As I type this final blog post, it is the Friday, August 17, 2018. My final class was yesterday morning. It feels surreal to be done with the program, but it is over and it is time to come back to Chicago. I will recap various moments from week 5 to week 8.
Every Friday, the group and I attend field trips, hosted by our history professor. They are always various places that hold historic, cultural significance. On the Friday of week 5, we went to Xochimilco. This colorful borough is full of markets, flowers, chinampas, (small artificial islands) and flat-bottom boats. Hands down, this was by far the best field trip! The 13 of us got onto one of the boats at one end of the canal and floated all the way to the other end. Along the way, we saw vendors selling elotes, flowers, and more. Additionally, we got to hear the sounds of various Mariachi groups, who were floating alongside other boats as well. Although it was a bit crowded, it was beautiful to see families having a picnic on a boat or immersed in deep conversation on others. It was such a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I even was able to buy and eat an elote during our time on the water. The following Sunday, I attended Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, which is an ensemble of the traditional folkloric dance of Mexico. I’ve never been to a ballet in the United States, so I wasn’t super enthralled with the idea of seeing one here. I equated ballet with boring. After seeing the show, I realized how much I was mistaken. It was truly one of the most organized, colorful, and most beautiful show I’ve ever attended. Each dance represented a different region and era across the country. I will always appreciate having the opportunity to see Mexican culture displayed through dance.
During week 6, classes ended on Wednesday, in preparation for our 5-day trip to the state of Oaxaca. I must say I prefer Oaxaca over Mexico City. IT WAS AMAZING. We went to the ancient city of Monte Alban, went to a market of many handmade goods and tools, and to see about 50 cathedrals. By the third cathedral, the group didn’t even want to go inside (although we still did). Ha! Nonetheless, the historic importance did not diminish. In Oaxaca, we ate so much food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was a hearty portion each night because of the plethora of options to choose from. Of course, we wanted to try some of everything! I could not imagine my whole experience without Oaxaca. It was the best part of the program.
Week 7 and 8 were dedicated to studying and taking finals. I must admit, I was a little bothered by the fact that we were taking a final with little context as to what would be on it and what we should study. I felt like I was going in blind. In total, I had four finals, consisting of two exams, two papers, and one presentation. I was crawling to the finish line during week 8 because I just wanted to get the exams over with. I know I did the best I could and I will leave it at that. My days here are numbered. Therefore, I will try and get all that can from Mexico City. It has been a journey.