You guys!! I just got back from THE MOST FUN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ever! If you’re a Spanish teacher, you’ve got to check out One World Trek’s Language and Cultural Immersion Program in Mérida, Mexico for Spanish teachers! It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
I love to travel and my favorite is visiting a friend who lives in a really neat city, who can show me the insiders’ secrets and steer me away from the tourist traps. That’s exactly how I’d describe my week with One World Trek! Becky Morales (the voice of Language Latte and the muscle behind kidworldcitizen.org) welcomed us into her gorgeous home, took us to the best restaurants, organized cultural classes at a local university and showed us the sites, giving us a real feel for Yucatan life and culture. Mérida is a beautiful and vibrant city and we felt safe and well-cared for all week long!
First of all…I’ve got to show you Becky’s casona. I told you it was gorgeous, but just wait ’til you see it! (And if you can’t wait until next summer to go to Mérida, guest rooms will soon be available on Air BnB!)
The week was jam packed with fun and culture: we learned about the importance of chocolate to the Mayans at the Chocostory museum, we climbed the pyramid at Uxmal and marveled at the grandeur of Chichén Itzá. We bicycle toured downtown Mérida, explored the home of its founding conquistadors, soaked up the sun at Progreso beach and lunched at a Henequén Hacienda.
While we had a blast all week long, there were a few highlights I’d love to share with you:
University Classes: Every morning we attended a course at UNAM called “Historia, Cultura y Tradiciones de México” taught by Maestra Stephanie (¡Hola, Stephanie!). She did a fantastic job answering our (many!) questions and teaching us about Yucatán culture. One day she brought in a hammock, a necessity for life in the tropics, and introduced us to the finer points of caring for and sleeping in a hammock. Another class she brought Mexican sweets to sample and we discussed Mexican gastronomy, the fusion of native ingredients and Spanish ingredients. Stephanie and Becky worked together so that our morning class would give us background for the afternoon’s activities, how brilliant is that?! And the best part of the class was that Stephanie made sure her Spanish was comprehensible to us … because teachers need comprehensible input too!
Stay tuned because I’m working on some culture lessons to share with your little darlings!
Market Tour & Cooking Class: Chef Daniel (¡Saludos, Daniel!) took us through the Lucas de Galvez Market, introduced us to new ingredients ,then we returned to the casona for a private cooking class. Under Daniel’s expert guidance, we made banana empanadas (Banana empanadas?! I know!! So delicious!!) cchote pork, guacamole, dziquilpak (a delicious mayan salsa made out of…wait for it…pumpkin seeds!) with agua de chaya and licuado de mamey. ¡Ayyyy qué rico! Daniel was kind, informative and taught us tons of tricks…all in comprehensible Spanish 🙂
Santa Barbara Cenotes: OK, first of all, how did I not know about cenotes before arriving in Mérida!? They’re amazing limestone caverns, full of water, that you can swim in! There are more than 3000 of them in the Yucatán Peninsula (and certainly many more yet to be discovered)! And remember when I said that the best part about visiting a friend is learning the insider secrets and avoiding the tourist traps?! Becky took us to these incredible cenotes waaaaay off the tourist circuit. They were breathtaking and we had them almost all to ourselves. Seriously, they were the coolest thing I’ve ever seen IN MY LIFE!
Food: Oh the food. If you know me, you know I love to eat. And I love to travel to eat. And man, did we eat well. Mmmmmmm……
And you know what was the icing on the cake? Spending the week with a great group of passionate teachers, who were up for anything, quick to share ideas and resources and quickly became friends! (Hola, Heather, Lisa y Soledad!) I’ve always suspected it but now I’m certain, language teachers are the most fun!
¡Muchas gracias, Becky, por presentarnos tu bella ciudad y darnos una semana inolvidable! ¡Voy a regresar con mi esposo porque tiene que conocer los cenotes de Santa Barbara y la belleza de Yucatán! ¡Un fuerte abrazo, amiga!