Mira, Morenas! – Stranger(s) in a Strange Land

Daily Prompt: What’s your favourite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

My love for languages fuels my passion for travel. I’m of the opinion that the best way for anybody to learn a language is akin to the best way for one to learn to swim (according to many) – dive right in.

The setting is summer 2008. The place is Polanco, Mexico. Four Spanish students and their accompanying teacher spend 9 days in a strange land. I wish it would have been longer and I obviously wish I could do it again. Sixteen year old me didn’t appreciate half the things about being in a foreign land that 20 year old me does.

When I think of that trip to Mexico now, it’s all a muddled blur. All I have is a few poorly taken photographs that make me rue not having a better camera and not knowing the ins and outs of what makes for a good photograph. But alas, I have some (faint) memories.

One of the greatest things about that trip was just being away from the island – experiencing what life is like in a big city (finding out what a real traffic jam is), the culture, the language, the food, the people. It was almost perfect.

Heading to work in the morning (which was just about one block away from our hotel which meant we got to sleep a little late), doing absolutely nothing but talk about our cultural differences and learn one or two things about the banking industry here and there at the office, going for lunch at 12pm because it’s what we’re accustomed to and not at 2pm (standard Mexican lunch time), eating quesadillas and tacos til your stomach hurt, spending so much time at the restaurant that by the time we get back to the office it’s time to go home.

I wish my office days were like that now.

There was so much to see, so much to do – those nine days were not enough.

Every evening after work we’d go somewhere; it cost us quite a bit to travel around but we’d go. What’s the point of staying home in a foreign place?

It’s the history, the culture – everything about being in a foreign land that makes it as exciting as it is. Making new friends and connections, learning new things and of course creating memories.

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