No. 3: Daily Life

September 12, 2008. Querétaro.

Group at museoThe first two weeks of September have been very busy ones for the Westmont in Mexico group. For me, one of the highlights of the WIM program is the integrated curriculum: learning that occurs in one course continues in the others, as well as on fieldtrips and outside the classroom. In the Mexican History course, for example, students are studying the pre-Columbian era, and to help it come alive the Hans and Raulprofessor took us to Querétaro’s Museo Regional (Regional Museum) to view artifacts from the period.

In Mexican Art, we experienced the ancient art of basket weaving. Working with an expert in the field, we discovered first-hand just how difficult this craft is. After first dying the fibers, we made “simple” coasters (though, as the class will testify, there is nothing simple about this!) and finally graduated up to constructing small baskets.Templo la Cruz

In Mexican Dance, we continued our exploration of the pre-Columbian era by learning the indigenous Danza de los Concheros. This was particularly appropriate because September 12 kicked off the huge festival of Santa Cruz, in which plume-covered pilgrims walk on their knees to the Temple of the Holy Cross and indigenous groups parade through the streets and literally dance incessantly for three days and nights. Some of us were fortunate enough to witness the inaugural events at the temple, including the procession, offering, and blessing of the pilgrims.

Collin cookingJust for fun, the group saw a play at the Corral de Comedias, a theatrical institution in Querétaro. During the presentation, actors invited audience members to participate, and most in the group did, with Hans and Genna standing out in particular. The following week our Art professor gave us a tour of Querétaro’s celebrated Art Museum, housed in a baroque 18th-century monastery.Genna's birthday

Another extracurricular activity we greatly enjoyed was a cooking class with one of Querétaro’s finest chefs, who taught us how to make the best gorditas we’ve ever had! (Gorditas, by the way, are deep-fried meat-filled tortillas topped with cheese, lettuce and guacamole.)

Finally, we celebrated two birthdays thus far: for Jill’s 19th birthday we had dessert at Mary’s house, featuring one of Brittni’s exquisite creations; and Genna’s mamá threw her a lovely party to celebrate her twenty years.

To see our “daily life,” click on the two slideshows below...