Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking Back - John Clark

Looking back on the trip you start to realize how much fun it was and what a great opportunity it was. The biggest problem about the trip is that we did so many fun things and had so many fun nights that its really difficult to remember them all. We started out spending time at Hotel Caribe and then we got to go see Ek Balam and Tulum and swim in cenotes and head to the beach to snorkel with sharks and sea turtles. We got to come back and go to an Independence day festival and see the famous Pedro Fernandez. We got to see the equinox through a temple at Dzibilchaltun, we got to go to Palenque and a lot of other ruins with some of us making the trip to Chichen Itza and Uxmal. We got to spend 3 nights in Cozumel and 4 nights on Isla Mujeres. We got to spend time in the Chiapas jungle and see the Day of the Dead celebrations in Oaxaca. We got to experience the Mexican discotecas. We got to do so many fun and interesting things in such a short period of time that it made for an unforgettable trip, I just hope we can remember all of the small details.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Farewell Mexico! Erin Sliney

I am writing this last blog from my chilly house in rural Kentucky, remembering the warmth of Mexico. I want to use this as my opportunity to give my farewell. Here’s to the ones we love, here’s to the ones who love us. And yes, the ones we love are the ones that love us because we make up the best Centre group to ever set foot in Merida, Mexico. And it all starts with the leader. Thank you Phyllis for being the best trip leader that I can ever imagine. You cooked us food, took us to the doctor, worried for us, taught us, and sympathized with us. I know that many professors invite students to their homes, but we all really truly felt comfortable and extremely welcome ringing the doorbell of 99j. Alison, I am so glad that I got to meet you. You were like everyone’s big sister of the group, and you are tons of fun. Everyone else, there is no way, that they trip would have been the same without you. Some of my favorite times came from time that we spent together. Taxi group: we had some good times. We did a good job taking care of each other, and I can’t even imagine what those taxi drivers thought of us, even if they didn’t speak English. And Sarah, that first night that you pulled out the sheet with everyone’s addresses was clutch. Christine, Lydia, and Katie: I will never forget that rainy, hung over day at the beach, with the huge waves, nachos, and FRANCISCO!!! You guys are great friends and very close friends. Kit and Keach, your stories and enthusiasm for fun made the trip, and I think that you were able to bring out the fun in everyone. Everyone else: you’re going to get a big hug from me at Centre. I enjoyed being surrounded by you and experiencing Mexico together. Hope Hillside Cielo will be realized. Farewell Mexico and warm weather. Farwell beaches. Farewell rum coconuts. Farewell Francisco. Farewell taxi rides. Farewell El Cielo and Amarantus. Farewell flip-flops and dresses. Farewell classes at Phyllis’s house. Farewell 21st birthdays at Palacio de Billards. Farewell hotel parties. Farewell bathing suits. Farewell all!!!

Casa Cielo- Erin Sliney

So, I have looked back and found out that nobody has really explained our Thanksgiving, so I will because it was great and I don’t want people to forget it. For Thanksgiving break a lot of us went to Isla Mujeres. As Lee already said, the beach was beautiful and it was a bit touristy, but I had a great time. We all stayed in one big girly house on the water: Casa Cielo. Sitting in the living room/kitchen, you could see the ocean out of two different sides of the house. On the east, the strong waves were crashing against the big rocks that lined the coast. On the west, the clear blue water glistened serenely on top of fine sand, and the Cancun buildings and lights sparkling in the distance. Although we were only supposed to have eight people in Casa Cielo, we sneaked and crammed five more, for a total of thirteen. Although there wasn’t that much space, I feel that it gave us a truly different experience as a group. We didn’t have our own hotel rooms to go back to, our different televisions to watch, and our own showers. Well, we did designate a boy bathroom and a girl bathroom; the last thing that we wanted were boys stinking up ours, and fittingly a boy was the only one to make a gross mess in it. Go figure. There was just the pink room, the purple (naughty) room, and the kitchen/living room. It gave a sense of community. We shared food, drinks, chores, and even the extreme thirst that came from the absence of water that first night and morning. We were getting so desperate and dehydrated that Lydia, Michael and Blair resulted to drinking the Mexican tap water! They’re hardcore though, so they champed through Montezuma’s revenge, ready to take on the world, the waves, and the sun. I was extremely surprised how clean and not destructive we were. Even though we did break 2 lawn chairs, 2 glasses, and spray red wine on the ceiling, they were all purely accidental, and the lawn chair were just cheap. This angry Danish (Dutch?) woman did yell at us, though, because we apparently messed up her bike. We didn’t; she was just mean and overreacting. I thought everyone did a good job cooking too, even though our menu was slim. Our food consisted of left-over thanksgiving from our dinner at Phyllis’s, hot dogs, pasta, grilled cheese, ramen, baked beans, peanut butter and jelly, frozen chicken nuggets, brownies and hot sauce. People were putting hot sauce on everything. In fact, on the last day John made a concoction of hot dogs, brownies, and hot sauce, and one night Michael was eating hot sauce on peanut butter and jelly Crackets. The five ipods sitting permanently by the music station played such a variety of music for all different moods. Although there wasn’t much dancing, there was a lot of sing-a-longs, a perfect table for bp, and amazing people. I am very glad that I coughed over the $62 USD to enjoy Casa Cielo for four nights.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back home - Christine

It has been about 4 days since I've left Mexico and it's surprising how fast one can assimulate back in the US. I've brought out my winter clothes and started using English 24/7. Que triste. However, one thing I won't forget was the plane ride home. Apart from being set back 4 hours in the airport I sat next to a lady and her son. It was not until the stewardess passed by when I realized the lady next to me only spoke spanish. It went kind of like this: Stewardess: "What would you like to drink" Lady: "Umm.. cafe?" Stewardess: "Excuse me" Lady: "cafe?" My thoughts: "cafe is spanish for coffee. this lady wants coffee." Me: "She said coffee." :) This dialogue continued with me translating, "Sugar and creme, and orange juice for the boy please." We soon after started having a conversation of our own.. in spanish of course. I learned that she was from Costa Rica and that she was going to Boston to visit her eldest daughter. She has four children in all and she only knows a little English and is still learning. I told her how I had just finished studying for 3 months in Mexico and how I had the time of my life. And after some more conversation I feel back to sleep. I soon realized, that I had just done something I couldn't have done three months ago. Not only because I didn't have the knowledge, but because I would not have had the confidence. It was an amazing experience to have been a translator! I mean, I know, omg, I helped this lady get her coffee, big deal... but it was awesome okay. It was a great feeling to have, and to have done it using two different languages are bonus points. I was really happy and once again realized just how much Mexico has affected me. After the flight was over I walked her to carousel 2 where our bags were (since she didn't know where to go) and after I got my bag and said adios, I finally returned back home. I am now sitting at my house. We just had a big snow storm today and I got to wear my snow boots. Its nice hearing the northern accents and seeing the Boston Red Sox gear adorned on everyone's hats and jackets. And, as much as I miss Mexico, I have to admit, it's nice to be back home.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mastering the Art of Public Transporation - Lydia McCollum

When first arriving in Merida and seeing all the buses with writing on the front with words in Spanish that I could hardly even pronounce…I came to the conclusion that the transportation system was something that I would never understand. However, as our three months in Merida comes to an end, I realize that I have for sure mastered the art of Merida’s public transportation system. It is actually quite simple; you find the bus that says where you need to go whether it be Gran Plaza, Itzimna, or Campestre, you wave your hand in the air to signal the bus driver to stop, you hop on pay the driver 6 pesos, take the usually very thin ticket he gives you, and then find a seat. When you are ready to get off you walk to the front of the bus or if you are in the back press the little red button and the bus will stop especially for you. You never know what exactly you will see when riding a bus in Merida. One Thursday afternoon after studying at The Italian Coffee Company I had one of the craziest and most unforgettable bus experiences ever. It all began when I hopped on a bus from Technologico to my house in the Centro. When I first got on the bus it was pretty crowded so I had to stand. After about 3 minutes of standing, I get a tap on the shoulder and turn around to see a guy offering me an open seat. Seeing that there are no elderly people standing I take a seat. The bus driver continues to pick up more and more people, packing us in like sardines. This day was particularly hot and by this point I was sweating buckets due to all the body heat and I could feel the guy standing up above me breathing and sweating on me. I was thinking to myself my stop cannot come soon enough…just when the first midget that I have seen in Mexico gets on this jam packed bus! Two people close to me were talking so loud over the person in between them it sounded as if there were yelling directly into my ear. Then the bus comes to a spot where three streets merge into one so the bus had to yield. Since the bus driver could not see anything due to the massive amount of people, he asked the guy sitting next to the front right window to tell him when it was clear of traffic and he could go. To add to everything the man directing the bus driver yells go just when a few cars have to slam on breaks because the bus had pulled out in front of them. Everyone at once starts honking their horns, which is a frequent occurrence in the streets of Mexico. Just as I am about to stand up and work my way off the bus through the crowd, a man’s cell phone starts ringing and his ring tone is “Abusadora”. I think to myself oh Mexico, how I will miss these kinds of experiences.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The List: Blair Murphy

Miss 1. Always having an excuse to be late because of the buses 2. The drinking age 3. Being a 30 minute $1 bus ride from the beach 4. Late night taxi rides 5. 2 days of class a week 6. Queso Ruffles 7. Starbucks at Gran Plaza 8. Zucarritas 9. Everyone in the clubs knowing the words to “I gotta feeling” even if they don’t know English 10. Fanny Lu 11. Our Mex Friends 12. Sushi and Cielo Thursdays 13. Fusion Fridays (at the Toose) 14. Pesos 15. Omar saying preguntita 16. Erin saying “ah si si si” 17. Keach saying “Papuuuusa” 18. Pool Parties 19. The clever pick up lines 20. Saraita, Kiki and Alexa 21. The adventures of Kit and Keach 22. Drinking for Free 23. Saying the word Heather and having 2 boys respond 24. Free shots of tequila 25. Cereal with coke Won’t Miss 1. Waiting an hour for a bus in the rain 2. Cockroaches the size of Texas 3. Picaduras (bug bites) 4. Unidentifiable smells in the streets 5. Ants…everywhere 6. The Burger King Smell 7. Stepping in Widdle’s pee 8. Getting out of the shower and immediately starting to sweat again 9. Being whistled at everywhere we go 10. Mexican dogs barking at us (I think they have something against Gringas) 11. Our week of lost belongings 12. Not being able to flush toilet paper 13. Cops following us and calling us out with their megaphones

Saturday, December 5, 2009

So What Was a Typical Day Like? (Rachel Skaggs)

These are notes from one of my daily accounts I wrote while I was here, the typical day! Sorry if it's sparse info, but we are all very busy & I guess this is all I had time to write that day!!! September 29, 2009 a. Class at 11: Discussed Poverty in Class d. Lunch at Pizzaria Rafaela: Garlic bread and Hawaiian Pizza, the worker had a Parrot! e. English bookstore: Amate Books i. Gringo travelers from Michigan ii. Oaxacan crafts iii. SO MANY GREAT BOOKS f. Café Chocolate i. Study for quiz on mayan civilization ii. Ordered a coke and coffee flan iii. Michigan gringos ate here too (second time we've seen them in one day!) g. School i. Quiz ii. Discussion of culture and what it means to be American h. Home for dinner i. Eat pork & zucchini & tomato mixture ii. Tortillas and beans iii. Talked to baby Josie i. Homework i. Worked on Spanish ii. Sick!! Oh no! iv. Fell asleep in hammock & went to bed