Hand foot mouth disease hit me pretty fast and was terrible for a few days, but it left as quickly as it came. I feel 100% better, aside from the tough patches where the blisters were now peeling off my foot calluses. (Lovely, I know.)
I’m the only person than came here without finite plans to return, and people don’t really understand when I explain that my family isn’t really big on making plans. People have been asking me since I got here when I’ll be leaving, and I kept saying “I don’t know!” and receiving some quizzical looks. I’m having a wonderful time, but I do miss my family, my boyfriend, and my adorable baby Duchess. But I’ve now made some plans, and I can say with certainty that I’ll be home in about two weeks.
School is still going great, and I get a small thrill every time I have a conversation in Spanish. The other day in class we went over how to talk about cooking and write recipes. I chose to write the recipe for my mom’s lentil bean soup, partly because it is one of the few “recipes” I use, and partly because I planned on making it for my family that week! Maria Jose is a fan of lentils and spinach, and since these are the key ingredients I decided it’d be the perfect thing to cook. We all sat down to eat, and they loved it, and we talked a lot in Spanish. I felt so much pride!
This past Saturday, I went to my first ever Catholic mass- in Spanish! My friend Liz (from England) is Catholic and attends mass at least twice a week; she said she wanted to try all the various churches in town, and I told her there was one right across the street from me, so we went together! The service was really cool to see, and I was able to follow along with most of it because they handed out leaflets with the words printed. Three ladies lead the hymns with guitars and singing, and it was very, very beautiful.
After church, we went to “Mexico Night” in El Centro, which is a big fair-type thing with tons of great street food and traditional Yucatecan dance on stage. We went with one of Liz’s local friends, Elizabeth, a cuban who now lives in Merida and teaches Salsa, and her other friend who is a lawyer. Both are bilingual, but not fluent in English, so I got to practice my Spanish and help them communicate with each other. We wandered down the street to find a drink, and happened upon an Irish bar called Hennesey. I had no clue that it was St. Patrick’s day weekend, until I walked into a crowd of green-clad foreigners. It’s definitely the expat hangout in town, and although we had quite some fun, I’ve decided I definitely like the local scene better.
I’ve taken to walking the family’s dog, Jacko, at night. My neighborhood seems very safe, and I have walked alone, but I feel I look way less like a tourist when I’m with a giant labrador. And plus, Jacko is amazing and I love him (sorry Duchess…) The neighborhood is beautiful. There’s a husky on a roof a few blocks away who always barks at me! And bougainvillea everywhere- so gorgeous.
Today after school Liz came by and Elizabeth picked us up for lunch. Afterward we went to her house which is just a few blocks from mine, and is AMAZINGLY beautiful. She has a flock of tropical birds, and about FORTY turtles in her back yard. Some have even laid eggs!! I’d never seen a turtle egg. Then she taught us some salsa and we danced in her backyard for a couple hours. So much fun.
Every day here leaves me completely exhausted and happy. I have one more chapter before I’ve finished the first Harry Potter book in Spanish, and have already bought a second to read. I’m really looking forward to my dad getting here on Friday. I’ve planned a trip to the cenotes for us on Sunday, and he’s going to absolutely love it. Then we have a “no plans” week of travel before we head to the airport to fly back in to Houston. I already know I’m going to miss Tere, Milo, Maria Jose, Jacko, and Merida SO much. Not to mention all the amazing people I’ve met and friends that I’ve made here. That’s all for now!