Wednesday, June 25-- After another delicious seafood breakfast and their presentation of handmade gifts, we said goodbye to our host family. Even if we never see our host family again, we will still be connected and and have influenced each other's lives for the better. I am grateful for their hospitality and what I have learned from them.
With the mindset of gratitude, I must say 'thank you' to Person County schools for partially funding this experience for myself and Ms. Pentecost. By promoting experiences like this, PCS is supporting continued teacher growth and the importance of global awareness.
A huge GRACIAS goes to Mariana and Emily for planning and implementing such a wonderful trip. Their positive attitude, hard work and determination for a successful experience was extraordinary.
At Tulum, we walked through the beautiful ruins of the ancient city. If I were an ancient Mayan, I would choose to live here by the cliffs and gorgeous waters of the Caribbean Sea. Fresh fruit popsicles rejuvenated us for some haggling in the market for tapestries and other souvenirs.
In the town of Puerto Morelos, we made some quick last-chance purchases & enjoyed lunch by the sea. Marking it off the bucket list, we sang with musicos (guitarists - as close as we could get to a mariachi band.)
ASAP upon arrival at Rancho Sok-Ol, we hit the beach for snorkeling and 'just chillin'. After freshening up, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner compliments of Emily and Mariana. We were joined by one of the directors of UNC at Chapel Hill's Consortium of Latin American Studies & her mom who is a university professor in Puerto Rico.
At dinner we again reflected on what we will take with us from this experience. I cannot adequately summarize each individual's ever-important response so I must suffice it to say that it was life-changing for everyone in personal and professional ways. I asked each person to add whatever they wanted to say on this blog & here is what they wanted to contribute:
Claudia: I think that everyone should travel to another country at least once in their lives to learn about other cultures and to appreciate their own. What a truly wonderful experience!
Jennifer: Opening yourself up and taking on new experiences to try to understand other people and cultures is an important responsibility everyone should take ownership of.
Linda: Hard to express in words what a journey this has been. I have learned a lot about a wonderful country but right at this moment I am appreciating being back in my own home country. Viva french fries and pizza!
Daphne:I came, I saw, I connected!
Betty Brandt:As all of my trip-mates know from our many debriefs, the word that has resonated most with me from this trip is "privilege." What a PRIVILEGE to have the means to come explore a new culture and learn. I live comfortably, have received a good education, and I know a language (English) that is guaranteed to have a speaker in almost every situation. Not everyone has this privilege. It has been a joy to go on this journey! And it's not over--- we will all be together again and will challenge each other to carry our experience into our classrooms and give everyone what they may not normally receive by inherited privilege, but what we know they deserve!
Courtney: This was the most spontaneous thing I have ever done in my life and I have absolutely no regrets. I was genuinely sad to leave Mexico! It is such a beautiful, amazing, historical place.
Possibly coming soon-- thoughts from Emily & Mariana & Tyson & Carrie.
For me, a deep truth concerning our interactions with people and places summed up in a simple saying (quoted by a librarian none-the-less) is "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Also, this trip reconfirmed that, as humans, we are more alike than different & that our differences should be celebrated.