guess it was just their burning question.  After awhile it was time for bed.  I finished putting my stuff away, cleaned up, and got in bed.  It took me only a little while to fall asleep.  The bed is pretty comfortable, especially since I brought my own pillow.  Pillows are very important to me.

I was up early this morning - around 7am - and thankfully had the bathroom to myself (me and the 2 boys share).  The shower is pretty much just a head sticking out of the wall next to the toilet and a drain in the middle of the floor.  At least there was plenty of hot water and I was able to find a small place to put my shampoos although I'll have to carry in my other toiletries every day.  After showering I use a squeegee to clean the floor.  It's not my ideal setup but as long as it stays clean and has hot water I'll be fine.  I then went to get dressed in my room.  That took me a bit because I wasn't sure what to wear on my first day plus the only mirror in the house is in the bathroom.  I ended up taking pictures of myself to see how my outfit looked.  I ended up wearing my Cheap Monday pants (not jeans), a yellow Hurley shirt, and my slip on converse.  It was pretty cold too so I grabbed my really nice Ecko zip-up.

When I went downstairs breakfast was ready for me.  There was a plate of bananas and papaya, and then she gave me some eggs with a chicken type mixture and, of course, corn tortillas.  It was a lot of food but it tasted good so naturally I ate it all.  The olympics was on the small kitchen tv that has a greenish tint on the screen.  We watched the men's swimming relay qualifiers.  USA got first in their heat.  Lets hope for the gold when it counts, China was second but not by much.  At 8:20am Patricia, Layla (the dog), and I left for the university.  It was about a twenty minute going straight pretty much the whole time.  I look forward to being able to walk to school every morning.  Got to UPAEP with 20 minutes before orientation and used my free time to write an email to my family (I don't have internet at home).  Unfortunately the computers at the school have filtering software so I can't go on facebook or myspace or even IM.  I'm hoping to figure out a way around the security software soon.  Orientation started at 9am and went till about 1:30pm.  We did some "ice breaker" exercises and then talked about mostly boring stuff with the occasional interesting factoid for the next few hours.  Got lunch with two NYUers afterwards and then started to work on some more immigration stuff.  Apparently Mexico leaves all the difficult paperwork for after you already arrive.  I tried to find a place to take some mugshots but the directions Monica, the intercambio director, gave me led me nowhere.  Tired and thoughtful I returned to campus to check my email again.  My mom responded saying things sound great.  I realized I forgot to tell her about the vitamins.  She wouldn't be happy to hear it considering she's the one who made me bring them in the first place.  Apparently I didn't take care of myself enough in Madrid so they want me to take supplements while I'm here.  Guess I'll have to track down some new pills.

Anyways it's almost 4pm and in an hour I have to go to another orientation meeting, after that I'm free to go home and pass out.  I wonder why I'm tired, maybe it's because I was up at 7am.  I've got to go talk to Monica now and see if we can figure out where that photo place is located.  So far she seems pretty nice so I'll be sure to suck up a bit so I can win her friendship.  It's always good to have friends with titles like director and whatnot.

This post is surprisingly long.  I wonder if it'll become a habit.  Time will tell although, to be honest, it's not likely.  I only write when I'm really bored.
I wish I had a photo or something to post here but I'm not using my laptop.  Anyone interested in where I'm at should google Puebla, MX or UPAEP.

take care all. besos

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