|A girl celebrating her quienceañera|
We never actually got to enter the first library on our list as the language-learning library at the school was closed for the summer. We left a set of nose prints on the door as we each gazed in at the shelves of resources off limits to us. It took two weeks to successfully find and enter the main university library, which also serves as the local public library. Without signs to indicate regular library hours or holiday closures it took a diligent series of visits by my colleague at different times of the day to determine that yes, the library was definitely closed for vacation. A few weeks into our visit the summer vacation ended and we were finally able to explore this library. It was a nice space and the librarian was welcoming and took the time to chat with us about it. A good chance to practice using our developing Spanish skills.
Beyond libraries, my experiences in Mexico gave me some small windows into the interesting history and culture of this society. For example, the impressive archeological remains attest to the amazing achievements of the people living in Mexico 2000 years ago. Even today there are over 60 different indigenous languages that continue to be spoken. The elaborate parties associated with the quienceañera celebrations (these are parties that celebrate girls when they turn 15) are an interesting tradition and a pleasure to observe if you stumble across these groups pausing for photos on the steps of churches. Libraries may not play a big part in Mexican culture but that doesn’t mean that books don’t. In Guanajuato there were bookstores in almost every shopping plaza we visited. One month in Mexico was long enough to let me know that I need to spend a lot more time exploring this fascinating country.
~ Francine May