Tuesday, December 11, 2007
After a breakfast of fresh papaya, bananas and watermelon, Susana took us to school. We had to be there at 8 a.m. this morning for orientation; usually classes will begin at 9. To my surprise, there are only about 7 other students studying at Kukulcan this winter break. Good thing about that is more one on one time with teachers, more time for explanation and questions…bad thing is that we wont meet so many other study abroad students and there is not a big group to travel in.
From the outside, the school looks like nothing. It is in the middle of a community and there are no signs for it or anything, just an address. Even cab drivers have a hard time finding the place! The school is breath-taking though; it is very open and spacious. You must ring a door bell and say your name into the speaker to enter and then you walk downstairs to the office area, which is in like a fancy enclosed patio. The doors are all glass and they remain open at all times because of the beautiful 70 degree weather. If you exit the office area and walk outside, you walk into a little garden with a fountain in the middle of it and there are tables set up around the garden for “conversation” classes. The grammar classes are held inside classrooms, so the teachers have access to a dry erase board, and conversation classes are held outside in the beautiful gardens. The school seems to be brand new or just really well kept. Everything is spotless, but that could be because there is a man who lives on-campus and all I ever see him do is sweep. Nonetheless, the school is beautiful, seriously like a paradise. Janae and I are thinking maybe the school was a really big house or something before because one of the bathrooms on-campus looks like an old bathhouse. Like, the floor is made of marble and when you walk in the ceiling is being held up by pillars and there is a shallow tub in the middle of the room with gaudy faucet handles and whatnot. That could just be the design of the place, but whatever.
Our daily school schedule is grammar classes from 9:00- 11:40 with two 5-minute breaks and then we break for a 15-minute lunch. This gave Janae, her step-dad David, another study abroad student named Sonia and I just enough time to walk to a nearby shop to buy some snacks. We bought trusty Diet Coke (or as they call it Coca-Cola Light) and some Ruffles that were in a green bag and instead of tasting like sour cream and onion, they were like a spicy cheese flavor, good but weird. After lunch, we have conversation classes from 11:55- 1:40 with one 5-minute break, and then we have an extra curricular class. The “elective” class is always at the end of the day and there is something different everyday. For example, today we had a cooking class in the kitchen on-campus and we made “Tinga de Pollo.” We shredded chicken, diced tomatoes and onions, pressed tortillas and fried them. Then we ate them. Tomorrow we have a “cultural” class, Wednesday is the “excursion” day, Thursday is “vocabulary,” and Friday is the arts and crafts day. Exciting stuff!
School ends at 2:35 and Susana was waiting in the office area for me and Pricilla when we finished with cooking class and she took us home to eat lunch. We had rice and meat with mushrooms. I couldn’t tell you what kind of meat it was; it was very thin and almost flavorless. The meat, mushrooms and rice were served with tortillas and I made one and could not even finish it. I was still getting over the “Tinga de Pollo.” After the meal, Susana took us to an underground shopping center where I could exchange my dollars for pesos. I exchanged $64 and received $680 pesos, that’s a lot of $100 bills to carry around, I kind of felt like a baller even though it really wasn’t that much money. Whatev.