Lydia in Xalapa

Lydia is spending summer 2010 studying in Mexico with SMU-in-Xalapa. She is excited to put her nine years of Spanish classes to good use while immersing herself in Xalapan culture.

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A trip through the past two weeks

Okay, so two and a half weeks is a long time, and it’s been two and a half weeks since I last wrote a blog. Triste, yo se. As you can imagine, Xalapa has not stopped teaching me new lessons and offering me new experiences, and I am full of interesting stories to tell. So take a trip back in time with me to two and a half weeks ago… (-Cue twilight zone music-) You are getting very sleepy…

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Just kidding! There is no time for sleep in this blog! We are on our way to the Texolo Cascadas (waterfalls), about 45 minutes outside of Xalapa. Truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the Cascadas and the selva/jungle surrounding them seem to invite us (you and me together, oh dear readers, whoever you are) and my warrior princess self (she’s a separate character) into their mystery.

Lydia4.jpgEvery step is a kodak moment, but our camera (we’re sharing because I forgot mine) will never capture the scope of the absolutely enormous white tree that looks like the Mexican version of the tree of Gondor (any Lord of the Rings fans out there?), nor the amazing wash of greens and browns swimming in and out of each other with the meticulous detail only creation can boast. The sound is immense, it penetrates like a heartbeat, and we are reminded just how powerful water can be, how incredibly, terrifyingly magnificent.

Now I welcome you to the city of Coatepec, about 30 minutes outside Xalapa. The plaza is small, homey and lively. And everyone is looking at you and the very large group to which you belong as we meander, but you don’t mind if you are obviously a foreigner, because, well, who cares right? If we are afraid to be foreigners in the world we won’t ever go visit the world, will we? You taste the sweetest, richest coffee ice cream of your life (if you don’t like coffee-flavored ice cream, pretend), and then you taste your friend’s vanilla Lydia6.jpgflavored ice cream and you cringe a bit because never before have you had ice cream with such strong vanilla flavor! Coatepec is home to both Mexico’s best vanilla and supposedly Mexico’s best coffee. A certain special matriarchal figure will be thankful that we visited this place…

Reaching our lovely little room on the third floor of our lovely house here in Xalapa, you open our bag of clean clothes just picked up from the lavanderia where you payed 35 pesos (about $3) for two bags of laundry that have returned to you neatly folded and smelling like heaven. Yes my friends, sniff, sniff away. Ahhhhhh delightful.

Smells in general have quite the life here. Take, for example, food. That’s the obvious choice: gorditas, tortillas, sopas, carne, pollo, chiles rellenos, frijoles, huevos, arroz rojo, salsa, guacamole, mangos, platanos, sandia, pasteles, helados, churros, helotas, esquites, cacahuates japoneses, cafe, te, agua de pina, agua de jamaica, agua de limon…all you have to do to gain wait here in Mexico is smell, because once you’ve done that you are gone for good. Lydia7.jpg
Y’all are missing out! Oh dear. I just typed y’all. Oh how going to school in Texas changes a person. Tangent, sorry.

Back on the road again on our Journey Through Time (oooooooh), I have brought you to a taxi filled with six people (not including the driver) on the way to see “Toy Story 3″ in Spanish at the Plaza Americas. It’s just so much fun that we have to take a picture! (P.S. the movie was awesome! And seeing it in Spanish was a fantastic experience, as I am sure you agree.)

When we return to our Journey Through Time, it will be for a three-day trip through some pretty awesome historic places as well as a visit to the beach, so pack well, and make sure to bring lots and lots of bugspray and sun block, because you are going to need it. And just accept the fact that you are going to sweat all day. It’s better if you just accept it and move on. Everybody sweats.


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Lydia, a junior President’s Scholar majoring in theatre studies in Meadows School of the Arts and Spanish in Dedman College, is spending summer 2010 studying in Mexico with SMU-in-Xalapa. Read her blog.

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