Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Barely packed but rarin’ to go

Hi, hello, welcome one and all, to whom this may concern and to every other curious soul!

Emily Robinson here, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this first day of 2,015 (Mountain time). I’m sitting on my bedroom rug, surrounded by a haphazard array of preemptive antibiotics (azithromycin and probiotics, to be exact), light cotton shirts, bug spray, books about Mexico and in Spanish, and a nice wad of pesos (thanks to parents, a 2-days early 21st and highly relevant birthday gift), due to the fact that I am soon embarking on the first 4-month abroad time of my life, in Mérida, Yucatán, México. !!!!. If you’ve been here before and have advice, holler at me. This will be a fresh foray into many unforeseeable circumstances–being queer/bisexual in a new cultural context, taking a step back to observe/listen before advising/speaking, letting go and holding on, navigating new friends and families alongside un amigo muy bueno from school, Miguel (who will be guest-writing in the future with his own perspective on his own sexuality in a Latin American context), and learning how to play tourist respectfully and conscientiously.

Hopefully you’ll be able to see the photos of my current home landscape and the shadow of my self taken today on a musing walk, which I took between packing my mix of rugged and nice clothing, a few notebooks, a street map of Mérida, a few water bottles, a raincoat and a few sweaters (at the suggestion of my host mother whom I called this afternoon, and who greeted me as mi amor and mi vida already !!!!). I also just finished a few essays for the semester, so I’ve got that feeling that I can finally move on towards a new etapa.

One of the birthday wishes I made tonight, a few days early, was to…shoot, I can’t tell you that, can I, or it won’t come true, right? Well, a wish of mine is to take an active role in making my wishes come true. A friend of mine, Sonja, who just returned from the very same program I’m headed towards, suggested outlining my goals for the semester before going, so that I wouldn’t vaguely build up my experience into what so many say should be a life-changing one.

  • Ask as much as I possibly can of my host parents, and enmesh myself into their family rhythm
  • Befriend local classmates
  • Gain an understanding of the role of queer rights and other sexualities in the Yucatán
  • Photograph but primarily absorb, write, and discuss new sights and feelings
  • Send a few letters (wishful thinking?)
  • Travel with ease and with companions

I can honestly say that I am able to visualize myself entering Mérida in two days, and while jitters might not have hit yet (given how many last-minute errands/friend-sightings/PACKINGS remain), I can feel this is going to be good. My mother’s only request (besides safety, etc.) tonight, as she showed me a perfectly sepia picture of her at Chichen Itza ruins when she was in college, was to try and replicate one of the photos in which she is sitting/lounging happily in a chair-shaped rock ruin. That’s now one of my many missions while studying away.

Miguel and I have puzzled over and succeeded in getting place-specific gifts for our families, and some of our fellow participants have revealed themselves on social media, and my two weeks at home are nearly up, and now I just need to board the plane and spend some time really honoring and absorbing the land that New Mexico should still be part of 😉 I’ve also been listening to some beautiful Yucatecan Mayan music and trovadores songs in some attempts to prepare. You’ll hear from me soon enough, and I’ll be one hour ahead and one world apart.

Peace be with you all,

Over and OUT (get it?)!


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