I am back in Culiacan visiting with my family right now. This is where my adventure all began with my first teaching job in Mexico. The plan was to teach for only one school year. Yet here it is, almost five years later, and I am still teaching in Mexico. When I left Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato. But I have spent most of the past four years in Guadalajara. I lived in San Pedro, a quaint colony in Tlaquepaque. This was like living in a small Mexican town, although it is only minutes away by bus from the hustle and bustle of El Centro.
Culiacan is in the state of Sinaloa. The climate here is much hotter and humid. But the air is so much clearer here than in Guadalajara. There is no ugly cloud of pollution hanging over the city. Traffic is lighter and the streets are cleaner.
I lived in Las Quintas, and that neighborhood hasn’t changed much over the years. But what has changed is ME! Here is a photo of me in my school uniform taken five years ago. I hardly recognize myself!!!!!
When I lived in Culiacan, I taught with Juan at Instituto Senda del Rio. He helped me with my Spanish and I helped him with his English. He and his wife Lucila literally adopted me into their family. At the time, they had one child, Juan Carlos. Their family has grown and I now have three amazing nietos.
Juan and Lucila were already at work when I arrived on Wednesday, so my friend Juan Pablo picked me up at the bus station. We went to his house where his mom made an awesome breakfast of machaca, tamales and frijoles. His sister stopped by and we all went to Forum, the big mall here in Culiacan. We browsed, had coffee and then it was time for lunch. Here is a photo of Juan Pablo and his mom at Via Verde.
Later on in the afternoon Juan Pablo drove me to Juan and Lucila’s. We barely had time to unload my luggage and it was time for Juan Carlos’s soccer practice.
We stopped for raspados after. When we came home I finally had a chance to give the kids the bags of candy, toy cars and bubbles I had brought them. Here is a photo of Juan Carlos and Jose Agustin blowing bubbles.
Yesterday I went back to visit Instituto Senda Del Rio. This school will always have a special place in my heart. It was nice to see former colleagues and catch up. And a great deal of the conversation was in Spanish now. While I am not yet fluent, I have definitely come a long way.
The time here is flying by all too quickly. On Monday I leave for Mazatlan. I treasure every moment I spend with my family and friends here in Culiacan, and always look forward to coming home.