Travel Journal: Mexico
So I’ve been in Mérida for just over a week now and it’s safe to say that my experiences thus far have been unlike anything I could’ve ever imagined. These past few days have been somewhat of a whirlwind—and to tell you the truth, writing this entry has been the first time I’ve had to sit and digest it all. In the past week we’ve learned to salsa, toured the Caribbean, visited five ancient Mayan ruins, celebrated a Mexican holiday with the locals, and successfully moved in with our host families. Even when you’re not at Mother Centre, she still keeps you on your toes!
I mentioned in my last post that the culture here in México, and specifically in the Yucatan, would be something that we will all have to get used to. And that point has been proven solid after this week—but not at all in a bad way. At dinner last night, my host mom and I were talking about the differences in the cultures of the United States and México. She said (only half in jest) that whenever she makes a casual appointment with one of her friends, or plans a date with her family, she always clarifies the punctuality—in particular, whether the time is “American time” or “Mexican time.” She says, if we have a date for 5:00 p.m., and we’re running on “Mexican time,” the date is really set for 30 to 40 minutes later.
She says it’s not a matter of laziness or disrespect for the host, but a sense of enjoying every minute of life—taking another 10 minutes to chat with your family at breakfast, or stopping by a fruit stand to grab a ripe plantain. And coming directly from Centre’s Danville campus, where punctuality is expected, I have to admit there is something refreshing about the whole concept of Mexican time.
Last Sunday, we toured the Mayan ruins of Uxmal, south of Mérida. On the way, we stopped at a village called Santa Elena, where we met a family that chooses to live a traditional Mayan lifestyle. There we met Señor Hernan and his wife, who were nice enough to open their home to us. As soon as we arrived, we were escorted into their traditional Mayan hut, complete with thatched roof, and then shown their altar—which was dedicated to both Christian and Mayan deities.
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