Now I am very aware that my Spanish is nowhere near a standard that could even pass my feeble few attempts as Spanish at all but Te Amo Queretaro! This city has my heart. After a wonderful, hot day looking at pyramids at Teotihuacan and diving deeper into indigenous tribal cultures in Mexico we took a long bus ride to the Queretaro Tec Campus where we would be spending the next week. The facilities were beautiful and we quickly found out that we were the first residents to live here as it was a new building. Talk about spoilt!
I don’t think I can count how many times this week I have said how blessed we are for this opportunity. The new friends, experiences, and teachings being here has provided, just brings me to a state of utter disbelief. On Monday we started the day with classes from our Professor who is coming with us around Mexico, followed by classes with a new Professor for our Enterprise, Culture and Business class. I finished off the day with a very very long trip at my first-ever Walmart. (Please NZ, allow them to expand to our country)
Tuesday a group of us went and explored downtown Queretaro for the afternoon. The history and architecture of the buildings is astounding. Everything is vibrant with stalls and little shops with prices you just wouldn’t see anywhere in New Zealand. One little shop had a new puppy that was a few weeks old and of course we couldn’t resist and all had a little cuddle and play. We shopped and looked around, bought ice creams to combat the heat and finally all met back up again to go to a free concert. Turns out it wasn’t what we expected so after some cheeky 2 for 1 Margaritas we headed back to campus for dangerously cheap but delicious Tacos and Medias Gringos.
Wednesday… what a day. After our two educational classes we had a Salsa class! Only confirming my two left feet and lack of dance co-ordination. However, I had a great time laughing at myself and seeing a few kiwis with a lot more talent than I possess in my little finger. Wednesday also proved a lack of food culture for NZ and Australia when we were challenged to make national dishes from our country for everyone to share for dinner. After cooking chicken nuggets from the Aussies, Fish and Chups (both very tasty) + a very salty onion dip due to the onion soup substitute and fairy bread from us we tried everyone else’s dishes. It put us to absolute shame but everything (minus the dip) was demolished. Luckily we adopted my gorgeous Danish roomie in the first week, so she saved us a little with her incredible cinnamon swirls. We then popped over to the residence mini movie theatre and watched a classic Mexican comedy. 10/10.
Thursday we visited not one but two businesses! We started our day at La Corona, which produces cleaning products and oils (not the beer). The staff were lovely, informative and it was a really really interesting visit. We were also given a gift bag to take home so I am looking forward to using these at my flat! Our second visit was at Santa Marina Ranch which is an organic, essentially no-waste business. It was really interesting to hear their sustainability values which includes using all animals top to tail, giving animals a long and well-lived life, only providing from the farm and to be a full circle eco-system. We also ate at their restaurant which whilst a little more expensive was fresh, super tasty and all provided from their own growing’s. After a super quick tour we had a lovely wine and cheese tasting, also all from their own resources before we hopped back on the bus to head home. The facilities at the University meant that we could cook our own dinner despite limited utensils so Jess and I cooked a great Chorizo and tomato mac and cheese. *Chef’s kiss*
Fri-yay!!! After a super-packed week Friday wasn’t any different. After finishing off classes with some Beach volleyball, we all got ready and headed out for a big group dinner at a mexican-german fusion restaurant called Hercules. However, Jess, Hayley, Sophie and I accidentally went to the wrong restaurant, after being told where the right restaurant was we went and waited for an uber. Some lovely people heard our accents and came to introduce themselves and their brand new puppy. Whilst talking to them I made the fattest blooper of the week and made myself a team meme whilst absolutely embarrassing the living daylights out of myself. Eventually we made it to the right Hercules. The food was to die for and portions were so big there was no choice but to split the meals. After dinner we tried our hand at practicing the dance moves from the Salsa class a couple days before. Although a bit of a fail and deciding jumping up and down on the spot was the best we could do, we met lots of amazing kind people that we like to now call friends!
Saturday in San Miguel. The hour drive here was worth it. Everyone dressed up lovely for a day out in the Magic town of San Miguel. One street down from where we were dropped off was a parade to celebrate 40 years of Volunteer Firefighters. It was a super joyous occasion and super cool to see. We then started off with a hearty brekkie at ‘Inside Cafe’ a small multi-story cafe owned by a Mexican and his Kiwi wife! The food in my opinion was way underpriced and the Cafe was absolutely full but I am not complaining! I had a pink chai latte which was made with beetroot powder… and I know what you are thinking but there was not one person who ordered this and didn’t say it was the best Chai they had ever had. I also had a mixed veggie bowl from breakfast (weird? Yes, worth it? double yes) and by the end of it I was so full I didn’t eat anything until dinner. We browsed the town and the sights and if I explained everything in detail San Miguel may as well have its own blog post. In the heat, Renee, Jess, Melissa and I went to a rooftop bar for cheeky mocktails. I have never felt like such a high class citizen in my life. The views, the service and everything was absolutely insane. I truly just wanted to freeze time.
After exploring all we could, trying all the ice-cream flavours possible from the street ice-cream vendor, lowkey crashing and watching a wedding and quinceanera celebration it was time to go home. Although we were all exhausted, we had a quick nap in the van and five of us decided to go to a games night and more dancing with the new friends we made from the night before. We had a light dinner since we were still feeling pretty solid from breakfast before meeting our mates and having one of the most wholesome, fun nights ever. My stomach was in pain from laughing so hard and my throat hoarse from the singing. Then Sunday came around far too quickly.
In NZ one of my favourite days of the week is a Sunday. But this was a hard one! Saying goodbye to Queretaro was difficult. The city, the life, the campus and the people were the best we have experienced so far and although we have two weeks to go… it will be hard to beat. We finished off our week with a pool party, beach volley and burgers thanks to the residence hall and then headed on our way to our next destination. I will see y’all in Leon.
Bloopers of the week:
-I got confused with some Spanish words and instead of saying I loved the shawl I was buying I told the market stand owner I loved him
-Meme quote: “Ain’t no party like an international party” (said with an arm pump)
-Thought I had lost my handbag and bought a new deodorant just to find it in the one drawer I forgot existed a couple days later
-Jack forgot to set an alarm so we left him behind when we went to San Miguel (sorry Jack)
-Everyone kept getting sick this week!
-I didn’t like my ice cream on Tuesday so forced to Jess swap with me (not really she’s just very nice and offered and I didn’t say no)
-Food at the ranch was so expensive half the group got kids meals to save money
-We had to get help from an old couple near Hercules because none of us could get reception to get an Uber and when we finally did they kept cancelling 🙁 (spoiler: obvi we got one)
-Two of my photos won’t turn the right way and I am technologically inept so RIP me