Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why, Hello Again!

Well, I haven't written anything since October. This past semester ate me alive. With 20 credit hours, 2 jobs, my AmeriCorps work at the Global Refugee Center, my Soliya training, and all of the church things I'm involved in... where has the time gone?!

Nevertheless, here's a little summary of life in my world lately...

My work at the Global Refugee Center is going amazingly well! I cannot even describe to you how much of my heart each of my little people have. They are wonderful, special little darlings, and I adore every one of them!

To the right is a picture of a few of our kiddos (Reyubeni aka Batman, Julie, Valeria, Rosemary, Sae Meh, and Lex) and some of my wonderful volunteers (Marcus, Krista, Brittany, and Martin).

In November, I got the opportunity to represent the Global Refugee Center at the Engaged Scholars' Symposium at UNC. I was so excited and nervous about it! I ended up getting to have two tables side by side, one for the GRC and one featuring my project there, the Little Learners! It was such an honor to get to represent the GRC in the poster board presentation part of the symposium.

If that wasn't enough, I also got to help Tsigereda, the case manager at the GRC, represent the GRC at the round table discussions.

Also, I will be doing my honors' thesis as an applied project at the GRC. This is going to be a ton of work, but I am so excited for it! After attending a training session for the International Language Program, I had the idea that a method similar to the one they use might really help our beginner ESL students at the GRC. I'll post more about this topic later!

In other news, I just completed my Soliya Advanced Facilitator Training. It was truly an amazing experience. This is definitely a program I believe in and fully support, and it is so great to get to be a part of it! I could be facilitating in the spring! We shall see!

Last piece of news: a youth pastor of a church in the Philippines that is associated with my church contacted me recently to see if I would come to help with their youth camp! I am beyond excited for this, and I'm desperately hoping I'll be able to go! If so, I'd be there for a week in April. Hope and pray with me that it'll happen!

Until next time...

~~~I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring~~~

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Accidental Lie

My last post (way back on September 18) said I would write more on Saturday. I didn't mean to lie, I promise! If you could see my planner (the little book that holds my life together), you might understand. Page after page of little cramped handwriting means a very busy life.

But anyway, here's a few updates, in the order listed in my previous post, for anyone interested:

-We're back in session at the Global Refugee Center!
 Things are going great at the GRC. This is our sixth week.

It would be fantastic to get more volunteers, but we're making do with who we have for now. The first week was full of tiny people crying for their parents, but now they're used to being in the day care.
I love these kiddos. But I think they know they have me wrapped around their fingers!

-My Basic Training for Soliya has ended... Advanced Training started today!!
I learned a lot in my basic training, but it was only about 6 meetings. I enjoyed getting the chance to practice facilitating, and I think I did alright.
I actually just finished my very first advanced training session. Let me tell you, it is great to have a training session a little later in the day and not one that starts before the sun is up!! Seems like I have a great group! Nine more weeks and I just may be invited to be a facilitator in the spring. Regardless, I'm learning a lot and enjoying the experience.

-Volunteered at a study abroad/world expo event on campus... I want to go somewhere asap! 
So here's a little problem... I was at this event and looking around and the Center for International Eduction coordination says, "You want to go again, don't you?" Well of course I do!! I think I'm a bit addicted to travel... Anyway, I've already made peace with the whole 5 year plan instead of the 4 year for my undergrad degree. One of those years was community college, and not all of my classes counted. Then I was a bit mixed up with my major. Upon figuring it all out and deciding on a double major in English and International Affairs and a double minor in Business Administration and Cultural Anthropology, I decided 5 years was acceptable. And I have been killing myself ever since. The fact that this past summer I took 15 credit hours and now I'm taking 20 is a testament to that. I have something like an internship lined up for next fall, so I won't be taking many classes then (I'm thinking between none and 1-2 online). UNC has this requirement that the last... I think it's 90 credits of the undergrad must be completed at UNC. So, if I study abroad again, I add time to my undergrad and may be looking at a 6 year plan. Oh, but it may be worth it! Considering it... Offer advice if you have any!

Now, last but not least...

-I got my official acceptance to teach abroad next fall!
I will be teaching English at the Vilnius school in Vilnius, Lithuania through ILP!! Yep. See? I knew I'd go back!

Now, I do have some other thoughts I've been wanting to post about, but that's all for now... I'm going to try my hardest to post again within the next week, but no promises! :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quick Update!

So much to share!!

-We're back in session at the Global Refugee Center!
-My basic training for Soliya has ended and advanced training will begin soon...
-I'm loving my classes this semester (most of them anyway).
-Volunteered at a study abroad/world expo event on campus... I want to go somewhere asap!
-I got my official acceptance to teach abroad next fall!

I don't have much time to tell about these things now, but I plan on writing more about all this on Saturday!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It was about 10:00 last night when I realized I had to drive to Denver. Yeah, I wasn't too excited.... Monday evening I was in Denver for a family dinner for my cousin who left yesterday to go to Bible college in California (bye Melly!!). I drove back up to Greeley Tuesday (yesterday) morning, got the the Global Refugee Center by 9:00, worked until about 2:45, went to a physical assessment (for my job with ABC doing before and after school care) at 3:30 (although I didn't get seen until after 4:00), went to a Universal Precautions, CPR, and First Aid class at 6:00, got done a little after 9:00, rushed to Starbucks to write a paper, and finished by 10:00 when they close. I don't have internet in my apartment in Greeley yet, so it was then that I realized there was no way I could log in to Soliya for my first facilitation training meeting the next morning (Did I even mention that I'm doing facilitator training for Soliya??). To Denver! I got to my grandparents' house a little after 11:00, got to bed by midnight, and work up at 3:30am to get ready for my 4:00am session. So I am tired!!

My trainers' names are Jo and Katharina. In the group training for facilitator positions with me are Marielle, Maaike, Robb, and Joe. While I have to admit, I am excited about continuing my involvement with Soliya, it is another thing to do. I'm working hard to balance my schedule, but we'll see how this next semester goes. I'm definitely nervous about it. Still, our session today went very well. We talked about why facilitators are necessary, what they bring to the table, and what their purpose is.

When I think about facilitation in this context, I think of someone who forms a bridge between people, who brings them together, who creates a safe place where they can try to understand each other. Excuse my terrible drawing to the right, but I wanted to find a way to show you all what I have in mind. This is not to say that facilitators have all the answers or are at perfect peace, but there's just something about being able to respect and accept others' thoughts and beliefs even if you don't necessarily agree with them.

I'm really looking forward to this opportunity training with Soliya. I can't wait to see how it helps me grow personally and what I can offer to others through it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


As I write this post, I am sitting in the conservatory (a bridge/lounge between two parts of a hotel...also the only place I have found free wifi!!) of the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. These last few weeks have been busy to say the least. Last week I was in Pueblo, Colorado for a Ladies' Conference (with church), and the week before that I was in Branson, Missouri for Junior Bible Quizzing nationals (I coach a team). To add to that mix, I am also currently taking two classes online, both Global Issues and Global Systems. I should say I was taking - the classes both ended yesterday.

Though my crazy schedule really did prevent me from putting my all into the last bit of my classes, I feel that I've learned a lot through them. So here, for a post, I'd like to say some first about globalization and then about global citizenship.

Globalization poses so many interesting questions. While it is undeniable that it brings about many positive developments, I think many would agree as well that it has a lot of negative consequences. Now, I just studied to death about all these forms of globalization, economic, cultural, political, etc. so I won't go into trying to explain each. However, I would like to speak a little more generally and really, more personally on the issue. See, I think we're all part of globalization. Look at where your clothes were made. Probably not in your own country. Look at where your laptop/tablet/iphone/whatever was manufactured. Again, probably not in your own country. The car you drive is likely from another country. Even the food you eat might be from another country. All that being said, clearly globalization affects us all. Globalization might create more jobs, it might make products cheaper, it might provide more opportunities. This doesn't sound too bad, right? The other side of all this, I think, is the cultural element. Some critics of globalization would say that cultures die because of it. When a western country like the United States saturates the market of another country, its influence may indeed be detrimental to that culture. However, to me, "globalization" and "westernization" don't have to mean the same thing. I don't think a country should have to become westernized to take part in the global community. When you look at this world, I mean, really look at it, think about the 7 billion people here, think about all the countries, ethic groups, and personalities, why would we want to lose that unique beauty? I wouldn't. So in becoming globalized, I think it's extremely important that people also hold on to their own unique culture and values. Ultimately, in globalization, as in many things, it's just crucial to find the happy medium.

Now, global citizenship, it seems to me, can be a key to finding that happy medium. Global citizenship is ultimately about seeing oneself as a citizen of the world. This idea is transcendent to the fact that I'm from Denver, Colorado, USA. See, I'm just from the world, just like everyone else reading this page. That idea tends to bring a certain unity and peace. I have readers from China, India, Russia, the United States, Lithuania, Indonesia, and more, and we are probably all experiencing globalization to some extent, like I said before. But while we should hang on to our own unique cultures, embracing global citizenship allows us to embrace each other, celebrating our differences. This all presents us with a unique opportunity: a global commonality that can lead to a global friendship.

A couple weeks ago, in my work at the Global Refugee Center, the children had a "world culture" themed week. On Friday, I let the little ones paint a mural together to celebrate the beauty in our differences. If children can appreciate this idea so much, I think we all can.
I don't usually get many comments on my post, but I encourage you to comment on this one. I have it set up so you can even do so anonymously. I just want to know your thoughts on this... How has globalization impacted you? What does it mean to you? What do you think about it? Do you see yourself as a global citizen? Thoughts?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Expedition Yucatan (part 4)

6/24 DAY 9
The time with the kids went so quickly. I knew from the beginning that these kiddos would find their way into my heart. I worked with kids last school year, and when the end of the year came, I couldn’t imagine having to leave them. After only a short five days with the kids in the village of Yunku, I couldn’t imagine leaving them either. Someone once said that everyone should be seen as a teacher, and there’s really a lot of truth to that. I have to say, I hope I got to teach these children even half as much as they taught me. They are truly little miracles that have touched my heart and blessed my life.
During the day, we all got together to write thank you letters to the families in Yunku which we would deliver when we dropped the kids off at the end of the day. Our time with the kids involved a piñata and cake, both of which they obviously loved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many children so excited in my life. It was absolutely adorable.

6/25 DAY 10
Although we did spend the night in the hacienda the night before, we had to be up and ready the next morning for Uxmal. Uxmal is another archeological site with Mayan ruins, and I have to say, it's my favorite site we went to. Miguel, our fantastic guide, told us the story of the first pyramid you see when you enter the site. It's called the House of the Magician or the Temple of the Dwarf. Legend is that there was once an evil and tyrannical king in Uxmal, and there was a prophesy that he would be overthrown. Nearby, on the south end of the site, there was a witch who hatched an egg in an ash pit, and out came a dwarf. The king felt threatened by the dwarf, but gave him a series of tests to try to prove that he was human and not a magical being after all. The first test the king gave to the dwarf was to tell him how many leaves were on a great tree in Uxmal. The dwarf by night sought the counsel of the gods, and the bat god told him how many leaves were on the tree. When the dwarf reported this to the king the next day (and I'm not really sure how the king knew if he was right), the king gave him another test. The dwarf was to build a great temple in one day. So the dwarf went into the corn fields and sought the help of alux'ob. Once the temple was built, the king gave the dwarf yet another test. He was to crack the seed of a cocoyul (not sure if that's spelled right) on his head. Knowing that the cocoyul was very hard, the dwarf sought the help of his mother, the witch. She somehow magically infused the shell of a tortoise under his scalp but over his skull, and the dwarf was able to crack the cocoyul. When the king tried it, he killed himself, and the dwarf then took over Uxmal.
Although we didn't get to climb the Temple of the Dwarf, we did climb the Great Pyramid, and that was amazing. We left Uxmal in the afternoon, got a late lunch, and then returned for the sound and light show that evening. Seeing as how the entire thing was in Spanish, there was lots of music, lights, and echoing, it was very hard to understand. It was still great though, and coconut ice cream made the experience even better. We returned to the hacienda rather late.

6/26 DAY 11

We had to get up really early to head to Coba. I have to say, Coba was not too exciting for me. The site was in a very ruinous state, more so than anywhere else we had been. Also, there was a ton of walking because the site is so spread out. We didn't even see half of it, but everyone was exhausted by the end. My favorite part was right before we left. We climbed a huge pyramid, bigger than the one at Uxmal. I admit, I scooted down while sitting instead of chancing falling down those steep stairs. Mayans must have had great legs!
 After Coba, we had to change from our lighter clothing into pants and long sleeve shirts. It was absolutely miserable in that humidity, but we were going to Punta Laguna where Dr. Vick works. She set up a spider monkey reserve and has been working there since 1996. As we would be going through the jungle in the lagoon areas, we were promised several mosquito bites. Here, we also saw the cenote of the skulls where over 200 human skulls were found.
6/27 DAY 12
We made it to Puerto Morelos the previous night after Punta Laguna. We would be spending two night in a little hotel on the beach. When we got there, we went and got late dinner and then worked on homework until 2am. The trip was coming to a close, and we were all making every effort to complete our anthropology journals.
On day 12 we went snorkeling. I am definitely not the best swimmer, but I did it anyway, and I was very glad I did. After that, we had the day free to walk around Puerto Morelos. We had a nice dinner together at the end of the day, and we finished it off sitting on the balconies overlooking the beach and doing... more homework.

6/28 DAY 13
I woke up early to go see the sunrise on the beach. It was a spectacular sight, but I'll have to add pictures later. A little before noon, they took us all to the airport. The trip really did fly by. It was a non-stop, crazy, exciting adventure, and although pieces were tough, I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Expedition Yucatan (part 3)

6/20 DAY 5
We headed to the village of Yunku, a small place where we would engage in our service learning, on day 4 after our adventures in Mani and Loltun Cave. It was definitely a shorter drive than the one we experienced on the way to Merida, but after the events of the day, we got there in the evening. We would be staying in a hacienda, formerly a henequen and cattle hacienda, one of the smaller ones owned by the Peon family, restored by Dr. Vick's friend Ruth. Day 5 was the first day with the children though, the entire reason why I came. That's right, children is the ENTIRE REASON why I came. It's how Mike (my professor) pulled me into this trip, quite honestly. Knowing I want to teach in an international setting one day, he used the kids to convince me that this was what I wanted to do with my summer. Yes, he was right!
Having prior experience with working with children, the lack of planning and structure around the curriculum definitely bothered me, but all went... not well, but alright for the first day. We walked around the village rounding up children. One thing that struck me as interesting was how willing almost all of the families were to let their children go with perfect strangers. We would say (in Spanish of course) something like, "Hi, we're students from the United States, and we're staying at the hacienda and having a program for the kids here. Is it okay if your children come with us for a few hours?" and they would just get their kids and tell them to go with us.

The first day we made name tags, introduced ourselves with name, age, and hobby, and made "getting to know you" bracelets (which ended up just being regular bracelets without the "getting to know you" part because of lack of planning). We concluded our day with dinner, and of course, more homework.

6/21 DAY 6
Thankfully, a little more planning went in to the second day. Older and younger kids were divided up. We decided to use "animals" as a theme to direct activities around. The older kids learned words for a bunch of different animals in English and Maya and played charades with them. Maya is the traditional language in this area, but it's also a dying language. A lot of grandparents know it, but even most parents in this village didn't. The parents stress the importance of English to their kids, hoping that the knowledge of English will open more doors to more opportunities for them, but they neglect to emphasize the importance of Maya as well. With the death of this language, a death of an important cultural element would occur as well. So part of our task here was to teach some English, but also to try (in the short 5 days we would spend with the children) to instill an appreciation and value for Maya and the Mayan culture.

6/22 DAY 7

Saturday was probably the most fun for the kids. We had a photo scavenger hunt, or busqueda. We planned it out very thoughtfully the night before, dividing ourselves into five groups with the five strongest Spanish speakers and one or two others to lead each group. I have to say, the kids absolutely loved the cameras (and our phones, if we left them out), so we thought it would be perfect to let them use cameras for our activity.

My little group was very excited about the busqueda, and the children ended up wanting to find several of every item on the list. We had about ten pictures for each thing we needed. I've included a couple of the bunch here.

To the left is "una foto con un lugar donde te gusta jugar" (a photo with a place where you like to play, and below is "caras chistosas" (funny faces).

 6/23 DAY 8
We had an easier day with the kids on our fourth day. By this point, I knew pretty much every one of their names, and our whole group seemed comfortable together. We did some word searches and made our own stories about alux'ob (alux is the singular; in Maya 'ob is to pluralize a word... also, that's pronounced more like "ah-loosh"). There is a myth about people called alux who, from what I understand, are miniature people who have six toes and can take the form of rocks (so be careful which rocks you touch, if you go to Yucatan!) and some other things. They apparently are very mischievous if you upset them, and they can make your life miserable. Now, this may seem like a cute little fantasy to you, but people genuinely believe in the alux, they say things like "oh, an aluz must have taken it" when things go missing, and they even give alux'ob offerings to appease them when they're messing things up. Some of the stories the kids came up with were quite entertaining. 
We had the kids earlier this day, from about 9:00 to 11:30am, instead of 2:00 to 5:00pm like we were doing because it was a Sunday, so they didn't have school. We also all had a communion to attend at 12:30. Some of the kids we were working with were having their first communion, and we were invited. I have to say, I have been to a few Catholic services here in the US, and they were very tedious and not very lively, but the only word I can think of to describe the communion we attended is "beautiful." From start to finish, there was just a simple beauty to it. The church where I grew up has invested several thousand dollars on high-tech sound systems, colored and moving theatrical lights, computer systems for projection, and nice instruments, and none of that is bad necessarily. There was just something about the simplicity of a five-person choir with hymnals, without microphones and fancy lights. There's a beautiful simplicity to having one little drum and two acoustic guitars instead of a full drum set, computerized sound tracks, a bass, an electric guitar, an acoustic-electric, a keyboard, an organ, a grand piano, a trumpet, and a saxophone. I am in no way trying to devalue or criticize what that church I grew up in has or how they run a service, but like I said, there was just something beautiful about the simplicity of the communion. I felt very privileged to have been in attendance.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Expedition Yucatan (part 2)

6/ 18 DAY 3
It wasn't just an excuse not to go out with the waiter, we really did go to Dzibichaltun! For those of you still wondering how to pronounce that, (dzē-bēl"chäl-tOOn') is the pronunciation I found :)
And now for my disclaimer: I had to make an anthropology journal while on the trip which included extensive research (pre trip and on trip) about every archaeological site we visited, so in my blog, I will NOT be including much from research; instead, I'll keep it more journal-style. If you'd like to know more about any site, I recommend Michael Coe's The Maya and using Google searches to gain more information.

I admit, I did not swim in this cenote. But pretty much everyone else did! I'm sure it was great, but eh, not for me. Instead, I walked around further back into the site. I actually got to climb up a few different pieces, the most interesting of which was probably the ball court where Maya used to play (think El Dorado if you've ever seen that animated movie). The winner would get the grand prize of.... (wait for it...) ...being sacrificed to the gods! Yeah, not a game I would want to win. Along with pottery, human remains were found in this cenote as well, and it's believed to be a place where people were sacrificed.

I believe this was also the day (if not it was day 4) that we had lunch in the port town of Progresso at a nice little place right on the beach. Afterward, some people swam. Again, I did not. But I did walk the beach and get a little wet. Overall, it was a very busy but also a very nice day.

6/ 19 DAY 4

I got eaten by mosquitoes at Dzibichaltun the previous day, so I did not have a peaceful night's sleep. Cassie, one of the girls on the trip, counted over 50 bites on my legs alone while sitting on the next bed. Needless to say, I was very itchy. But day 4 was busy, like the entire trip. We went to the town of Mani and visited the church where Diego de Landa burned thousands of Mayan artifacts ("idols" and codices) and even Mayan people. The Catholic church here was built around the cenote; "convert or no water for you" was the message of the day. (Again, feel free to Google this. There's a lot of interesting information about Mani!)
After visiting the church, we were off to Loltun Cave where Mayan people lived in prehistoric times. Ricardo, our guide, was very nice and offered quite a bit of information. What I found most interesting personally was the hand prints on the wall from around 1500 BC (I think I got the date right, but my notes are in my anthropology journal with my professor to be graded). There is a picture with some hand prints in it to the right, so hopefully you can make them out. There are two near the middle, kind of one right above the other. I know it's not the best picture, but I was in a cave, so good enough!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Expedition Yucatan (part 1)

First off, let my apologize for my lack of posts lately (though it seems I am always apologizing for that!). I intended to post while in the Yucatan, like I did last year when I was in Lithuania, but let me tell you about internet connection there!! Oh, it was no laughing matter! Granted, in Lithuania, I didn't have stable internet access where I was staying either (most of last year's posts came from a little coffee shop in old town Vilnius), but at least I had the full freedom to wander off and find internet! In the Yucatan, our days were very planned and packed ALL THE TIME. Add to that that Dr. Vick, our lovely host, asked us not to go anywhere alone, and well, no internet for me!

But I admit, getting internet for blogging was the least of my concerns. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to take an online Literary Theory and Criticism course while in the Yucatan. Don't ask me what I was thinking. I now realize that this seems a bit impossible! My professor was anything but merciful about my situation. When I emailed him before I left to inform him I would be out of the country, I was met with a harsh email telling me that I would get no special treatment (although I never asked for any), that he didn't care where I was, and that traveling was a poor decision that might result in my failure of the course.
Anyway, aside from my English Professor Drama, the Yucatan trip was simply indescribably enjoyable! I am going to attempt to give a brief account of it here, but it probably won't be brief at all.

A week before my departure date, I found myself writing "YUCATAN!" in my planner (which, I confess, holds my life together), and I placed a little sticker by it that says "Vacation." (My planner came with there cute little stickers that I use whenever I get the chance!) However, it soon dawned on me that this was not at all a vacation.

6/16 - DAY 1
My plane was to depart Denver International Airport at around 10:30am, not bad at all. Four of the other students who were going on the trip were on the same flight as me, and after the fiasco at security that resulted in me checking the small duffel bag I had intended to carry on, I was the last one of us to show up at the gate. We talked for only a few minutes before we began boarding the plane. I realized for the first time that this trip would be much different than the one I took last summer. Now, it's not that I thought the Yucatan would be anything like eastern Europe, but I guess my realization was more about the people I was with. While I didn't know the students going to Lithuania with me at all, I had at least met these ones once or twice in pre-trip meetings, and I felt a kind of common ground with them in the uncertainty we were all feeling about what we had gotten ourselves in to. We landed in Cancun around 3:30pm, and after another girl, Lindsay, and I helped the other three fix their "nationality" on their visas from "white" (yes, they really wrote that!) to "USA," we went to find our bags and get through customs. This was all fairly uneventful, but I did have to use my Spanish right away to help Daniel, one of those "white" students (sorry, I couldn't help myself) find a customs form. We found Dr. Vick, who was waiting to pick us up, located the rest of the students, and loaded up into two vans that would drive us for over 4 hours to Merida, the capital of the state of Yucatan. Professor Mike Kimball (the one I took my Confluence of Cultures class with) told me that Dr. Vick was "a wealth of information," and that she was. She offered so many facts and stories during the trip, I felt lucky I ended up in her van. We reached our hotel in Merida around 9:30pm, and we were instructed to meet back in the lobby in five minutes. After freshening up (which during this trip pretty much meant reapplying deodorant), we all headed down and went to dinner together at a place called Panchos. Let me tell you, the restaurants in Merida have my delighted approval for the vibe alone, not to mention the amazing food like you've never tasted before! After dinner, we got to walk around a bit before returning to the hotel and getting some much needed rest.

6/17 - DAY 2
We were supposed to have a packed day of museum visits, but Dr. Vick realized that all the museums in Merida are closed on Mondays, so instead we took a trip to the Governor's Palace to look at murals painted by artist Castro Pacheco. You can find a pretty decent gallery of them at this site:!i=413609874&k=q9dSPVm (and please do - it's really worth seeing!), but there's nothing like seeing these fantastic works of art in person! We had a lecture by Dr, Vick in the plaza central afterwards about the murals. They depict the struggle of Mexico, from ancient Maya times, through the Spanish conquest, and into the present. This entire story is truly remarkable, but I'll wait until later to talk about it more.

After the lecture, we walked to the biggest market in Merida. Oh, let me just advise you... if you ever find yourself in Merida, please just skip this part if you're at all claustrophobic! I personally enjoyed it, but was relieved when we reached the end! One of the most interesting things I found there were bejeweled beetles (yep, you read that right!). Frankly, I would never wear a live bug no matter how many jewels it had on display. But you know, if that's your thing, more power to you! You'll find quite the selection of jeweled insects in the market in Merida!

So after the market, we broke off into smaller groups and went to find lunch. Looking back on it now (after knowing the personalities of everyone and who I became closest with), my group was quite the strange mixture, but we still had a good time. We went to a restaurant on the plaza central called La Jarana. Apparently, this is the name of a traditional dance, which we actually got to see there. Daniel even joined in on the dance, which was quite entertaining. When we went to leave, I got asked out by the waiter. Meh, no thanks... Conveniently, I had the excuse of "I have to get up early to go to Dzibichatun!" (Try to pronounce that!)

The rest of the day involved wandering around Merida, and we concluded it with dinner at yet another amazing restaurant! (And then we really concluded it with hours of homework back at the hotel, but let's not talk about that.)