On Tuesday night, my Interterm trip to Mexico came to a close and I arrived back at home. Throughout this past week and on the plane ride home, I did a lot of reflecting and thinking about what I would and would not miss about Mexico, and what really irrited me about Mexico.
Things that I miss about Mexico:
-The beautiful flowers everwhere
-Seeing very colorful houses everywhere I look...greens, yellows, purples, oranges- you name it!
-The hospitality- everyone that shared with us was super friendly. People in the U.S. just aren't that way.
-The food- delicious!
-The warmth! There is nothing like wearing sandals, swimming, tanning, and getting a sunburn in January!
-Being able to practice my Spanish all day, everyday.
-The delicious bakery that was right around the corner in Mexico City where we went every morning for breakfast. You just can't find huge pastries for 60 cents in the U.S.
-Seeing how genuine everyone really was. These people know what really matters in life. They have so little, but are always smiling and work really hard to earn waht they have. They are so thankful for what they have. They are simply determined poeple who are caught in a bad situation.
Things that I don't miss about Mexico:
-Not being able to drive my car- When you're used to driving everywhere, not being able to drive for three weeks sucks. Then again, the drivers there are insane and there are so many people that I wouldn't have wanted to risk driving there anyway!
-Putting ALL toilet paper in the trash can. You can't flush toilet paper there!
-Being stared at 24/7 because of my blonde, curly hair. I got many kisses blown at me and a marriage proposal from men in their 40's or 50's because of it.
- Not being able to drink water straight from the tap. Since the water was bad there, we also had to brush our teeth with our water bottle, which was kind of inconvenient.
-The food- I definitely had a couple too many torillas, tortas, and the like. I'm ready for a break from Mexican food.
-Having people talk really quickly to me in Spanish. I usually ended up giving them a blank look and then apologizing to them, because while I speak some Spanish, these people talked so fast that I couldn't understand anything!
Things that irritate me about Mexico:
-How corrupt their government is. Their last election was very, very rigged. The police are corrupt too. It's ridiculous.
-How so many children do not get to go to school, because their parents (who didn't go to school either) can't afford it. So these children might end up like their parents when they grow up, selling their products on the streets.
-How the top 10% of the population controls EVERYTHING and 70% of the people in Mexico are in the "poor" category. These people in the bottom 70% are known as the informal economy. They do not have a steady job and often their wages are only 65 pesos (minimum wage). That is equivalent to around $6.00 in the U.S. That is for a whole day, not an hour.
-How people in indigenous mountain villages are victims of residual poverty. They literally make about $1.00 (U.S.) a day and that is literally only enough for food. 80% of the women in Tlamacazapa have never left their village, so they don't know what exists beyond where they are at. They had no clue where America was or which way was North, South, East, or West. They spend their entire days weaving very sturdy baskets out of palm leaves, but then sell them really chep to the middle men, who in turn out out and sell them for lots of money in the big towns. They get ripped off, but they have no money knowledge. They can't afford to send their children to school, so instead they start learning how to weave baskets at a very young age. Chance are, they will never be able to leave their community either.
-1/3 of the Mexican population has diabetes, due to all of the sugar they consume and all of the Coca-Cola they drink. However, they do this because their water is not safe to drink. The government won't do anything about it. One of the villages we went to had no running water and people had to hike to wells each day to collect water. The water wasn't even good water, because it was laced with arsenic.
There is so much more about this trip that I could share, but I will stop here. Overall, the trip was wonderful. I had an incredible time meeting people, hearing their stories, and exploring new cities.