Chris comes to Mexico!

3 months ago, I left the US for a 4 and a half month stay in Mexico, with a mix of excitement and tristeza. While I could make a list of 100 things that I miss about the US in no time, I knew as I was leaving that one of the hardest things would be being away from my life at ND. While I’d of course miss my family, I’ve grown accustomed to going a semester without seeing them; however, being away from ND, away from classes and meals and late-night talks with my best friends, that would be hard. Además, I had left my sophomore year at ND at one of the happiest points in my life, with an incredible group of friends who I could count on for anything and, especially, having grown close to one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known and being lucky enough to call him my boyfriend. Leaving my routine and my level of comfort at ND behind was one thing; leaving my new-found best friend, as we were just beginning to realize how much we meant to each other, was another. Knowing that classes would get started in the Bend without me, and I would miss a semester of football games, dinner dates, and movie nights with Chris made me sad, and made me long to be back home.

However, as it always does, life went on.

I adjusted to life in Mexico. I came to peace with what I was missing at ND, since what I was experiencing in here in Mexico was too incredible to waste. As we were told during international orientation, it does no use to spend your time abroad being sad about not being home, because then you’re head’s at home, your body’s in Mexico, and you’re floating in between instead of enjoying one place. So, I put my energy into enjoying my time here instead of longing to be back there, and time passed. Quickly.

And, before I knew it, it was ND’s fall break and Chris was here with me!!!!!!

Exactly two weeks ago, Chris and I were enjoying our first day in Mexico together, poking through el centro of Puebla (easily the most magical on Sundays). Exactly one week ago, Chris was arriving back in the US, and I found myself feeling surprisingly happy, instead of the sadness I felt after our goodbye 3 months ago. I was happy because we had just had the most perfect week imaginable together, full of adventure and relaxation and fun. Here’s a recap (mostly in pictures) of the wonderful week I spent with Chris:

Sunday was spent in el centro, where we shopped, listened to music, tried lots of food, and enjoyed the beautiful sights of Puebla’s downtown.

Chris in front of the fountain tin el Zócalo

Chris in front of the fountain tin el Zócalo

Our delicious churros--cinnamon, glazed and cajeta (similar to caramel)

Monday morning was spent in El Gran Pirámide de Cholula, the widest pyramid in the world, where we climbed through the tunnels that ran inside the pyramid and then made it to the top, where La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios lies and we were able to have a 360 view of Cholula and Puebla spread out around us. Monday afternoon was spent at classes at UPAEP, where Chris went to lunch with the guys and found out that he looooved tacos al pastor and quesadillas al pastor
(the meat is shaved off a huge block much like gyro meat), a pleasant surprise because I was nervous about Chris liking the food here!

A view from inside the pyramid!

A view from inside the pyramid!

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Looking down at Cholula from the top of the pyramid

Looking down at Cholula from the top of the pyramid

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent in Mexico City, one of my favorite trips yet in Mexico! Tuesday was spent mostly in transit to el Distrito Federal (DF); lots of rain kept us from exploring a nearby town that night, instead opting to try out a restaurant and bar nearby.

Chris in front of El Angel de la Independencía in DF

Chris in front of El Angel de la Independencía in DF

Wednesday was a busy day, beginning with an early breakfast at a delicious cafe complete with a huuuge cup of mango-strawberry juice and crepes (one of my new obsessions); we following this up with a long trip to Teotihuacan (the Aztec ruin site about an hour from DF) and then a trip to the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe, which is within Mexico City. I have wanted to visit this site for a while, since Mexicans have a deep faith in La Virgen de Guadalupe. We saw the cloth that La Virgen appeared on and the basilica that was initially built in her honor, and it was so special to be in a place with so many Mexicans worshipping so fervently. (Here‘s a short blurb on her appearance and the basilica for those of you who aren’t familiar). We tried to finish up our day with a visit to Xochimilco, a nearby town with “floating gardens” and boats on the water (the remnants of the lake that Mexico City is built on), but ended up caught in rush hour metro traffic and arrived there after 2 hours of travel to find everything shut down. It was a disappointment (at the end of an extremely long day), but a funny story to tell (although not funny at the time!).

Photos from Teotihuacan:

Excited to be at the ruins!!!

Excited to be at the ruins!!!

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Making our way to the Pyramid of the Sun

Making our way to the Pyramid of the Sun

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In front of the Pyramid of the Sun

In front of the Pyramid of the Sun

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View from the Pyramid of the Sun with the Pyramid of the Moon in the background

View from the Pyramid of the Sun with the Pyramid of the Moon in the background

On that stretch where we became expert hagglers and we're more or less attacked by merchants any time we showed any interest...

On that stretch where we became expert hagglers and we’re more or less attacked by merchants any time we showed any interest…

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Photos from the Basilica of Guadalupe:

The New (left) and Old (right) Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe

The New (left) and Old (right) Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe

Inside the Old Basilica

Inside the Old Basilica

Inside the New Basilica. What a difference!

Inside the New Basilica. What a difference!

Looking up at the cloak with the image of the Virgin on it

Looking up at the cloak with the image of the Virgin on it

Thursday we went to Paso de Cortes, to a national park located between the active volcano Popo and the mujer durmida (sleeping lady) inactive volcano Itza (read the story about these volcanoes!). This beautiful (and cold) hike went through a huge field spread out between the two volcanoes (with paths too close to Popo blocked off because of the volcano’s activity), and we followed paths up until we reached the top of a hill, from which we had a clear, breathtaking view of Popo, Itza, and the field below us. It was incredible! We finished up the trip with some pan dulce (sweet bread) from a bakery in the town nearby, and then hopped on the bus back to Puebla.

To start off our hike: first we see paths blocked off because the volcano is too active, then we see that we're in a region where jaguars are a protected species...

To start off our hike: first we see paths blocked off because the volcano is too active, then we see that we’re in a region where jaguars are a protected species…

The beautiful beautiful beautiful view of lower mountains rising up out of the clouds. I can't believe we were up above the clouds looking at this!

The beautiful beautiful beautiful view of lower mountains rising up out of the clouds. I can’t believe we were up above the clouds looking at this!

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Popo spewing out his smoke

Popo spewing out his smoke

Looking out (over a rare species of flower that only grows at high altitudes) at Itza, la mujer durmida

Looking out (over a rare species of flower that only grows at high altitudes) at Itza, la mujer durmida

A panorama from the top of the hill, with Itza on the left, Popo on the right, and Paso de Cortes stretching through the middle

A panorama from the top of the hill, with Itza on the left, Popo on the right, and Paso de Cortes stretching through the middle

Chris and I after the hike with Popo in the background

Chris and I after the hike with Popo in the background

Friday and Saturday I had a conference required by our program, which was a bummer, but we still had fun after the conference was over! Saturday was our 6 month anniversary, so after the conference, we got dressed up and went for a fancy dinner at a nice Italian restaurant nearby, followed by a trip to the movies. Chris and I left for the airport at 3 am that morning, happy about our wonderful week together instead of upset that it was coming to an end. This week with Chris further affirmed for me how lucky I am to have him in my life, and was full of great memories to carry us through the next 3 months apart! Being with Chris made me incredibly excited for spring semester at ND, when we can be together every day, but also reminded me of how lucky I am to be here in Mexico and to be able to continue to experience new and exciting things nearly every day. With 1 and a half months left in Mexico, I am both excited for what’s to come and excited to be back in the US with my family and friends; I guess I can consider myself blessed to have so many things to look forward to, and to have 3 amazing places to call home: Puebla, Pennsylvania, and ND.


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