By Lorreal Edwards
Homestay. That word scared me before this trip. It is mandatory that students do both a rural homestay for four days, and an urban homestay for a minimum of four weeks. I will be the first to admit that I could not fathom doing such a thing. However, I knew this had to be done. I had to constantly remind myself that I came to Mexico to learn Spanish, and to travel for the first time, but most of all I needed to get outside of my comfort zone.
The rural homestay, in the beautiful town of Amatlan, was enjoyable, but difficult. At that time, I had a wee bit of Spanish, two weeks to be exact. Thus, there was a language barrier, which meant a lack of ability to communicate, and a slight awkwardness with my host family. Nevertheless, I do believe that it was a steppingstone to prepare me for my urban homestay.
I did not know what to expect. I wondered if it would be the same as my stay in Amatlan. I wondered if I could bare living with strangers for four whole weeks. I soon found out they were not strangers. They were something like a long lost family.
I entered a home of two, a mother named Martha, and son named Alan. I instantly felt welcomed, and loved. Throughout my stay, we went to numerous birthday parties and many cool places here in Cuernavaca. Some include, Teopanzolco, Ecológica parque de Chapultepec, La Barranca, Jardín Borda, El Castillito, Plaza Cuernavaca, and we even went to Six Flags. I recommend all the beautiful places that we went to in Cuernavaca. Although, it was not the places that made it all so special, it was simply the quality time.
I have been living own my own my entire college career (minus on campus roommates). My family moved to Florida when I was a freshman. Before coming to México, I had not been in real a family setting in almost three years. It felt so foreign, yet so beautiful. I learned so much in my urban homestay. The initial uncomforted simply came from our language barrier, but my mom was always supportive, and we always figured out a way to communicate. She helped me with my spanish homework, and always ha patience when I didn’t quite know what I wanted to say. This meant pulling out a dictionary, or using gestures and actions to explain myself.
I understand that not everyone had the same experience that I had. I feel very blessed to have been placed with this family. Not once did I ever feel unwelcomed, or overbearing. I am grateful that I got to be in a real family setting. It has made me value my family more, and it has also showed me how one can love a complete stranger unconditionally. I would not trade this experience for the world. I can honestly say; I have family in Cuernavaca, Mexico!