And off I go!
Tomorrow I leave for Mérida, Yucatán, and I have to say I am getting a bit nervous. I have spent my entire summer in the State of Mexico doing a variety of things. For about a month, I volunteered at a homeless shelter for young girls in Toluca, Mexico. My tasks consisted of teaching English and Math to middle school girls. When I first arrived, I was under the impression that I would be assisting the teacher with the class, but was surprised to learn that I would actually be teaching the class for a month. I was unprepared for the first day, so I quickly came up with an English vocabulary game. Some of the girls had prior experience with English and others did not, so I had to find a happy medium for them all to learn at the same pace. Additionally, I taught Math to the girls. They were also at different levels of learning, so I tried to make the class applicable to all the girls by starting off with adding and subtracting fractions.
The girls were patient with me as I had never taught these subjects before, but I grew closer to them through the time we spent together outside of class. A few of them would stay after class to tell me about their lives and some of the troubles they were going through. In the end, I think I learned more from them than they did from me.
After I finished volunteering at the shelter, I came to Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico which is about 40 minutes from Toluca. Most of my extended family lives here, and I spent the rest of my summer with them. My parents and my sister also came to visit for two weeks. We had quite a few family gatherings, and we even had a chance to skype with my brother who is currently in Japan. My grandmother, who is 91, got to see him and talk to him, and I could tell by the smile on her face that she was happy.
I have been staying with my aunt, my dad’s sister, during my stay here. She lives in a small town outside of Ixtapan, and we have lots of late night talks over coffee and bread. I’ll sure miss those during my time in Mérida, but I will be back in December for the holidays, so I look forward to coming back.
Yesterday I spoke with the family I will be staying with in Yucatán, and they sounded friendly, so I am excited to meet them. They’ll be picking me up at the airport where I’ll arrive in the afternoon. I’m sure I will have lots to share once I arrive in Mérida, but this is it for now.