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

Holbox Island, Home of the Whale Shark

Time September 15th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

These past four weeks in Merida have sure seemed to fly by! It is almost crazy to believe that I have already been here for a whole month! Many of my weekends are filled with planned excursions. This up coming weekend is extra long in celebration of Mexico’s independence day. I’ll elaborate more on the excursion next week when I come back.

However, last weekend we went to Holbox island off the coast of Mexico. My IFSA-Butler group and I went with other students of the Merida area on a five hour bus ride to the coast. We arrived at the coast at 7:00 A.M. to take a boat to the island. When we arrived, we went to the hotels and then split off into groups to experience the wonderful activities the island. Some students could swim with whale sharks that are native the island. Like Catalina Island, Holbox is a nature preserve. Other students went on a boat tour of three other neighboring island. Everyone else, including me, could choose to enjoy the beach and explore the many shops the little town had to offer.

holbox-scene

While I did not care for the sand roads because they were very dirty for my shoes, I loved the white sandy beach. I’m still getting used to the warmth that the Golf of Mexico has to offer because I’ve only ever swam in the freezing Great Lakes, the Pacific ocean, and the Atlantic ocean. I’m not sure if I like the warmth or if I miss cooling off during a hot day. However, the island did offer a little reprieve from the intense humidity in Merida.

The beach and the sand was definitely my favorite part of Holbox. The shoreline is very shallow for a very long time, and at night when we had our bonfire, I was able to walk out on the shallow sandy bottom because of low tide. Usually, I absolutely hate having sand stick to me, but in Holbox it was a different case. Not that it could be avoided. It was in the shower, the floor, the bed, our skin, clothes, and bags. But, the softness and pureness seemed to make up for dirty feeling I usually associate with sand after a day at the beach.

holbox-beach

Every excursion I’ve gone on has been a wonderful experience. I find myself anticipating the weekends because not only do I get to meet new people, but I also get to experience things I would never have in Ohio. Hopefully, next week I will have more to write about my experience here and more photos to share.

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Diary of a Picky Eater

Time August 25th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

What a week it has been! I have safely arrived in Merida, Mexico and my journey abroad has officially begun! Every day is a new adventure in this beautiful city. However, the food is even more an adventure. Before I left, my mom was worried that I would not be able to eat anything in Merida. My family and I have been vegetarian since I was three years old. On top of that, I am the pickiest eater alive. Before coming here, I hated quesadillas, a lot of vegetables, and trying things was usually out of the question. I would jokingly say, “I’m a visual eater.”  My mom was scared that not only I would die of malnutrition here, but also embarrass her in front of my host mom. I can’t tell you how many times she said to me before I left.

However, the food here has been wonderful! In the mornings, before I go to class at the university, my host mom gives me cut up fruit with cereal or a waffle. Papaya has been one of my favorite fruits to have in the morning because of its usual taste. Lunch and dinner are a completely different story. In the states, I usually don’t wake up for breakfast, but here I have to. Lunch isn’t ready until about 2 pm! I’ve been trying my hardest to shift to this schedule, because most of the time I don’t return home from the university till 2 pm anyways.

lunch

Lunch in Merida

 

As a vegetarian, I do eat fish for protein. My host mom is a great cook, so I have literally been in love with every single thing she has made me to eat. I especially look forward to lunch because the fish is so great! Soup is also a regular at lunch despite the humidity. I’m still getting used to how hot it is here!  Dinner is also not served until around 7:30-8:00 pm. While lunch is my biggest meal of the day,  dinner looks a little bit more like breakfast. Usually, I ask for yogurt and apples which has been my absolute favorite meal here. In the states, I absolutely hated quesadillas. I refused to eat any, even though they are a popular late night meal for students at my university after late night studying. However, my taste buds have done a complete 180 here in Merida. I could not ask for a better cook as a host mom. It’s great that I can already notice some growth in my character and I’ve only been abroad for a week! I’m also hoping to lose a few pounds after the freshman fifteen wasn’t so kind to me, but that’s another story. 😛

dinner

Dinner in Merida

 

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México, ya vengo!

Time September 22nd, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

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Just a couple more days…

Time August 19th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

… and I will be flying to Cancun, then catching a bus to Merida, and finally seeing the place that I will call home for the next four months.

Over the last few weeks I’ve read about the family I’ve been staying with, seen a picture of my house, room, and host mother.  I’ve looked at the map of the city and located the house I’ll be living in, and the IFSA Butler office.  I’ve listened to countless stories about the Yucatan from excited family friends who’ve been there before.  I’ve even read what seems like (though I’m sure it’s not) every post on the web about living in Mexico as a vegetarian.

Of course, it’s also just hit me that I have two days to consolidate my life into one large camping backpack, put together all the paperwork that IFSA Butler’s sent me, try to revive some ability to speak Spanish, and keep my fingers crossed that I won’t arrive at the airport only to discover that my passport is still sitting in my desk at home.

There are plenty of things I could be nervous about right now:

  • The official plan for getting my visa, which seems to be asking the customs official nicely if they would please stamp my passport for 180 days, instead of 30.
  • My plan for getting from Cancun to Merida, which, so far, is to get off the plane, then hopefully find a bus… somewhere.
  • The tap water, which is not potable in most of Mexico, meaning that I’m going to be drinking and brushing my teeth with bottled/boiled water, peeling all my fruit, and avoiding salads for the next four months.
  • The fact that when my parents and sister ask me how to say something in Spanish, the answer is “I don’t know” uncomfortably often.

And in some ways I am nervous –  It’s especially hard to say goodbye to everyone, and, all cheesiness aside, it’s a little scary (but also really exciting) to think that I’m going to be essentially on my own for such a big chunk of time.

At the same time, I’m eager to be out in the world on my own for the first time (this will be my first time flying completely by myself!) I’m looking forward to being surrounded by new people and places, getting used to a new bus system, learning how to navigate a city where the streets aren’t numbered the way they are in New York, shopping in a supermarket for foods labeled in Spanish. I’m even excited to experience all the culture shock everyone’s warned me about.

More when I arrive, my unfinished packing is calling to me.

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