Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 2

 Welcome back to the Blog guardians and friends of Merida adventurers! Week 2 was jam-packed for us so we are very excited to share these experiences with you here! ( As best we can through photos and videos!) Before we get started,  the IUHPFL students would like to wish their fathers a very Happy Fathers Day! Feliz Día del Padre a todos!

Monday we celebrated Julianne Dejoie's 17th birthday with pastelito y refrescos! (Cake and soft-drinks) Feliz Cumple Julianne!!

"Feliz Cumpleaños" ( our best attempt..) hmm...

( apologies for one video being flipped sideways :( )

Here we go again..our best shot!

Well, it's the thought that counts! :) Feliz Cumpleaños Julianne!!

Tuesday was our first day of Support & Success groups. Students met with their support group leaders in Plaza Fiesta, just about a 10-15 min walk from the school. Each week we will hold these groups as a time where students meet in their small groups with an instructor to ask questions, request and give advice, express any concerns they are having—it is an informal place to chat about their overall experiences here in Merida.

Vanessa’s group

Dan’s group

Valentina’s group

Carly’s group (aka ‘ grupo perfecto’—just a little inside joke ;))

An example of what student's did in one support group is draw something to express how they were feeling in that moment. Here below we have some examples..

Feelings spanned from hot, to sweaty, to hot again, and, well, sweaty again, to happiness, a bit of homesickness still missing family, friends and certainly pets...

and well, last but not least, “Mexican” was used  as a feeling :) 

Wednesday we got to have our first “Día de deportes” (Sports Day) which all students were very much looking forward to! We went to a local “Deportivo” a sports facility catering to an array of sports interests such as soccer, baseball, swimming, basketball, table tennis and even gymnastics. We pretty much took over the two basketball courts available, using one for just that, b-ball, and the other for soccer. 

Let's get this started...

 What now...I'm taking this in for a goal..

 Oh who can i count on to make a goal!?

 Yea, we're hot, but not done any time soon!
 Here goes...

 I hope people saw this save!

I got this.

A little hoop now?

some gymnastics too?


Going back to childhood..

                                           Time for a  little more action on the court..


                                                            We love deportes!!

Thursday evening we had our first “charla” of three we will have on Thursdays at the school. These talks consist of an invited speaker or speakers that come to the school to present on various topics. This week, our invited guest was a professor from a local university who taught the students about the history of Mexico and the Yucatan, highlighting similarities and differences between the two. After the presentation, students were divided into groups with regard to various perspectives towards history such as whether the rich, the poor, women, or men have had the most significant impacts on history in general as well as views regarding human beings' place in the world ( do we own the world or are we part of the world?) Students engaged with each other and the guest professor and seemed to enjoy the lesson. These sorts of presentations coupled with students living as “yucatecos” on a daily basis we hope will grow their knowledge on the history of Mexico and the Yucatan immensely! :) 

Friday final did roll around as students were anxiously awaiting this day to embark upon their first main excursion—Chichén Itzá ( which means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza) & Izamal.

       Chichén, here we come! But first, some selfies on the bus..cuz, well, why not?

 time for a snooze before we arrive!
     Ya llegamos! Here we are!

 Posing at "El Castillo" the ruin which dominates the center of the Chichén Itzá archaeological site and was the primary ruin that attracted student’s attention as well!

Gettin' creative with the poses...

A stop in the shade by the sacred cenote ( natural well). The difference made between being in the sun and shade is like night and day!   

Ahhhh, souvenir HEAVEN! After Chichén  I think we all agree that students are experts in (1) saying “No, gracias” and (2) “Regateando” ( bargaining) :)  

 No buyer's remorse here, all very happy with their purchases for friends and family back home!
After Chichén, we headed to the magical village of Izamal, a pueblo located about 70 km east of Merida and is known as the “Yellow City” because mostly all of its walls are painted yellow representing corn, of which the cultivation helped the Mayan civilization become highly advanced and is also believed to be, along with white corn, what was used in the creation of man, as explained in The Popol Vuh—the Maya creational story.
First we took a tour around the Convent in Izamal.

On we headed to the cultural center exhibiting a small museum of popular Yucatecan art
   And, then, saving the (arguably) best for last we marched on to the Kinich Kak Mo pyramid 
Are we really climbing this...? guess so!

 Viva Mexico!!

So....can we just stay up here? ( For the beautiful view of course, not the amazing breeze and cooler air…no….no…)

   Slow & steady

    K'a'ak'ate / Taak saama ( Goodbye in Mayan!) Izamal!

After a long day in Chichén and Izamal, we rested up as much as possible and headed out again early Saturday morning to the Mayan pueblo of Yaxunah where we will be doing volunteer work for 3 Saturdays during the students’ stay in Mexico.
Here were are on a tour of the village.
     We met some of the locals living in or near Yaxunah  and worked together pulling weeds for the compost and cleaning up outside the community center. Not only were we able to contribute to the cleanliness of the village but we also made new friends and learned several Mayan words along the way! We are very excited to head back to greet our new friends see what awaits us next time in Yaxunah! The village is truly incredible—a very humble, tranquil and magical place indeed.             
Bien hecho! A job well done!

Til next time, Yaxunah !

We all had a great week with new, eye-opening experiences, but we sure were exhausted, so Sunday was spent at home with host families, at the Mercado Lucas de Gálvez, relaxing some and homework of  course!  Thanks for joining us and please check us next week to hear about all about our adventures as they continue here in Merida! Adiós for now!


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