Not the end (but kind of the end)
Written December 1st:
Once again I’m in a coffee shop, this time Café Punta del Cielo in the center of Mérida. Today is a special day for a few reasons. It’s Saturday, which means Se Vale, a show that lasts like six hours and transcends description, is on TV. It’s on all afternoon, and right now as I am watching there are puppies on it modeling raincoats, tutus, etc.
Today is also significant because it is the day the newly elected president Enrique Peña Nieto takes office here in Mexico. A lot of my friends have been posting statuses like, “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 70 years today!” There were riots and protests in Mexico City this morning as Peña Nieto was being sworn in. People are generally very unhappy about the PRI coming back into power, and for good reason.
Today is also the official end date of our IFSA-Butler program. I have a few more days in Mérida though, and almost a month left in Mexico, so I don’t feel quite yet like my time here is over. My time as a study-abroad student has ended, I guess, but that hasn’t really hit me yet – or maybe it has and I’m just in denial haha. The last week and a half have been busy with final projects and papers and going to all our favorite places one last time, and when Thursday came around and I had to begin saying my actual goodbyes to people here in Mérida and to my program-mates, I got pretty sad, but I still haven’t really grasped that I won’t be seeing them again soon. I moved out of my host family’s house today and said goodbye to them, and even that felt somewhat surreal.
I’ve tried to start reflecting on this whole semester a little bit, but I still feel like it’s too close for me to get any perspective on it/I feel like I’m having sensory overload with all these goodbyes and changes and can’t focus on anything. One thing I did get to reflect on this week: At the beginning of the semester in our program Spanish class we had to record ourselves reading a short passage in Spanish. This week we re-recorded ourselves reading the same passage, then listened to the recordings we did in August. My classmates obviously improved a lot, but I didn’t think that there would be much of a difference in my readings, but there was! My reading has gotten so much better in these few months. I now read smoothly without hesitating or stumbling on difficult words. I was really happy to see that I’ve improved.
Another nice thing: I had my last day of volunteering at my fourth grade classroom at the elementary school, and all the kids made me goodbye cards! I was so surprised and so touched that their teacher Karla had them all do that for me. Then they attacked me with hugs when I tried to leave.
Next I’ll be headed to Isla Mujeres with a few friends from the program for about a week. My first Caribbean vacation! After that I’m flying up to Jalisco to visit my family for a few weeks, and then at the end of December I’ll be going back to the U.S. Lots of things to look forward to!!