My oldest daughter, age 9 and 11 months, is working on a school project. She has to write a paper on an adventure that she has been a part of. She was lamenting the fact that she'd never had any adventures and I suggested she write about the summer we lived in Querétaro, México in 2005. To jog her memory (she was only four), I pulled out the scrapbook and we admired the photos.
A little back story for you: In 2002 I decided to finish my Bachelor's Degree. I'd always regretted dropping out of college the first time around, especially since I was a very good student. So I went back to school. A few weeks in, I learned that I was pregnant with daughter #2. In the summer before my senior year, I decided that we should all travel to Mexico where I could take a five week course load at the University of Querétaro. The five week class would give me the credit equivalent of an 11 week term stateside. So off we went - me, my four year old, my two year old and their dad.
I studied Mexican history, communications and writing. Each week the class would travel to a different place in the city and learn about the history, the architecture and the cultural significance. It was fascinating. On weekends, we went on longer excursions to Mexico City, Bernal, the state of Michoacán. We explored Aztec ruins and visited a copper smith At the end of the term, I had to write a term paper on a community problem and give an oral presentation. I decided to write about pet overpopulation. I took picture of the many strays wandering the streets. I talked to a veterinarian. I asked everyone if there was an animal shelter in town and they all said there was, but no one seemed to know where it was located except that it was, "lejos" - far away. So with only the general area of town to guide us, we took off looking. We took a cab part of the way and then walked for blocks and blocks. Finally we asked a man who turned out to be a police detective. He offered to drive us there and we accepted because it was getting late and we were afraid it would close. In the car, Matthew and I exchanged glances that communicated that we sincerely hoped we weren't being kidnapped by the police. You just never know about these things in Mexico. But we weren't kidnapped. The officer delivered us to the animal shelter.
The shelter was, indeed, closed. It had taken us so long to get there. But the staff let us in and gave us a tour anyway. The veterinarian and director answered all my questions and were so enthused by my interest in their work. I could tell that most citizens were oblivious to the problem. Spaying and neutering were also not widely accepted in the primarily Catholic nation.
After our tour we returned to the place we were staying and I wrote my paper. When I gave my presentation, I quickly realized that none of my American classmates had done nearly as much work as I had. They'd done their research on the internet or by talking to their host family, but no one had gone out to a community organization to research their topic. Very typical of me to be an overachiever.
After the school term was over, we traveled by bus to Puerto Vallarta, where my fella and I had lived after we were married in 1999, for a vacation. We had a massage and a pedicure and went to a water park. I was a fun trip.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I want to travel! Especially now that I am thinner. I haven't been anywhere cool in years and I love to travel. I definitely have the winter blahs! I need money to make my travel dreams a realty. I hope I'll be able to make it happen soon.