Travel Journal #8 — Hasta La Vista

deer, fruit cup, and sinkholeNinety bedtimes (not counting siestas) have come and gone, and here I am once again sitting comfortably in my aisle seat. I’m not sure what emotions to feel. Part of me feels numb. I’m leaving a country, a city, a family, and a home that has become my life these past few months and I’m returning to the home/family that had always been part of my life prior to studying abroad. “Slightly confused” could most certainly be the proper explanation for my current mental state. Radiant to have snuggled with my pups and to have eaten fresh homegrown vegetables, but forlorn to be at the adventure’s end. However, that raises the question — does the adventure have to end because I am leaving Merida? Perhaps the adventure has only begun.
The morning of May 3, my feet hit the floor a few hours before the sun even began to think about hitting the snooze button. The taxi pulled up at 4:15 a.m., and Sarah B, Sarah L, and I zipped off to the airport, all luggage in tow except my own. My roles that morning were send-off crew and then welcoming committee. As I sent off the Centre group with hugs and a few tears, the unsettling goodbyes were counteracted by the anticipation of meeting my mom and sister at the arrival gate only two hours later. My Centre Merida family will always be a part of my life — the people who supported and challenged me during a period of great growth in my life. And I must give a quick shout out to the superb Julie James. Professor, confidante, and remarkable friend, Julie was a warm spice to our adventures, creating depth and spunky flare each step along the way.
The past five days have passed in a flash. It’s interesting to remember that we arrived in Merida as tourists, seeing the sights the first few days and a tour of the Caribbean Coast. I’ve spent my last few days in the same manner — as a tourist. Staying in a remarkable hotel in the Centro (Hotel Medio Mundo for any future Merida travelers), we were close to all the tourist activity, shopping, and sights. The restaurant, Kinich of Izamal, shared its remarkable traditional Yucatecan cuisine among breathtaking yellow-building-lined streets. Cuzama exposed the brilliance of the Yucatan’s cenotes (sinkholes), and the delightful stumbling upon of Hacienda Temozon was straight out of a dream. Instead of shuffling back to the United States two days after finals, I was blessed with a few more opportunities to fully realize the beauty of this remarkable land.
Shortly after my family arrived, the in-between time — the meat of my time abroad, became a blur. These next few days (maybe weeks) will consist of a great deal of processing. Perhaps I’m experiencing a bit of culture shock as I leave my Mexican habits at the customs checkline. I’m not the same young woman who overpacked her suitcase and headed off to a foreign city 90 days ago. I’ve surely been revamped, refined. In what manner, I have yet to realize, but I’m oh-so-inspirited to grasp.
Early this morning I snuck out alone for a farewell stroll through the Centro. As the streets became alive, my heart began to grasp at every last detail I could take home with me. Goodbyes are inevitable and I had to do them, so I strolled through the bustling local mercado watching Mayan women roll balls of masa and early birds grabbing a bite at small food stands before work. I found my peace to say goodbye — Hasta la Vista, Merida. Until I see you again.
by Demi Landstedt ’14, currently participating in the Centre-in-Merida study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in Merida.
PHOTO COLLAGE (top): A friendly fawn on the site of the Ecomuseo del Cacao (chocolate museum), enjoying a mouth-watering fruit cup, and swimming in the clear blue water of a cenote (sinkhole) while enjoying the cave ceilings dripping with years of natural wonderment.

By |2012-05-08T10:30:57+00:00May 8th, 2012|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - Mexico|