I was an exchange student in Mexico. Twice.

Well it wasn’t an exchange program actually, although some of my best friends were exchange students! haha After I moved out of the house my mom ended up hosting a few exchange students from Mexico. That was an interesting program. They’d take one Canadian and one Mexican, and have them hosted in different towns away from where they lived in both countries. And I think they found them jobs and stuff too. It was a pretty cool way to learn each others’ cultures and languages.

Anyway back to me. A lot of you know I learned some Spanish in university or whatever, but did you know I attended two university programs in two different parts of Mexico? Once in Colima (where there is an active volcano!!) and once in Xalapa.

I have a few film photographs from the first trip, and I have a few crappy digital photos from the second. I only wish I had my drive for photography like I do now because I swear every day I saw a thousand interesting things but had no interest in recording them.

Thinking on it now, I am wondering if me blogging and me liking to take pictures are related, because I just started blogging “seriously” after I got back from Xalapa. Hm.

Anyway Caitlin has been sharing a few of her adventures during her time studying in Russia, and it has inspired me to share a couple highlights of my time in Xalapa, Mexico. And maybe the Colima pictures too, eventually. They’re funny actually quite embarrassing. I was going through a bit of an awkward stage where being goth wasn’t really my thing anymore but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. There are plenty of photos of me wearing baggy black cargo pants that are just a more casual version of men’s bondage pants. Not pretty. And then I was also a blonde 22 year old in a bikini. I don’t know how to feel about it.

So here are a few photos from my time in Xalapa, Mexico. Oh, and I had super long dreadlocks. Because who brushes their hair? Seriously.

Today I’m just going to share pictures from my 25th birthday. Three other Canadians and I all came together and figured out how to rent a huge two story condo, (quite an accomplishment in a foreign country if I do say so myself) so we were often the hosts of large parties on the weekends. This picture is symbolic because somehow they all started calling me the “black balloon” of the household. In a nice way? I kind of forget why.

There’s even a short (drunk) video I took of a djembe player who ended up entertaining us for a bit. You can’t see but there was another guy drumming on an empty water jug.

And the next day we went on a hungover trip to a tiny little town called Xico, it’s surrounded by jungle, banana trees, mountains, farms and HUGE waterfalls. We were quite proud of ourselves on this trip because we figured out how to take public transportation rather than the expensive ADO buses to get there. Plus we hiked uphill for HOURS. When we got home we sat around with wine and played Settlers of Catan. This was my most memorable birthday I’ve ever had. It was wonderful.

Look at this happy family … and how bare my arms are!! Barely any tattoos at all. That’s weird to see because back then I felt like I had SO MANY.

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