Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Primer día en Querétaro!

I am officially in Mexico! I'll be "working" here for the next three weeks as a teaching assistant for my school's pre-health professions May term class. Hopefully I can update as much as possible along the way! Unfortunately, these posts will not consist of any photos since I forgot to bring the camera card adapter thing for my iPad. I'm planning on either adding them to the posts later or creating a giant photo post once I'm back in the U.S. 

My flight left this morning around 6:30am. Husband was kind enough to drive me to the airport so I could be there by 5am to meet the rest of the group. This group in total consists of myself, the nursing professor traveling to Querétaro, six nursing students, and one pre-physical therapy student. There is also another professor but he didn't travel with us today since he is planning on joining us for the last few days in Mexico. 

Our flights themselves couldn't have gone more smoothly. On our two-hour layover in Dallas, however, the pre-PT student found himself in a bit of a pickle, to say the least. First, he accidentally began following someone who looked like our professor toward the exit. Although he didn't make it completely out of the terminal, because he'd ALMOST walked out, they made him go all the way through security screening. THEN, once he'd made it through, he realized he had forgotten his larger carry-on bag on the plane, which was boarding and nearly ready to leave for the next flight out. It turned out that they had sent his bag to baggage claim, so he then had to go there to get it AND go through security screening AGAIN. Thankfully this time around he was able to skip right to the front of the line. Despite these hiccups and our need to take a tram to a completely different terminal, we managed to make it to our next gate with time to spare. 

I was able to call Husband and let him know I had arrived in Dallas safely and everything was on schedule for the flight out to Querétaro. Additionally, I received the most fantastic of news from my best friend letting me know she secured FRONT ROW CENTER tickets for us to see Josh Groban (our shared guilty pleasure since high school and WHEN WE GOT TO SING AS PART OF HIS BACKUP CHOIR) in concert this fall! So so SO ridiculously excited!

When we arrived in Mexico, customs even went smoothly and quickly. We had been given the necessary forms to fill out in Dallas, so we were prepared and ready to just walk right through the line. Some of us were searched but luckily even that went fast. We were greeted by a bus driver in Spanish and he directed us to the bus that would take us into the city. 

Along the way, we stopped for some elotes, which essentially is grilled corn still in the husk that is then shucked, put on a stick, covered in various ingredients (including mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, chili powder, and hot sauce) and then eaten. Since I'm not the biggest fan of things that are spicy (and at the recommendation of my professor), I chose to have my elote slathered in mayonesa with the parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Surprisingly, it was delicious! Who know that combination of food items would elicit something so yummy and addictive? I devoured it. 

After that experience, our driver took us to UAQ (Universidad Autónomo de Querétaro), where we met our "point person" and other various faculty and staff that would be a part of our experience. The students met and went home with their host families while my professor caught up with friends she's made over the years of returning to Querétaro and we waited for apartment we're renting for the month to be ready. 

We were driven to what would be our home for the next 21 days from the university, which only took about 10 minutes or so. It is a spacious 3-bedroom 3-bathroom space with lots of character and details that makes it really unique. With no air conditioning, however, the lack of air movement gets really rough, especially at night for trying to fall asleep. I'm also praying cockroaches, ants, and mosquitos stay away for the remainder of this month (wishful thinking...)! Our "landlord" gave us a tour of the whole place, which included undertaking the task of unlocking/locking the front doors (yes, plural). It's a complicated mess of pulling the iron bar door a certain way to make sure the lock moves and then locking with the padlock then taking the wooden door and fitting the stopper in the hole in the ground then using a string to grab the other wooden door to pull it shut then using an oddly shaped key to lock that door by turning it at least four times (cuatro veces! as the landlord said multiple times). 

After we got the tour, my professor and I walked about a mile to the giant grocery store. We spent about an hour there trying to navigate our way through the aisles and products with strange names. Once we filled our cart, we hailed a taxi who drove us around for quite a while since apparently there are THREE different streets in the city with the same name as the one we're living on. After a lot of rough communication (my Spanish is still working up to full speed and he didn't speak any English), we made it back. 

We had about an hour to unpack everything before we went to meet some UAQ staff for dinner at a restaurant called Las Monjas (The Nuns) about five minutes walking distance away from us. The restaurant got its name because it used to be a convent in the 18th century. We ate a delicious meal of gigantic plates filled with foods that I'm still not 100% sure of which I knew consisted. After eating and drinking our fill, we were given a tour of the convent-turned-restaurant and learned about various facts (such as that it was part of an underground tunnel system at one point) as well as legends (such as how the ghost of a small child who died there comes every night to rearrange dolls displayed in cabinets and how you can go back the next day and none of them will be in the same spot) of the place. 

And finally, after a long day, we arrived back at the house and crashed. I was able to FaceTime Husband for a bit and we talked about our first day apart (which we obviously survived). As I am currently finishing this post up on the morning of the second day, I can say that my head hit the pillow after I got off FaceTime and I fell asleep almost immediately. 

Long day.

And now I'm really ready to begin this three week adventure :)


  1. Hooray! Nicely summed up - so glad you can have this experience!

  2. Justin is definitely influencing your writing style. It's fun to see the similarities in the pattern and flow.

    1. Or is the other way around? :) Haha I know it's him influencing me!