Cultural Differences – Cross-Cultural Students: Week 7 6/7/2018

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(Picture from http://www.pixabay.com)

During the video about cross-cultural students I found myself identifying more with the Asian students that complained about American students. It was said:

“‘What I don’t like about American students is that before class ends, they are always packing up their things while the teacher is still talking. It shows shocking disrespect.’ Another student from Asia said, ‘In America, the students have all left the room before the teacher is even done talking!'”

I find these two things very disrespectful. Our culture really values time. So why would one get ready to go before the allotted time is up. I understand if there is an emergency or if it was discussed with the teacher before the class began that they needed to leave early, but this is a constant thing that starts sometime in middle school and never ends. I haven’t seen this in any other culture.

As English teachers we must be fully aware of other cultures. There are several videos floating around the internet that show an African American student being “loud and disrespectful” to their white teacher. What people don’t realized is that that right there is a cultural difference. It may be the race, it may be the region of the country the student grew up in. The fact is, there is no need to be afraid. Get to know the background and cultural norms about your students. Not only will this help you as a teacher, but it will help build trust and respect in your classroom. Students will have a more relaxed environment because you are relaxed and they will learn more.

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Is this the year?

Happy New Year!! 2018…I hope you bring happy immigration news. If not, I really hope that God grants me with patience. During 2016 and 2017, I moved back to the states during the waiver process for Jose. We were apart for a year and a half. It was tough, but I was able to work with a great company and spend some time with my family. In August of 2017, I moved back to Mexico to be with Jose. The day after I got here, his waiver was approved! We were ecstatic! Finally the long wait for Jose’s residency would be over. We still don’t have his interview yet. The US consulate in Mexico keeps saying it’ll be any day now. It has been 4 months. We call each week, but immigration is not one to get things done quickly. In the mean time, we have been busy with school online through Brigham Young University-Idaho, work, and helping the little branch here in Calvillo. Jose has been called as the Branch President for here and keeps busy trying to help strengthen the members here. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons that we are still here is so that Jose can be an instrument in God’s hands and help these wonderful people.

This coming year we hope to be in the states. The goal for 2018 is to be in Houston, Texas by April so that Jose can begin his summer job. He will be doing summer sales for my brother’s company. I will continue going to school full-time and working very part-time teaching English online. After the summer we will return to Mexico so that both Jose and I can go to school full time and we can live on my salary from part time teaching. Thank you Mexico, for being so inexpensive. We hope and pray that this is the year that the Lord blesses us with a Niño (or Niña), but I know that all happens in God’s time. I’ll be honest, I don’t always like that, but I really need to get used to it. Control freak Ashlee needs to learn how to calm down.

So thank you 2017 for the approval that you brought. 2018, please bring the interview.

Banana Bread in Mexico

One of my favorite types of sweet bread is banana bread. I have searched and searched, but this little piece of heaven is not available anywhere here. The people are not aware that there is such a divine taste in this world. So I thought I would make a batch and share it with the Mexican world. Jose was the biggest fan. Since I’ve first made the bread, this has been pretty much a weekly happening in our home. We’ve also shared this with our neighbors and friends. This last Sunday morning we were in a rush out the door to catch the Combi to go to church. I hadn’t eaten so I grabbed the rest of the banana bread. It’s a good thing too. When we got to church we found that there was no bread for the sacrament. So our sacrament bread was banana bread that day. And PS this is OK. We were in a bind and didn’t want to spend money on Sunday. So…banana bread it was!

 I found the recipe on SimplyRecipes.com. This is definitely a keeper!

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1st preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Then you smash the bananas in a mixing bowl. If they are lumpy like above…that’s OK. Adds a little character to the bread!

Next is the butter! YUMMY!! Melt 1/3 cup of butter and mix it into the banana mush. I didn’t have a 1/3 cup butter so I used about 1/2 butter, 1/2 vegetable oil. Great substitute. IMG_4992

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Baking soda anyone? Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the bowl of love. Stir into to mush.

See this salt in my hand? DON’T ADD THIS MUCH!!! A pinch will do.

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Next comes the sugar. The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but today I used 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Oh wow did it turn out amazing! I recommend switchin up the sugar bit. Stir in the sugar with a fork. PS this whole recipe is stirred with a fork. No power tools needed.

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EGGS! We got em. One will be enough. Make sure to beat the egg in a separate dish before adding it to the mix. And also…I love this photo.

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Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Or if you speak Spanish…Vainilla. I love Mexico.

Flour ladies and gentlemen. So last time I used flour I was making Pizza with our little church family group of 10 people. One of the sisters got so confused by flower and flour. It took a good while and a good laugh to be able to explain to her the difference. Add 1 1/2 cups of FLOUR. Harina. And mix.

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For good measure you might as well add chocolate right? I suggest chocolate chips, but this picture says otherwise. These actually are chocolate chips, I promise. They just melted a little because it is so freakin hot here. I put them in the fridge to reform and, well, they aren’t that pretty anymore. But they taste so good in the bread!

Pour your batter into a greased pan and stick it in the middle of your oven for the best distribution of heat.IMG_5009

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As I was growing up, my mom taught me the value of cleaning as you cook. It keeps your kitchen clean and saves so much time. So as I waited for the bread I cleaned the dishes. And, of course, licked the spoon. It’s your right of passage for cooking something for your family!!

 Also just want to give a shout out to the necklace around my neck. This is a piece made with love from Abuelito. He is 90 years old and still makes jewelry, weaves baskets and chairs. Always smiling that man is!IMG_5011           Now I know that you probably want to see the finished product. Am I right? Well…you can’t. I forgot to take a photo of it right out of the oven and Jose and I gobbled it up before I remembered to take a photo. So the end result is either left to your imagination or make this bread for yourself and you can send me photos of the end result.

Again this recipe is not mine so here is the link to where I got it…

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar (can easily use 3/4 cup, or drop it down to 1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/#ixzz3YjimA2SH

Peace out!

A Day in the Life of a Gringa

About two weeks ago I really needed to get out. I have been inside all day…by myself. I was missing having friends. I have a wonderful husband, yet there is something magical about having girl friends in our lives. Not knowing the language has been a great struggle when it comes to connecting with people and finding friends. As I was sitting in the room at my suegros’ house, Jose came in and could tell that I needed a change of scenery. He suggested that I go with cunada, Tere, and her daughter, Leilani, on a walk. I was more than willing. Tere and I have a hard time communicating, but she is very patient with me and helps me so much with the language. Lani is just…Lani. Her smile brightens up the house. She is such a precious little girl.

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This precious girl steals the hearts of all around her, but especially her tio, Jose.

As Tere and I walked around the back roads of San Tadeo, I asked her what the women in Mexico do all day. Her answer was short and to the point. “Nada” she responded. “Enserio??” I replied. That was not the answer that I had expected. I thought about that for a few days after and watched the women that I was around a lot. They all seemed so busy cooking and taking care of their household. These women definitely did not do “nothing” everyday, all day. I was determined to do the same. No matter what, I would stay busy doing productive things for my family and my home.

This has been a learning experience, but such a great one. Yes, the language has been a struggle, but I learn new things every day. The thing that I am really trying to force myself to do every day is wake up early. When I say early, I mean 7 am. Ha! I’m used to waking up so much later than that. All of my responsibilities didn’t start until at least 10 am before I was married. When I worked at Avs, I was able to get up and be to work by 5:45 am, but when I don’t have a morning job…waking up early is just not a priority for me! Jose, however, he is the definition of a morning person. So, because I am in love with my sweet Mexican, I have been trying very hard to wake up early so I can make breakfast for him.

I decided that even though I don’t have an 9-5 job to go to, it is still good for me to have a schedule. Without children I have a lot to do. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I have kids…and we want A LOT! So my loved ones…here is what I do all day as the gringa in Fraccionmiento.

7 AM     wake up and make Jose breakfast. Usually this consists of scrambled eggs with onions, chili, tomatoes, and garlic. Of course they’re served with tortillas. 😉

8 AM Jose usually leaves for whatever job he is doing that day whether it is putting tile in his parents’ house or painting his uncle’s house. This is when I get back under my covers and begin my morning routine. First I begin by doing 3 pages of free-writing. I got this idea from a wonderful book called “The Artist’s Way”. I read this book and did the weekly challenges while I was in Mexico this summer teaching English. After my “morning pages” I read my scriptures. After that is an hour of Spanish study. This is muy importante para mi!! Each day I need to get in the Spanish mode so that I can talk with the people here and not blank out while overwhelmed.

9:30 AM Yoga. Oh my gosh. I have become such a fan of yoga. This past summer, my roommate and dear friend Kristy introduced me to yoga while we were in Pachuca. I only did it for a few times with her, but since here in Calvillo I have found an AWESOME Youtube channel. It is called “Yoga with Adriene”. Seriously, this has been miraculous in my life. Currently I am doing her challenge of “30 days of Yoga with Adriene”. I get so excited to be able to pull out the mat and begin the daily yoga journey. Cheesy, yes, but I’m obsessed.

10 AM get ready. But before I hop in the shower, I make the bed and start a load of laundry. When my mom taught me that I should make my bed everyday she knew what she was talking about. This simple act helps me to have a clear head as I do my daily list.

11 AM is Almuerzo. This is lunch. Sometimes Jose joins me, sometimes not.

The rest of the day from Noon to about 4 (actually 6 let’s be honest) is spent cleaning and organizing our new home and cooking dinner. It takes this amount of time because I am usually interrupted by cockroaches or spiders that really need to die.

When dinner is ready we eat. I like to eat. Jose likes to eat. We have so much fun eating. There is not much that I do, but Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays I go to Jose’s parents’ house to post on the blog and work with the internet. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my Calvillo days. I go here to teach English for two hours each of these nights. I LOVE teaching English here. I get to choose how I want to teach and what material to teach because I don’t have a boss. It is so fun!

Days here are so chill and I get to choose how I spend each day. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to have a life here in Mexico. I am loving every minute of it!

Well my conbi is on its way so I must sign off! Until Wednesday my friends!

How do YOU shower?

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Showering. It’s an everyday occurrence. At least I feel like it should be. If you don’t do it there are some nasty smells around ya. There are many benefits. You get clean, it improves blood circulation, relaxes your muscles, treats depression, improves your lungs, and even boosts your immune system! People all over the world do it in one way or another. Here, it’s not so different than in the states. We have hot water, we have showers, tile, shower heads. We even have bath tubs! (This is a recent discovery of mine. I hadn’t seen any tubs here until I went to my sister in law’s house and BAM! there it was. She is so lucky.) In Pachuca, we always needed to turn the water heater on with a match at least a 1/2 hour before we wanted to shower, but here in San Tadeo, Aguascalientes, we have hot water from the street! So from about 11pm to 6pm you have hot water whenever you want it. And you don’t even have to light a match or use any gas or electricity. Jose and my house is about 2 miles away from his parents’ house and we are not as fortunate to have hot running water in our street, although we do still have water, don’t worry. We have a shower that has running water, but our beautiful house doesn’t have a boiler. (This is what heats up water.) My girl, Taneesa, guessed the other day that we heat up our water on the stove…she was SO close! Here are the step by step instructions of how to shower when you all come visit our home.

1. Round up a 5 gallon bucket such as the gorgeous one shown below.

5 gallon bucket

2. Fill the bucket with the desired amount for your shower. Our water-spout is on the other side of our house, so I like to fill the water it up to the 1st ring so it’s not so heavy for me.

3. Once you make the trek from the spout to the bathroom, plug-in the portable water heater and stick it in the water, bulb first.

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This is what we like to call a “Miracle” in our house.

4. Let it sit and cook for about 1/2 hour. I usually do this while I’m making breakfast for my husband. Jose. He’s Mexican, by the way.

5. After the water is heated all the way to the bottom of the bucket, rest the bucket on the edge of the shower. You’ll want to have another bucket filled with colder water on hand so you can mix the two and not scald your body.

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6. Shown above is the small bowl that is used to pour the water over yourself as you shower. This picture is not pretty, but this bowl looks so much like ours, except ours is black.

           And there you have it! The process of showering in the blue house! So whenever you want to visit know that you also can be clean. We may not have an extra bed right now, but we do have a shower!!