Photo by http://www.elianafrench.com/
So this is a low down throw down and I am sure I am forgetting things but just ask.
If you want to see what you will probs do, check out my blog. It spoils the surprise of the trip and has lots of personal things so don’t judge but if I things don’t make sense or are spelled incorrectly. I recommend blogging or journal ing in some way. The blog was good to keep my family in the loop. I face timed the family during siesta time.
You will ride the plane with your Lombardi’s from your area. See who is flying together! You all meet at an airport and then the whole Lombardi crew gets together for the final flight to Merida. Talk and exchange numbers and such. Be friends! Mark and Regan will be there. Get to know Mark. He will lead the whole Mexico trip. He knows everything Mexico related and is really excited to answer questions. Regan will be with you for the first week. But she will be with you for the rest of your life so…
So you get there and meet your host mom. You all split up and go to your new home. Talk with you mom as much as possible but it will be late and you will be tired. Some houses had wifi and air conditioning. Some didn’t. Starbucks is prime for wifi. Use find my friends or something to get the other Bardi’s to drop their location. Some people are closer than you think. It is really fun to visit each others houses (just let your mom know). Some houses are close to school. Some houses are close to downtown. Some are in the middle of no where.
Your host mom will take you to and from school the first day and until you get used to the buses. Bring a present to give your host mom in the end. Get her phone number.
Buses are major key. They are hot icky and have no posted route. You have to pay in coins for each ride but it is no big. Make sure you know where you live, any landmarks by your house, and what bus lines you can take. (OXXO is not a landmark. It is a chain. I was very turned around my first time). Take the bus home from class and downtown. You can take a taxi if it is too late but try to not be alone.
All meals are provided by your host family but it is fun to go out and try things. Just call your mom and say you won’t make it to dinner. Explore places. We went and ate at the mall a few times. Apola was fancy and by the chocolate restaurant (Parque Santa Lucia square). And the chocolate store and the nice Italian place (La Tratto) was in that square too. I loved all of those places so much. The juice store in the main square was a favorite and there is a cute bakery and sherbet store. Lunch is a big meal in Mexico and dinner is lighter. My mom made me cereal, fruit (dragon fruit is amazing there), or eggs for breakfast. Lunch was rice beans and meat. Dinner was quesadilla or sandwiches and that is what I liked so that is what she made me. Jamica is the hibiscus juice that was amazing. Eli’s mom made sopa de Lima that was divine.
I brought a pretty big bag with everything in it. I didn’t end up wearing jeans but I was the only one in Merida wearing shorts. I also brought a backpack and weekend bag. Anything you might need, bring it. Everything stays at your house except your weekend bag so you can bring as big as a bag as you want as long as you check it for the flight to and from home.
- Dry clothing. Everything you wear you will sweat in. Bring running shorts and breathable shirts for the excursions, regular school clothing for the weekday but that will all overlap. I packed at least two to three weeks. As much as possible. Laundry is easy to do. You bring it to a store and they do it for 20pesos but bring as much as you can carry in your suitcase. Leggings or those outdoorsy pants and a fishing shirt would be nice for the jungle day so you don’t get too bitten
- A couple of cute casual dresses to wear out to a restaurant or something
- Flip flops for shower
- A tote bag for the weekend trips
- Small backpack or bag for school. Pencils and writing journals.
- Laptop isn’t a bad idea to have in your room. Eli watched Netflix in her house. It depends on your wifi situation
- Bring an iPhone to take photos and google translate. You will have he option to purchase a $20 Mexico phone. Go for it. It is perfect for calling friends and meeting up. It is a need that you will get there.
- Fanny pack. I was the only one in my group with one and they made fun but were jelly. I also brought a side purse for other situations.
- Mini Pepper spray. I didn’t have any but it would have made me feel more confident. I didn’t need to use it and I don’t think you will either but not a bad idea if you have room in your purse.
- Shoes. I wore sandals around the city and sneakers on excursions. My feet were dirty but I wear sandals all of the time and am most comfy in them.
- Bring your own pillowcase and a small cuddle blanket to feel like home.
- An actual camera. Not a crazy one unless you have that but something better than an iPhone for some pics would be prime.
- All medicines or anything that you might need. Better to have it than buy it in Mexico which I do not recommend.
- A book to read during siesta time
- Goggles or snorkel for centoe
- At least two bikini bathing suits and a coverup or swim shorts and a tank to throw over and continue the day
- Sunglasses and a strap (so frat)
- I brought a coloring book and enjoyed that but I am a child
- Cards to play at a hotel or a fun game for the bus
- Hat, shower towel, beach towel, shampoo and face wash
Hat is the most important with sunscreen. So important.
- ATM or debit card and a credit card and $60 ish in cash. Call the credit card company before and use it as much as you can. You can withdraw pesos from the ATMs around the city. The first day Mark will take you to exchange some cash. He has the numbers of how much you should exchange and he will tell you each trip how much money you can bring if you want to buy things
Spanish classes are real grades and real Spanish. Intro Spanish was fun but intermediate and advanced Spanish meant business. School is at the education center of UADY. Get your id for student bus prices the first few days are introductions and settling in. It is in the suburbs and by a mall. There are a few malls that are better and interesting to check out and explore because it is different and generally safe.
After morning school, you go back home for a few hours for siesta and lunch. Explore or rest. Go into the city early or visit each others houses. Going to each others houses is so much fun. Everyone has a different house in a different area in the city so it is so much fun to go! On the way you are on the bus look out for fun places to go explore during siesta. Don’t stay at home every siesta. Nap for sure but not every day. You only have one trip!! Compare home locations with everyone at the beginnings to see if you guys live close to each other.
After siesta, you go to an ecology class taught by mark. It can be very sleepy sometimes because it is a dark cold room but good stuff. After class don’t stay out too late because you don’t want to be taking the bus in the dark but you can go out or stay out with a group just take a taxi home. If you want to go out on the town which is fun, go with a group and go after class or all go home with someone and then go out together. Tell your host mom everything when you will be back. Get a key. Ask the UADY where to go out and see if they will take you.
You get back sat or Sunday. Sunday go to the market in town center. Go to church in the center, by your house, and all over. So many options. Ask around for fun things to do. They went to Progreso, the beach, which is a hour out but could be fun. An extra Cenote. The Maya Museum. Ask mark. Do something fun every Sunday. Plan ahead. Gather a group. Go see Mexico. Take a bus and find the cool random things.
Don’t waste time in your room. Convince each other to go out. Not out partying but just explore. Go out partying one night to see what it is about but I was not about that life but it was still fun and I went out earlier. Make friends not enemies with Lombardi’s. Put up with each others quirks. Tensions will be high because you will be tired and in a foreign country but don’t fight because you love these people and you will have to be best with the forever. My friends in Mexico didn’t end up being my best Lombardi friends because people change so be nice to everyone.
I made this photo scavenger hunt last summer for our gang to do in Merida. If you guys are looking for something to do, it would be fun!
If you don’t organize the scavenger hunt, do everything on the list for fun eventually once.
Photo Scavenger Hunt:
Photo/video evidence of everything
Bonus points available for creative/funny/cool flare
Rotate the photographer
At least two group members in photo
Bonus for everyone in the picture
Must be at restaurant at 6:00. If early a bonus point. If late, minus five points
-Take a shot at Mayan pub *bonus for each extra person
-Run at pigeons and make them all fly
-Buy a flower and give it to a random lady
-Meet a cute person *bonus for names and info
-Spot a gringo and talk to him *farthest gringo gets extra point
-Sample at the chocolate store
-Find a bus that a group member takes home
-Cartwheel in front of cathedral/church
-Buy a flower and give it to a girl
-Imitate statue/art in front of it
-Climb the rock/art by the cathedral
-Visit juice store and find out the workers names *bonus for a piña colada drink
-Sit in the couple chair in the main square
-Go to marks hotel *bonus if you find him
-Appreciate the fancy house museum by the bank
-Go up to the third story of edifico
-Get down on one knee and propose to someone in Spanish *bonus if they say yes
-Be awkward behind a PDA couple
-Dance and sing to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” on a stage
-Ask for a job application at the police station or a restaurant
-Show off your cool dance moves in a club
-Sing a song under the flag pole in the main plaza
-Take a creative group photo
-Risk your life and try street food (no meat unless you don’t like yourself)
-Fall asleep in the UAYD architecture building
-Buy the cheapest thing at an OXXO or EXTRA
-Feminist response to cat call
-Dance ballet in front of theater
-Mock a person walking behind them
-hold a cute baby