Another 180

I never thought I could want to stay in a place so much whilst simultaneously wanting to leave…does that make sense?  Although my last post was all about wanting to go home, I’m about to write the exact opposite: I want to stay here forever.  But only if all of these people can stay, too.

Two weeks ago we took a trip to the capital and somehow returned to Guadalajara as more than just a bunch of exchange students: we’re a family.  I’m going to miss them as much as I miss my actual family!

I can’t even write about how it’s going to be when we have to say goodbye so I’ll write about the trip instead.  It would take something really, really special to make me fall in love with México again after I was so ready to leave (and not return for a while) but México City did it! I’d leap at the chance to do a semester there but unfortunately, it’s not a possibility.  You’d need a lot longer than the 4 days we had there to really get to know such an enormous city, but even in such a short time I could tell it’s one of the coolest cities in the world.  It’s so different to Guadalajara – the centre is much more modern, which I really liked, and it’s full of museums and galleries and just has all kinds of things going on.  Anyway, we spent our “free day” wandering around there but had exciting things planned for us the rest of the time.

After a rough night of coach travel we arrived on Friday morning, had a quick breakfast and went straight on to the Museum of Anthropology (probably quite boring if you’re not an ancient history geek like me.)  Saw the actual Piedra del Sol.  Pretty awesome.

Next up was the Castillo de Chapultepec.  To be honest, I was quite tired (and REALLY hungry) by this point so I don’t really know anything about it, but it was pretty and had some nice gardens.  I ate grasshoppers there (not just out of the garden – actual cooked grasshoppers someone was selling out of a cart) – weirdly, they didn’t taste bad but I wouldn’t pay 10 pesos for a bag of them!

The next day was the best! The first stop was Coyoacan and the Casa Azul.  It always surprises me when people say they haven’t heard of Frida Kahlo! Such an interesting and inspiring woman, seeing her studio made me really want to paint – hopefully the feeling will last until I’m home and I can.  Next we went to Anahuacalli, another museum but also a kind of art gallery, I suppose.  It was designed by Diego Rivera, surrealist artist and Frida Kahlo’s husband, with all the architecture based on the aztec visión of the universe.

Highlight of the weekend – Xochimilco.  Canal boats, music, dancing, food and the best company.

Finally, on the last day, we visited Teotihuacan.  A lot of steps, a lot of sun, but the view from the top made it worth it.  Raul ran the whole way (show off).

 

But, the fun didn’t stop there.  On the coach on the way home, Mariana (who organised the trip) taught us a very, VERY intense game called “los lobos” – I won’t go into the rules but it basically turned us all against each other and had us all pleading/insisting/screaming “yo no soy un lobo, soy un inocente ciudadano!”

…And the fiesta hasn’t really stopped since then.  México, somehow, has done the impossible and transformed me into a sociable person.  Even though I’m absolutely rubbish at it, I never want to stop salsa dancing.

Mexico Bucket List, Part 1

Sometimes, I find myself looking forward to all the things I’ll do when I finish this year – truth be told, I do look forward to going home, back to Cardiff, having my own house again and making a start on my own future (thinking about internships at the moment!) I sometimes think of that life as my actual life, and this year is a year out from that life, and sometimes I think I could really use that year (if that makes sense!) Anyway, when I find myself thinking negatively about being away from home, I try to remind myself that I’m getting way ahead of myself, and to use the time I have here to, yes, prepare myself for life afterwards, and that the best preparation I can do is to make the most of everything Mexico has to offer.  To focus on living here – the time will pass either way, and I have my whole life to do the things I’m missing.

When I need to stay positive, I remind myself how I felt looking out of the window of the coach on the way to Morelia – just driving through wilderness and thinking about how lucky I am, thinking, ‘I can’t believe I get to live here!’ and that gets me thinking, there are so many things I want to do here and I only have a year to do them.

So, I thought I’d put together a bit of a bucket list of the places I want to visit/things I want to do before the year is up.

1) Go to Corona Capital in Mexico City and see Conor Oberst.

This is first on the list because this is the plan for my 21st birthday – I was thinking about not going but I’d regret it so much if I didn’t! Living in the moment, and all!

2) Go to Puerto Vallarta

Another concrete plan for October – my boyfriend surprised me by announcing he’s visiting for two weeks (yipee!), so we’ve arranged a few days at the beach, including horse-riding up to some waterfalls, swimming in lakes and working with a conservation project to release baby sea turtles into the ocean.

3) Temazcal at Tepoztlan

 

Tepoztlan is otherwise known as “the mystic valley” – I’d go for the name if nothing else! It’s a tiny town but very beautiful, surrounded by nature and home to many rumoured UFO sightings.  A Temazcal is a Mesoamerican sweat lodge, a bit like a sauna but with the addition of body-and-soul-cleansing, purifying herbs.  Here is my place for a spiritual break.

4) UFO-Spot at Popoctapetl

Whilst we’re on the subject of UFOs, another hotspot is Popocatepetl, the (still active) volcano.  It’s also surrounded by indigenous villages and neighboured by Itzaccihuatl.

5) Celebrate the Day of the Dead

Probably Mexico’s most internationally famous festival is El Dia de los Muertos, celebrated on the 2nd of November – it will need a post of it’s own which I can’t wait to write!

6) Go to the Hot Air Balloon Festival

7) Dive in Cozumel

8) Visit Archaeological Sites: Chichen Itza, Palenque, Teotihuacan, Uxmal…

 

9) Be a tourist in Cancun and Playa del Carmen

 

10) Lie on the beach for days in Tulum