We finally made it to Mexico, marking the last few weeks of our trip here in Latin America. I am already really excited to get back to the U.S. because I miss home and the people I love, but at the same time I am still enjoying my time here, so I think I’m in a good situation.
Another good thing about Mexico is that we get to live in a new country with different customs and ideals. That’s one thing that I love so much about Latin American term—we get to travel to different countries and compare and contrast them not only with the United States, but also with each other. It helps to ungeneralize the entire Latin American region as the same, and helps us see how each country is very unique even though they have some common ground. It’s quite wonderful, actually.
So in Mexico I am living with all brand new people. My roommate is Allison, who is one of my best friends from Augie, and I am living with two other Augie girls that I didn’t really know before this trip. All 4 of us live with Marilu (pronounced “Mary Lou”), who is our host Mom, and also another girl named Iris who is just a couple years older than us. She is from Wisconsin and has been here since August student teaching for her education degree, and her Spanish is very good. My Spanish, I am happy to report, has been getting better and better since I am more comfortable using it in various situations, but it’s great to have Iris here to translate the more complicated situations. Plus, Allison and I have become friends with her and she has showed us around Cuernavaca quite a bit.
Living with Marilu is vastly different from my time with my Ecuadorian host family. Here it’s much more how I would have expected living with a host family would be—we set the table, help wash dishes, have quicker meals, and so on. In Ecuador, Mamá refused to let us help with anything. It was a bit more nerve-racking there because sometimes I wasn’t sure what kinds of things would be acceptable in someone else’s house. Also, Ecuador was a bit more friendly in that various people were always over to hang out or for meals, but here the culture is different in that sense. I don’t know much about the family dynamic since it’s just us and Marilu, but most of my classmates are not allowed to have friends over at all, and if they are allowed, absolutely not for meals. It’s also different in that Marilu has been hosting students for 16 years, so she knows much more about U.S. culture, especially from a student’s point of view.
The biggest difference is THE FOOD. It is so delicious!!!!! Ecuadorian and Peruvian food are very similar to each other and is rather bland in some cases, but authentic Mexican food is so flavorful and, as expected, spicy. It’s not Taco Bell, La Ranch, or any other “Mexican” place that we have back home, and I am excited to be able to make some of these dishes myself in the future!