I can hear each breath, and each of my foot steps. This is probably the most quiet I have heard Cuernavaca since I arrived. It is still dark out, and we have to rely on our headlamps when the streetlights fail to reach certain areas of the uneven sidewalk. We are in a quiet residential area of the city. The sidewalks are lined with trees, and very few people are out; contrary to our neighborhood of San Antón, that is filled with the rush of cars and people headed to work or the bus stop. These homes are enclosed by elaborate stone walls and steel front gates, which leads us to believe that this is a wealthier neighborhood of Cuernavaca. For us though, it is a nice place to run–quiet enough to hear oneself think, few cars, and few people. This has become our morning routine this week: awake at 6ish, leave the house by quarter-after, and run for about 45 minutes to an hour, and arrive back to the house to shower, eat breakfast, and head to Spanish class at 8 AM. After spending most of the summer running in the morning, it is certainly nice to be back out on the road each morning. My mind finds peace when it runs; stress and worries are easily replaced by the lights of Cuernavaca that can be seen from the hills that we run up, and the distant silhouetted mountains in the distance that are in the foreground of the rising sun. They are on fire with oranges and pinks, and remnants of the night’s clouds act as the sunrise’s smoke; gray wisps on the edges of the coming daylight. It is with each stride and glimpses of these views that provide me with the energy and enthusiasm to approach the rest of the day.
Running each morning has certainly been helpful this past week. This past week has been long. The students and I all started our Spanish classes, and they had their first sessions of the other classes that they are registered for. Though I spoke a large amount of Spanish while living with a host family the first week that I arrived, this past week has been filled with a large amount of Spanish in an academic setting. Speaking Spanish so much is taxing, but will pay off and only add to my knowledge of the language. I enjoy taking a class alongside the students, because it allows me to be able to relate to them even more than before. I am able to experience much of what they are experiencing in the classroom. I can already tell that this group of seven students are passionate, enthusiastic, and ready to expose themselves to Mexico and Cuernavaca. It is only the first week of the semester though, and illness has stricken a few students already, so I hope that each person’s health can recover quickly, knowing that this study abroad program is rigorous and dynamic. People are on the mend, which is good. I also woke up with some sneezing and congestion this morning, which concerns me slightly. After a day excursion to an ancient Olmec site–one of the oldest in the world–and checking out the Pride parade downtown this evening, it’s been a long day and tomorrow will certainly be a rest day for me.