As I’ve begun to settle into my life here, I’ve discovered the routine lying underneath the unpredictable life that is living in Mexico. I’ve always loved getting glimpses into the everyday lives of others, so I figured all of you might enjoy the same. So, without further adieu, here’s your glimpse into my life.
As I said, each day is different. Some days I write a lot, whereas others are spent more by hanging out with my Mexico siblings playing soccer and board games. Typically, my day starts at 7:55 unless I fail to wake up to my alarm. Breakfast is a little after 8 on weekdays. Weekends are unique, and I’ll explain them in more detail later. Whenever we hear the bell ring, we head to the dining hall for whichever meal it’s time for. Our cook Rosa never fails to serve us amazing dishes, many of which I’ve never had anywhere but here. They all involve tortillas in some fashion. We begin the meal by reading a verse and praying and finish it with some Bible reading. We just finished reading the book of Esther.
After breakfast, I finish up my mourning routine, reading my Bible and showering as the other kids finish their morning chores before beginning school. Eventually, we all make our way to the schoolroom. They work on whatever school they have for the day while I write blog posts and other communications projects (internet permitting) or read a book. Since many of the kids came here without much education, we do school year-round to learn as much as possible. At any given time the kids can come to me for help with a spelling test, math, or flashcards. If it’s a running day (I run one day and work out the other) I will usually run in the mornings before I shower. I’m still getting used to being 7,000 feet higher and far from the flat fields of Indiana, so I haven’t run much more than a mile as of yet. We’ll work on that once I learn how to breathe again.
We work until 11, when we get a recess (though I and some of the kids sometimes stay to finish whatever we’re working on). If I have bad internet or time to kill, I’ll head back to the house to make use of the better wifi or relax with the kids. During recess, Julie (founder of Fishers of Men and Mom of the mission) reads to all the kids. I use this time (and any time we read the Bible) to see how many words I can identify from the passage.
School resumes from noon to one, when the lunch bell rings. Lunch is typically quicker, as we don’t have a Bible reading or devotional during the meal, but it always includes lively conversation (and tortillas. Every meal has tortillas.)
After lunch, any kids that still have school return to the schoolhouse, while the rest stay at the house to practice piano or do whatever else they’d like. I usually stay at the house and work on my projects with the more reliable wifi. That is, unless a game of Risk forms, in which case I spend from around 4-8 rolling dice and marveling at Fidel’s amazing ability to win nearly every match in spite of everyone else working against him. I have yet to win a single game.
In the late afternoon, some of the kids go to various activities such as violin practice, gymnastics, or taekwondo. If it’s my day to work out, I usually do it in the afternoon once I’m done with my other activities.
Dinner is around 6, and just like breakfast we read from the Bible and do a little devotional. And yes, more tortillas. You’d think I’d get tired of having tortillas every meal, but they’re actually really useful for containing the main course or sopping up the liquid from some of the meals with more sauce.
I usually use the time after dinner to relax and hang out with the family, first finishing a Risk game if there’s one going. I may work on Dungeons and Dragons projects, play Minecraft with Josias, or message with my friends back in the States.
Bedtime for the kids is at 9:30, preceded by reading and discussion of a Psalm. I stay in an apartment in the same building as the school and dining hall. That building is called the basement, although it’s only one story and opens up to the same level as the house. The new house was originally supposed to go on top of it, hence the name. After 9:30, I head back in the dark to my room to write in my journal and plan what I’ll do the next day. Every day is a new adventure that I look forward to.
Although that’s what a typical weekday looks like, the weekends are a bit different. Bedtime is one of the only things that remains the same. Our cook Rosa has the weekends off, so all of us eat up whatever leftovers remain from the previous week on Saturday and Sunday. This means that we don’t have to get up at 8 so usually, so we usually get up and around about an hour later. Youth group is at 2 a ways into Mexico City (we’ve about 45 minutes south), so we leave around 12:30 and take public transportation. As I’ve said before, I love driving through the streets and looking at all the shops, cars, and people. There’s just nothing quite like it in the States.
Once we get to the group, we stay for about two hours. This is always a great time for me to learn some Spanish as well as observe Mexican culture. Just like the States, youth group is filled with times of laughter as well as times of deep study. We like to begin with a few songs, which I thoroughly enjoy.
After youth group is over, we head back the same way we came, taking various busses until we get to Tepe, the town nearest our Ranch, where Julie picks us up in the 15-passenger van. Once we get home around 7, we all grab some food and spend the rest of the evening just hanging out.
Sundays have already been described in detail in an earlier post (My First Week in Mexico!) so I’ll simply review them here. We are gone from about 11:30-5:30, including the hour and a half trip each way. Two and a half hours of joyful singing and amazing sermons (from what I can piece together with my limited Spanish) is followed by excellent food served by either the worship team or the children’s ministry. I like to grab a pastry for a few cents from the little bakery stand directly across from the church.
After church is usually the same as after youth group: grab some food and hang out with the family. Sunday is a no technology day (except for staff. I sometimes still write or message with my family on Sundays) so we usually end up playing a board game or doing something of a similar nature. I’ve found that dominoes can be very fun!
Every day is different, and I’ve enjoyed each one. I’ve found that living in another culture is more interesting and fun than living on my own. There’s so much to learn and observe, and the opportunity to meet and build relationships with new people is something that never ceases to excite me. I’ve left the known for the unknown and discovered a life full of adventure and surprises. Even if most of you never go to another country, I encourage you to seek out something new and unknown, preferably uncomfortable. Serve at Salvation Army, have lunch with the homeless, visit the struggling single mother down the street. Whatever it is, go do it.
Don’t let comfort be your cage. Live like you know where you’re going when you die.