Lessons Learned: October Edition

Another month has flown by here in Querétaro and it is already November! Yikes. Well the end of PST was de hecho a lot more grueling than I thought it would be. We had a week long visit to current Volunteers during our practicum training; Neal went to Tlaxcala and I went to Aguascalientes. Both proved to be very beneficial trips (albeit we got sick) for a better understanding of how our service could be. The following week, we were busying preparing for our practicum presentation, which included talking in Spanish for fifteen minutes straight. After that was a short week in training, followed by a long (but quick!) weekend with my family in Puerto Vallarta. That pretty much brings you up to speed, no? We have taken some time to reflect on the past month and some of the lessons and things that we have learned so far.

  1. Pumpkin spice lattes are very Americanized drinks. No really, even the Starbucks’ here they don’t even serve them. People keep referring to fall, football, crisp mornings, and pumpkin spice lattes and I cannot relate to any of those in the list. Closest I can get is a chai latte and wearing a scarf even though it’s 75 degrees out.
  2. The osmosis method for learning is not actually far from the truth. Neal has been taking time every night to listen to news in Spanish – granted it’s slow news in Spanish. He says it really helps cement Spanish in his brain, especially right before bed.
  3. Really don’t trust the water. Not much to be said here. If you’re not sure why this is a lesson learned, you should read: Cuando las Amebas Ataque
  4. Casting your vote out of the country is actually easier than voting inside the U.S. We were able to vote day-of the elections online and submit our signatures via e-mail. If that’s not high tech, I don’t know what is. We are happy to be voters in King County!
  5. “Roughing it” isn’t really rough from what
    we’ve seen so far.
    First of all since we are restricted to bus travel, we will never really be ableto get all that far into the woods. Secondly, I had the opportunity to camp in Aguascalientes for a night. We “set up camp” in a cabaña and made a wood burning stove outside to make all our food. Have you ever seen anything more silly?!
  6. Traveling anywhere by bus on a Friday night is a bad idea. Neal returned to Querétaro from his practicum trip in Tlaxcala on a Friday night. He reports that he was stuck in two extra hours of city traffic. What a nightmare!
  7. Your layover in Mexico needs to be at least two hours long to avoid stress. When we had the opportunity to visit my family in Puerto Vallarta for a quick weekend vacation, we flew through Mexico City. Well, the problem with that is the immense air traffic going in to Mexico City delays all the layovers you might have. Entonces, it is better to have no less than a 2 hour layover in Mexico City if possible.
  8. Reading Harry Potter is the perfect stress reliever. We will be switching to reading the next HP book in Spanish, but for now it is a stress reliever.


Current bites: 3 (including one in the middle of my palm!)

Days left of training: ZERO!

Days until we move to Puebla: 3


Lots of love,



PS- We have our swearing-in ceremony tomorrow where we will vow to defend both the US and Mexican Constitution. So crazy that it’s here already!

PPS – Met the Ambassador to Mexico. He and his wife are really lovely. Can’t wait to spend time with them again tomorrow at our ceremony.


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