ASB2010 in Mexico

Students are traveling to Xalapa, Mexico, as part of Alternative Spring Break 2010 to work at an orphanage, serve food and help at a clinic with the nonprofit organization Caritas.

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Night of salsa dancing

An update from Katrina (written on March 15):

I remember waking up on Wednesday and feeling glorious. I was completely back to normal and it felt GREAT! Unfortunately, Jenna and Sarah did not wake up feeling so hot. They had felt bad the day before too, but at this point they were really not feeling well at all.

We had breakfast and walked to Caritas, where Jose got an appointment for both of them with the doctor. At some point during the day both of them were able to see the doctor, and they got medicine that would actually help them (as opposed to the medicine they had gotten the night before, which was not doing any good).

ASB3.png Around lunchtime, Aurora showed up with a guy who wanted to interview us for a newspaper that he worked for. He asked us lots of questions in Spanish, and Jose and Bernardo translated our answers into Spanish for us. He took pictures of us for the paper as well (see the photos right). The guy, whose name was Jair, ended up wanting to show us a cool place to eat lunch. So all of us got behind him and his friend Gemma and they led us into town … waaaaay into town … way farther than we had time to travel …

We ended up in a really nice restaurant where we could all relax and cool down and chill and eat. The food was good – the menu was just like La Sopa, where you order soup, then a small dish, then a main dish, then get a little tiny thing of Jell-O or yogurt for dessert. Jair shared a lot of his music with me. I mentioned something about really wanting French fries, and when we all got our orders Jair shared the French fries that he ordered with me. It was really sweet! It was hard to talk because we didn’t have much to talk about, but eh. It’s all good. He was nice.

We walked back to Caritas and worked for the hour that we had left. Aurora came and picked Jenna and Sarah up so that they could go home and get better. I think this was the day that I worked in the bazaar with Tomas. We literally just sat there while people shopped for clothes.

There was a really gratifying moment where this guy came up to us and spoke in broken English, and he ended up staying for a while and we had a really great conversation with him. Tomas taught him how to make the “th” sound because it doesn’t exist in Spanish. He got so SO excited when he was able to count from one THousand all the way up to ten THousand. THree THousand was by far the greatest thing he said. It was truly a moment where I realized how gratifying it’s going to be to be a teacher.

That night we went SALSA DANCING!!! It was the first night in five days that we were able to get dressed up and look good. Rodrigo brought two friends with him, Anna and one of her friends, and we went to a club. At first I think we were all a little nervous about it because it was something that we had never done before, but it ended up being a blast. It was SO much fun to dance with Tomas and Bernardo – I think they are the only two from our group that I danced with.

Rodrigo suggested that we dance with other people who aren’t in our group, that we go up to someone and just ask them to teach us a little bit. So I found the guy who looked the safest and asked him to dance with me. He ended up being the guy who apparently TEACHES salsa there, so he was super flexible and easy to dance with. I had SO. MUCH. FUN.

I just realized how I keep reusing certain words and that they are probably losing their effect, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no other way to say how epic it was to dance with people, in Mexico, for three and a half hours, who REALLY knew what they were doing. I danced with that main guy (his name starts with an O and I can’t for the life of me remember what it is …) Anyway, I danced with him and then with one of his friends, and their styles were COMPLETELY different because his friend was much more suave and fancy and quick, and then I danced with this older guy who I guess owns the place or something, and I also danced with a random guy who came up to me and asked me to dance. Twice. How epic did I feel? Really epic. Wow. My life in Mexico was really great.

So all in all I danced for approximately three hours without stopping. I literally couldn’t sit for a single song because I was having so much fun. Highlights included dancing with Tomas, being energized by the incredible LIVE Cuban band playing, dancing with O, and absolutely not being able to dance with Rodrigo. And to be fair, Rodrigo is one of the greatest people I have ever met. He’s intelligent, talented, kind, and handsome, and he makes me downright NERVOUS. So I couldn’t dance with him at all. That being said, it was still fun to attempt to dance with him. We all got home at about 1:30 in the morning. So worth it. SO WORTH IT.

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