Going Home

Well what can I say. These six weeks and flew by and I honestly don’t know where the time went. I know its cliche but its like a blinked and it was gone. Although I do miss my family and I hope that everything flight ways goes as smooth as possible. I know that there are somethings that can go wrong and I just really don’t want to deal with any crazyness tomorrow so fingers crossed that all goes well. I will be arriving back in Portland saturday at 8:30pm meaning that I have a 14 hour trek home but I am ready. I will miss my host mom and her family the most out the entire trip. They did a great job in making me feel at home and I know that they will miss me as much as I am going to miss them. I will forever remember them and hope to come back either next year or a little after. Queretaro is such a great place with a lot of culture and mexican history that I want to bring my family back. What I miss from home has to be my girlfriend, my family (mom, dad, sisters, nieces, nephews) Food, I haven’t been eating that many things in fear that I would get sick but after the 6 weeks I can say that I didn’t get sick once, but I’m ready to have me some pad thai for some reason I have been craving that for the past few weeks and I can’t wait to have it.
I do want to say that this stay has really opened my eyes culturally and I have the travel bug now. I know that after a few weeks at home and Ill be ready for my next big adventure. Although I hope my girlfirend could come with me next. It been a great six weeks and I’m sad its done but happy I’m going home. I’m happy from the memories I’ve made and I’ve made even better friends. I will miss them but know that they are only hours away from me.
Its been a great time Queretaro, See you soon.


Week 6

Well, well, well! The time has come where it is the last and final week. I can safely say that I am ready to go home, although dreading my 14 hour travel plans back home. I know it will all be worth it in the end. Well lets start off on Monday we were all dreading our final essays, presentations, and test which I had the pleasure of having all three. The only thing that kept me moving forward has been the fact that I will be back home by saturday night. My Señora has also been meaning to make some tamales with me since she didn’t know how to make them and I told her that I knew from my mom. So she asked me to write her a list of the things she needed to get and she would get them for me. Well monday she went and got all the things I needed and we made them on tuesday.
She also invited her sister and her brother in law and their 3 adult kids who are my señoras nephews who also brought their wifes and kids over to eat. They loved them! They turned out to be very good and I don’t think there were any left after the 100 plus that we made. They ate most of them and what was left where taken home to enjoy. I felt great being able to teach my señora how to make mexican food. Then I basically had to write two 5 pages essays 1 10 min speech and 1 final exam that I did pretty good at. Here in Mexico they have to show their students their final grade and if the student doesn’t agree with that grade then they can petition the grade. So today friday I had to go to all my classes and get my grades. I am happy to announce that I received two A’s and a B. I feel like I did a solid job this term and I am happy at my over all grades. Its been a great time but I am sure ready to go home. I only have a few more house here and I sure will miss it.

Week 5

What!! Only one more week to go! I can’t believe the time has come where I will be able to count the days left on one hand. Its been such a great experience and I have nothing but awesome memories. I am ready to go home though. Like I said I miss my family and my girlfriend. We have talked a lot the past few weeks and I’m glad cuz I think that time would have been so much longer and I wouldn’t have had such a great stay if I would have been homesick the entire time.
This week went by incredably fast and i’m a little happy about that. I will miss my mexico family but the teachers here are very hard to get and understand. The reason being is that they let us do our work and expect us to be able to do great work without needing specific guidlines but we all know that in the USA the teachers tell you how many pages the paper must be how many cites what kind of cites and they also tell you the font the spacing and even the margins for crying out loud but here they tell you to do a paper and then the questions start getting asked. “How long?” “What font?” “MLA format?” things like that. The teachers honestly let you do whatever you want as long as its good work. That’s something interesting I noticed during my time here in mexico.
This week we went to San Miguel Allende for our last trip before we are done. It was such a pretty place. Like all the places, although this place seemed more like the poster place for mexico. It has horses in the streets, marichi bands playing on every corner and awesome smelling food all over. It was honestly like what people expect from mexico shoved into a little block. San Miguel Allende catedral
The cathedral was so big and pretty and to top it all off as we were walking by there was a wedding going on and the wedding party was walking out. It made for an awesome photo op.
There was also a really great taco place that had some awesome Micheladas which are beers with flavors and chili peppers. It was pretty awesome I enjoyed it. Some people didn’t like the flavor but I think they are good. Also you can’t knock it till you try it so go out and get yourself one.
We all stayed in a hostel and there was a women who was from Sweden and she was going to school in San Miguel to learn how to make jewelry. She spoke very good spanish and I talked to her about languages around the world and how the USA is falling behind because she knows 6 languages and she was only 27 years old. I told her how I wanted to be a bilingual teacher and she was excited for me and excited for the USA that they are starting to come around in their thought process.
We came home around 1 pm on sunday and I had a six page paper to complete by monday so thats how I spent my week. Very hectic for being a such a pretty place. I have had a lot of fun and I love my mexico family they are honestly the best!!!!

Week 4

Well this week was a slow week for me. Mostly because I didn’t have anything planned on the weekend which is the first time since I’ve been here. The funnest thing I did this week was go to another soccer game, but unlike any soccer game it was against one of the most favorited mexican teams. Las Chivas de Guadalajara. They are my favorite simply because my dad is from Guadalajara and we have cheer for them my entire life.
Chivas game
That was on friday and we all decided to go out after the game for one of the girls thats with us birthday. We are all missing a home a little so we decided on a burger place that was surprisingly good. After the game I walked home at around 12am which didn’t feel sketchy at all but we just won’t tell my mom I did that.
I woke up on Saturday at around 8 am simply because I can’t sleep in any later but I’m glad I did. My host mom invited me to a Baptism/birthday party, I without a thought said yes and it was really fun. It was buffet style so there was a lot of great food that I enjoyed. Tequila, cerveza, and agua de jamaica. All great options for adults. There was a piñata and a really good cake. We were one of the first to arrive and last to leave. We had a great time.
Sunday rolled around and again I wake up at around 8 am. Then my host my says. Would you like to cook me a meal again. I said yes. I asked if her daughter and son in law were coming over and she was real quick to invited them over for breakfast. I made them some fluffy scrambled eggs, with french toast. They made it seem like they were in love. The daughter loved the eggs the most. I was like wow. Those were the easiest to make. Then we all had a lazy sunday afternoon and they asked what I wanted to make for dinner and I was like, what?? Ok since I love to cook. I thought well I should show off my mexican food and see if they approved so I made ceviche and they loved it as well. They actually later told my that the daughter doesn’t like seafood but she loved my ceviche so I guess I impressed them with my cooking, which I’m glad I got to do simply because I love to cook at home and it made me miss my family. I’m more than half way through and home is looking closer and closer. I’m glad Im here but I’ll be happy going home.
Breakfast and lunch I made

Week 3

Well this week went by so fast. I think it had to do with the fact that we were all looking forward to the weekend. We were going to Mexico City and had a lot of things planned. The only problem was that we had to meet at the bus stop at 8am and people went out the night before so I knew people would have issues with that schedule. On the plus side was the the streets are pretty empty at that time and taxis are cheaper. I didn’t know that but I guess the taxi prices go and down depending on the time off day and if its raining or not. Well I got to the bus at 8 exactly and there were probably a good 7 our of 17 missing. So we waited and left at around 8:35am which wasn’t too bad. The best thing was that we had a tour bus for 20 or so people. Tour bus to Mexico City
Well, it took us about 3 hours to get to our first stop which was the pyramids of Teotihuacan which was a Mesoamerican civilization that had vanished before the conquista which explains why it still stands today. Simply because the Spanish had the tendency of tearing apart pyramids and using the rocks to build their own temples or cathedrals. Which is what you will see in a few more paragraphs. Teotihuacan was amazing! I had no clue the size of these pyramids and also the work done on the stones. It was an impressive sight to see. Teotihuacan had 3 main pyramids being Quezalcoalt, the moon and the sun. Quezalcoalt had figures on it that protected the village and it was the first one we saw. Pyramid-Quezalcoalt
Then we climbed the sun pyramid which is massive. Also the steps i don’t think were meant to be climbed because they are steep and also very high. It made for a very hard climb. Steps to the Sun Pyramid But we all made it and it had an awesome view. Mario B on top of the sun pyramidimageimage image
Then we went to eat and there they gave us free samples of some pulque which is an alcoholic drink that was the drink of choice by the mesoamericans. Pulque is made from the maguey plant the same as tequila. Its a milky white drink that taste almost like vinegar most of the people didn’t like it but I thought it was ok. I don’t think I’ll drink it again but I at least tried it. Pulque
After eating we all went to El palacio de Bellas Artes were we saw some awesome painting from Diego Rivera, Siqueros, and others. imageimage
After that we went to our hotel and we called it a night after sitting and chatting in our rooms. Awesome first day or so I thought. At around 4:30 am I hear a man screaming I look out my window and there is an Ambulance, and 3 police cars. The man had blood down his chest and back and pants and bandages with blood coming from his chest. He had been stabbed by I don’t know who, but was giving them a piece of his mind. I said to myself. “That’s why I don’t go out in Mexico City.” I went back to bed and the next day was just as awesome. We walked to the Templo Mayor which is the main pyramid of Tenotiichlan which is where the Aztecs were and were the Spanish took over, and this was a prime example of what the Spanish would do with the pyramids. I guess the pyramid was a good size but what was left was basically nothing. image
That church you see in the background was smaller than what the pyramid once was as well as that was what they made after taking apart the pyramid. There was an awesome pyramid there as well that was awesome.
Then we went off to the best place in the world in my opinion. The National Museum of Anthropology. We saw some of the things I’ve only dreamed about. A few were the great heads of the olmecas Olmeca head
The actual Aztec calendar Aztec calendar
there we must have spent 3 hours and I don’t think it was enough. It was just awesome. I stayed with the out teacher/tour guide so I could learn as much as I could. There was so much to see and I had so much fun. After that we went to eat and then we went to El Castillo de Champultepec which is where passed presidents of Mexico lived and also the last battle of the Mexican-American war and also the last battle of where the Aztec lost against the Spanish. Very nice big mansion. Castillo de ChapultepecCastillo de Chapultepec imageCastillo de Chapultepecimage
After that we went back to our hotel and another great day in the books. We literally went to go eat and I came back and went to bed. I must have walked about 10 miles that day. We woke up packed up and went to La Plaza de las 3 culturas. This is in Tlatelolco where people were killed on October 2nd 1968 10 days before Mexico Hosted the olympics. image image
After that we went to Frida Kahlo’s blue house which was very awesome to see. image we were not allowed to take pictures inside her house so I don’t have any for you but after that we went to El Museo Soumaya which is Carlos Slims the richest man in the world’s museum named after his wife who passed away in 1999. Its a gorgeous building designed by his son in law who is a very successful architect. image that was our last stop and we were all ready to go home. It was the best 3 day weekend of my life so far and I’m glad I had to opportunity to see those things in real life. Great time. Until next week you all. Adios

Week 2

Well week two sure flew by! I can’t believe that I only have 4 more weeks to go! It’s been a blast although I miss my family and friends I still am having a ton of fun. Lets see Sunday we went to eat at this little tiny place on the edge of the road. Which I was very nervous about since there have been a lot of people that have been getting sick and I thought well I haven’t been sick yet and I hope this doesn’t get me sick. Well they didn’t and I’m glad I ate there! They had corn on the cob and the way they eat them over here is by putting Mayonnaise, cheese, and chile powder which is awesome!!! They also had some awesome gorditas which is why they took me to eat there in the first place because they are so good! Corn on the Cob!Gorditas
Monday we had school and found out that I had a midterm in my Mexican Civ class next week and I thought What?? I don’t know what our test would be about since its so early then I thought wait next week is week 3! I’m almost have way done! Well after class we all went to get some awesome milkshakes and I had a Chocolate Strawberry milkshake which I asked the group why you never see such a mix in the USA! It’s alway vanilla strawberries!
Tuesday we had to go to a soccer game! I had told myself that I wouldn’t miss a home game the entire time I was going to be here! So I looked up the Gallos Schedule and have been true to my word. We played again San Luis and I went with my Host sister and Brother in-law. They bought me my tickets and paid to sit closer than the 300 level! We were right behind the benches! The Gallos won 2-0 So, we had a lot off fun. Gallos Vs San Luis
The rest of the week flew by and we all went to another soccer game which was a little of an upset! Gallos were winning 1-0 but within the last 10 minutes there was a handball in the Box against the Gallos and the other team got to shoot a penalty so they ended the game tied 1-1! It was upsetting but it was a great game as well! Saturday morning we get a group van and they took us to Guenajuato! Which let me tell you, if you haven’t been then please go! It is an awesome place to be! There we went to the Mines, and learned that at one point in time Guenajuato produced 2/3 of all the worlds silver, so we had to go to the mines which was fun and scary! I have never been 60 meters below the earth in my life so it was an experience! Mines in Guenajuato
There we went to a torture chamber where people where taken to be tortured or I guess the word is violently interrogated until they confessed to sometimes things they really didn’t do. That was a creepy place but again worth seeing! Torture chamber
After the torture chamber we had to go see the world famous mummies from Guenajuato! That was also creepy mostly because they had baby mummies and these mummies look too real! They also have the worlds smallest mummy every which was never born. The mother passed away 20 weeks pregnant and like her mother the baby was also mummified. It was a sight to see. I had to take a picture of it! Baby mummy
We stayed the night in a Hostel and came home sunday afternoon! This was a great week and I keep learning so much about Queretaro its unreal! I’m enjoying my time here but hope it goes by quick so I can get home to good ol’ Oregon!

Week 1

Well arriving in Mexico was smooth and all but getting around was the part that I was worried about. I know that bus drivers are crazy and full and I knew that it wasn’t going to be a easy drive. My senora took me to school the first day as if it was my first day of kindergarten. I was glad she did. I told her to tell me what bus to take home and that I would find my way home. She showed me where my bus would pick me up at and where to get off at. That’s all I needed. I made it home. Then we went to our arrival dinner. It was pretty good but I know what it’s like to be sick in Mexico and so I didn’t want to eat crazy so I limited myself. The next day my Senora asked me if I wanted her to take me to school again and I said No. I could do it. She said ok. I made it to school with time to spare. Just like I thought bus drivers are nuts and don’t use Blinkers or yield for pedestrians (which is something you have got to look out for). Roads are not the best either and well there are cars that all drive nuts. The good thing about the bus ride is that I drive up Ave. Saragosa which is completely down the Arcos. Which is something special about Queretaro. Arcos de Queretaro
These Arches or Arcos are about 400 years old and was created as an aqueduct to bring water to the City of Queretaro. Well like I had said I made it to school and back and after that I think my senora knew that she could relax about me. She was also thankful that I already knew spanish it made it easier for her. She had said that the student before me was a little difficult.
On Wedendsay Me and a few friends decided to go to a soccer game and we fell in love. We have made a packed to say that we are going to go to every game thats at home and that we are her for. So that was game one and they Los Gallos blancos de Queretaro tied Monterey 3-3! So we got to see 6 goals that night which was awesome!!!!!!Gallos Vs Monterey
First weekend we went to Bernal which a very small city about 40 minutes from Queretaro and it is home to “La peña de Bernal” which is the 3rd highest monolith in the world, and I had to opportunity to clime it, not all the way to the top and also night rock climbing but hiked to about 3/4 of the way up. I’m glad I had that opportunity. Bernal and Mario
Like I said I’m glad that I’m here safe and with no problems and I hope that It continues this way for the next 5 weeks!

Buenas Noches!



Well, My flight went as good as a flight can go. I got a window seat bought a great book and time litterally flew by. I arrived to Denver which was where my layover was a little early. I was worried that even thought my second flight was also with United airlines that it was going to be in a terminal miles away from where I was. When I got off the plane I immediatly went to the flight screens to see where my next terminal was going to be. I looked at the screen in a panic trying to find my flight. Finally I see it Mexico City leaving 10:10 am Gate B18 I quickly look around to see where I was and the gate that I had just got off a was gate B18. Is that some luck or what? Then I waited calmly and met another person who was going to study abroad with me as well. He is from La Grande. We made conversation and then it was time to board. Well, that flight went just as good as the first one. A little more of a rough landing but we landed. I get off the plan, and everything and I mean everything is in Spanish. I’m hispanic so I kept thinking Mario your mexican you should be able to read signs. Well, I couldn’t because when I arrived to the immigration line I just followed the people ahead of me and get in a line. I then saw my buddy Erik walk by, I then saw him going to a different much smaller line and it read “Foreigners” the line I was in read “MEXICANOS”! Man, my first mess up. Well, I got passed that and picked up my bags. Made it to the bus stop and there we waited for a guy named Tanner and two girls to show up so we didn’t leave them alone. Well, It was a pretty nice welcome and I hope it goes that well the Entire time. I couldn’t reach any internet so thats why this one is so late. I will post about week 1 tomorrow. I will leave you with a screenshot of the Denver Airport that I took to study so I knew where to run when I arrived in Denver. That way you know what I was fearful of.



I am about five hours away from heading to the Portland Airport to begin my trip to Queretaro, Mexico. I am honestly feeling very anxious to go on this trip alone. I’ve actually been to Mexico a few times, being that my dad is from a Guadalajara, Jalisco. I haven’t been to Mexico in about 13 years so to say that I know what’s is waiting for me would be a lie.

This is a taco stand that I remember are everywhere in Mexico and if my memory serves me right they always have the best tasting tacos. You do have to be careful to what you’re eating simply because your stomach isn’t ready for some of the foods and will make you sorry for eating that kind of food. So, I will be watching what I eat for sure.

This is a Catholic Church and even thought I don’t know where this one is located I can tell you that there will be something similar to it close to where I’ll be for the next six weeks.

I am very excited for this chapter in my life and I can’t wait to fast forward to next year when I can say that this trip has been the best thing I have done throughout my college days. Until next time. Hasta luego.


Hello, My name is Mario Barba and I am a senior at Western about to begin my first term in the Education Program in the Fall. I am going to Mexico to study spanish so I will be able to complete my Bilingual/ESOL endorsements making me more marketable for my ultimate goal of being a bilingual elementary school teacher.
I am very excite to go on this journey and hope that all go well and I come back comfortably speaking and writing spanish.