October 8, 2002
"Cold at 70 Degrees/Studying in the Sea"
I was cold last night. Not so cold that my teeth were chattering, but cold enough that I wanted to cover up with more than a thin sheet. Of course, since temperatures are normally in the mid-nineties, cold now refers to temperatures in the lower seventies. Cold is no longer a bad thing either; rather it is to be appreciated and enjoyed as long as possible. The mere fact that I even appreciate getting goose bumps represents a complete mind change. One of the many reasons I came down here was to escape being perpetually cold. Now look at me, I actually appreciate the feeling of being in a room that has been over air-conditioned.
Classes have resumed and the homework is, once again, rolling in. Although this is only our third week of official class, we have already plowed through nearly 300 pages for our anthro class alone! (Dont be fooled, going abroad is not necessarily a breeze term like so many people think.) To make things worse, it is difficult to sit down and study, because it just doesnt feel like school. How often do you get to sunbathe and do your homework at the same time?
Another obstacle to studying is that there are more interesting things happening on the street than in the book in front of me. For example, the garbage truck comes creaking down the road, its driver bawling out ¡Basura! ¡Traen su basura! and people come hurrying out of their houses with little sacks of garbage, which they then give to the man in the back of the truck, who opens the bags and separates the trash, putting aside anything that might be salvageable, and placing any recyclables in a large bag. After that mini circus leaves, a donkey cart stops in front of my house; they want to know if I need to buy dirt. Not two minutes later, a bicycle cart touting the wonders of its ice cream comes rolling around.
Since Ive been here this morning, Ive been asked if I wanted to buy Mary Kay makeup, ice, water, cold coconut juice, and Ive been given a bunch of coupons for Assis, a popular clothing store in Mèrida. And its only 10:00! Despite all the problems with studying here, however, we do seem to be retaining at least some information, just in time for midterms next week.