Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 25 Monica's Log

Personal Journal - CULTURE SHOCK!

Today I went to an AFS meeting and checked in with Asle, the student from Norway. His first day of school was today, and he said he didn't understand a single word that anyone said. His family is nice though, he says. "My host brother has many friends in the school, so I've already met some people."

Culture shock is normal. When have you been to a new place and been homesick, or had trouble adjusting to the new environment? While Silvia, Shawn, and I love Mexico, we've all had some culture shock. Remember how I said I was afraid of the pollution and looking forward to trying new food? Well, it is pretty smoggy here, and it seems like everybody smokes. But, I can't believe how terrific the tacos taste- I particularly like tacos al pastor from the Copacabana, near my host mother's house. In Mexico, when you meet people for the first time, you don't shake hands. You kiss them. There's lots of joking and hugging, lots of warmth. But there's also total chaos. As Kana says, "In the US, everything has order and everything has its place. In Mexico---no order."

There's more color here, and more sounds and smells. I hear music from a young man, maybe 16, merrily playing the accordion. Vendors hawk their wares, calling, "Chiclet, tres pesos, bueno precio" and "Ay ay! tortas tortillas, muy bonita." The smoky smell of auto exhaust fills the air, and I taste the sweetness of sugar granules on a churro. In the swarming sea of the traffic circle, filled with Volkswagen Bug taxis, the Angel of Independence soars high against the sky, and amongst the multitude of black-haired, dark-skinned men, women, and children, I see the beauty of a single, bright red hibiscus flower. The breeze brushes against my lips, and when I return to my host mama, I kiss her as she says, "Ah, Moni! Que paso!"

Bienvenidos a Mexico!



Related Dispatches: 
Monica - Personal Journal: CULTURE SHOCK!
Monica - I’m not tardy — I’m on Mexican time!
Monica - What’s bigger than Godzilla and has 250,000 heads?
Monica - Food fit for emperors!
Monica - Montezuma’s Revenge — An Ode
Shawn - Personal Journal: Is the Internet broken, or is it just me?!?

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