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Journals from Spring Semester 08: Oaxaca, Mexico

2008-05-05 We're going home already?!

I cant believe that we have been in Mexico since February 1st and are now looking at our last 14 days (we leave the 19th). I remember thinking that this semester would go by slowly. Boy, was I wrong! The past three months happened so quickly that its almost a blur. Im not going to lie: Im actually a little scared to go back to the US. Its not because Im scared of how different things will be, it's more because I know I have changed and Im scared that everyone else has stayed the same (if that makes sense at all). I know I will experience cultural shock and I know Im going to have a hard time with it. I know we learned all about it while in class, but I didnt really think it would happen to me. I mean, I knew I would enjoy my experiences here, but I didnt plan on falling in love with it. There are just so many things I have learned to love about the culture and way of life here in Mexico. Weve experienced so much in such a short time. Weve visited quite a few fun and unique pueblos and have witnessed and been part of their fiestas. They were always friendly and welcoming. Thanks to our anthropology class with Robert Markens, we have seen about 10 different archaeological sites throughout Mexico, mostly in the Valley of Oaxaca. Id be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute of it, but I did learn a lot about the different civilizations in the area and their different cultures. Plus Markens personality and little anecdotes make excursions and class even more enjoyable. Pottery isnt sexy. Ha ha ha. Im going to miss him. There were many churches and ex-convents as well. Prof. Gmez taught us about the different styles of architecture and about the impact religion has on Mexico. He also taught us about the history of Mexico. This is actually my last class with Prof. Gmez and it's going to be strange not to have him as a teacher at all next year. Ive also experienced a lot through my intercambio and my host family. My intercambio and I meet all the time. He has taken me to different parts of town, has taken me dancing on the weekends, and has gone running with me. This weekend were going to visit his familys ranch where we are going to go horseback riding. Im very excited! Were always laughing and joking around. Hes become one of my closest friends and I dont even want to think about not hanging out with him anymore. Then there is my host family. They have taken such good care of me. Theyve shown me the meaning of family in the Mexican culture, as well as the use of affection. I dont even know if I can thank them enough for providing me with the opportunity to live with them and I dont know how saying our goodbyes is going to go. Its going to be tough. Ive also had an unforgettable time with the other 9 Linfield girls. Weve experienced a lot of the same emotions and have acted as support systems for each other. When someone was homesick or actually sick we tried to help each other the way we could. Having class together, traveling together (on long, curvy roads with bad drivers where we all felt like throwing up), and experiencing all this together, plus the tears, the laughter, and the sheer excitement/madness of it all has brought us closer and I can easily say these girls are my friends. I love you guys! I guess the main problem is that Im just not ready to leave. Its really hard to sum up all the feelings I have right now. Im just hoping that my family and friends will be able to accept and handle the new me. Buenas noches, Erica Reinhold

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