Friday, January 11, 2013


ps. this is my internship nonprofit!!! yayyy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Final Post, Maybe, Maybe Not..

So, as I am writing this, my semester abroad has already officially ended <insert sad face here>. After the Salida de Campo, I basically set up camp at the Facultad to start on the mound of final assignments and other things i didnt get done during the school year. Thankfully, i got everything done!!! and on time  too! anddd, i also finished most of the assignments back at Lasell, because of course i had to take extra classes to make sure i graduate on time. Wednesday, Dec 5th, everything was done! besides my final paper for my honors class, but that doesn't really count. I've started my internship with NdV...and feel like i am still living at the facultad since i am here more hours than i had class in one day..

So far I have three grades from my classes: 90 in Spanish, 90 in Historia y Evolucion del Turismo, and an 83 in Geografia del Turismo.. the other two classes will probably remain a mystery...but hey! not too shabby for someone who could barley understand and speak the language upon their arrival.

My squatting in the city has commenced. I've already changed my departure date 4 times..because really, i dont want to leave. i've been crashing at one of my friends house with my oh so comfy hamaca. doing internship stuff before i officially leave the city after christmas has been my top well as sleep! but i am excited for Christmas in a new place! the first one away from my family and in the tropics! who da thunk it??

Well, untill i decide whether or not i will post some more entries, here is my final parting picture:
Me having a little too much fun in Ek-Balam

Salida de Campo...aka field trip!

I decided to take classes in the Tourism department while i was here, for one, they were freshman classes and previous requisites were not needed, so in theory it would be easy for me to understand-- Unlike my archeology class, where i had serious brain fart the whole time.  but, all in all, the classes were fun, i am happy i took the level because i made some great friends, which probably wouldn't have happened if i didnt take the two classes that i wanted. For my Geografía class, we had to participate in the Salida de Campo of the Yucatán....Yucatán as in the state, not the peninsula. The trip was three fun filled days of no sleep...due to the fact that i couldn't breath inside the tent...yes that is right, tent! My first camping trip in Mexico!!! 

Día 1: Sabacché, Yaxunah, and Ek-Balam
After waking up bright and early, i made my way to the facultad for our departure. The first stop was in Sabacché, where we had breakfast, learned about ecotourism with hospedaje rural--similar to cabins, and swam in a cenote!!

After swimming and lunch in Sabacché, we made our way to Yaxunah, my second time there! the group was given a tour of the museum and the cenote. I, of course, was having issues with my class registration in the states, so unfortunately couldnt participate with them =/  We then left Yaxunah for Ek-Balam, where we set up camp for the night. We had dinner, Panuches,  in one of the local family's homes--which is a type of business very common in the rural/touristic areas--families cook for travelers, but instead of a restaurant, you eat in the family´s home, which is usually the traditional mayan house very similar to the cabin above.
Día 2: Ek-Balam Ruins
After breakfast at the campsite, we traveled to the ruins in Ek-Balam.
After an hour, we headed to Tizimin, where one of our classmates invited us to his ranch for a BBQ and a show--he and his horse performs in competitions with bulls...not entirely sure of the name, but it was interesting! I also got on a horse again for the first time in over 10 years.

When lunch was over, and two hours later, we made it to San Felipe, a natural park reserve. Here, we set up camp again, had dinner, and boarded some fishing boats called lanchas to see crocodiles in the mangroves. Fortunately, we were able to see a baby one!

Día 3: San Felipe/Ría Lagartos

One yummy breakfast and 30 minutes later, we made our way to Ría Lagartos to clean the mangroves, or Mangles in Spanish, a natural barrier for the ocean that collects and traps trash so it doesnt pollute the water. We divided up into groups to pick up anything that wasn't natural, like glass and plastic bottles, shoes, etc. And naturally, I was covered almost head to toe in mud by the time we were done
After viewing the garbage deposit of San Felipe and a presentation, we had lunch at a local restaurant and spent the rest of our time in San Felipe at the beach, where i walked along the beach, possible found a flamingo feather, and stumbled upon the chest piece of a turtle...poor little guy. Then, back to Mérida..sigh..but a night sleeping in my own bed was much needed.

Chiapas- Día de los Muertos

At the end of October, just in time for Halloween, we had our final excursion as a group...tooooo CHIAPAS! Finally a change of scenery ;] since the Yucatan doesn't have any mountains...only a couple hills...we left Mérida at midnight to make our way on the longest and uncomfortable bus ride. 8 hours late, we arrived in the archeological site of Palenque, home to the tomb of Pakal, and some pretty cool structures with an amazing view!

After Palenque, we boarded the bus again and made two stops before making our way to base camp: San Cristobal de las Casas. Our first stop was Misol-Ha, a beautiful waterfall, and after that, we went to Agua Azul, which is, i guess, a river in the mountains with the most bluest colored water ever. the reason for it, not sure entirely. But here are some pics!

Another 4 hours, we finally made it to San Cris!!! After a night of much needed sleep, in a big comfy bed, we headed out to San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán for their Día de los Muertos celebrations, which consisted of decorating their family/loved ones graves with beautiful flowers, bread, coca cola, and things that they liked when they were alive. In Chamula, we were able to visit the old church and cemetery to see the process, as well as go to the church in the center to see even more traditions, such as their traditional dress, customs, and practices, like praying and setting up an altar inside of the church for the saint that they worship. For me, there was way too many people inside, so i left and saw the ringing of the church bell as well as dodged questionable fireworks
 Zinacantán was a little bit more peaceful. The town had a cemetery placed on one of the mountains....the scariest part was actually getting to the top, on a one lane road....with trucks and buses coming down while you are driving up! but, the view from the top was worth the almost heart attack. It has to be one of the most beautiful places to be buried, overlooking the town and the mountains.
Back in San Cris, i was able to do some more exploring. I walked to one of the main markets with a couple other girls and did some souvenir shopping...mainly for myself.

On Nov. 2nd, we visited the cemetery in San Cris, which was a lot different from Chamula and Zinacantán. big mausoleums represent families, new and old tombs are mixed in everywhere. While it was another beautiful place, it just didn't have the same charm as the others.

After our morning in San Cris, we went to a village, i believe it was Aguacatenango to see how local pottery is made. I did some more souvenir shopping here for some of the families-...well, because the stuff was beautiful!!!

Our last day in San Cris was dedicated to...guess...SHOPPING!! I had basically done all my shopping the other days, so i went and had some yummy coffee, bought coffee beans, walked, walked some more, checked out one of the churches, walked to the market, did some last minute shopping for things i forgot, and ended my night with a tattoo..yup, that's how things role!

Community Service- Yaxunah

During the crazy month of October, so much happened. Between exams and papers...let's just say it was a rough month. The 25-27th the group, minus two, went to Yaxunah, a rural village right outside of Chichén Itzá. While there, we participated in community service with the local youth group, Los Jaguares, and slept in almost traditional mayan housing...we got to set up camp, aka our hammocks, in the government provided cement part of the house, seen in the foto with my roommate for the trip.

Our first day consisted of dividing into two groups to help local families with the front of their houses. Basically, we cleaned the front yard, moved rocks to build a wall, planted plants, chased chickens and puppies, created a pathway from the road to the front door, and prepared the area for a cement step to enter the house. By the time we were done, i was covered  head to toe in dirt. the highlight of the day was definitely seeing a tarantula with orange spots...Eeeak! lunch and dinner was served in one of the local family's house where we enjoyed fresh maíz tortillas. Best thing ever!!!

Day two was even more fun! the day was dedicated to helping out around the Cultural Center and Museum in Yaxunah. Thinking my group had an easy task, similar to planting plants, ended up not being true. for a couple hours or more, we moved rocks, moved more rocks, shoveled rocks in the pathway, moved more rocks, shoveled rocks back, dug dirt, moved dirt....well you get the point. exhausting!! but we were rewarded in the end with a nice long swim in the Cenote, which by the way is an area where the limestone caved i allowing for underground water to rise up and flood the area.

Later on in the afternoon, we went back to our designated work sites and finished up with the cement stairs. Followed by a fogata, campfire, with marshmallows and games to get to know the other volunteer workers later on in the night.

Saturday was a somewhat easy day. The groups went to other houses to help...but i ventured off with a couple of other people and went to see the archeological site of Yaxunah, which was about a 10 minute walk from the Cultural Center

The last activity of the day was to make cochinita pibil, a famous yucatecan dish of pork, spices, and lime cooking in a pit. After copious amounts of squeezed lemons for lemonade, my trip started going down hill. Enter: Misadventure #2 of the trip...the first being a nasty eye infection...the second being, I still have no clue entirely. 12 hours later, my hands were swollen, red, and extremely sore. It ended up being some sort of acid burn/allergic reaction to lemons and the plants at the archeological site....

Thus ends this story.....Next up: Chiapas!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

So, I realized I haven't posted anything in a while...sorry about that. I've been pretty busy with excursions, school, and of course siestas! well, actually, i've been trying to do work, but procrastination has stepped in, big time. why? I do not know....but oh well. October was an exciting month. Stories soon to come about my adventures and misadventures...stay tuned!

And here is a picture that will make everyone smile! A little armadillo from Chiapas

Monday, October 8, 2012

An Act of Humility

So, this past weekend I went to Gran Plaza, which is a shopping center/mall. While waiting for one of my friends to show up, I decided that it would be nice to drink a hot cup of coffee and enjoy people watching while perched on a windowsill. As I was enjoying my coffee, well kind's hard to find good coffee in the Yucatán, I noticed a woman sitting along the wall. At first I just thought she was someone waiting for a friend to show up, but after observing her for a little while, I realized that she had severe scarring on her arms and face and was most likely homeless. This crushed my heart. After a few more minutes, people started coming up to her and handed her some change...more and more people followed suit. After sitting outside near this woman for over 30 minutes, a customer at the mall had purposely gone inside and bought this woman new clothes-shirts and jackets to keep her warm on the chilly nights. If I had more money on me, I would have bought this woman dinner. Experiences like this make you wonder how people end up this way. They are most likely extremely sad situations. does she have family--sons, daughters, grandchildren? So many questions that need to be asked, but is it our place to ask them?

Sorry for this very deep and emotional post, but it consists of something that is usually overlooked in our societies.