During the fourth “block” (the Mexican school year is broken into five “blocks” of two months each), each elementary classroom at the boys’ school worked hard on a BIG bilingual presentation for the parents. I have no idea if this is traditional at all Mexican schools, but apparently it is a yearly event at ours. Malcolm’s presentation involved the kids demonstrating various science experiments, several song-and-dance numbers about recycling and eating healthy food, plus a quiz show in which the parents had to answer questions to show we had learned something! Unfortunately, our camera was with Dave in the US at the time, so I don’t have pics of that one.
For Luke’s project, the students from all three sixth grade classrooms worked on Science in the Kitchen displays. They dressed up as scientists, investigated a variety of food-based science projects, made posters, power points, and speeches that were practiced again and again. In classic Pattons-in-Mexico fashion, it took us three separate attempts to fully grasp what he was supposed to be bringing in to school, but eventually we got it right! Reminiscent of a Bollywood film, the morning began, like ALL (yes, literally ALL) school assemblies here begin, with a dance number. What science/cooking song did they choose, you might ask? Why, a medley of songs from Grease, of course!
After that was out of the way, we got to visit the student booths to hear the kids explain the chemistry of preparing various foods. I thought it was fun that most of the foods were pretty typical Mexican foods—chorizo, palenqueta (Mexican peanut brittle), rompope (a local alcholic beverage! The sixth graders had made a batch and were handing out samples!), as well as mayonnaise and Jello (which might not sound Mexican to the uninitiated, but are nevertheless omnipresent here).
The gym was full of these little booths, and it was really fun to get to see all their hard work come together in a tasty science fair!
So, in general Cinco de mayo is a much bigger holiday in the US these days than it is in Mexico, but since Puebla was the location of the original battle against the French troops on May 5, 1862, here in our adopted Mexican city it is a VERY big deal. The boys have a four day weekend, and there is general revelry all over the city. We headed out early this morning in the hopes of snagging a seat on the bleachers for the parade (Luke definitely couldn’t stand around on crutches for hours!), but when we arrived a couple of hours before the parade began, the bleachers were full, people were crowded four or five deep along the route, and little kids were climbing up on top of phone booths and statues to get a view of the parade! Finding a family who had backed their pick-up truck up to the parade route, we offered them some pesos and gained ourselves a nice little viewing area alongside their family in the bed of the pick-up. They even had a chair for Luke to sit in and one for Malcolm to stand on!
Before the parade even reached us, we got to see multiple fly-overs, with various groups of helicopters, jets, cargo planes and such.
The first half hour or so of the parade was various military groups, including some dressed in “reenactor” type clothing (both Mexican and French), as well as lots of present-day Mexican army folks.
We really liked these guys all camouflaged in swamp grass!!
For those of you who may have been worried about us being buried in volcanic ash if our local volcano Popocatepetl would choose to erupt while we’re here, never fear—we also got to see a float of the Popo rescue squad, complete with pickaxes, shovels, and canine rescuers!
**(Not to worry…we’re actually plenty far away from the volcano…)
After all the army stuff, there were some incredible floats that came through, depicting scenes from the Battle of Puebla and from other parts of local history.
This photo shows a re-enactment of the famous ball game that was played by lots of the indigenous groups in pre-Columbian times.
This float had a giant metate, or corn-grinding rock and all kinds of depictions of the importance of corn in ancient and present-day Mexico. Also, it had a random archaeologist looking at things through a magnifying glass.
Here the French troops are in a boat…leaving Mexico?? I was a little unclear on whether they were coming or going, but it was a cool float!
This float shows the church that the Spaniards plopped down on top of the local pyramid at Cholula. If you look closely, you can see that UNDER the pyramid, Spaniards are hard at work slaughtering the native Mexicans. Also, another random archaeologist! This float really gives you the big picture, I guess!
We love parades in any context (well, *I* love parades in any context and the rest of the family kindly humors me), but this was my first big city parade. It was very cool to get to join in on the Cinco de mayo celebration!
Tricia wrote this original blog post. And, for the record, I enjoy parades as well, and this was quite the impressive one!
I took a few videos that I’m going to embed here if you’d like to see what the parade and crowd looked like in action.
Here is a musical troop from relatively early in the parade…
This video features a cool float with humans made up to look like statues and twirling cherubim…
And, finally, the float commemorating one of the oldest libraries in the New World, located right here in Puebla…
We all had a very fun day out at the parade. It was honestly just an amazing experience being there—truly a huge parade and a tremendous turnout.
Yesterday, I went to my classmate’s birthday party. We got to get all covered with foam!
(photo of foam party:)
At one point, it was so high that you could stand and have the foam over your head!
I then got foam in my eyes and it hurt. And so I didn’t go back to the foam.
So today we spent a day without water.
When people started getting up in the morning, we pretty quickly found out that we didn’t have water. Normally our underground thingamabob is filled up on sundays and using our pump thingamabob we pump it up to the water tank thingamabob. BUT, for whatever reason, yesterday we didn’t get water, and, long story short, today we didn’t have water. So instead of staying at home all day we decided to spend a day out
So we left house at noon and went out to eat. Then we went shopping for Caleb’s thingamabobs for Europe, and found a nice coat (nothing more). Next we went out to the movies next door. Malcolm, Caleb and Mom saw ‘The Croods’ while Dad and I saw ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’.
Once we finished our movies we went to the grocery store Mega, and got some supplies. Once this was done (around 6 ‘o clock) we were all pretty much ready to go home.
But when we got to the bus stop OF COURSE we had forgotten Caleb’s new jacket at the store. Dad and Caleb went back while Mom, Malcolm, and I stayed to wait for a bus. After 20 minutes of waiting, however, we decided to start walking home. So, as you’d guess, at least fifty buses going the right way passed us, but couldn’t stop, since we were on the highway.
This wasn’t a totally bad walk however. We saw some donkeys (Three of them!!! See if you can spot them all…):
And Popo (our local volcano) looking really cool in the sunset:
We (MJ, Mom, and I) got home at around 7, and the water was back on!
Then I spent 45 minutes writing this blog post. I hope you enjoyed it
Today is the third damp, gray day in a row, and I’m starting to feel like I’m back in Western Pennsylvania. This is literally the longest spell of icky weather that I have seen since moving here. Typically, the weather in Puebla is lovely, every single day. People here seem to firmly believe that the weather is crazy and unpredictable, and it makes me laugh. Here are the seasons, as far as I’ve seen:
“Cold” Season—November through February. Always, always, always sunny, with highs in the low 70s. During this “cold” season, everyone wears HEAVY coats, scarves, mittens, hats, boots, etc. Little kids and babies are carried around wrapped in so many blankets that you can’t see their heads. The official school day is delayed by half an hour, so that children walking to school don’t get sick from the early morning cold. I am not making this up.
“Hot” Season—March through May. Sunny with highs in the high 70s or low 80s. (I guess we can apparently get the occasional cold/gray snap in the midst of this, as the current weather would show).
“Rainy” Season—June through October. Always, always sunny except for when it rains for a few hours most days, usually in the later afternoon. Highs in the upper 70s.
All year round, neighborhood businesses and homes are completely open to the elements, so I am happy to concede that sitting in a restaurant on a January morning can be a bit chilly, since there is no front wall and no heating. But, it still makes me smile every time one of my students comments on the “extreme” weather we’re having, and it makes me want to cut a breathing hole for those poor cocooned babies being carried around on a pleasant, 65 degree morning!
We have been having a great visit with Gram and Grumps this week!
We had a second (delayed) celebration of our youngest’s birthday.
We went to the Children’s Museum
The railroad museum in Puebla is pretty great.
But, perhaps the finest moment came this evening with the fine performances found in this video…
I went upstairs after work tonight and heard a strange noise coming from the bathroom. It was pretty loud, so I was a little afraid we had a pretty large lizard, or bird, or rodent in there. It turned out that I was just hearing RAIN on the skylight! It was cold and gray today, and now we’re having our first real rain since the beginning of November (there were sprinkles once since then, but not even enough to dampen the floor of the patio.) I guess when so much time passes between rain showers I forget what they sound like!
Caleb went on a school field trip to Teotihuacán and Tula, two of the ancient cities/pyramid sites. He got some pretty cool pictures of the two sites, and also of a random brush fire that sprung up across the road from the place they stopped to eat!
Since he was gone (and so was Dave), Luke and Malcolm got to come to school with me! Malcolm did a great job of staying quiet during the actual classes, and then spent the ten minute breaks in between chatting up my students. Serendipitously, one of our current vocab words is “verbal”. He was a great object lesson.