La Universidad Popular Autonomo del Estado de Puebla. With such a long name, the entire city calls my university for this semester UPAEP. (Pronounced: Ooh-pie-yep) On Tuesday, the 7th, the cadre of host moms drove us to the university. We weren’t ready for the public busses quite yet.
Day two consisted of our first class of accelerated medical spanish. We sped through several body systems until our brains wouldn’t hold anymore and heads were nodding in and out of sleep.
We quickly woke up for our first “Clase del Baile”. UPAEP has arranged for the international students to take Latin dance classes twice a week. Needless to say, it was fantastically awesome. We only learned the beginners steps but did them enough times so that it is muscle memory. One quality gem from our first clase were the words, “En chufa”. Our teacher is from Venezuela and though it might have different connotation there in the Mexican dialect it means to plug in or to charge. This was the name of the more complicated step which mirrored the first part of a grapevine. Each time we needed to do that step he would yell, “iEn chufa!”
Though it does not make a lot of sense to use this phrase in everyday Spanish, it has come to be a
catchphrase battle cry. It has been used from the (winning) jeopardy team’s exclamation when we answered a medical spanish question correctly to the shout that put fear into the hearts of our enemies at Ultimate Hula Hoop (Think ultimate frisbee but with a small hula hoop. We had an extra hour before orientation — we worked with what we had.)
Our final lecture of the day was cancelled so instead, the study abroad office took us to the medical school cadaver lab. I held and examined a brain, heart, half of the lungs and a liver before we took our leave. It was a great learning experience. That was not my first time with cadavers but there was definitely a more casual atmosphere here than in the US. There are more issues about confidentiality in the US than in Mexico as a few people snapped some pictures. I am very grateful for these people’s donation to science and for the knowledge I gained from them. At last we returned to our homestays to comida (dinner) and crashed into bed—or went to.
The more adventurous members of our group wanted to explore the bars nearby on our first night in Puebla. We had a lot of fun and got to know each other a bit better. I could tell from that night that this is going to be a fantastic semester.