Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new day

The feel of the breeze, aroma of fresh tacos, friendship of friends are all things I have missed here in Guadalajara. I just never knew it until today. Well, this is my first blog entry/email since arriving in Guadalajara, hope you all enjoy. Flying from Norfolk to GDL, Mexico was quite the bittersweet experience. An ending of one scene in life, the beginning of a new one, with the only One to give me true comfort, my Director, my God. Yesterday, I flew into Guadalajara with absolutely no problems, meeting up with one of the other teachers in Atlanta. Since I have been here, I have unpacked, met with the other new teachers and some of the staff, received my keys for my classroom, had my first teachers meeting, gone to the market, ridden the bus, and of course, eaten some great Mexican food. And yes, for all of you wondering what the weather was like here, I have not forgotten about you OR your humidly, hot weather there in the US. It is currently 72 Degrees and tomorrow, the highest is 76. It has been lovely here!

Exciting moments of the day: getting to see old friends, meeting and getting to know new ones, visiting familiar places, riding the bus, and finding out the my Bible curriculum is centered around God’s promises. AWESOME day. Also, we saw probably at least 1000 birds fly out of one tree at once. it was incredible!

Responding emails FROM YOU GUYS are always encouraged! =)

Dios te bendiga!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The end of a long journey

Up and early again. We were getting on an airplane again with mixed feelings. Thankful to see our families again, but never wanting to leave, we put our suitcases in the van and started off. Dressed in our Mexico apparel, (I love DF shirts, wraparound pants and my large sombrero) we boarded the plane and found ourselves back in the US. Amidst the chaos of the airport, I found comfort, not from friends, family, but the customs guy. After being in a foreign country for several months, there are not words more comforting than the words, “Welcome home.” Though I love Mexico and traveling, this is still my home and it’s still a comfort to hear those words. We made it pretty easily through customs and to our next flight. Though I must say that my sombrero attracted quite a bit of attention, especially from the Hispanic people. Right after I went through customs (they were still checking lauren’s stuff), a lady came through the door, saw my sombrero, and asked, “Salida?” For you English speakers, she was asking where the exit was. I pointed her in the direction and laughed to myself. To all of my readers, thank you for going on this journey with me. I have enjoyed recording my travels for all of you to read and the feedback that I have gotten from it. For those of you who do not know, I will be returning to Guadalajara in August to teach as a full-time teacher at Lincoln school. I hope to continue sharing what God is doing in my life through my blogging as I continue teaching to reach others. To my friends there in Mexico, I will never forget you. Though I am in the states now, I daily remember my friends there, Mexico, and what the Lord did in my life there. You are always in my memory and constantly on my mind. Thanks again to all of you who journeyed with me to Mexico. I pray that God has used this blog to open your heart to Mexico and widen your horizons, as He has certainly done for me.

Until August,
Sheila Iman

History Lesson

Up bright and early we were. Today, we were going to the pyramids and in order to do that, it required getting up early. By 9:30 we had already walked to our stop and gotten on the metro. We took two metros to the bus stop. From there, our bus took us all the way to where our stop was. When we finally figured out what bus we were supposed to be on, we got our snacks and ipods out and settled for our hour’s ride. We were glad to have some live music on our journey. Now, as Lauren and I journeyed to the pyramids, we did this rather blindly. Neither of us had ever been and we didn’t really know how to get there. Sure we had directions from the very gracious Waguespack family, with whom we were staying, but we didn’t REALLY know where the pyramids were or how long it would take to get there. We had no idea what to expect, so when the bus pulled up this dirt road, we had no idea if we were supposed to get off the bus or not. So, we did the safe thing and stayed on the bus, till the little lady next to us tapped Lauren on the shoulder. She informed us that if we wanted to go to the pyramids, that was the stop. Problem: the bus had already started on its trek back. We hurriedly grabbed all of our belongings and headed to the front of the bus. The bus driver stopped the bus, and looking like the dumb Americans we were, we got off the bus and hitchhiked back up the road. At least we got a good picture of the sign. Here we were, finally at the pyramids. As we started up our big climb, with new sunglasses in hand, we had no idea the sight that awaited us at the very top of the pyramid of the sun. When we finally reached the top, after stopping numerous times and going through several bottles of Gatorade and water, we stood in awe of the view. It was already an incredible view from the side that we had been climbing, but when we got to the other side, we could not believe the gorgeous mountains and city that was spread out in front of us. The only thing that came to my mind at that moment was the song, “I’m on the top of the world.” That’s exactly how I felt. God’s creation, especially in that moment, was breathtaking. After sitting a while and taking in the view, we finally decided to head back down the pyramid and to the museum. The museum was incredible as well, not to mention free! Another perk-the signs were in English. We enjoyed learning more about the Aztec culture and history. From there, we headed to the market area, and I found myself the large sombrero I had been searching for. I finally felt equipped to get back in the US.
April 7, 2010

“Adventurers do not wear makeup!”

The plan for the day had originally been to wake up early and begin our journey/hike to the pyramids here in Mexico City. Our plan went wrong first when the alarm did not go off. So, the day began a little later and plans changed. Instead we decided to travel far far away in the Metro to the Basilica de la virgin Guadalupe. We traveled there, yes all by ourselves. We climbed the big hill all the way to the top where there is a church. We ate at the usual café that my family goes to at the basilica and we went through all of the catholic churches. My heart longs to see the people of Mexico free from the bondage of Catholicism. They seem trapped. Catholicism has ripped them off. This was Lauren’s first time to the Basilica and this is still her first time in Mexico. It was neat to see her enthusiasm for the people here and heart for those who are so trapped in religion.
From there, we continued on, through the metro of course, to the center. Here is where Lauren practices her favorite hobby: shopping. I love to shop, but I have my limits…Lauren has none. Before we began shopping though, we went through the Palacio Naccional, containing many of the paintings of Diego Rivera, retelling the history of Mexico. Though Rivera was Marxist and had a rather distorted view of some things, his paintings on the history of Mexico are exquisite and quite fascinating. He has become one of my favorite painters. In order to get out of the palace, Lauren and I had to shuffle past many of the French tourist groups visiting. We felt very at home with so many white faces surrounding us. It was so comical to be in the middle of Mexico, but surrounded by so many French people. Though this may already seem like a packed full day, it still continued. We shopped and shopped and shopped at the center, then continued to shop at another market in Balderas. Here it started to rain, but we were not able to find what Lauren was specifically shopping for so we continued to ANOTHER market in Coyocan, near our house. Finally we found one of the things she needed and decided to be a little adventurous as well. If you have never experienced the art of Henna, well, you should! I have the drawing of a flower around my wrist while Lauren has a small bird. We finally ended our journey by giving our feet a rest and taking a taxi home. My feet are currently still resting, but in a foot spa, much deserved after the amount of walking completed. Tomorrow we look forward to the pyramids!

Funny moment of the day: Every time someone whistles at us or stares, Lauren gets rather upset and calls it quite rude. Needless to say that there is a lot of that here in Mexico City…Constantly! So we are sitting at the café place in the basilica for about an hour. The whole time we were sitting there, we kept hearing someone whistle, over and over again. Lauren and I kept looking around, trying to figure out what was doing that rude whistling. Was it at us? Was it a machine? After an hour of wondering, we finally looked behind one of the vender counters and saw a lovely green parrot, just whistling away. We laughed at ourselves and the whole situation. There was no one rudely whistling at us, it was just a silly bird.
April 6, 2010

“Am I in a flowerbed?”

we started the day off nice and early at 9 am this morning…ok, so not terribly early, but we were tired. We got up and headed straight for the touribuses in the south part of Mexico City, in a little place not far, called Coyocan. That is where our rather uninteresting touribus tour started. Although, I must say that we did rather enjoy the translations into English, explaining the different places. As soon as we boarded, a lovely femail voice began and said, “To the left is the house of Cortez, where he uttered the famous phrase, ‘Am I in a flowerbed?’” I don’t know if there was a context to this or if this was a wrong translation, but we did find it rather comical when it later called an organization an organism instead. Lauren and I laughed hysterically at every mistaken translation. We also found that the touribus did not go to the primarily place we had wanted to go to, Xochimilco. We were very disturbed by this, but we found that we could to down to Tlalpan and take a taxi to Xochimilco from there. So, we took a little stop right near Tlalpan. By the time we stopped, we were starving. Come to find out, that yogurt and granola doesn’t last you so long on a hot day. So, we climbed down from the top of our lovely red, double-decker touribus and took our detour to wallyworld (walmart).
As I stood in a far-too-long line with my corndogs and Lauren with her fake chicken nuggets (undercover as real, crispy chicken nuggets), the man in front of us tried his very hardest to get the attention of these two lovely American tourists. When he realized that glancing constantly in our direction was not working, he decided to try out his tap dancing skills. Still unsuccessful, he tried his singing AND dancing. He finally got to the front of the line, and must have decided that he REALLY wanted our attention, so in the very crowded, long-lined walmart, he decided he didn’t like the 3 ketchup bottles he had and went back for different ones, causing us to wait (quite annoyed at this point) for his return. The manager saw and decided to let the rest of the poor walmart shoppers continue without the tap-dancing man’s presence and ketchup bottles. From there, we proceeded to eat our lovely goods outsides on the steps of walmart like poor starving Americans in need of food. Everyone stared to say the least. Taxi time. We caught our taxi and finally headed for xochimilco.
The driver had no clue where to take us and we couldn’t seem to remember the Spanish word for “boats.” Not good. He ended up taking us to the center of Xochimilco. We found out that was wrong, then proceeded to another market in Xochimilco…only, this one had horses. For 45 clue where to take us and we couldn’t seem to remember the Spanish word for “boats.” Not good. He ended up taking us to the center of Xochimilco. We found out that was wrong, then proceeded to another market in Xochimilco…only, this one had horses. For 45 pesos for half an hour, we decided to have an adventure, and what an adventure we had! Let’s just say…there is a first for everything.
1) if it looks painful at all, don’t try it.
2) If you “guides” ask you if you want to go faster and they are not riding horses of their own, say no. they just might jump on with you…
3) Don’t be offended if your guide and all his friends stand around and laugh at you afterwards because you’re American…
With sore legs and hurt pride, Lauren and I continued on our hike to xochimilco. We finally got there and could see the beauty of Mexico. We asked to share one of the boats with a Mexican family. They were very obliging and kind. By the end of the boat ride, there had been much laughter, much ice cream, and email addresses going around. Who woulda thought we would be friends with the people we shared a boat with for an hour and a half?!?!
Since we had only an hour to get to our bus stop, we ran to find a taxi. Thankfully he was the kind of taxi driver I like, fast and furious. He got us there in 15 minutes and half the cost of our first taxi. We got to Tlalpan, and realized this is where Café La Selva is and where Fab and Ana live. Where our bus stop was was very dark and desolate. So of course, Lauren went up to the closest, kind-looking policeman and asked him if he would like some coffee. We were happy to do so for him. we got him his coffee nad he became our loyal friend and protector. When our touribus finally came at 9:02, they wanted to refuse to let us on because it was after 9 (because THEY were late, I might add). Our friendly policeman stood up for us and practically demanded that we be on that bus. We had waited and waited. They allowed us on finally and we were able to enjoy a bus ride to coyocan. From there, we walked home, tired, exhausted, sore, and unexcited about doing laundry. Laundry time it is and sleep time as well. Looking forward to another long and busy day tomorrow!


Lost- and no, I don’t meant the tv show! Taxi Church, lost, taxi, bus, coyocan taxi
I woke up this morning with great anticipation. When I think of Mexico City, I always think of my beloved friends, the members of the church, Faro de Gracia. I remember their loving embraces and words. They were always so kind to me. Today was no different. As we sneaked into one of the back rows (late of course), I looked around me. Some faces I knew and remembered with great fondness. Others were new faces I had never seen before. As I listened to the Spanish service (understanding the majority of it), I was encouraged reading the scriptures about Christ’s resurrection. Most of the service consisted of the reading of Scriptures and I was reminded how important the Scriptures were. How many people go through this day, not even reading the Easter story? After the service, I was finally able to greet the members of the church. First of course, were Ezekiel and Cloudia Lopez. Whenever I am in Mexico, this is the family I most long to see. Three of their children were not there, but their son Daniel, was. It was so encouraging to see him, even if he is taller than me now. He’s a little bigger than he was 5 years ago, when he was only 10! As I spoke with these brothers and sisters of mine, it felt like I had come back home. We were embraced and welcomed warmly. Even if there were members I did not know, I would tell them that I was the niece of Wayne Andersen, their pastor, and they would hug and kiss me, and welcome me. If I could have stayed there all day long, I would have. It was a beautiful reunion. We talked to the Lopez family for about an hour after church, just catching up, enjoying each other’s friendship. I believe that is how church is supposed to be. It’s not about a building, group, translation or rules. Going to church should feel like coming home, where you are loved, accepted, and encouraged.

WHY i love Mexico

Today started off with the doorbell ringing exactly at 11 AM. Lauren and I had no idea exactly what lay in store for us, all we knew was that my friends, Ana and Fab, had a whole day planned just for us. This was especially exciting for me since I had not seen Ana or Fab in 5 years. Ana was my incredible Spanish teacher in Mexico City. She would find my learning style and do everything in her power (in a fun way) and would teach me about culture AND Spanish. All that to say, I was quite excited about the day. They picked us up and we headed straight for the centro. In the centro, we visited the Palacio de arte, basically an art museum. It was huge and beautiful. Inside were paintings by Diego Rivera (one of my favorites, even if he WAS Marxist), and others who used a lot of symbolism and tried to portray freedom through their paintings. It was incredible. We had a special tour guide to explained things (in English!!!) about the paintings. I enjoyed every moment. From there, we continued to the wonderfully delicious candy shop…can I tell you, there was a lot of eating going on, so don’t be surprised when I tell you all the other places! Anyway, this candy place was amazing. I finally decided on Orange and Lime flavored coconut balls. Let me tell you-DELICIOUS. After the candy factory, we went to the cathedral. This is the cathedral that I have been to before, but every time, my heart aches for the people here. This cathedral has sunk more than a meter because of the gold inside. People are all kneeling in front of gold statues and you can’t help but feel the hopelessness. I long for them to know the truth about my wonderful Father. After the cathedral, we were all starving, so taco time it was! We all headed for tacos and met some of Ana and Fab’s friends at the little restaurant. As we were waiting, we saw many people dressed as statues. One man was even dressed like Michael Jackson and dancing, My favorite is and always will be Tacos de pastor. I doubt I will ever be tired of them.
Once we were all satisfied, we hopped in the car and headed for another candy store (I told you there was a lot of eating going on!). This little candy shop, called QueBo, is run by an internationally-known chef who makes chocolate without sugar and as healthy and delicious as possible, if those two words can be used in the same sentence. After that, helado- ice cream (I warned you!). I had an ice cream that was made with different kinds of red fruits and berries in a waffle bowl. Lauren was hungry since she had not eaten much for lunch, so we continued to a little town where Ana and Fab live and we went to café la selva. Funny as it is, this is a little café that my family has taken me to many times. I had been there before and remembered their incredible chocolate-covered coffee beans. Of course, I had to get some of those! I also had a mango drink-incredible! It’s such a beautiful town. There is a little gazebo in the plaza with beautiful plants and markets. It’s hard not to fall in love with little towns like that. It was a wonderful escape from the crowds and largeness of Mexico City. We were all a bit tired and exhausted when we finally headed home. It was 9 o’clock. As I said goodbye to my beloved friends, I thought about how wonderful of a day it had been. I love seeing Mexico from the perspective of someone who is Mexican and has lived there for a long time. It’s so incredible. On our trip home, we were also able to talk to Ana about Christianity. This was an incredible opportunity since I knew that she is not very open to the gospel. Her brother and his family are Christians, but she claims no part of it. It was an amazing ending of an amazing day. The Lord has blessed me incredibly with incredible friends.