I’ve now spent half a year on Mexican soil. In that time I have met a whole host of different people, travelled to beautiful cities, dated (for the first time in my life), become a vegetarian (finally!) and now, have had three moving in days.
¡Ya vivo sola!
Moving to another country was meant to be made slightly easier by being with a host family, which didn’t really turn out to be my cup of tea. So I moved into a student house hoping that it would be better for me to be around people my age who also spoke Spanish. But before the Easter holidays I was struggling with the atmosphere in the house, and I knew that living there wasn’t going so well for me. I hadn’t decided on moving out, but a friend of a friend (who I’d met through Projecto Amigo, the charity I occasionally volunteer for) mentioned that her parents own a flat and that they’re looking for a new tenant. It would be a flat on the second floor of a house, in a very central and residential location, just for me.
Today marks my second day in my new home. It already feels much more like my own space. I can now crack on with my YARP in peace and live without house rules. (The last place had a ‘no alcohol, and no guests after 11PM’ rule…)
Another fairly big change in my life is that I’m finally a vegetarian. Being brought up in a Hindu (and thus majority vegetarian) family, it surprised me that I hadn’t decided to do this earlier. After spending the Christmas break with a vegan year abroader who lives in Toluca, and after watching a great documentary, Cowspiracy, I began to understand the clear need for us to be a vegan planet. With the sheer amount of water, energy and money that goes into producing meat and dairy products, it’s no wonder that our planet and its people are weakening.
So I’m currently labelling myself as an “aspiring vegan”. The goal is stop consuming animal products completely but I’m finding it a struggle here in Mexico. Speaking to my cousin about the topic I came to realise that self care with regard to your diet is the most important thing, when you realise the huge benefits of veganism and are thinking about changing your eating habits. You can’t help the planet in this way if you haven’t figured out what’s right for your own mind and body. So I will continue being a vegetarian and aspiring vegan until the time is right.
A visit from the family
My parents and my aunt paid me a lovely visit out here in Mexico during the Easter holidays, with us parting ways just a few days before my 21st. But before our travels I spent a few days in Guanajuato, a colonial city full of culture, colour, and a great student vibe. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to (technically) couchsurf, but I ended up being lucky enough to tag along with two of my French mates who’d arranged to stay with a friend who studies in the city. Our host, and tour guide, was great and knew all the sights as well as some great bars. (With deals like a beer and a shot of mezcal for $25 (£1), I’m not surprised I woke up with the worst, dirtiest hangover ever.)
The city is gorgeous, and reminded me of Granada with its cute shops, small winding streets that feel like a maze at first, and steps running up and down that would kill anyone as unfit as me. The plazas are lovely and green, always buzzing, and there’s a real mix of people as its both a huge tourist destination and a student city.
Just two hours away from Guanajuato City is San Miguel de Allende, the meeting point that myself, my parents and my aunt had decided on. I arrived at the beautiful boutique hotel (perks of holidays with parents) a couple hours before my family. Having not seen any of them for six months, other than on Skype, it was quite a surreal moment. After a catch up about my mini trip in Guanajuato and theirs in the capital we explored the city.
My Lonely Planet says that people often describe San Miguel de Allende as a “Mexican Disneyland” and I can see why with the amount of gringos, both tourists and expats, scattered around the place. It’s a lovely city but I couldn’t help but compare it to Guanajuato, and knew that I had to take the family on a day trip there after spending some time at the famous thermal pools just outside of the city.
After a few days in San Miguel de Allende we spent some time in San Blas, a tiny, tranquil fishing village in the state of Nayarit. A few hours on the beach gave the guys a glimpse of real Mexico, as we were the only tourists around. Another site in San Blas is La Tovara, a fresh water spring, which was also full of locals which is definitely a nicer, preferred vibe for me. A boat ride through the jungle, with a host of wildlife, leads to the estuary, a clear, refreshing water spring.
Parting ways at Puerto Vallarta bus terminal was a tad emotional after spending a great few days showing them my adopted country. Only four more months until I see them again, and three until my brother (hopefully!) comes to Mexico for a spot of travelling.