Reflections

Update

September 17, 2015

I realize is has been a very long time since I have updated my blog and lots of things have changed!  I successfully completed my Fulbright in Mexico City and returned to the U.S. on June 30th.  I was home for about three weeks and I am currently in Germany working remotely, and taking advantage of the opportunity to travel!  While here, I’ve been able to check out some amazing places in Europe!  Croatia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Amsterdam, Sweden and Denmark to name a few – blog posts coming soon.

I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what stage of life I’m in, I will never have it all planned out.  Before I entered college, I was always under the impression that I would “have my life figured out” when I graduated with my degree.  My favorite professor from college always mentioned a theme about shipwrecked sailors.  We’re all shipwrecked sailors in the sea of life just trying to get by, and this concept has really resonated with me the past few months.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
– Lao Tzu

Whatever stage of life we’re in, I hope we can all find some clarity and stability on this thing called life.

 

Food, Mexico, Reflections

A few of my favorite things…

March 21, 2015

Given the fact that Mexico City has been my home for several months now, I’ve been meaning to make a list of my favorite things.  Whether it be amazing street tacos from a lady by my work, Sunday bike strolls on Reforma or fun events with my co-workers, here’s a list of things (in no particular order) that always seem to put a smile on my face.

IMG_0401

1. Churros rellenos. These lovely things are churros that are fried and made right in front of you and are filled with nutella, chocolate sauce, cajeta, caramel, strawberry sauce, the list goes on! These are most popular in the Coyoacan neighborhood.

IMG_0397

2. Jardin del Centenario in Coyoacan neighborhood. The fountain with the two coyotes is symbolic of the Coyoacan neighborhood, as it used to be called the land of the coyotes. Go Yotes! Around this fountain is a gorgeous square with great restaurants, artesanal markets and a beautiful church.

IMG_1443

3. The said beautiful church in Jardin Centenario Coyoacan called the Temple and ex convent of San Juan Bautista. It’s my favorite church in all of Mexico City.

 

IMG_0908

4. Mercado Medellin. This is a huge building and inside is a giant public marketplace. I try to go once a week to local food vendors who have the best and freshest avocados, bananas, mangos, eggs, peppers, etc. All of the vendors are so nice, the prices are reasonable, and it’s way more enjoyable shopping for groceries in this environment where you can build real relationships with your food providers.

 

IMG_1267

5. The view from MásNegocio, my workplace! This is from the top floor of the building and is such a gorgeous view when the pollution doesn’t cloud the view of the mountains in the distance.

IMG_1271

6. Berry cheesecake ice cream for 15 pesos (1 dollar), sold from a guy who makes homemade ice cream and posts up at a corner by my work everyday. Probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

 

IMG_2199

7. One of the fountains 1 block away from my apartment in Condesa. There are usually food vendors selling coconuts and other fresh fruit.

IMG_2496

8. My running route on Paseo de Reforma. The reason I signed up for my half-marathon is because I discovered this lovely path at the beginning of January and I look forward to my runs due to this view!

IMG_2809

9. Nutrista frozen yogurt. It’s 2 for 1 on the weekdays and usually a wonderful snack my co-workers and I take advantage of every once in awhile.

IMG_2817

10. Friday lunches with co-workers, the best! Most of my favorite restaurants have been fund when dining with my co-workers. We have a few beers, really good food, and take about 3 hours mid-day to chat about weekend plans. Mexicans know how to do Fridays.

IMG_2827

11. Riding bikes on Reforma on Sundays! Sundays are my favorite day of the week in Mexico City for this reason. From 9-2pm ish, this whole street shuts down for runners, bikers, roller bladers, etc. to enjoy the day off and the beautiful weather. There is always something fun going on along this street whether it be free bike rentals, Zumba classes, kick-boxing or food.

IMG_2978

12. Amazing street tacos 20 steps from my work, sold by a woman who carries many taco flavors and transports them in white tub containers. We call her the tubito lady for this reason. My two personal favorites are shown here: chicken breast with her homemade guacamole and pork with green mole sauce.  30 pesos (2 ish dollars).

IMG_0652

13. CUPCAKES BY TOM. This gem of a place is located two blocks from my apartment so I’ve had to exhibit some pretty solid self control to only buy something here once a week. Usually I stop by for a muffin and a coffee for breakfast, but their cupcakes are so good as well.

IMG_0655

14. Comida Combi. This man drives his VW van to the same spot everyday and supplies a 3-course meal for 50 pesos (3 dollars).

IMG_0657

14. Comida Combi continued. Soup, rice, bean, tortillas, main dish, and a drink for 50 PESOS. Puts a smile on my face every time I buy his food.

IMG_2276 - Version 2

15. My fellow Binational Business Fulbrights! I don’t know where I would be today without them. Living in Mexico City has had its ups and downs, and the amount of support and kindness this group has shown me has gotten me through it all. I’m so thankful for them!

Mexico, Reflections

I Wish You Enough

January 14, 2015

You know that feeling when you get when you’ve just had a wonderful weekend, but can’t seem to place exactly why?  That’s the kind of weekend I had, and it’s just what I needed.  My first week back to D.F. had been a little overwhelming, just like it is for everyone after a long break:  back to work, back to classes, jet lag, etc.  A week full of “starts” can be both exciting and overwhelming.

“Distance makes the heart grow fonder”, that lovely, awfully cliché saying, could not have been more true about my feelings for D.F.  Coming back from Germany, I was able to look at D.F. through the lense of a long-lost friend.  I went to a Theory of Everything (highly recommended) with my roommate on Friday, and Mexican movie theaters have this special type of caramel popcorn that I’ve never seen sold anywhere else.  Yay, Mexico!

On Saturday I went to el Bazaar Sábado, located in San Ángel.  This special artesanal market is located in one of the oldest and most calm neighborhoods in D.F., and I’ve always been wanting to go.  One of the things I’ve grown to love about Mexico is that there is always something going on in the streets.  You never have to walk more than a block to find street food with everything ranging from cactus quesadillas to freshly sqeezed pineapple juice, or street vendors selling socks to cell phones to art easels.  You name it, they have it on a corner somewhere.  This market was very similar to Mexico’s bustling streets.  Besides a large building open only on Saturdays, many artists had swarmed the nearby park and plaza, posting up their art to potentials buyers.  The weather was gorgeous as we walked among the cobblestone streets of near the park and into the bazaar.  I ended up buying some organic coffee grown in Chiapas and a tapestry made of tree bark.

photo 2

San Angel Bazaar Sábado.

 

That night we went to an amazing restaurant called Butcher & Sons, located in Roma.  Known for it’s incredible hamburgers and specialty gin menu, they definitely didn’t disappoint.  I’m biased because I think my Dad makes the best burgers in the world, but this place came in at a close second.

10931223_10155058336210623_5482784947444069077_n

Cheeseburgers, cheese fries, gin out of mason jars, what more could a girl need?

 

photo 3

I’m always happy with chocolate cake in my hand.

 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to run a half-marathon this year, so I went for a long run along Reforma, one of D.F.’s busiest main streets, with my roommate.  It was gorgeous weather, and once we hit Reforma, we realized that it is closed for runners and bikers every Sunday.  Such a great surprise!  We were in the midst of families teaching their children how to ride a bike, determined runners and bikers, and other families just enjoying the weather.  The energy coming off this space was so lively and cheery, it was impossible not to be in a great mood.  I look forward to training for this half-marathon if I’m able to run with all those people every Sunday.

photo 1

One of the many fountains about a 2-minute walk from my apartment.

This first weekend back really helped me appreciate Mexico for what it is.  The first trimester was difficult for me because I wanted D.F. to be something it wasn’t.  I wished the traffic weren’t so awful, my schedule weren’t so busy, the city weren’t so large and chaotic, etc.  In my mind, I felt like my time in Mexico wasn’t enough of what I was expecting it to be.  After returning from Germany, seeing the juxtaposition of cultures between the two countries has helped me appreciate Mexico more than ever.

I came across this poem written by Bob Perks:

I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

As a girl who is happiest with a busy schedule to keep her hands and mind busy, I often struggle finding the fine balance between when my schedule is “just right” and when my plate is just too full.  In a world where businesses and organizations strive for innovation, efficiency, and always striving to be better, it’s easy for me to carry this concept over into my personal life.   “What more can I do?” and  “How can I make this better?” are awesome questions to tackle on the job or in the classroom, but are harder to answer in a personal setting.  The way for me to make my experience an amazing one in Mexico is to let this experience, this city, and my life, be enough.

Mexico

A Weekend in Cancún

December 7, 2014

Hola chicos!

I was able to be a beach bum this past weekend, and it was awesome.  Two fellow BBs (Deirdre and Lauren) and I were able to go to Cancun and Tulum for the weekend as an excuse to get out of the city and enjoy some beautiful weather along the beach.

On Friday and Saturday morning we were able to roam around Cancun to lay by the beach and have some good food.  Cancun didn’t feel like the “real Mexico” to me.  Vendors were negotiating their product in American dollars, there weren’t huge micheladas being drunk by people in the streets, and all of the landscape was too perfectly polished and manicured.  It was great to get out of Mexico City and into such a tourist destination, but I had gotten used to (and had been somewhat enjoying) the chaotic messiness that I associate with Mexico.

IMG_1627 IMG_1604

On Saturday night we camped at a campsite along the beach in Tulum!  Tulum had more of a Mexican feel.  We pitched a tent at a campsite and were able to go to sleep listening to the waves of the beach and wake up with the sunrise.  We even had a mini bonfire from a fire in a can on the beach.  It was an incredible weekend to get out of the city and relax with great company before our first finals at ITAM.  Here are some pictures from our weekend.

IMG_1728 IMG_1671
IMG_1666
IMG_1674
IMG_1722

Mexico, Reflections

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2014

Hola chicos!

Happy Thanksgiving from my heart to yours!  Being away from home during Thanksgiving is always a surreal feeling.  Two years ago when I was studying abroad in Spain I had to celebrate the holiday away from the homeland, and I find myself in the same situation this year.  I may not be in the US, but I’ve still been able to celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of food, friends, and technology and get in touch with loved ones back home.

A big group of Fulbrighters and friends in D.F. celebrated Friendsgiving last weekend.  It felt so great to connect with everyone and enjoy awesome food that we all pitched in to bring.  We even went around saying things we were thankful for, which is a typical tradition my family honors.

IMG_1490

IMG_1522

IMG_1491

IMG_1497

Today for Thanksgiving I arrived to work with cupcakes from my favorite cupcake place conveniently located 2 blocks from my apartment (dangerous, I know) and shared them with my co-workers and explained how I usually celebrate Thanksgiving with family back home.  It was a great opportunity for me to share a part of my family traditions back home with my co-workers who have been so attentative and supportive to all of my random questions about Mexican culture.  It felt really good to return the favor for once!  I went home and skyped with my parents and extended family for awhile.  It was almost like I was there!

Tomorrow, COMEXUS (the Fulbright commission here in D.F.) will be putting on a thanksgiving celebration at their office.  Who knew that being away from home could still mean having a busy holiday schedule?

Being away from home for the holidays is always hard, but in a way it has made me feel even more appreciative of the wonderful things happening in my life.  I’m so thankful for my family being patient with me and taking the time to navigate FaceTime, Skype, and other video chatting services to that I can be in touch with them when I need them the most.  I’m thankful for friends, both here in D.F. and everywhere else, for allowing me to celebrate Thanksgiving with them and for tolerating the questionable food dishes I had brought to Friendsgiving last weekend.  I’m thankful for technology that allows me to communicate for free to all of my loved ones.  Finally, I’m thankful for this opportunity to be in Mexico City on a Fulbright for 10 months.  Yes, it’s had ups and downs, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here and I’m excited to see where I’m headed next thanks to Fulbright.

Mexico

First visitor in D.F. – Mom!!

November 19, 2014

I had my first visitor here in D.F. this past weekend – my MOM!  I was a little concerned how she would feel in the big city, but she pleasantly surprised me 🙂 My goals for my mom’s visit was to show her as many of my “favorite things” about Mexico City, which basically translates to FOOD and any green space that offers some peace and quiet away from the bustling city.  My roommate’s mother was also visiting over the puente, so we decided to have a mother-daughter date night on Friday.  We went to a really nice restaurante in Condesa (Azul Condesa) and we had our moms try the mole (a complex, chocolate-flavored sauce that is usually spread over chicken or other meats) that we had fallen in love with the previous weekend in Oaxaca.

IMG_1335

On Saturday the four of us went to Teotihuacán, the pyramids located about an hour outside of Mexico City.  We had a wonderful time, and we were able to bask in the sun (and even got a little sun-kissed!) as we walked around the massive archealogical site for a few hours.  Here are some photos:

IMG_1352 IMG_1373

IMG_1402

On Saturday night I took my mom to the Zocalo so she could see the cathedral and the square, which was being prepared for the Día de la Revolución celebration on the 20th.  We walked along Calle Madero (a street for pedestrians only that links the Zocalo to the Palacio de Bellas Artes) until we reached Torre Latinoamérica, which is D.F.’s version of NYC’s Empire State Building.  For those of you that know this part of Mexico City, it is always one of the busiest and packed pedestrian streets in the city.  It was quite an experience, I was a little worried about my mom’s reaction, but she passed with flying colors!

On Sunday we went to my favorite neighborhood (besides Condesa – where I live) called Coyoacán.  We were able to shop around the artesanal markets, eat lunch at a restaurant adjacent to a square, tour a beautiful church, and enjoy each other’s company.  Coyoacán is my favorite place to enjoy a Sunday afternoon (something I admire about the Mexican culture – Sundays consist of precious time devoted to family) and we had such a wonderful day.  That night we went to the Ballet Folklórico at the Palacio de Ballas Artes.  I had seen it during orientation, but I was happy to see it again!  My mom really enjoyed it, and we were even able to get a good picture in front of it.

IMG_1479

Goodbyes are hard.  Having my mom here for a weekend was so wonderful because I was finally able to show someone from my life back home what my “new life” looks like here.  After traveling abroad I realized that many sites or cities that I had visited aren’t as enjoyable if you aren’t sharing the experience with someone else, whether it be a friend, a family member, or a random stranger.  Of course this is a personal opinion and of course I have many friends here to share Mexico, but there was something extra special about visiting the pyramids for the first time with my Mom and showing her my favorite parts of the city.  Thank you, Mom for always being my rock, my support system, and a wonderful travel buddy.  Next step is convincing Dad to visit!

“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”
― Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

Mexico

Oaxacan Wonders

November 6, 2014

During our trips to Oaxaca for Día de los Muertos (view that post HERE), we were also able to take an excursion to five surrounding villages for a day to relish in the beauty that is Oaxaca!  Our five stops (aside from Oaxaca) consisted of the following sights:  Arbol de Tule, a visit to a traditional carpentry shop, Mixtla, Hieve el Agua, and a visit to a traditional mezcal farm.

Oaxaca – Our humble abode for the weekend!  Oaxaca was filled with so much life during the Día de los Muertos celebration.  We had a mezcal tasting to learn about the creation of mezcal (a type of alcohol made from plants similar to tequila, usually made in small batches by local farmers).  We were also able to view the main cathedral with attached monastery, shop among the bustling markets, and enjoy the incredible food that is signature to Oaxaca:  Tlayudas, queso Oaxaca (quesillo) Oaxaca chocolate, and MOLE.

IMG_0985

Friends in front of Templo de Santo Domingo.

 

IMG_0954

Templo de Santo Domingo.

 

IMG_0958

Templo de Santo Domingo

 

Árbol de Tule – A giant tree.  We didn’t stay for longer than 20 minutes to admire the massivity of this beauty.  It has the stoutest tree trunk in the world and was planted around 1,600 years ago.  According to the most recent measurements in 2005, it’s circumfrence is 137.8 feet wide and 116 feet tall.

IMG_1058

Árbol de Tule next to the church to show how massive this thing is!

 

IMG_1078

We had to take verticial panoramic photos in order to get the entire tree.

 

Carpentry shop – I’ve learned this for quite awhile, but usually I’m targeted by salesmen.  I guess you could say I don’t have a poker face at all.  Therefore, when the owner of the carpet store needed a volunteer, he eyed at me and coyly asked if I would help him for a demonstration of how they create dyes from natural resources.  These carpets are incredible, and each piece of work usually takes 2-3 months to make them by hand using a loom.

IMG_1081

Mixtla:  Ancient ruins – incredible!  We had an incredible tour guide that was able to give us the scoop about the ruins that were built between 900 BCE and 100 CE.  These ruins were once the main religious center for the Zapotecs, and indigenous group in Mexico.

IMG_1088

Mitla.

 

IMG_1274

Our group of Fulbrighters on the steps of Mitla.

 

IMG_1114

Hierve el Agua:  Favorite stop off all.  Petrified waterfall.  Words can’t explain this place.  Hierve el Agua is a set of two petrified waterfalls that have been formed over thousands of years.  We were able to hike the trails around both waterfalls and some of the group also brought their swimsuits to swim in the nearby pools.  The views were incredible.

IMG_1123

Hierve el Agua

IMG_1133

 

IMG_1143

Roomies Christmas picture!

 

 

IMG_1220

 

IMG_1224

The longer we stayed the more gorgeous the views had gotten. We were able to watch the sunset from this beautiful place.

Mezcal Tasting:  Learned the ins and outs of artesanal mezcal.

IMG_1031

Mezcal tasting

 

IMG_1001

IMG_1228

Mexico, Reflections

Día de los Muertos – Oaxaca

November 4, 2014

This past weekend a large group of us BBs ventured off to Oaxaca, Mexico, as we were told that Oaxaca was where some of the most traditional Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations and traditions are still honored.  In Oaxaca, the weekend of Día de los Muertos is split into three events.  October 31 is the day honoring the angelitos – little angels.  This day specifically honors the children whose lives were taken too early.  November 1st is the day honoring the adults.  Finally, November 2nd is the day that celebrates All Souls Day.  The whole weekend is a celebration of life, and it was incredible to witness first-hand!

We took a bus on Thursday night and arrived in Oaxaca early Friday morning to explore the city.  Oaxaca is known for having a strong prevalence of indigenous cultures, so we were really excited to see how those cultural traditions blended during Día de los Muertos.  One of the BBs, Lauren, had made Oaxaca her home a few years back, so we loved having her as a tour guide!  During the day, we were able to tour Oaxaca and view all of the beautiful ofrendas (offerings) that are made to honor the dead.  Families, businesses, all sorts of entities create ofrendas to respect loved ones no longer with us.  Here are a few photos of some of my favorite ofrendas.

IMG_0940

Ofrenda located in D.F. created by my co-workers at MásNegocio!

IMG_0944

Ofrenda in Oaxaca – created by sand.

IMG_1046

Ofrenda in Oaxaca honoring Benito Juarez – a past Mexican president, whose hometown resides in Oaxaca.

On Friday night, our group went to a village outside of Oaxaca called Xoxocatlan to experience the celebration of life in the cemeteries (panteones).  Traditionally, families go to the cemetery to create unique ofrendas over the tombstones of their lost loved ones.  For the remainder of the night (and into the morning) families and friends remain in the cemetery celebrating life.  The two cemeteries we toured were filled with so much life, vibrance, color, and respect as all of the families flocked to the cemeteries to decorate their loved ones’ tombstones.  We were able to walk around the busy cemetery and admire all of the gorgeous ofrendas.  As I walked through the files of the cemetery, the mood differed greatly from family to family.  As I walked past some ofrendas, I felt like I was intruding on a quiet, intimate moment among the families:  A family mourning the loss of a child taken too early, a man sleeping at the foot of his wife’s tombstone, a widow toasting to her husband, a woman in her 40s sitting with her brother who had passed when he was 7.  In these tender moments, I felt as though I were intruding on a moment that couldn’t be (or didn’t want to be) shared with outsiders.  On the other hand, other families were having quite the fiesta:  Bands with trumpets, guitars, etc. performing exuberant songs, families drinking their loved ones’ favorite liquors and toasting to a life well-lived, friends dancing to the band, enjoying favorite foods, etc.  Although there were some somber moments, the majority of the families were celebrating – celebrating – in cemeteries.  Such a beautiful sight to see.

IMG_1040

Tried to get a photo of the cemetery rows. Each grave was beautifully decorated with flowers and candles.

 

On Saturday night, we went to another village outside of Oaxaca called Etla to participate in a Comparsa.  Saturday was ALL fiesta in these villages.  These comparsas are similar to parades.  3 other local villages have bands come while village members dress in symbolic costumes and the whole community parades the streets from 11pm until noon the next day (talk about commitment).  Around 11am the next day, the 3 villages all meet in one of the village squares and the bands have a “battle of the bands”.  The whole night/day is a celebration of costumes, music, food, plays, etc.  So many people and so much life!

IMG_1244

One of the only photos I got of the comparsa.  Video coming soon!

Clearly the US and Mexico’s tradition of Halloween and Día de los Muertos are quite different.  How many times have you seen this concept of community and celebration of life in the US?  Communities relishing in life and death together by creating this beautiful understanding of passion – the mixture of joy and suffering of loving and losing.  In the US, mourning is understood to be felt or expressed solidarily.  In Mexico, the thought goes more like this: “I have lived, I have loved, I have experienced loss of a loved one.  Here I am exposing myself through vulnerability, grief, suffering and joy; but I do not feel exposed because everyone has lived, everyone has loved, everyone has experienced loss; so we’ll celebrate together, we’ll grief together, we’ll share in this moment together”.  Death is a part of life, and life is lived by all.  The concept of death clearly differs, and I think the main difference resides not in the day, not the celebrations, but the fact that this tradition is celebrated and shared within Mexico’s communities and cultures.  In the US, we feel that we can’t publicly mourn, we feel uncomfortable grieving in front of others, that we’re supposed to grief and then get on with our lives, that we can’t share these tender, vulnerable moments with others…but why can’t we?

IMG_1035

IMG_1055

One last ofrenda made of colored sand and flowers. Each color is symbolic of a part of life.

As I walked among this beautiful exhibition of celebration, exuberance, grief, and suffering, so many questions filled my head.  I took a class in my undergrad called Justice and Compassion.  The point of the class was to study compassion based on radical displacement; a group of 12 willingly throwing ourselves into situations we had never been in before; situations of tenderness, hardship, joy, grief, passion.  Walking around the vibrant cemeteries reminded me of one of my Justice and Compassion outings.  How close can we get to someone else’s grief?  How close can we get to feeling their pain without experiencing it firsthand in that moment?  On the flip side, how close can we get to experiencing someone else’s joy and celebration of a life we had never met?  How close could we get to feeling like we were apart of those moments and cultural traditions having never experienced them before?  We can’t we in the US come together for a day once a year to celebrate, commemorate, and honor life together in such a way that Mexico does?

Cervantino helped my change my attitude and perspective about Mexico; Oaxaca left me feeling extremely grateful and profoundly appreciative for the opportunity to witness these beautiful traditions of community, honor, celebration of a life lived instead of a life lost.

Mexico

I left my heart in Guanajuato

October 21, 2014

Hola chicos!

This past weekend was magical.  My friend Alyssa (another fellow BB) and I ventured off to Guanajuato, Mexico for the 42nd annual Cervantino Festival!  Cervantino is a music and arts festival, and according to Wikipedia, “El Cervantino has grown to become one of the most important  international artistic and cultural event in Mexico and Latin America, and one of four major events of its type in the world.”  This festival, funded by the Mexican government, hosts a different country each year.  This year’s host country was Japan, so we were able to see a ballet from a Japanese dance company that was very interesting.  Aside from viewing grand assortments of artwork, dance and food, we were also able to explore the beautiful city of Guanajuato!

IMG_0876

BB Fulbright friends after watching a ballet put on by a Japanese dance company.

Guanajuato, a World Heritage Site since 1998, is a gorgeous colonial town that has prospered due to the mining industry that had produced 30% of the world’s silver for over 250 years.  Presence of the mining industry can be seen everwhere:  systems of underground tunnels for vehicles, ornate detail of precious stones in the walls of our bathroom, and tons of silver and gold shops among the winding streets of Guanajuato.  If you haven’t noticed, I fell in love with this place.  The weather was gorgeous and the city was small enough to walk around to see all of the sites without feeling overwhelmed.

 

IMG_0819

Plaza de la Paz and the Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato.  We had lunch under the umbrellas on the right.

IMG_0823

Inside the Basilica.

Some of the must-see sites within Guanajuato that we had the pleasure of visiting are: Teatro Benito Juarez (cultural center of Cervantino), Mercado Hidalgo (a huge artesanal market), Pipíla, many churches, Callejón del Beso, and mines among the outskirts of the city.  Lucky for you all, I have pictures.

IMG_0825

Teatro Benito Juarez showcasing the festival. This is the central location of the city and Cervantino Festival.

IMG_0829

Beautiful church/museum and brightly colored houses.

IMG_0845

Me being a cheesy tourist in front of El Callejón del Beso (Valley of the Kiss). Couples that visit are supposed to stand on the third step and kiss for 15 years of happiness (what the couple behind me is doing).

10348541_10152860159393338_8669834830039187172_n

Two blondes take Guanajuato! We’re in front of the Pipíla, a large statue overlooking the city.

10386744_10152860159503338_2752167875456737832_n

Before we departed on Sunday, Alyssa and I toured one of the mines on the outskirts of the city.  Although this mine tour wasn’t originally planned, we felt fortunate  to understand the miners’ harsh and painstaking working conditions, whose efforts led to the success of the city.  The amount of effort put forth to produce precious minerals is astounding, and it definitely made us think about the jewelry we frequently wear and the impact our demand has on the supply of these precious metals.

10411311_10152860159693338_5632038995971446776_n

Tacky tourist picture in the mines with our hard hats.

 

IMG_0896

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend was one of those weekends that made my heart sing.  I can’t explain it, but there was some type of refreshing energy coming from the people among the streets of GTO that was so different compared to D.F.  Maybe it was because of the festival, or maybe everyone was in such a great mood (because how can you not be in this city?), but my weekend in Guanajuato really changed my perspective on my time here in Mexico.  Now that we’ve approached (almost) two amazing months here in Mexico, many of the Fulbrighters have had many instances where they could picture themselves living in Mexico for an indefinite time after the Fulbright program concludes.  I hadn’t hopped on that train until this past weekend.  There’s something beautiful about the Mexican perspective of cherishing time with one another over long afternoon lunches, Saturday morning coffee or while roaming the streets of GTO during an arts festival; a token I hope to bring back with me whenever I return to states.

Other Travels

Happy D-Days from Brevard, NC!

October 15, 2014

Happy D-Days from Brevard, North Carolina!!

My alma mater had their 100th annual homecoming celebration this past weekend.  As much as it killed me not to be in Vermillion toasting a Bloody Mary with my USD friends at Carey’s, I was able to visit someone just as special to me.  Our destination:  Brevard, North Carolina!  Why?…Because we both wanted to go somewhere we had never been and I was wanted a reprieve from big-city living.  D.F. is a HUGE city, and I have really been missing the simple pleasures; the peace and quiet of smaller town life, having the ability to get in a car and drive with cruise control, and wide open spaces. Because D.F. also has mild/somewhat perfect weather year-round, I have also been missing the change in the leaves during fall.  Therefore, Brevard was perfect for a fall getaway! Brevard is near the entrances of Pigsah National Forest and DuPont State Forest, so we were able to see a lot of waterfalls and drive along the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway.  Here’s a few photos from our weekend.

IMG_0749

After climbing Richland Balsam – the highest point along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

IMG_0683

Path trail on the way to the summit of the Richland Balsam summit.

IMG_0703

Our view from the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway!

 

IMG_0760

Looking Glass Falls – Pigsah National Forest.

 

IMG_0672

All in all, it was so wonderful to visit the great views, cozy town, wonderful food, and the best company…I don’t think I could’ve asked for anything better.

 

IMG_0744

Thanks for the great weekend!