The 5 Things I miss the most about Oaxaca, Mexico
- My host parents, Hector and Leo.
Within the first week of my program, I knew that leaving my host parents would be the hardest part of my journey. I instantly fell in love with their soft-hearted and warm personalities. Every day when I came home from school or any activity, I would look forward to sharing the daily gossip (or “chisme”) with them and staying at the table for hours on end. Our meals together are what I miss the most- this is where I saw my abilities in Spanish really taking off. We would gossip about my Oaxacan “boyfriends,” our lives back home, and the interesting encounters of some of our other group members. My host family always told me that, when I’m staying with them, it’s like I am one of their own. They are what really made Oaxaca feel like home. I am so grateful to be a part of their family, even if just for a little while.
- Using Spanish anywhere, anytime
Obviously there are Spanish speakers here in the U.S., but it is nothing compared to the exposure of Spanish that I received in Mexico. I loved finally getting to immerse myself in the language and culture of the people that I have spent many years of my life studying. I have noticed that I have to consciously prevent myself from speaking full sentences in Spanish to my friends, or accidentally using a Spanish word to describe something in normal conversation. While taking notes in class, I’m often tempted to use Spanish words in the middle of my sentences. These are things that have never happened to me before, but I love them because it means that my fluency is increasing and that Spanish is becoming a bigger part of my life. In addition, the quirky little colloquial phrases were my favorite thing to learn, and it was even funnier to watch the shock and the reactions of the locals when we used them! I love teaching my friends here new phrases and using them around native speakers here in the U.S.
- The happiness
I can’t believe the best summer of my life has come to a close. Being in Mexico was the happiest I have ever been. The constant joy and energy of the culture in Mexico is amazing, and excitement fills the people’s hearts. I love how everyone seems to be in a good mood all the time, and everyone is always so light-hearted. Everyone is constantly joking around, dancing, and laughing with their friends. The vibrancy of the people is something I will deeply miss and keep in my heart forever.
- My Sol-Mates
I studied in Mexico through a program called Sol Education Abroad, and the people that shared this journey with me are called my “Sol-Mates.” Through this program, I now have friends all over the country, and even a friend from Canada. My Sol Mates and I experienced so much together: we got to explore the world together, try new foods, and laugh at each other along the way. I love that I found other people who share my same love and appreciation for Spanish language and culture, and I loved being “Los extranjeros” (the foreigners) together.
- The culture
I visited a Mexico that is more beautiful than any of the resorts that most people from the U.S. know. Oaxaca has 16 indigenous groups, making it one of the most diverse states in Mexico. Even better, I was in Oaxaca during the entire month of July, the month of the Guelaguetza. Throughout the month there were tons of cultural events, such as parandas (small parades) and food festivals. Oaxaca is also known for its unique cuisine, and this is something I will take with me as well. I already miss the moles, quesillo, tamales, and, most importantly, eating tortillas and beans with every meal. There are certain things that I discovered in Mexico that I will be looking for here in the grocery store, and recipes that I look forward to re-creating.
All in all, Mexico will have my heart forever. And I am already planning my next trip back.