Why am I not here for longer?!
Like everyone heading to life in a foreign country for the first time, I was incredibly nervous. These first 4 weeks have been eye opening, tear jerking and absolutely excellent all at once. My name is Daniel and this is a 5 point guide to the best way to make the most of your time spent with GVI on the Yucatán.
- Do not be afraid to try out your high school Spanish – however shaky. Even a single word such as ‘cerveza’ combined with holding up your fingers for how many you want is always sufficient. Issues can arise however, when Spanish is spoken both confidently and incorrectly; leading to hilarious and often embarrassing situations. My accidental rendition of ‘I hate it when girls have boyfriends’ was met with initial stunned silence followed by laughter as my mistake was realised (I unfortunately no longer recall the intended sentence!)
- Ask the advice of the people who have been in Mexico for a while already. My most memorable recommendation is Bacalar. One of the most relaxing places in the world; with its chalk bottomed lagoon and paddle boards to rent, there are few better ways to unwind for a long weekend than to spend some time here. Other things to mention are the litres of fruit juice from the restaurant Nativo’s and tacos de pescado (fish tacos) from just down the road!
- You won’t be the first person to come here who is scared of creepy crawlies. Everyone is scared of something, and if your thing happens to be a creature with too many legs then rest assured there’s bound to be another person in the house who feels the same! If necessary you can hide under duvets until the invader has been ejected.
- Come with an open mind: if you’re brave enough to order something from the menu at a restaurant that you and your friends haven’t managed to translate, what will appear could not only be new to you, but could also be an absolutely fantastic piece of traditional Mexican cuisine. Although, when you bump into a Mexican man selling raw fish from a street cart, perhaps proceed with caution…
- Get stuck in! Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever undertake. Energy and new ideas can only make it all the more exciting! Bring your dancing shoes along to Ludoteca as Zumba and musical chairs have both already made appearances!
As I am about to feast myself on Crystal’s homemade tomales, I leave you with this thought: for goodness sake, don’t forget your bug spray!