Into the Unknown
Here I am- sitting in the Guatemala airport 11 days before I am supposed to pack up my life and ship off to Mérida, Mexico. Having just traveled throughout the breathtaking Guatemala countryside for the past ten days with one of my good friends from Northwestern University and with nothing more than a backpack holding a few clothes and $200, the thought of living in a foreign country no longer seems as daunting. I am anxious, yes, but no longer scared. In some odd way, even though it has prevented me from being able to fully acknowledge that I will be living the next nine months in the sweltering Yucatan with a family I know nothing about, my Guatemalan adventure has prepared me for this study abroad experience in more ways than I can imagine.
I anticipate my study abroad experience will start off rocky, as I learn the ins and outs of Mexican living through my mistakes, as did my recent trip. In fact, our first experience in Guatemala City, or Guate as the locals call it, was of a taxi driver ripping us off less than twenty minutes after leaving the airport. But we learned and adjusted fast, and six bus trips, two ferry rides, and three taxi trips later, we had yet to be categorized again as naïve American tourists. This ability to observe and adjust accordingly is comforting me and reminds me that it is one’s ability to learn from one’s inevitable mistakes that will make for a successful study abroad experience.
Although our first day in Guatemala was rough, as we grew accustomed to being in the unknown each day was better than the last, and I imagine Mexico will unfold in much the same manner. I know that the first weeks will be a whirlwind of excitement and confusion, but as the city grows in familiarity I am certain I will settle into a routine and thrive. I cannot wait to dive into all Mexico has to offer!