April 2017 Mexiko
As always when I am travelling, I am waking up before my alarm clock starts to ring. It is 4 am and I try to remember what else I wanted to pack. My brain has not started working yet, I am going on autopilot. Bathroom. Brush the teeth. Pack the toothbrush, take the luggage and GO! Riding the subway at this time of the day is always fun, since you are going to bump into a party on a train for sure. Today was no exception. Party people everywhere and me trying hard to keep my eyes open. I made it to the train station successfully and met Sven immediately. The rest were also on time and so our journey began! The plan? 6 hours train ride, 3 hours at the airport, 11,5 hours flight to Mexico city, 2 hours airport and finally 1 hour flight to Guadalajara.
Our Boeing 747 is huge. I have never been on such a huge plane so I try not think a lot about how it is even possible that something this big (kerosine, luggage and all the people inclusive) can even fly. There is not a lot of space for my legs but that was to be expected. Sven – about the same size as me – sits next to me. We wait till we get our meals and then everybody fell asleep. The ones who do not are bored or watch Finding Dory. No exception on my side. After 5 hours I was so bored as I have never been before in my life. Walking around does not really help; not to mention there is nowhere to go really. Fortunately, the sky service is really taking care of us and our liquid supply and it seems they serve drinks every 30 minutes or so. After dinner Amelie and me start a small talk with a Mexican guy sitting next to her. He lives in Sweden but likes neither the weather nor the food. What a happy life abroad! Finally we land in Mexico City.
What we did not know was that we have to transfer our luggage ourselves. We pick it up and – here the magical button comes! Short adrenaline shower. Everybody made it through! Hell yeah!!! Mexico, here we come!!! Oh wait, first we have to wait at the airport. Thano gets lost . We look for him for like half an hour. Happy end, Thano was found, we take a roller coster train to the other terminal. After more than 24 hours of travelling we just hang out at the gate. A very weird group picture was made. The plane is delayed and we are so done that we do not really care. Just keep waiting. Just keep waiting…
The last flight is really short and really well air-conditioned so we actually do not feel the heat yet. Yet. When getting off the plane in Guadalajara, you can feel the warmth that is not going to leave us for the next two weeks. We get the luggage and rush to the exit. The automatic door opens and THERE THEY ARE! I see Valeria – she is the tallest – waving something transparent, I try to go faster, but I cannot. We finally reach the whole group, there is almost everybody! Valeria, Isa, Hernán I know from last year’s InterCoolTour and many others that I do not know yet but everybody is so nice, people are hugging and kissing and shaking hands and everybody is being welcomed properly. Such a great welcome!Such a great begining! Suddenly I am not tired anymore, we have to get into the cars and say goodbye once again though. Germán takes me and Aleks to Adriana’s place, making a real sight-seeing tour through the city of Guadalajara. It is Sunday night, the city smells sweet and the streets are completely empty. When we finally meet Adriana in person, her first words are “You are so tall!!”. Moi, her brother, is also staying at her place. Dinner is served, our room and beds are ready. I feel so tired and sooo thankful. I could never imagine a better and warmer welcoming in Mexico! Awesome. And it is going to get even better.
Everyone started the day with their host families. We woke up late since we were gathering around 13:00. In the morning everyone had breakfast and then we headed to the “Park Agua Azul”, where was our meeting point. Once there, greeted each other searched for a place to sit.
Then we ate pizza, guacamole, ceviche and tuna salad. After we were all full and happy (how little we need) we started with get to know each other activities like: “Two thruths, one lie”, “Chido y ahuevo”, “Apatut”. When we finished a part of the group headed to their host families and had further activities there. A walk around, cooking together or just chilling.
The group in Tlaquepaque and the group from downtown headed to visit Tlaquepaque, to enjoy a walk around and some local snacks and drinks the first taste of mexican goods! After these beautiful first impressions , everyone went back to their host families and packed their stuff for the next days in the city of Acatic.
Acatic here we come
We were splitted in two groups – one traveled to Acatic with a bus and the other with a car. Direction was Seniora Sanchez house – a very nice lady, who is also assisting the exchange with providing places to sleep. Arriving in the house we had some time put our luggage and relax a bit. After that was time to create the rules for our common living. Dani had printed a black and white card of the world and we had to colour the countries where we come from, which was very cool as we are a very diverse group. Then the Mexis and German separated into smaller groups to plan the activities with the children for the afternoon.
We were then entertained with a piano concert by Thano and Alex. Before we could feel it the time slipped and it was time for lunch. We were having planned lunch and Adi ´s and Moi family –they had prepared for us a traditional CarneAgada – Carne, Guacamole, Nopalos, Ague de limon con chia, cebollitas, Quesadillas, Frijoles
We ate together with the whole family. The modd was so good and luckily in the garden they had a karaoke and we were able to express our excitement. After around 20 great children were waiting for the planned activities. We made a get to know each other round ( with not so many words, cause you know – Spanish) After that we played Charan chan chan, then Figures ( tree, table, fontain, sandwich, wall), Caceria de Cverpos (Body hunts), Pino Rey, Hichi Mini hoi, Apatut and we finished with map – showing the children where Europe is. There where very nice questions from the children, one was if we go in the night back to Europe and come back tomorrow to play with them :)) And the time for sweets for the children had come!
And time for sweets for us – Mexican ice-cream Raspados! We went downtown to the plaza in Acatic and made some group activities – The well known Banana dance, throwing energy at each other Cha-so-ka. With so much excitement the times goes by so fast, it was again time for dinner at Cenadoria. There we had typical Mexican food like – Tacos, Pozole, Enchiladas, Tamales, Agua de Arroz y Jamaica.
MARRIACHI and more
Today we woke up with a song played by Manny, which was “I’m Yours”. It was a very good way to start the day. We woke up, got dressed and got ready to have some delicious “chilaquiles” for breakfast in Santos’ house. After that we went to have activities with the children in the “Los Sabinos” School in Acatic. We played a big variety of games – … We even had an extra participant, the dog of the school We finished the day colouring the faces of the children and sweets!
Once we were done with the activities, we made good use of our free time and went to Germán’s Family’s ranch to ride horses (Chiquilín and Waco) and the donkey (Yeny). It was so much fun because everyone rode and we learned some things about the ranch.
At midday we went back to the town to eat in Germán’s house, where we ate spaghetti, salad and pork. All the food was prepared by Germán’s mom. Once we finished eating we went back to the house so that we could get ready to go to a traditional “mariachi” ceremony in the ecological park of Acatic.
The day has slipped again, but the evening had a lot to offer! It was time for Mexican evening! The German group cooked some traditional food – Maultaschen and Kaiserschmaren, while the Mexis decorated and prepared everything else. As always they had organised a surprise for the Germans, three couples of children and Kuihe performed for us traditional folklore dances! Very beatiful and entertaining!
The canyon expedition
So today was our last day in Acatic. We woke up at 8 am. Some people were outside and made some gymnastic and yoga to get fit. Before breakfast we started to pack our things and cleaned everything. For breakfast we had beans, fruits and cooked tortilla “Chilaquiles”. After breakfast we cleaned all the dishes and put suncream on, because we were going to the canyon, where it would be difficult to find a shadow :D. As we finished everything, we drove in the truck of the two picaps to the canyon for like 45 minutes, the roads were so bumpy, it was a lot of fun :). When we reached the canyon it was just a big WOW.
The we took the advanture to walk down deep into the canyon. To our surprise the lower we got the greener it was. There was a difficult path for adventurers and a simpler path. Walking on the difficult path needed a lot of concentration not to fall down and brought up some questions, as to what kind of animals might be around, but awarded us with many many mango trees around. The simpler way was filled with High school musical songs and a lot of fun
After we got in a small village down the canyon, where we could sit and eat our tortillas filled with potatoes or with meat, surrounded by banana and mango trees We took some time to chill and dance there.
To come back many of us decided to show their sport skills and climbed up the canyon very proud of these people! The others went with the car and waited up. Afterwards we went to the house in Acatic again and had to wait to get picked up. We had another adventures drive back to our host families, where everyone did something else. Me -Carina and Amelie, Lisa, Valeria) went to take a shower and afterwards we went with Isa to a place where we ate pizza and salad for dinner. It was really delicious and the day was so nice. As we got home, we still talked a little bit and then we slept.
On this day we split in two groups to go to Palo Alto. At 8 o’clock we met at the bus station to catch the bus (Sven, Alex, Milan, Thano, Mario, Pepe, Kuije, Manny, Valeria, Amelie, Lisa, and Carina) and then Dany and Nayely joined us at another stop. The other group came with Germán’s pick-up truck, made up of Germán obviously, Nena, Adriana, Jitka, Aleks, Isa and Lalo.
We arrived in Palo Alto and it looked really awesome, so the ones with the truck got there earlier and waited for the rest of the group. Once everyone arrived we got all the bags and backpacks and placed them in a truck. We got to the house and it was great, there were 2 pool tables and looked impressive. We started cleaning and mopping the floor to place all the mattresses.
Lunch was brought by some of the Axilli members and some other nice ladies. It was really tasty, we got 3 different kinds of pasta, veggies, jamaica and orange water, capirotada, and a nice bread.
After lunch we went to the field in Palo Alto which was the meeting point with the kids there. First we played some games to learn the names, repeated some games, sung and then split the group in three teams for a rally through the village.
There five lazer awesome stations. One was playing tennis with a paper ball and a cardboard piece, then there was a fun station where the kids got points by throwing their shoes on symbols with a certain amount of points on the ground. A great station was also the one in “Plaza de toros”! Cowboy Manny was standing in the middle of a circle and tried to catch the children with a pillow on a rope. The game was called “Vaquero”.
Another station was “Racers” with different kinds of races. And last but not least was the station in the secondary school, where the kids had to transport a water balloon with a towel. So, this was the Axilli Rally.
After these activities we had a meeting, giving feedback about the games. The feedback was very good, very positive and then we took a group photo.
After a difficult wake up today, we went to Mario’s house for breakfast. At his place we enjoyed “huevo con chile”, eggs with tomato sauce, that his family cooked for us. Some of us tried to milk a cow and drank the fresh, warm milk for breakfast.
Afterwards we went to the field, where some of the children were already waiting for us. We started with some games like “Charán chán chán” and “1, 2, 3 Calabaza!” to warm up.
Nayely prepared a dance in which the elements, water and wind, were the main focus. The kids could choose between water or wind and we painted different symbols on their faces. They were divided in pairs and each pair had a scarf, blue for water and white for wind, and we danced to the rhythm of the drums.
Then we split in two groups to play more games like the Rabbit Family game and a German dance where the kids learned some german words.
We finished with the well known Apatut game. When the games with the kids ended, we said goodbye and the German team gave them a lot of candies that they bringed.
Hungry from playing and running a lot, we went to Manny’s house for lunch. We had delicious “tostadas” with three different salads called “ceviche” and spend time there talking and being with Manny’s family.
After we took a shower we started preparing the program for the multicultural evening. The mexican group prepared an amazing play describing the history of Mexico briefly. The play was a success and it was followed by a german quiz. After that we had a couple beers more and went happily to bed.
There is a saying “All good things come to an end”. Unfortunately this happened as well with our wonderful exchange!
We reached the day when we had to pack our stuff and prepare for the 20 hours trip back. Both groups were really sad to separate. We still left place for happiness that it has happened and we have had the opportunity to meet each other and spend this time together! Furthermore we are still in touch, we write everyday and update each other :))
The Mexican group will visit Germany in August and new great moments are about to come!
I would allow myself to finish with this citate:
`It is always difficult to settle back into the habits of everyday life after one has lived so fully and happily! I was having the trouble with this today because i could not accept that i had to go back to normal life after such incredible two weeks, but now I am feeling more positive and gratefulfor this experience and I will try to focus on all the beatiful things that it will bring in our lives! Sending all my love! `Vale