The Best Place to Live in Mexico City

Along the years that I have dedicated to teach the English language, I’ve had the privilege to meet remarkable and very interesting people from all over the world. Among my students I’ve had many Mexican citizens, whom had travelled to the United States with the only purpose of learning English or improving their skills in the language. I must say that the majority of them were the most compromised, hardworking and dedicated students that I’ve had.

Although it is always advisable to maintain a certain distance between teacher and students, to promote mutual respect and avoid any personal disagreement, I never reject a friendship when it starts growing. And that particularly happened with a student from Mexico, with whom I shared my predilection for books and especially for Hispanic literature.

After he graduated from the English program and went back to his country, we kept in touch via e-mail. We usually exchanged book recommendations and comments, and he also began to tell me more about his homeland and the places he liked the most. It was no longer before the idea of going to Mexico on vacations began to take shape in my head.

When I finally made up my mind and told him that I would be going to Mexico City in the summer, he was sincerely happy and immediately offered to be my host. I didn’t expect that and had already made some research about lodgings. But since he insisted so much and offered his home with all his might, I thought it may be rude not to accept.

He showed me the best hospitality that I have ever received since the beginning of my holidays. When I arrived at the airport he was there, ready to take me home. He had already told me that he doesn’t have a car, because where he lives (an apartment complex known as Departamentos en la Condesa) it is safe and easy (or so he thinks) to move around biking or walking. So we had to take a taxi to get home. Of course I was determined to pay, but he simply answered that I was his guest and he would take care of everything.

When we got home, a delicious meal was already waiting for us at the apartment. My flight landed at midday and I was actually hungry, so I totally enjoyed his delicious and kind surprise. Then I had some time to rest and unpack, and since I wasn’t really tired, we went out for a stroll. From my perspective –someone who lives in a small and quiet town– the city was extremely crowded and agitated, but I have to admit that my friend’s neighbourhood was a bit different from that; a bit more quiet, silent and gracefully populated with trees and flowers.

We went to a beautiful park –Parque España– and then we had some drinks in a fancy bar. During the next days I tried to make out the best from my visit. We went to Chapultepec and all the nearby museums. We visited the “Centro Histórico”, with all its Prehispanic and Colonial treasures. We had a day for shopping and gourmet meals in Polanco and the trip ended with a wonderful visit to Teotihuacan.

Days went by very fast, probably because I was having a great time. It goes without saying that my friend took me to the airport and stayed there until we waved goodbye, after I went through the security check. After the trip, I concluded that I’ve got the privilege to stay at the best place to live in Mexico City; not because my friend’s home is in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods, but, precisely, because I was at my friend’s home.

Technology in Theater Seating

Last week I had an interesting experience, one that left me to reflect how quickly things change.

I had been waiting for this month because our local movie theater would project many of the great classics of the movie industry, with the full force of 21st century technology.

Titles such as Titanic, Apollo 13, and Men in Black, Superman, Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan were on this list.

This extraordinary festivity, if I am allowed to call it like that, was a big deal in our community and families gathered together to go to the movies.

My family, I must say, is not big fan of movies, for they say, specially my father, that it is a waste of time to sit three hours in a place filled with strangers to watch an unreal thing, thus nobody wanted to come with me. My brother is the only one who enjoys an afternoon at the movies every now and then, but now he is really busy. He just graduated from Medicine School and, surprisingly enough for everyone, he intends to do his residency at a Mexican hospital; therefore, his getting ready for the exam and working with the “simulador ENARM”, a special simulator of the actual proof.

I have nothing against going to the movies on one’s own; in fact I do it all the time. However this time my grandpa was in town and I thought it not too much of a burden to spare him a day of golf for him to see something that he had never seen before, thus I invited him to come with me to see Saving Private Ryan.

Much against my expectations, grandpa accepted my invitation and granted me the pleasure of his company.

The day came and we went to our local mall to do some moderate shopping and to have lunch before watching our movie that started at 6:00 P.M.

We had lunch or rather dinned at a nice French restaurant, where I had a delicious Soupe a L’onion and a Blanquette de Veau, which made my experience all the better.

During the meal I asked my grandpa if he had ever been to the movies. He told me that as a young man he and my grandma used to go to the movie theater. He told me about great actors, such as Bela Lugosi, who interpreted with infinite skill and devotion the roll of Dracula and captured the imagination of Hollywood. He finished by telling me how he stopped going to the movies because golf took all of his free time.

After dinner we went to the theater and I could see my grandpa’s amazement when we were asked to select our seats with our fingertips on a screen, something that for him must have looked like pushing the buttons of a time machine in a novel of Jules Verne. Especially when we were given our 3D glasses.

When we got to the theater we sat in our respective places and found that the theater seating was extraordinary and very confortable, something that made grandpa very happy.

The theme of the movie was an extraordinary one; it was about the landings at the Beaches of Normandy, in what it is to me the most important day in human history.

The movie opens with a division of American infantry soldiers heading for the well-defended coasts of Omaha beach. I promise you that I will never forget my grandpa’s face of amazement when the seats started moving in perfect tune with the landing crafts carrying the U.S army ashore to meet the Nazis in hand to hand combat. I cannot even imagine what those brave men went through on that fateful day when humanity could have sunk into a darkness that would have lasted for a thousand years.

Overall the experience was a wonderful one and my grandpa was delighted by the day. That day I learned that we could come about new things even at the age of 88.

The Coach

For the past 15 years our school has had a soccer coach that we nicknamed the champ and with good reason.

His name is Arthur Cunningham, the coach of our every senior year soccer team, a ruthless, tough and disciplined fifty-year-old man.

Arthur has made champion every senior team he has coached in this school for 15 years, each year having to soccer seasons.

Every student knows him and all parents respect him, he is a man who can turn an old worn out 1984 Cadillac to number one in a 2016 car race.

When he first came here, on board of an Interjet flight, nobody liked him, and most importantly, no body believed him a word of what he said. Some people even considered him to be an arrogant, unpolished man who lived in some other galaxy.

Before coach Arthur got here, our school was not only bad at soccer but also a joke to the sport. We had never won more than two games in a row and that only happened once, that game naturally was followed by a huge celebration only to lose next game to the worst team in the county. Now our seniors haven’t lost a single game in fifteen years.

Coach Arthur warned us, when he was first employed, that we would grow sick of winning and when that day come he would pack his things and leave, we couldn’t believe it but we employed him anyhow.

The first time coach Arthur got to soccer practice he was carrying a soccer ball, cones and a stadium chair. Now we know that that stadium chair has a story.

Cunningham was not always coach Arthur, he was a senior once and prior to that a kid who happened to like soccer very much.

He played a lot and practiced even more but he was never alone. There was someone watching him in all those practices and games, someone who coached him all the time. That man was his dad.

The interesting thing was that his dad always carried that stadium chair with him and every time a game began he sat on it like Napoleon watching his battles.

When Cunningham became coach Arthur his old man gave him the legendary stadium chair and he has used it in the same manner ever since.

Now his old man takes his place on the benches and watches his son coach carefully like Newton must have watched the stars.

I guess that in some way or another, in a visible or invisible way, we all have our very own stadium chair.

The first one in the family

Being the first one, in any category or activity, always endorses the person with a special quality. If you are the first born kid in your family, you will certainly agree. Perhaps many of your friends and acquaintances, and specially your younger siblings, think that you are the favourite, while you grew up feeling the heavy burden of responsibility. Perhaps you actually feel like the privileged one. But in any case, being the first one is something special.

I can think of more peculiar instances of being the first one; some of which I have experienced myself. All my cousins from my mother’s side of the family are older than me and all of them are boys; that means that I was the first girl of that generation, and the only one, by the way. All my relatives are committed and hardworking people, but none of them had a chance to go to college and get a university degree; thanks to my mom’s encouragement and support, I was the first one. Later on, I was the first one in the family who had the chance to travel abroad. And if things keep going according to my plans, I will be the first one in starting my own business.

For all those reasons, my family thinks that I am kind of gifted and exceptional, and that I’m fulfilling all the dreams and goals that once they had. But I consider myself lucky, above all, because I was born in a loving and supporting family and also in an age when some things are easier to achieve.

But the most special first-time experience that I know has nothing to do with me. The main character in this story is a member of the family whom I didn’t had the chance to know, my grandfather. My mother’s father passed away at a relatively young age, because he suffered of severe asthma. His condition was aggravated by his job as a carpenter and the lack of safety equipment that shall be used. Nevertheless, my grandfather was determined to give the family their first house; not one that they had to pay rent for, but the one that will be their own.

Nowadays, our minds are changing, and our standards and goals too. Friends and colleagues of my own age, but especially the ones younger than me, are not concerned with owning properties; they take financial choices, like leasing, to get the resources that they temporary need, may it be a car, a house, or equipment for their business. But being owners is not that important for them, because that would mean to be attached to somewhere or something.

The mentality of my grandfather’s generation was completely different. For him, owning a house was the ultimate stage of maturity and the greatest expression of the love and the attention that he had towards his family. Therefore, reaching that goal was the most important accomplishment of his life.

And he did it. Before his final illness, he was able to complete the payment of the mortgage and he left a home to his wife and children. That was the very house where I grew up and one of the reasons that make me feel deeply lucky.

Easy come, easy go

As you, dear readers, already know, this blog is meant to give you hints and insights on how to learn English easily (that’s why we called it “Inglés fácil”). Nevertheless, you may also remember that sentence of common knowledge, which was quoted, among many other writings, in the song by Queen: “Easy comes, easy go”.

easy-come-easy-go

Every popular sentence has its amount of truth and this is not the exception. Our predecessors would be terrified about our constant endeavours to ease, fasten and simplify every process, and especially the ones concerned with learning.

Socrates, one of the most important Greek philosophers, said that the process of searching and attaining knowledge is analogous to pregnancy and birth giving. It’s not that it has to last more or less nine months. What he meant is that knowledge is something that has to grow slowly and carefully inside each one of us. There’s no way to make things faster or less complicated, because every intellect works and learns with a particular rhythm, and what may be easily apprehended by someone, will take a larger amount of work and effort to someone else.

Plato, who had Socrates as his teacher, compared learning with a long and hard journey towards truth. Along the road we can be helped by the knowledge and advices of the ones who went before us, but no one can make the path clearer or shorter for us. Later on, Medieval and Renaissance philosophers compared the acquisition or knowledge with the art of building cathedrals or palaces. The intellect has to build rooms, passages and chambers, for the different kinds of concepts and experiences that get through its doors.

So, what has come to our modern mind that suddenly we want that knowledge and learning could be as preparing a microwave dinner? Just push a button, wait some seconds and get everything you need. Surely, this attitude is due to the accelerated rhythm to which we decided to compass every aspect of our lives; from studying and working to enjoying our hobbies or having relationships.

It’s quite understandable that you, our constant followers, are searching for tips and practices to learn a new language quickly, because probably you need it for a business trip or project, or in order to have an opportunity to study abroad. There are many ways to reach that goal and we will give you plenty of advice within our posts. But we also encourage you to take your time, whenever you can, to process everything you learn and build and ordered room for it inside your mind.

And also, take time to enjoy what you are learning. Every language has something special for every foreign speaker who approaches to it; some may enjoy its writing; some would fall in love with the sounds; others may be attracted to the cultural environment that surrounds it. Whatever it is that you find special in English, hold on to it, make it your motive to keep improving.

To start with some hints to guide you along the road, here is a great habit for joggers and gym adepts. Listen to music or podcasts in English while you are exercising. Every trainer and sports lover will tell you that exercise clears your mind and helps you to focus. If you listen short phrases in English and try to repeat them while training, you will compass the words to the rhythm of your movements and rhythm is an ideal mnemonic resource.

Start with simple songs that have short and clear phrases (the first hits of the Beatles are a great option). Then move on to more complex ones and then try with a short podcast; a news report, for example. With this practice you will improve your listening and speaking skills, as well as your body.

running

The Reality of Mexico

I have returned from two years of living in Mexico and in this article I will tell of my sincere impressions about the culture, people and system of Mexico in a brief and concise way so that you, fellow citizens of mine, may broaden your cultural horizons and understand somewhat more of this region of the world.

My name is William Hunt and I worked at the CIA for more than 40 years until my retirement, a couple of months ago.

During my time at the agency, I worked with people of all backgrounds and beliefs whose aim was one and the same, to serve the cause of justice.

Before being assigned to the Mexican side of the border I was posted in Richmond Virginia at the headquarters of the C.I.A.

Prior to that time I had served five years in Afghanistan and three more in Iraq, doing my outmost to keep my countrymen safe and away from harms. During those years in particular, I learned a great deal of things, particularly the way to make correct and accurate observations on a certain topic.

The reason I was sent to Mexico was to find out about what goes wrong down that makes people want to come up here so much.

My assignment started, strange as it may sound, with a vacation on the Riviera Maya at the city of Cancun, the place where all our spring breakers go year after year in search of wild experiences.

I must say that I was very impressed when I searched for a hotel online, given to the grandness of some of them. It was very easy, the only thing I had to do was to type “Hoteles en Cancun” for me to find real paradises.

Anyway, I spent a week in one of the grand hotels of the region and, let me tell you, I really felt in heaven.

campesino-mexico

However, those hotels are not for everyone and most of the population in Mexico will never get to see what it means to dream big and live large like a lot of folks in America, because their government’s ruling plan does not include the welfare of the people.

It is crucial to understand, that most of the people in Mexico are not the way we have always pictured them, for they are noble and hardworking individuals and I must say that they look quite different when in their own environment speaking their own language, than they do back home, speaking broken English and always being paranoid about not being spotted by a police officer, who would send them back to their country no questions asked.

However, the Mexican government is a joke, as it is nothing more than a group of thugs siting on a throne of skulls.

empleo-mexico

As we well know, and have always known, ever since we signed the declaration of independence, the government officials are to be an extension of the people’s voice in the ruling class and that the government exists only for the service of their citizens in order to ensure them welfare and happiness.

In Mexico it appears to be the very opposite, in a very similar way to that of feudal times, where people worked all their lives to ensure the happiness and welfare of their lord.

Mexico is a beautiful country full of good and hardworking people, nevertheless they are oppressed people since birth and remain to be so until death, which is why most Mexicans want to leave their county in search of a better life.

mexico

The New Queretaro

Queretaro is an old colonial city located in central Mexico with a very rich history and a lot of monuments.

queretaro

Queretaro is famous by its Roman aqueduct built by the late Marquis of the Villa del Villar del Aguila, an Old Spanish governor.

The city is known for her many convents as well as for having been the city where Emperor Maximilian from Habsburg was executed by the republican forces.

Queretaro has also suffered a tremendous growth because of the migration of people from the capital as a result of her insecurity, size and stressful way of life.

As a result, the young population of the city has increased rather quickly and many schools have been built because of that.

However the city’s old and conventional provincial life style is about to change.

industrial-realestate

As a result for her fast growth there is a lot of industrial real estate for lease, for there are people who have big plans for the old city.

The project is about a new city outside the city itself, however not just any city, it will be a city of students.

The city will have everything that the students will require such as restaurants, transportation, bars and an enormous compound of dorms.

This will be of great effect on the country’s economy, for many students from all around the world will find the idea a temping one.

This would also be of tremendous help to Mexico City the capital of the country for the place is becoming nearly impossible to live in.

Naturally, a project of this magnitude would bring a lot of capital and would create an enormous amount of jobs for all levels of society.

turismo-queretaro

The sport industry would also flourish a great deal, because of the investment in infrastructure such as stadiums and all sorts of sports arenas.

Tourism will keep flourishing. Nowadays, Queretaro is one of the most attractive cities in the center of the country, because of its colonial buildings, its historical places and its location, just two hours far from Mexico City.

When Queretaro becomes an outstanding place for education and industrial development, it will be an even more interesting attraction for two kinds of travelers, businessmen and lovers of cultural tourism. That will be a reinforcement for the already strong economy.

This would bring Mexico closer to development and would surely put the country into another perspective.

A faster world is a better world

The world is spinning fast into the future and those who stay in the past will succumb to oblivion.

Now on days it is becoming more and more necessary to keep with the technological advances offered by the digital world.

fast-world

I believe that the day will come when one will not be able to do anything without the usage of technology.

The digital world is designed to go with you wherever you are and to make your life easier at all times.

Applications are devices of the latest technologies that can be downloaded to phone, computer or any other intelligent piece of equipment. Just imagine what it is like for the people of another generation to wonder at the magic of our digital era and to see how, if using it properly, one can make and create amazing things.

Now more than ever it has become crucial for old companies, by old I mean twenty years, to keep up with the moving world and update in the ways the do business. If they fail to do so they will for sure go bankrupt.

I have looked upon the different applications and I have some that I would like to share with you. The apps selected are the following:

WAZE

If you are currently living in a big and chaotic city this application can be your solution to all your logistical issues.

Waze will provide you with all information about the road ahead of you. It will let you know the shortest way; the easiest way; the conditions of the road; and how to avoid traffic.

CASH

This application is ideal for those of us who don’t like to carry cash with them to everywhere you go.

If  you are at a restaurant with your friends you can pay  the one who brought cash immediately  back  with only a few clicks on your phone.

INBOX BY GMAIL

This is the perfect app to give you accessible control of your Gmail account without having to look for a laptop to check all that you have been missing out on.

BRANDISH

Brandish is an application designed to make you an expert in those things you like the most. It literarily connects consumers with brands and lets them know all the latest info of their releases.

Now, dear reader, I urge you to get out there and get onboard the ever moving train of the 21st century.

Not Being Heard is no Reason For Silence

In the enormous variety of human characters, there are those who devote their entire time to causes for change and justice.

As a writer I have been able to meet a great deal of people with a great deal of different ideas yet only few have marked my memory. Such was the case of group young men of whom I had the pleasure of meeting not too long ago.

quote

I heard of them through a friend of mine who acts as my ears and eyes when I am not there, for you must understand dear reader, that as a writer I need informants over the sun and under the stones in order to produce material.

These young men are university students who by now are successful entrepreneurs. These young fellows founded a company called Not Being Heard is no Reason for Silence that is dedicated to creative advertisement for noble causes such as fighting the teenage drug abuse as well as a crusade against racism all across America.

I took immediate interest in these young men after having been informed of their existence and decided to ask them for an interview which they merrily accepted.

We agreed upon meeting at a coffee shop near a public football field. I, as I always do, got there earlier than expected in order to prepare my material and sharpen my questions. Exactly ten minutes before the agreed time I saw three young guys, casually dressed, walk into the coffee shop.

meeting-coffee

I must accept that I did not think much of them at the beginning for they seemed younger than I expected.

They were three of them and of different ethnical background, George a Caucasian; Stanley of Jamaican roots; and Tye of Asian origin.

After having sat down they introduced themselves and asked a great deal of questions to me, so much so that at a certain point it seemed to me that I was being the interviewed. That is something that I have learned from the very successful, that they are very curious folk.

When I asked them about their business they told me in detail what it is and how it came about.

The company’s core business as I have mentioned before is advertisement focused on noble causes, however where they advertise is the interesting feature. Because they say that mankind ignores small things it is precisely in small or rather the unnoticed things where they advertise, such as in lamps, carpets, and furniture. However the largest and most widely used gadget are bleachers seats.

bleacher-seats

Bleacher seats unnoticed as they may pass are crucial to a show, performance or ceremony. Without them people cannot sit and their attention to anything that may happen in the arena would be much lessened.

As a metaphor for giving a voice to those whose cries are silent they produce and furnish stadiums with handsomely advertised bleacher seats, whose message glows at night similar to the northern lights, catching the spectator’s eye at all times.

Now that I think about it the phrase “Not being herd is no reason for silence”, written by Victor Hugo, is a perfect name for the company of the young entrepreneurs.

Languages You Must Learn to Succeed in Business

Nowadays, mastering a foreign language is neither a choice nor an extra mark in your curriculum; it is a fundamental requirement for anyone trying to make a career in Academics, Science, Trade or Business.

Even if you are a native speaker of one of the most used languages in the world, like Chinese or English, you probably want to broaden your horizons; therefore, you need to study, work and travel internationally and your experience will be quite enlightening if you speak and understand the languages of the countries you visit.

 

The following are the most important languages in today’s business world:

English

Although not the language with the major number of speakers, English is the most employed language in Science, Technology, Trade and Business. It is the preferred language to write books, papers, legal statements and manuals to be spread internationally.

Chinese

The most important and productive companies around the world try to find business partners in China. That’s their way to access high quality technologies and lower costs of production.

German

Being one of the strongest countries of the European Union, Germany is a country to look forward for business relations. German is also spoken in Switzerland and Austria. It is definitely a language you must learn if you set your business targets in Europe.

French

French is spoken around the five continents and you must know it, at least on a basic level, if you want to study or work at the province of Quebec, in Canada.

Portuguese

When Brazil became one of the most productive and economically stable countries of the Mercosur, learning Portuguese became a trend. Even though Brazilian economy may suffer some disturbances, the country remains as an interesting business partner.

Arabic

Along with Chinese, this may be one of the most challenging languages to learn. But if you master it at some level, the reward will be huge. The United Arab Emirates are the economic giant of the Middle East and the country with whom you want to do business in that region.