Hi all and welcome back to my blog! Or rather welcome, since this will be my first and only Link School blog.
My name is Sia Balis, and I will be your host for this evening. I am a senior. I’m from Maryland, and this is my first time in Mexico.
Today, we said goodbye to our two Residential Assistants (Afton and Sean) and to one student—luckily, we will see them as soon as we get back to Colorado <3!
To all of our glee, our incomparable academic director (Makenzie) is flying in today!
Also—I’ve started a new book (though nobody really cares about that—not even my mother).
Okay, that’s all for the announcements!
Now onto weather:
Today we were welcomed with a sky of clouds and a little wind, which meant simply that we had to wear sweatshirts – a true January tragedy.
By lunch, the skies had cleared. Before lunch, we had Spanish class. During class, which we have outside, I spied a large crow on a telephone pole. It was beautiful to sit with the wind swirling around us as we absorbed a new language. Spanish class, or at least Spanish I, is fun. Today we played a numbers game and bingo. We learned verb tenses and verbs, foods, and characteristics. I enjoyed learning about different food types because it shows how different our cultures are – even the same foods are viewed and thought of so differently between our two cultures.
Exploring the differences between our cultures was something I reflected on wholeheartedly today. This reflection was deepened by an incredible town tour around Todos Santos this afternoon in which we learned more about the town’s culture, art, and history.
Our lesson started in 1454 with the fall of Constantinople and the European loss of the Silk Road. We learned about Todos Santos’s long history including the Jesuit influence, the effect of the gold rush, and the Mexican Revolution.
Our humorous and informative guide, Sergio, shared the modern history of the drought from 1950-1975 which lead to the dereliction of Todos Santos. The area was revived by an accidental dubbing in 1990 of Todos Santos as an artist colony. This happened thanks to the Mexican census and Charles Stuart, an artist. Currently there are 23 galleries in Todos Santos.
We had the opportunity to meet a local artist, Benito Ortega Vargas, and talked with him about his work. It was interesting to learn about his process of making wax sculptures and creating larger sculptures. His art contains a lot of movement, whether it is a reaching lobsterman or a boat with egg babies in it.
After the tour, we got to explore the town a little and spend some money!
I’m enjoying this trip to Baja because it offers the chance to develop a deeper understanding of another culture and way of life. Just think – today we learned the language, absorbed the history, walked through the scenery, and experienced the culture of Mexico.
I’m not sure if I have such a deep understanding of Maryland. I love learning, so today was perfect for me. Even when we were exploring the shops, I felt like I was learning about the shopping culture, how to barter, and how to exist respectfully but curiously as an artist.
I am so grateful for these opportunities, for all of our days here, and for the chance to travel and grow with this group of gracious, ruthful, and lovely people.