A Whirlwind Tour

When I get into a cab and the driver asks,” Cuanto tiempo llevas aqui (how long have you been here)?” I am shocked at my answer: “un año.” Really??? I’ve been here a year?And how nice is it to start the school year with some familiarity. I had such an incredible summer filled with love, fun, and unexpected adventure. I got to see friends and family in San Francisco, relax and do nothing on the beach with my mom on the Oaxacan Coast in Mexico, and explore the jungle in Guatemala and Mexico. San Francisco was incredible because it has everything I love: the people, Asian food (yummy), Golden Gate Park, the fog…..

The beaches on the Oaxacan coast are amazing. They are the beaches that I have been looking for since arriving in Mexico. Beautiful, empty, and hot! The main place, Puerto Escondido, is a neat off-the-beaten-path, surfer town. My mom and  I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in which the woman cooked us breakfast every morning and loved to talk…about everything and anything.

Guatemala was the most unexpected out of all three. I booked a flight there really because I didn’t know what else to do for the rest of the summer and friends had told me it was beautiful and inexpensive. I signed up for language school before I left and headed to San Pedro on the Lago de Atitlan. I was not ten minutes off the shuttle, exhausted and overwhelmed and wishing myself back in Mexico City, as a half-drunk local showed me around to different hotels (the locals get a commission)when I caught the eyes of two women.  “Where are you ladies staying?”

“We’re staying at a quiet place with hammocks and a beautiful view.”

“Perfect. Take me there.”

And that was the beginning of a super goofy, fun, amazing friendship and adventure with Carie and Danielle. I cancelled language school and the three of us took off for Rio Dulce the following Monday. Suspended bridges over small rivers became normal and we soon got used to the sound of Howler Monkeys in the early mornings.

From a website to a website, we found a secluded beach that could only be reached by boat, and in which we were the only tourists. We canoed and swam through the mangroves, ate fresh caught fish for lunch (and over-salted eggs and beans for breakfast and dinner), and befriended our hosts (we also got eaten alive and were scratching for three days after we left).

We made our way up to the ruins of Tikal, picking up another traveler or two and made our way through to Palenque, Mexico (more ruins!), and finally down to my favorite city in Mexico, thus far, San Cristobal de las Casas.  There, we  spent lots of time in coffee shops and made friends with the baristas. (SF anyone??)!

Feeling satisfied and happy, I left my companions and made my way back to Mexico City. Although that journey feels like it happened months ago (or did it even happen at all??) the sentiment of fun and exploration has followed me into this school year.

I met my students last Wednesday! They are adorable and lots of energy! And…I took a four hour nap today. Oh yeah…now I’m starting to remember what working all day feels like. And I’m excited for a new adventure…

…stay tuned…


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