Travel Journal: Mexico
Upon return to Mérida our mamas took us home to settle in, unpack (even though as of today, four days later, almost nothing of mine is unpacked), and start hunkering down into real Yucatecan life. This is the meat of the next three months—the complete immersion into the lifestyles and livelihoods of real citizens of Mérida. The true purpose we are here: to demolish the narrow understanding of our own American lifestyles, surroundings, and culture, and build not only a knowledge, but appreciation of the differences across the globe.
My house is simple, yet so perfect. The first night, I dropped off my luggage and went to dinner with Mama Rocio, Sarah Lulich and her mama, and Sarah Bugg and her mama to a little local restaurant that is supposedly known for their panuchos, an original dish of Mérida. They are similar to tostados, but with a pocket of beans in the middle of the tostado. Muy delicioso! Sarah, Sarahita (Sarah Bugg), and I are all neighbors and our mamas are good friends and boy are they a kick! During that first dinner, the other two mamas were making fun of my mama’s dog’s name, Crosti. They were calling him “Prosti,” insinuating that her dog sold his body for money. Regardless of the language barrier, laughs are inevitable with these wonderful women!
We had our first day of classes last Friday, which for me meant a total of eight hours of classes. Two other students and I began our day with an hour and 20-minute walk to class. It was so beautiful seeing the city up close and personal, especially in the morning hours when there are not too many locals bustling around. After two classes, we all returned to our homes, this time on the bus to save time for lunch, the big meal of the day, and a little down time before returning for the final classes of the day. When classes ended at eight in the evening, Megan Radenhausen and I decided to walk the hour and 20 minutes back to our casa. Will this become routine? I sure hope so!
As for now, my expectations have been wildly met. Conversations with my host mama and papa happen mostly during meals and afterward, and I cannot express how dear they are to me. My Spanish, in only four days, has improved profoundly thanks to the amazing patience and charading of Mama Rocio and her husband.
This is not a dream. This remarkable opportunity has transcended from my imagination into reality and I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not really just bundled tight in my bed during a snowstorm in the States. The moments I stop to remember what I am actually in the middle of, I'm dumbfounded...and all I am able to mutter is WOW!
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