Feeling at Home While Overseas
After a few days here in Playa Del Carmen, a volunteer asked me how I felt being here in Mexico. I took a moment to think about the question and I answered saying I was a bit disappointed and she seemed surprised by my answer. I explained that before coming here, my image of what Mexico was like was based on what I had seen in movies and how Hollywood’s depiction just did not reflect this country, culture and people. After that, I decided to stop clinging to these expectations that were inside my head, and started to look with fresh eyes at this amazing country and area.
I could talk about the flora and fauna and how amazing it is, or the colourful and interesting culture, but a travel book or google could explain it much better. So I would like to talk about the people of Mexico and my experiences with them here in Playa Del Carmen. I know if you read a tourist guide book for any country they would say that the locals are really friendly and great, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. But if you read a tourist guide book about how friendly and helpful the people here in Yucatan are, they are absolutely correct! I would walk down the street here or hop on a bus and people would always smile back at me, they’d offer their help when I’d forget which bus I was meant to take home. They also would make a great effort to try and understand your Spanish, even if it was very broken. I feel that here, they don’t see you as just another tourist.
A few days ago a woman asked me what I was doing here in Playa Del Carmen, and she was quite interested in my volunteering and my life. At the Save the Children Ludoteca, the parents and the staff there always let me know how much they appreciate us and our volunteering. In my personal case, while I have been here, I have met a family which have welcomed me and counted me as a family member. I cannot explain how great this has been, not even in my native language, German.
I am from Germany, and although my English is good it is sometimes a struggle, I was told by my travel agent that the majority of volunteers who come to this project are from countries with English being their first language. To all the people who are interested in GVI and are not native English speakers, I was pleasantly surprised when none of the other volunteers at the house judged me when I struggled with my English and it took longer for me to reply and they were very accepting and lovely people from all different kinds of places around the world.
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