Archives for: January 2003

Jan 27, 2003 : last entry from mexico

well folks, tomorrow at 6:30 we leave for Playa Del Carmen. We're going to spend one day there and then one in Cozumel. Friday we're travelling from 12pm until midnight (more or less). I'll probably post another update afterwards.

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: Uci

Just got back from Uci. It was a lot of fun and a good experience to see what pueblo life is like. Too much to write about so i won't write anything. Besides, I have to do homework and stuff. In a day or two we leave for Playa del Carmen and then Cozumel before coming back.

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Jan 23, 2003 : more stuff

today we went to the caves in loltun. they were both big and extensive. weather´s back to nice and hot in the 80s probably.

yesterday we had a lecture on Religion, then had free time until 4pm when we started our presentations (we each have to do one a topic of our choice). We did 10. Afterwards, we went to TGI Friday's and ate a lot. Then Brian and Raul and I went to see "Casarse.. esta' en griega" (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). It was in English with Spanish subtitles and was pretty good.

Tomorrow at around noon Luther and I are going to a pueblo. It's called Ake (or something like that). I'm staying until monday morning, but Luther's leaving Saturday afternoon I think because he's going to a ranch with his host family.

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Jan 21, 2003 : getting sun

the weather's been nice and clear lately. this morning i was outside hauling rocks/dirt and then painting. we all went to a church for a work project. In the afternoon, a few of us decided to take it easy so we went to a hotel's pool to swim and hang out. And take showers with warm water. It was nice.

we still have almost 2 weeks left before we go home, but it seems like things are wrapping up already because we only have a few days left in Merida. ALL weekend we're going to the pueblos (poor towns) and we're spending a day in Playa del Carmen and a day in Cozumel before we fly home.

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Jan 19, 2003 : Flamingos, fish, church, and pizza.

Went to Loltu'n yesterday. It's a fishing town and surrounded by a big nature preserve. Saw lots of flamingos, other birds, a petrified forest, and lots of mangrove trees. Afterwards, we had really good fish for lunch. I had crabs, actually.

Today we went to Church at El Divino Salvador with our brother, Raul. Sunday School was good. I couldn't hear the pastor well, so I don't even know what the sermon was about. Then we went to the mall with Raul and Raul's friend, Noe' (Noah). Had a good time eating lots of food at a buffet and browsing through the mall. Went to Merida en Domingo; browsed through some vendors and listened to a band play some traditional music. Domino's Pizza for dinner. It tasted just like it does in the US

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Jan 17, 2003 : early morning

tomorrow i have to get up at 6:30 to go to Celestun. yay!

nothing really exciting happened today: we went to the Museum of Anthropology and then to the Blas Pascal school to learn about the Mexican education system. Tonight we (me and my roommate Brian) went to a Bible study lead by my brother Raul. It was good.

Time go to bed.

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Jan 16, 2003 : Uxmal

Uxmal is by far my favorite Mayan ruin site (we also went to Dzibaltchun and Chichen Itza). It has about as many buildings as Chichen Itza, but their closer, more restored and more decorated. I also ventured into the woods where there hadn't been any restoration. I saw a snake, 2 cisterns, a tub, and lots of partially standing buildings. It was very cool.

I think that's been it for today. If not, it wasn't important enough to remember.

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Jan 15, 2003 : a long day

class at 9am. lecture about the mexican economy. all these lectures are from local people who know what they're talking about. in spanish, of course.

seperated into groups and went to the market to buy stuff. quite an experience. convened at profesora's house and we cooked the food and ate it.

then went to the seminary to meet the seminarians with whom we'll go to the pueblos next weekend. we're going for 3 days. the seminarians do this every weekend to preach and stuff. they each have their own pueblo they go to. a pueblo is a small (generally poor) town, for those of you who don't know spanish.

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Jan 14, 2003 : Chicken Pizza

i've hitten my head on our bathroom door three times so far. it's about chin level high.

about the chicken pizza: we went to Chiche'n Itza' today. It's not pronounced "Chicken Pizza" but some people call it that. Has lots of big ruins. We climbed to the top of the largest temple and the view was amazing. You could see for miles (the terrain is jungly and level). It rained while we were on top which was pretty cool.

found out that shauna (shawna?) is roommate's with my cousin Jessica Dekker.

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Jan 13, 2003 : dirty laundry around town

spend like 30 minutes walking around town with dirty laundry looking for a laundromat. we must´ve looked quite foolish.

tomorrow we go to see more ruins.

have been getting to know our family and people in our group much better.

lots of fun (and homework!), but little time to write.

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Jan 10, 2003 : in no particular order:

We have internet access in our "brother" raul's room. He's 30, and studying to be a teacher of some sort. Bryan and I share a room with him. Our parents have 2 older kids, both married. One couple is living in a room in our house until they can afford their own. The other has 2 little kids: Yoshua (boy, about 5) and Sohay (girl, about 1 or 2). They're around alot, our mama takes care of them during the day while their parents work. They're pretty shy, but opening up. Yoshua has lots of matchbox cars he plays with.

Last night I talked to our "papa" about the Mexican Church (he's a presbyterian pastor). So tonight I'm going to summarize it and reflect on it for the report. I'm also planning on doing one about the food here and some of the holidays.

We've had 3 lectures so far in class. They have been local teachers/professors that have talked about the people, the government, and the Spanish conquest of the yucatan. We also have gone to the beach, taken a city tour and gone to the zoo. Tomorrow we go to Dzibultchitlan (or something like that). It's a Mayan ruin site.

My Spanish has been improving a little and it improves a lot by writing down new words and talking with our family.

Our leader, Profesora Leder, knows my uncle, Jim Dekker, and knew my Grandpa. My grandpa was on a missionary board or something and she showed him around Puerto Rico once. And Anna (daughter of Jim)'s husband, Jason, has a cousin, Joseph, who's dating one of her daughters, I think. Small world.

Went to the beach today; water was a bit cold, but it was fun anyway. Tomorrow we go see some Mayan ruins at Dzibultchultan (or something like that).

Hmm... well, a lot's been happening and i'm sure i'm forgetting important details. I think we're going to eat dinner soon.

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Jan 07, 2003 : Day 1

It´s 5:30 and we´re finishing up our first day. Travel yesterday went well. No problems, really. The drive from Cancun to Merida (in a coach bus), however was nearly 4 hours. We watched Braveheart; awful sound, but subtitled in Spanish so it was possible to understand what was happening.

In Merida, we met our families and went to our homes. Brian and I are staying with the Hernandez family. The father is a pastor. They have a son Raul, who is a college student. We live in his room (through the courtyard and up a flight of steps) with him. They have a married daughter and a married son (their family lives in the same house for now) also.

Class in the morning was mainly organizational. We went back for lunch, showers, etc. until 3pm. Then we met in the plaza (downtown) and went to the house Sra. Leder is staying at. It´s a missionaries house (the Van Ees), but their on home leave. A Calvin grad Melissa is house-sitting and told us about Mexican people and culture.

Food is good. Showers are cool, but fine. For travelling, most people take the bus. However, we only live a few minutes away from downtown, so Brian and I walk. The classroom is near downtown.

Weather is nice and warm, but not too warm.

So far I´m enjoying it a lot. It looks like projects and such will take a fair amount of time, but shouldn´t be too hard: they are simply ways of making us interact and observe the culture.

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Jan 05, 2003 : About to leave

I'm at my aunt's house right now (in Grand Rapids). Tomorrow at 7am I go to the airport for the 9am flight.

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Jan 04, 2003 : Website set up. is now set up and working. I'm going to send an email about it tomorrow probably.

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