September 19, 2002
I've been living with my family for a week already, and classes have finally started.
Seems like I've already lived here my entire life, but this is only
our third week! Living with the family is great; mine is a full house, with lots of activities going on. Lets see, I have a 27 year old brother, 25 year old twin brothers, one of whom is married and his wife and three month old daughter live with us as well, and a 23 year old sister, plus me. The homestay aspect of the Mexico program is an integral part of our stay here. Not only does it provide a window into the private lives of Mexicans, but it also provides 24-hour, native-speaking language assistance, as well as someone to go do non-touristy things with, like going grocery shopping with my mom and the baby.
Now that we have moved in with our families, classes have started as well, so that we have, at last, a normal schedule. Monday would have been our first day, but, since that is Mexico's Independence Day, it would have been rude to hold classes.
I was privileged to be able to go downtown with my family and Tori Kleffman to observe what is known as "El Grito" (The Shout), which reenacts Padre Hidalgo's call for independence. I got goose bumps hearing about 5,000 people crowded into the Plaza Grande shouting ¡Viva! in response to the governor's ¡Viva Mèxico! What a great way to start off our stay here, observing such an intimate aspect of Mexican culture.
Classes should be interesting; topics of study include Ancient Maya Civilization to the Present, Developments in International Relations especially in Latin America, Art and Architecture in Mèrida, Daily Life in Mèrida, as well as a Spanish class of some sort. We've already got a field trip scheduled for this weekend where we will be looking at some more ruins and sleeping in a hammock at an old (and haunted?) hacienda.