Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Student´s Personal Spring Break Story

By Lauren Goff Bethel University

Over Spring Break, students from CGE-Mexico traveled to places including Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Acapulco, San Diego, and El Salvador. Some students visited Mayan ruins, watched professional cliff divers dive with torches in the night, and one in particular enjoyed U.S. American candy once again in California.

I got the chance to go to Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.

Zihuatanejo is a beautiful town located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. It is a sweet little city surrounding a beautiful bay with incredible sunsets each night. Fishing boats line up along the northern side of the bay and add charm to the little Mexican city. I came here for Spring Break with my parents, my fiancé and future in-laws. What I loved about Zihuatanejo is that it still seemed like a part of Mexico, whereas many vacation spots here have become tourist areas with high-rise hotels and resorts. Because of this, I was still able to expand my knowledge of Mexican culture while staying in this beautiful city for a week.

Also, I was able to share my experience of Mexico with those I had been describing it to over the past couple of months. My boyfriend (who proposed on the trip and now, fiancé), Ryan, has been studying abroad this semester in Guatemala. We talked about our new cultural experiences together. Ryan was able to point out what differences he saw in Guatemala compared to Mexico. I pointed out the differences of language in Mexico compared to Guatemala and warned Ryan of some common Spanish words he may use that would be inappropriate in Mexico.

Ex: you can say “excitado” in Guatemala describing “excited” but, in Mexico it expresses excitement in a very different context (sexually).

Our parents were impressed with our new Spanish-speaking skills; completely unaware of how bad it actually was(!). It was very interesting for both of us to learn about the cultures we had been living in for the past 2 months. It was also great to share these new cultural experiences with our parents and have them learn more about Mexico.

Zihuat after the setting sun

One of the greatest experiences I had on my trip was talking with the woman who cleaned the condo we rented. Olga made delicious dinners for us and during this time everyone was able to ask to her about life in Zihuatanejo. It was wonderful for me to see my parents so interested in learning more about Olga’s life. What was really cool was seeing my parents trying to speak Spanish with her (successful after assistance from Ryan and I).

These talks with Olga opened up later conversation with my parents and Ryan’s where they asked me more about Mexico. As I was answering, I realized how much I have learned here in Mexico. All of the answers relayed back to what I have seen this semester through speakers in Cuernavaca and my other experiences in Mexico. I have treasured sharing the beautiful parts of Mexico with my parents and future family.

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