Travel Journal: Mexico
When you are a child, you travel across so many different lands, all compromising the laws of reality and never restricting the unbridled possibilities of the imagination. Maybe I just never grew out of that. For as long as I can remember I have been a daydreamer, probably to the extent that it causes reality to be less magical than it, in fact, actually is. But the past week has been no figment of my imagination.
I've been living with Momma Rocio for three full days now, have had one day of eight hours of classes, and a million opportunities that I've taken full advantage of to fall flat on my face in my attempts to speak Spanish. I'm becoming an actual member of the Mérida community, taking the bus, walking, eating, and living as the citizens do. I'm becoming a resident of Mexico. To remind myself of this as the days pass by is the oddest realization. I'm living in Mexico—not visiting, but truly residing among people whom I can barely communicate with.
I cannot lie; after the first evening with our home-stays, I had a slight anxiety attack. “What have I gotten myself into? I barely know Spanish well enough to understand if Momma Rocio is asking me a question or trying to explain something to me. Three months. THREE MONTHS! ¡Ay Díos mio!” I can honestly say I've never been overwhelmed to the point where it affects me physically. However, in that moment of trepidation, my breathing was burdened and I was suddenly very hot. In retrospect, this reaction is what makes me so excited. This is truly nothing I've done before, not even close! It is the realization of one of those daydreams. I'm no longer living in the clouds.
Since we landed in Mexico we have received a two-day crash course in how to survive in Mérida, including a short, yet informative open-bus tour of the city, a walk through the local Mercado, a visit to the very modern Altabrisa shopping mall, and a salsa dancing class at Casa Centre. After two nights, we were swept off for a remarkable four-day tour of the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, Ek Balam, and Tulúm; the beautiful city of Valladolid and smaller beach town of Puerto Morelos; and a few surreal dips in the unreal beauty of two cenotes (underwater sinkhole).
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