I can’t believe i’m back in Oregon. Everything has gone back to normal. I’m still off of work but i’m back home to my parents, my boyfriend and my new kitten. This trip was amazing. I wouldn’t change anything about it. I loved all of the people who came with me and the people who were a part of making it happen.
I loved my host family and I have been in contact with them. They told me I have to come back and I think I will have to one day.
Now that I have been back everyone is speaking only English and it throws me off. I drive my car a lot more here. Nothing is close around here and if it is it too rainy. At least no floods.
Being back in Oregon is bitter sweet.
I want to thank everyone who was a part of this amazing life changing experience.
How is it week four already? I feel like i just got here. I’m not ready to go home. I feel like I still have so much to do before I leave.
This week I went to a quinceanera. It was so fun. One of my host cousins turned fifteen and I was invited. It was such an awesome experience. All of the family I have met so far were there so it was nice to get to dance and laugh with everyone. Queretaro is my new home. I don’t know what or how I will be feeling in a week. When I have to begin packing to return home. I am gonna be a mess. I’ve made so many friends. I see these girls everyday. I don’t think I can not see them everyday. They are my friends and I hope that once we get back to Oregon we will stay friends. I know so much about this place now. I learned how to get around the bus system (I got lost twice). I know the shorted way home from the centro. I know all of the closest OXXO’s. What will I do without my favorite Jalapeno chips.
I ate something i normally wouldn’t eat at home and it was so good. I’m kind of in love with it!
While I’ve been here I haven’t worked so although I’ve been in school this has been a mini vacation for me. I’m doing great in all my classes. I wish I could stay longer.
This week has been so much better. I am feeling a lot more comfortable talking with my host family. I am asking them more questions and am better at comprehending what they are saying. I am also gaining confidence with trying to understand new topics in Spanish. This weekend we went to Mexico City, or as it’s called locally Mexico or DF. A new experience for me was the fact that at touristy places, vendors would approach you and ask you to buy something. It was weird at first because it isn’t common in the States, but you get used to saying no thanks or I don’t want anything. The whistles some were selling sounded amazingly like animal calls. I was tempted to get one, but knew it wouldn’t much interest for me for long. Also, it’s common to barter for market items, it’s kinda fun if you remember to ask for a lower price. Some vendors decrease the price if you’re interested in something when you start walking away. Also, some vendors had incense going, and smelled to high heaven. The ancient culture in Mexico is incredible and sad at the same time. The Aztecs must have been in good shape to climb all of those steep steps. I felt more comfortable going down the steps on my butt, because of a fear of heights, and it felt safer doing it that way. Visiting the museums helped me gain a sense of how the ancient civilizations in Mexico lived.
Airport security wasn’t as bad as I thought, until we got to the bus station where they checked our bags very thoroughly. When I first arrived, I was excited to explore the city with my friends. When I’m somewhere new, I love exploring with friends. For the first few days we saw numerous parts of the city and wanted to see more. When I met my host family, I thought it’d be cool because I thought it’d be like living with my grandparents. As I started unpacking, I start and getting homesick because they let me unpack and left me to my own devices. I love my family, and was starting to feel alone, and when somewhere new I’d rather be with people I know. I enjoy independence, but I enjoy spending time with people, especially when I feel alone. I asked for help the next day and my host family started talking with me more, and I felt better instantly. I’m feeling better now and much more at home.
Arriving in Mexico was crazy. After flying all night, speaking spanish to the lady at customs and being surrounded by a different culture and a different language was very difficult which makes me very grateful for the few days the other WOU students and I had to adjust to the city before moving in with our host families. Today I moved in with Laura and the first thing we did was have lunch which just so happened to be my favorite meal, spaghetti. Laura has two daughters, neither live at home but they visit and her mother is here often.
I am understanding more spanish than I thought I would and I know I will only get better as time goes by. I will start classes tomorrow but for now I have a chance to rest. So far I love it here and am looking forward to the weeks to come!
After our flight was delayed for a bit in San Francisco, we finally made it to Mexico D.F. I was told before hand that the airport was going to huge and that Mexico D.F. might smell funny from all the smog, but I was still surprised to see that those pieces of advice that I was given was true. I found immigration and the paperwork a bit intimidating, but I made it through without too much hassle. Most of the time there is a blur to me because I was so hungry and tired from our long flight. Next, we took a bus to Queretaro. Surprisingly, there seemed to be tougher security and screening to get on the bus than the plane at PDX. Even though the bus ride was a bit bumpy, the scenery was beautiful and the seats were comfortable! Finally, we took taxis to our hotel that we were staying in for the first couple of days. Traffic is crazy here! I never would have believed that so many cars could fit into such narrow streets! We managed to make it all in one piece to the hotel and today I moved in with my host family.
My plane from PDX to SFO preparing for passengers!
On the bus to Queretaro!
Today is the day! I remember just two months ago posting a status on facebook about the numbers of days left until the big day and now I’m just two hours away from having to leave my house, parents, boyfriend, and my new kitten. I’m extremely nervous. I have been to Mexico before but this time its different. I’m not going with family, i’m going alone. Its been six years since the last time I made a trip to Mexico, so i’m super excited. I’m nervous about finally meeting all of the girls that are going on the trip. I’m nervous about the moment that Carmen will leave us with our host families. what do I do if I get sick? What am I gonna do if I can’t keep up with he Spanish? Yes, I know Spanish but I don’t think I know it enough. I’m nervous but i’m also very ready for this trip. I’m ready to take a trip alone and be able to choose what I do while i’m there. I’m ready to meet new people. My group members and the locals from Queretaro. Everything about this trip is exciting and makes me nervous but I’m ready to immerse myself in the language and culture. Bring on the new experiences.
After hours of travel I finally made it to Queretaro! The city is beautiful and the hotel I am staying in for the first few days is very nice and thankfully has air conditioning. Today we went out to lunch and ate some delicious food, visited a church, and got stuck in a rainstorm that caused a little flooding…It was a great first day and I can’t wait to see what other surprises this city holds!
More pictures to come!
Today I am leaving for Mexico! I am super excited to be a part of the culture and can’t wait to see what all I will learn during my stay in Queretaro!
Hi, my name’s Caitlin Mills. I’ve been looking forward to studying abroad in Queretaro, Mexico for a very long time. Overall, I am very excited to Mexico. I’ve always wanted to travel and learn more about Spanish. I’m excited to for the opportunity to learn about another culture and take Spanish and an ESOL class for the education program. I am a little nervous, only because I have a tendency to get home sick. To help with the nerves, I want to keep myself busy by exploring Queretaro with my friends so that I adjust quickly and experience more of what the city has to offer. I also want to be an example to show that not all Americans are what is portrayed on TV.
What I know of so far about my host culture is that extended family are more likely to live in the same house, grandparents, cousins, etc. live with a family. I also know it’s not that uncommon for older children, college grads, to still live at home. The culture places a higher value in families than in the States. Mexican’s also love their spicy food. I’ve heard that driving in Mexico is crazier than it is in the States. Houses are smaller, but are more decorative. I picture the houses as modern, or the stucco build that is seen in the Southwestern states. I also know that they love soccer. Most of the population is Catholic.