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Category: Puebla (page 1 of 5)

All posts from students studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico

Going Home

Well the day has arrived. On my way back to the USA. Last night we had a good-bye celebration which was super bittersweet but still fun.

My travel plans have changed a bit and it looks like I am going by myself to the airport in Mexico City. So, I’ll just confess to the entire world that I’ve been crying since 8:30 this morning. My friend Pat McCoy told me to cry and let it out and to feel sad if I have to.

It’s hard because my experience was more than just two semesters of traveling and seeing cool sites. Because of my lack of money, I really got to dive into the culture. Although my journey consisted of traveling, it was more getting to know the people and how the culture functions. I discovered that I identify more with Mexico than with my own-which makes it ten times more difficult.

However, I am so excited to go home. My friends Amrita, Howard and Erin are coming to pick me up and I am so, so happy to see them and other friends and of course, Mom and Dad.

I just have to let out the tears and have faith that everything work out and to breathe.

It’s hard but I’ll be back in Mexico very soon.

This experience made me realize the beauty of life and to live with more passion and vibrancy. I remember arriving here in August all excited and nervous but now I feel I am leaving with more confidence and a love for life.

I don’t know the future but everything will work out and no matter where I am at, Mexico will always be in my heart.

USA…here I come!

Saludos

Mexico has given me more passion for life.

Trendy or Socially Conscious? A Reflection on my Internship in Mexico

Hey all,

So it’s been a few weeks since my internship at Fundación Origen ended, and as my time comes to a close in Mexico I’ve been thinking more and more about that. One of my Mexican friends the other day was telling me that the new “in thing” to do among the Mexican elite (aka the students who go to the UDLA) is to go to an indigenous community for a weekend, come back and talk about how difficult it was over non-fat Moka-Frappe-lattes with extra whipped cream at Starbucks, and then forget about all the people you met during your experience the next week. I was slightly horrified when I heard this. Ok, so I didn’t chat with my amigos over Green tea frappes at Starbucks (I’m still too much of a hipster to set foot into one of those icons of capitalism), but I had definitely talked about my time at the Fundación like it was the most difficult thing ever, and then went on living my life like nothing happened. Ugh. Am I one of those sell-outs, who was just doing this internship to be hip? What’s next…am I going to join the Peace Corps or Teach for America not because I have an actual social conscience, but because it will look good on my future resume? I don’t want to be one of “those people.” I can’t be!!!

Now before I went off the deep-end into one of those philosophical self-inquiries, somebody reminded me of something. Ok, so I came back from my weekends in the indigenous community and talked about how difficult “their” lives were. Wasn’t that the experience I was looking for? I live a privileged life. That’s an undeniable fact. Going to work with this community gave me the opportunity to confront that privilege. I might not think about how easy I have it when I go turn on the hot water in the shower on Monday morning while I’m racing to class, but it would be too stressful if I was thinking like that all the time, right? Instead of unpacking my privilege and trying to collaborate with other people to help make their lives less stressful, I would be doing nothing but feeling guilty all the time. No thanks, I’ll pass.

If there’s one thing that I’ve taken away from this experience, then it’s the fact that I’m a lot more defensive of people who are less privileged than me. When we went to stay with my friend Ivan last week in Mexico City, we were driving around in his car and these kids, who couldn’t have been more than 12 and who were most likely of indigenous origin came up to his car and started washing his windshield. He gave them a peso for their work (the equivalent of about 10 cents). He complained that they were just lazy and should have gotten a real job. Normally, I’m kind of reserved about this things. However, for some reason that day I flipped out. The culture of poverty doesn’t teach people how to function in a normal work environment. Mexicans discriminate against indigenous people in the workforce all the time. Many indigenous people who go to Mexico City to work don’t speak Spanish. And why should these little kids be working at all? They should be having fun being kids and not dealing with the fact that the Mexican government and educational system has failed them miserably.

Whether you agree with me on this point or not, I think it’s clear that my outlook on life has changed because of my work with Fundación Origen. I’m not so sure that many people could say that about their internship experiences. Thanks for that Mexico.

Un abrazo,

Nick.

Ok. So this could be interpreted as a post-colonial theorist's nightmare, what with the white kid helping out the brown-skinned kid. However, I'd like to think that my experience at Fundación Origen was different than that.

One.Week.

ONE. WEEK.

That’s all I have left in Mexico. So, how am I feeling at this point? Oh, let’s say this: sad, happy, excited,  wanting to break down, frustrated, thrilled, stressed…ummm, yeah that’s all I got for now. The big pit in my stomach seems to be less strong as I learn to deal with the reality that the study abroad journey is coming to an end.

The colors of Mexico....just beautiful

Although Mexico is our next door neighbor, it’s going to be weird to go back. After being here since August (and never having gone back for vacations), I feel more compatible with Mexico than my own culture (that’s ok, after being homeschooled for 4 years, I’ve never really adjusted to American culture that much). However, I have decided how I am going to live out my next few days. In Mexico, you really don’t plan anything but just go with the ball. So here goes:

1. Despedidas!! Going away parties have filled up my social calender. Every moment I can get to spend time with the friends I love and have gotten to know is valuable and there isn’t much of it. So, bring on the good times! Tonight, I am meeting with friends from my internship, Valpo and my ex-roomies from last semester. Tomorrow night includes the same and pretty much the rest of the week. We have to celebrate!

2. Study. Yes, despite the parties and fun times, I have just one final exam (Pyschology in Spanish, God help me) and then I will be free. Fun part is, I’m taking summer classes at Valpo which means 4 days of vacation for me…yes! (note the sarcasm)

3. Prepare (somewhat) for my future in Mexico. I’m planning to come back to Mexico. Not for vacation but to live and work. Although jobs don’t pay the best, I love living in this culture and want to really dive into it! There are positions in my field, Public Relations, so I just have to get my name out there and make those contacts. It’s not easy but fortunately my family and friends support and somebody else who is very important…

Now really, I could never leave him!

4. Continue to fall in love with my boyfriend (the wonderful Oscar Escobar). Yes, I have a boyfriend! Yeah, he’s a sexy Mexican, knows how to dance and be romantic and can even cook! Many people have asked me what I am going do when I go back. Ummm, well…stay with him! How could I leave this wonderful man who has made me stronger, treats me like a princess and brought so much joy to my life? Long distance will be hard but it could be worse. Besides, we have skype and facebook and I hope to visit in December…no matter what, I could never leave the love of my life!

5. Pack. Ohhhh packing that dreaded word that brings upon a tornado of stress. It’s all good though, I’ve become good at packing but I just don’t have the energy. Any volunteers? 🙂

6. Buy last minute gifts. Rosary for mom for sure….there are other things I want to buy. Maybe a bottle of tequila and a Mexican flag?

7. Immigration and official documents. I need to check my email because I have to print off some important form that I don’t remember what it is called or what it is for but it’s important. Pfff, why is this SO complicated?

8. Prepare for the culture shock. Oh yes, that thing about reverse culture shock the International Office and every other ex-study abroad student keeps telling me about.

Staying in touch with some amazing friends!

9. Eat a LOT of Mexican food. I’m going to go eat a lot of tacos, mole, chilaquiles and whatever else I can find to eat. The food is tasty and so amazing here. So, if you see me and I’ve gained weight, you’ll know why!

10. Basically, celebrate the present…and look forward to the future. Mexico has taught me to live one day at a time but also enjoy that day to the absolute maximum! Live it up! Laugh, love..whatever you do, do it with passion. But for God’s sake, take it easy and actually take your time. The present is beautiful right now as I sit here with the love of my life about to prepare for the evening parties. However, I am so looking forward to the future. An exciting senior year is in store for me back at Valpo but I know deep down inside my heart, Mexico is in my future along with other adventures. What can I say? I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Saludos!

Messed Up

I feel messed up, just a combination of many feelings that I’m slowly trying to figure out.

In less than one month, I will be returning to the United States. How do I feel about this? Sad, scared, worried, relieved, happy, excited…yeah, all that in about 10 seconds.

I just don’t get it. Mexico has been one difficult pillow to swallow at times. I’ve never been through more of a scary financial situation than while being here (penniless and abroad? not fun!) along with painful language barriers, difficult classes and people, sickness, and oh yeah, forget to mention my laptop broke down 3 times down here.

However, for whatever crazy reason, I love Mexico and wouldn’t take anything back. I feel such a tie to this culture that has made me question my cultural identity. Although the US is my home country and I love it, Mexico just fits me better.

This culture has given me new life and a fresh perspective towards it. The culture here is so rich and vibrant and the land is beautiful although there are negative aspects to it (hello coruption!). However, there is nothing like Latin American culture-it just forces you to feel something. I feel sexier in Mexico because I feel the confidence to just be myself and forget what people say. Oh yeah, and people always tell you here “poco a poco, tranquilo“…little by little, take it easy. That little phrase can do wonders to your soul.

However, I haven’t seen my family since August. We call on skype (without the webcam) but they aren’t able to visit me and I never expected to stay here another semester (and didn’t plan on not going home for Christmas). I miss my mom so much and want her hugs and want to get ice cream with my dad.

I just don’t know. It’s messed up feeling this way. In love with one culture and wishing to return to it but on the other hand, feeling so empty because you want your family and friends and want to be in YOUR familiar territory.

(Sigh) I don’t know what to do…it’s just messed up.

The Beauty of Spanish

Spanish…gosh, what a sexy language!

What makes Spanish so enticing and such a beautiful language? Perhaps it’s my fault of always thinking of some hot latino papacito looking into my eyes and saying romantic things that should make my toes curl and want to be his senorita but blah blah, blah, such is the stuff for cheesy Hollywood films.

Spanish IS a beautiful language for various reasons but after a recent conversation with a classmate of mine, I realized that one of the reasons the Spanish language is very attractive is because it is very specific in its meaning and context. It makes it just downright lovely sometimes.

For example, take the phrase in English “I like you.” Now, that can be taken two ways. We can say in a friendship type of way or it can mean that we have a romantic inclination towards someone. However, in Spanish if you want to say “I like you” in a friendship type of way, you would say “me caes bien” which literally translates as “you fall well with me.” How cool is that?! Instead of saying to some guy “I like you” ( but just as a friend) and possibly creating an awkward situation, “me caes bien” or “you fall well with me” sounds like the perfect way to create a friendship don’t you think?

Without a doubt, I would say "te amo" to this guy 😉

Let’s look at another (important) example. In English, there is only one way to say “I love you.” However, we take a look at Spanish and oh wow, have a look at your options: me fascinas, me encantas, te quiero, and with the strongest being te amo. Although these translate differently, the meaning remains as being “I love you.” For example, me encantas would translate as “you enchant me” but it’s a way of saying “I love you” in Spanish that isn’t very strong.

For friends that I get along great with and love being in their company, I would say “me encantas” because I enjoy their company and love them but my love isn’t as strong in comparison to my close friends. For the friends who have been with me through the good and bad times and have been by my side I would say to them “te quiero” or “te amo.” Anymore it’s hard for me to just say “I love you” to somebody. Saying it in Spanish says it perfectly what it is in my heart…amazing how powerful words can be.

Saludos

An unscientific poll

Me and some of the other international students who participated in my informal survey.

My time in Mexico will be coming to an end soon, which means “real life” will be starting up again (sad face). I know what I’ve thought of this experience, and you’ve probably been able to tell how I felt through my posts. With that being said, I conducted a highly unscientific poll over this past week to find out what other people thought of their experiences in Mexico (the good, bad, the awesome, and the terrible). Here’s what people had to say:

U.S.A.: “Mexico is a vegetarian’s nightmare. All you can eat here is Vitamin T–tacos, tamales, tortas and tequila.”

Germany: “I’m never leaving!!!!”

France: “People say that Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world, but they think that because they believe everything that’s on the news. I actually feel a lot safer at UDLAP than I do at my Uni back home.”

Australia: “It was hard at first, but my Spanish is finally getting better!”

Honduras: “I love Mexico!”

U.S.A: “Mexico has been the worst and best experience of my life. There are things I wish I could change, but really I’m so glad that I came here this semester.”

Australia: “Clubbing and drinking are fun for about a week, but then you kind of get burned out.”

U.S.A.: “Mexican girls should not be allowed to wear high heels if they don’t know how to walk in them.”

U.S.A.: “I decided to stay here another semester because I love it so much.”

U.S.A.: “I still don’t understand why they eat pizza with ketchup here!”

Australia: “I was supposed to go back after this semester because I’m graduating. But I’m getting a job teaching English. I never want to leave!”

U.S.A: “I’ve had a good time so far, but I am starting to feel a little bit homesick. I think it’s time to head back to the States.”

U.S.A.: “Mexico equals Love!!!!!!!!”

That was just some the feedback I got during my random and rather awkward poll. Remember everyone’s study abroad experience is going to be different. Even if you have a rocky time know that wherever you go, you will never be the same when you come back. So take a risk and go on an adventure…today!!!!

My Mexican Playlist Part 2

Me "chillin with my ladies" at Voodoo Mama, a great place to go to when you're tired of the usual Mexican club scene.

After a brief hiatus from going out, I’ve started heading out to more nightclubs, bars, and general hotspots to find you all the music that you have to know if you want to fit in in Cholula. With that said, here’s my second top five songs of Mexico:

5. The title kind of makes you feel dirty, but the lyrics are so catchy that you’ll find yourself singing it in the shower. At #5, here’s Plastilina Mosh with “Pervert Pop Song.” And if you’re worried that this song will be a little too risque for your liking, please just take a listen. The song is more about what you want out of a good relationship than being about pervy spanish-speakers.

4. Whether your a Kurt fan or feel something special for the cheerleading Brittany, you have to admit that the songs from Glee are pretty catchy. Coming in at #4 is the Glee version of “Teenage Dream.” Be forewarned, the only thing that Mexicans like better than Glee is High School Music. Even if you’re not a fan of either, just try to be accepting of people who like these shows.

3. Sometimes you just feel like your life is out of control. Sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to do because you keep making bad decisions. If you feel this way, then you should probably take a listen to “Take Over Control” by Afrojack featuring Eva Simons. So take a break from the hectic life of studying abroad, head over o Kurandera and just let the music take you over.

2. You thought that Mexicans only listened to clubby, danceable music. Well that’s just because you were in the wrong places. You want clubbing tunes, head over to Kurandera, Zambesi or Unit. But if you want more chill, more alternative tuneskies, then head over to Voodoo Mama, Pacha Mama (before 11 that is), or BarFly. I nearly freaked out when I heard the Queens of the Stone Age come on. Coming in at #2 for the inner hipster in all of us is “Nobody Knows.”

1. Some people think they’re amazing. Other people think their lyrics are banal and repetitive. And then they’re are those of us who are completely indifferent to them. Whatever category you fit (or maybe you don’t fit) into, you have to admit that no clubbing experience is complete without listening to at least one Black Eye Peas’ song. So here it is at # 1 the Black Eyed Peas with their smash hit “The Time (dirty bit).”

Hope you enjoy rocking out to this songs! Peace.

Sick…Not fun!!

Hello dear readers,

I knew it was going to happen. It was going to happen SOMETIME!

And “that” is being sick. Somebody once told me last semester that it is not possible to travel and live abroad without getting sick at least once. I tried to fight it but shoot, I am battling an inflammed colon and intestines right now. I won’t go into details but yeah being sick abroad is part of the experience.

What to do? Go to the doctor, drink tea, do NOT eat spicy tacos and just relax…..besides it’ll pass and remember to be grateful for all your blessings…in the good and bad times!

Saludos!

My Mexican Playlist Part 1

Me at the infamous Unit with some of my Mexican friends. Yes, Johnny, la gente está muy loca.

Most of the Mexican students at UDLAP keep a constantly running playlist of the same music. Club music rules here. If you’re not listening to the latest David Guetta track or Katy Perry’s new hit single, then you’re nothing more than a poser. Although I’ve grown tired of listening to these I-can’t-get-these-out-of-my-head-tracks-no-matter-how-hard-I-try, I thought I would share some with you all. So here’s my top 5 Mexico Playlist of Spring Semester 2011:

5. She’s a neo-liberal’s dream with her catchy tune that praises the underdog in all of us. It’s Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Don’t be surprised if you see actual fireworks going off in Kurandera when this song comes on.

4. Are you feeling sentimental? Want to tell that special someone how you really feel about them? Check out Reik’s “Inolvidable.” It comes on in the clubs at about 2am when it’s time to take a breather from all that hard-core rocking out. So grab a partner and dance the night away.

3. Americans love her, Mexicans worship her, and people named Alejandro probably hate her. Coming in at #3 is Lady Gaga with “Alejandro.” After spending nearly a semester in this country, I can attest to the fact that Gaga got it right when she said Alejandro was “hot like Mexico.”

2. What’s that? You think Barbara Streisand is a washed-out, has-been from the 80s who’s completely irrelevant to contemporary pop culture. Well guess again! At number #2, here’s Ducksauce with “Barbra Streisand.” Do Do Do dooo dooo doo doo do. Be careful with this one. It’s been known to stay in people’s heads for weeks at a time.

1. You’ve seen people eat pizza with ketchup. You’ve heard Mexican hipsters hopelessly trying to use their Nextels at Bambukos while the music was blaring. And you’ve felt sweaty people awkwardly rub up against you at Unit. Do you ever just have those moments when you want to say, “Johnny, la gente está muy loca.” Topping off this unofficial chart at #1 is Sak Noel’s “Loca People” aka the official theme song of my semester in Mexico.

You Know You’ve Studied Abroad in México (or You’re the Jealous Friend) When…

 Enjoy these little phrases that somewhat define the Mexican study abroad experience. 😉

  • Anoop (United Kingdom)

You’ve realized there’s more to Mexican food than tacos

  • Mari (Norway)

You think one dollar for a beer is expensive

  • Yvonne (Germany)

When you appreciate hot salsa on your Pizza

When you are able to distinguish Cumbia from Salsa

  • Courtney (USA)

You went an entire winter without seeing any snow

Your hometown and college town survived snowpocalypse 2011 and you didn’t see one flake of snow

  • Shelly (USA)

Your name is gringa

  • Amie (USA)

Your classes never start on time

You’ve probably accidentally failed a greeting kiss

You’ve realized the INTENSELY fast speed you probably used in your home country

You’ve learned more Justin Bieber songs than you EVER imagined (or wanted…)

You know what ahorita and al rato mean

  • Erin Moeller (USA)

You come back to the states and find you still have little to no regard for other drivers on the road.

  • Alexandra Moralez (USA)

When you can explain to someone what “Mexican time” is

When shrimp in your beer makes sense

When 7 or 8 of your friends want to go somewhere and try to decide which two cars to take and your first instinct is “we can all fit”

Tacos in México...dear God, I love them!!

  • Chris Oversluizen ‎(New Zealand)

You have an appreciation for busses in your home town

When agreeing on a meeting time means absolutely nothing!!!!!

  • Tim Kneuss (USA)

You use salsa inglesa and catsup on your pizza

  • Paige Snyder (USA)

You know you’ll never be able to eat American Mexican food again

There are some words you can only say in espanol because you’ve forgotten how to say them in English

You wiggle your pointer finger at people when you agree with them or saying yes

  • Beth Anne Lopez  (USA)

When you know what it means to ask for “limon” or “jamaica” at a Pemex

When it is necessary to eat half a kilo of carne al pastor after a night out

When you don’t even blink when you see armed guards

  • Emily Beatty (USA)

When youre talking with friends and you say weyyy at the end of each sentence

  • Lydia (USA)

When you’re  so much more relaxed about life

You’ve had one freaking amazing study abroad experience!

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