Mexico: Our bread and butter time

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My Mum, with the relish only the primary school teacher can give to this phrase, used to describe this time of year as the “bread and butter term”. No Christmas fun, no sports days, just plain old learning was her reasoning. Jam for the summer term, and jam for the lead up to Christmas, but never jam today.

Sometimes bread and butter can be a good thing. Short as our ‘bread and butter’ time is in San Cristobal we are enjoying hunkering down and getting on with it this month. Which means we have very little to report that would interest anyone but our dearest friends. But for those who are interested, here’s what’s going on.

School      

The girls are back at the Semillas de Luz, and becoming more fluent in Spanish. It is great to see them playing with friends, using words to communicate and even doing their school presentations in a foreign language. Daisy is doing architecture this term (making Angkor Wat out of junk modelling) and Clover has a music project (instruments from rubbish). There is still a lot of gardening, and they’ve just been to the bug museum where Daisy held a tarantula. They are enjoying themselves.

Poor kids are also being pushed through the UK curriculum in the afternoons – and doing well. Paul is being rapidly put off ever becoming a teacher – but thankfully is more patient than I would ever be.

My one contribution is to the literary end of things. Having finished When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (a great favourite – and good for the travelling child) and Tom’s Midnight Garden, we’re now onto Wonder – which is a fabulous book with lots of different narrators, looking at the life of a child with a facial disfigurement. (better than it sounds, I promise). Daisy has just finished Heidi and is on to Charlotte’s Web, and Clover is reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. I am very grateful for their Kindles, which allow us to download what the girls want when they run out of reading matter.

That, and Duolingo (a free language learning app) once a day is keeping us all busy.

Spanish

Not theirs, mine! I’m still having lessons with Reggie at the lovely Instituto Jovel, and getting to the point where I can express what I actually want to say. It’s not so much the vocab, more the constructions where I need to say ‘I would have done this but then this happened’ that I struggle with. Paul remains awesomely ahead of me.

Pilates

A killer. Someone said it was gentle. I’m not finding it so. Three times a week – it must be making a difference by now. It’s also expanding my vocabulary – I’m now good on ‘wrists’, ‘ankles’. ‘bend’ and ‘stretch’ – not to mention being able to grunt sarcastically in a sort of Spanish way.

Work

Thankfully the wifi here works well, so so can I. January has been frantic – I feel very fortunate to have a job I can do from here, though there have been a few 4:30am wakeups to do calls – after which I have slumped back to bed. The time difference means I’m always behind.

 

Play

Seeing friends, going for tacos, trying out San Cristobal’s much-improved bar scene and hosting the odd playdate makes life seem fairly normal. Sometimes I forget I’m in Mexico until I step out of the door. This is a beautiful place and we’re lucky to be here.

Planning our next steps

Two more countries to go in February. First up, Belize (neatly coinciding with the Pope’s visit to San C, which promises to be incredibly uncomfortable) with some lovely friends, followed by a trip to Cuba with my parents. Lots of planning.

So all in all, we’re busy but boring at the moment. More excitement to follow on our next trip (which involves an overnight bus to Chetumal, avoiding some rioting locals in Oxchuc) and then beach time followed by Mayan ruins. For now, Hasta Luego.

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