Let’s Get Talking (Spanish) Again!

auditorium benches chairs class

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With my wedding, my parents coming to visit, I had to stop going to my Spanish class with my teacher for at least 1 month! Then there were holidays here so that added to classes being delayed.

When my Mum and Dad were here I rarely spoke Spanish. I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable and left out when everybody was speaking Spanish. I know that feeling! So I just spoke English while there were here.

Then when they did left, I felt as if I forgot loads of things! I forgot words, verb conjugations, how to form the correct sentences. I really did feel like I forgot everything! I started studying again and I’ve found a Mexican TV show to watch on Netflix when the in-laws aren’t using it, and I think it’s helping me quite a bit. I remember a few words from it and simple phrases. It’s called ‘La casa de las flores’ if you are interested! It’s not something I’d want myself, but I’m getting more interested in it and it’s good for my listening practice.

So today was my first class with my teacher and It turned out well. I was a little apprehensive in case I was struggling to talk, but thankfully I spoke fine. I noticed though that I had been confusing él with ella. He and She. So I’d be talking about my husband with ella and my teacher would constantly repeat el! I didn’t even realise I was doing it. (and this used to drive me crazy with my Chinese students when I was teaching!)

I really enjoy my class though; I can make as many mistakes as I want and she won’t mind. That’s what I like. I’m not judged. (I feel I’m constantly being judged when I speak Spanish around others) She was also all praise about my Spanish too. I really do feel like it’s terrible, so when she congratulates me I really don’t know how to respond. I’d love to agree and know that my speaking ability is good, but at the moment I just can’t. When I’m not with her my Spanish hides and I can’t get the words out! So that’s my problem!

The class kind of reminded me that it’s still in my head somewhere…. I haven’t forgotten it…. and that I can talk with some degree of fluency…. with confidence I might add!

Aisling

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My Parents Have Left

My parents were here, and blink, now they are gone. Back over 12 hours on their plane to Ireland. It’s been a week since they left and the day after they flew I felt quite sad and alone. I’d have no one to drink tea with and, as my dad says “talk shite with”.

What I like about being with my Mam and Dad is that we can comfortably sit together and just not speak. Just being with each other and not having the need to speak is a nice feeling. My husbands family second name should be ‘Talkers’ because they LOVE talking. For me, I’m not a lover of talking; it tires me out to be honest. I prefer listening instead. I suppose I miss that; just sitting outside in the sun together and we are all thinking in our heads about this and that. There’s no forced need to talk, which I feel sometimes happens to my husbands family. They are so used to talking that having any silence just feels awkward.

Both of them have good and bad things about them though.

So yeah, I did miss them a lot when they first went. You know all the times I visited from China, I was never as sad as this time they went. I think it was because In China I had my own independent life, my job, my apartment, my routine to go back to.

I give out about China a lot, especially the behaviour of the people, but I really really did enjoy my life there. There are times I think of going back.

Here I’ve been unhappy for the past few months. I don’t have my own independent life, I don’t have a job, I don’t have a place to live with just me and my husband, I have the most boring routine….

(Plus we still have our obsession with dogs and still haven’t got one because, well my in-laws wouldn’t be pleased)

Yeah, I could get a teaching job earning like €3 an hour. But take out my therapist every week which is €11, then my 2 hours Spanish classes which cost about €21 for 2 hours, then thats like 2 days of work just to pay for those!

Then we have to pay for where to live and all that other stuff. So really it’s just not worth looking for a job here. I know in Mexico city there are a lot more jobs, but to be honest we really don’t want to move there. I don’t particularly like the city; it’s enormous, the traffic is the worst I’ve ever seen (and I’ve lived in China) and the pollution can get really bad too.

traffic-mexico-city

Source: google

The picture above is literally every. single. day in Mexico. I’m not joking. It’s terrible and I really don’t like going to Mexico because every time we’ve went it’s like this.

So for the moment Mexico city is off the cards to live in!

Oh I’ve sort of went off topic quite a bit!! Anyway, back to my parents!

From what I gathered they liked pretty much everything about Mexico; the weather, the people, the small towns. Here are some things they didn’t like (mainly from my Dad)

The food: my dad is a traditional man…. so that means potatoes, meat and vegetables. That’s it. No spices, no condiments. Nothing. Just salt and pepper and a bit of gravy on the food. Anything exotic is a no no. HE DIDN’T EVEN LIKE MANGO!! What the hell? It’s like my favourite fruit! He said…. wait for it………

IT’S TOO SWEET!

(yeah, really)

Another thing he didn’t like were tacos. Yes I know this will be a shock to all Mexican people.

He pretty much didn’t like most Mexican food except pozole, which is a soup with corn and that. This is my favourite Mexican food.

Another thing he didn’t like were all the steps here in Cuernavaca. (it’s a hilly city) I understand this because it can get annoying, especially because they are uneven and the roads are full of holes. You need to pay attention to where you are walking.

He was shocked with the traffic too. From China I’ve gotten used to it so I don’t pay attention anymore, but coming from a small town of 40,000 people, it does take some getting used to.

My Mam on the other hand liked most foods, except tamales, which is a corn thing wrapped in the skin of something ( I really don’t have a clue what it is to be honest) I wasn’t too fussed on it at the beginning either but I grew to like it more. They are filled with different things and can be sweet or savory.

tamale

Tamale. Source: google

I think that was pretty much everything that Mam didn’t like. She told me she misses Mexican food and she’s back to the plain Irish food now. (Irish food is definitely not famous for it’s flavour)

But I’m glad that they visited Mexico. I’m disappointed they didn’t get to see China though. See my life and what we did there. I think it’s one thing that I’m going to be disappointed about forever. China holds a lot of good memories and experiences for me that unfortunately they will never get to see.

But anyway,

Aisling

They Are On The Way!

man holding woman s hand

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So after months of waiting, my parents are on their way to Mexico! Last night I didn’t really get a good night sleep. I knew they were going to the airport and my mind was half on them, half on sleep, so I didn’t really get a good rest. When I woke up I got a message to say they were in Amsterdam airport…Phew! They made it to there, and now they are on their long flight to me!

My parents haven’t travelled on a long haul flight since I was 11, so I was quite apprehensive about it all. But thankfully everything seems to be going great and they should arrive here at around 7:30pm. We will drive to Mexico airport to pick them up and we should arrive home at around 10. Then they can hopefully have a good sleep!

Also the weather seems good today. The past few days it has been cloudy and I was worried for the wedding. I don’t mind that it’s cloudy; a wedding in Ireland without rain (even if it’s really cloudy)  is good weather, so all I want is that it doesn’t rain.

I think it’s going to take some time getting used to Mum and Dad being here. For 5 year’s it has always been me who goes home to visit, so I don’t think my head is going to comprehend that they are actually here in Mexico! I’m really looking forward to seeing them and I hope they enjoy themselves.

Maybe they’ll even want to visit again!

Aisling

What’s the plan for 2019?

man with fireworks

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Well, I don’t know 100% yet….. I’ve been thinking of a few goals that I want to achieve, so I hope I actually do achieve them.

-Learn Spanish. Next year is all about Spanish for me. Study Study Study. For me, this is the main goal of mine. I really want to be able to tick this one off!

-Exercise more. With my wedding only a few months away, I just want to look better and feel better in myself. I just want to be healthier.

–Find a job I like. I don’t even really know what I want to do in my life, even being aged 28. But I just want something that I’ll enjoy doing. I don’t want to wake up and begrudgingly have to go to a job that I don’t like.

-Save money. First I need a job, then I want to save some money. We have been spending our money on travelling rather than saving for the future. Which…. I really don’t think will help us much when we’re older. (and having no savings to actually live)

Of course I still wants LOADS more things, but I think for me these are the important things that I want to achieve. I’ve no idea what will happen next year for us; will we stay in Mexico? Move to Ireland/ Spain…even France could be an option for us. Yeah It’s great to have the option of moving to all these places, and I know that maybe if you have a child or have a stable job that you love, then it’s hard to just ‘move up and go’. But at the same time I would like to have that ‘this is where I’m going to live indefinitely’ feeling. I want to come home to my own house, watch television on my own tv, and have my own bedroom. I don’t particularly enjoy living out of a suitcase either.

Plus I’m 28 and I just feel like it’s time to start thinking of settling down.

So, we’ll see how 2019 turns out!

Aisling

 

 

My Parents Are Coming To Mexico!

aeroplane aircraft airplane aviation

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I can’t believe it myself. It had to take a wedding to get them to come. I should have thought of something like this while in China (as they never visited me there). So wherever I live next, I’ll know that I’ll have to think of something very creative for them to make them think it’s worthwhile to visit me.

Agh but anyway, rant over. . . they are coming and that’s the main thing. I would have loved for them to have stayed for 1 month, but 3 weeks is all they can visit for. They will be here a few days before the wedding, and then after that’s over with, we can think of what to do with them and where to bring them. 

They haven’t been on a long distance plane for…. oh since 2001, when we went to America. So this will be a relatively new experience for them! I’m going to have to write out every detail that will happen at the airport, just so they are prepared for it all. I know they will be stressed so at least if I give them a detailed plan of what will happen and what they need to do, then at least they will know all this in advance . Plus when you get through security it’s easy from then on. 

They have a layover in Amsterdam so we made sure to choose one that wasn’t too short. I had an experience of running to the gate because our layover was ridiculously short. So I don’t want them to have to worry and stress about that. 

I hope that after their trip they will be encouraged to travel more. They have become too settled in their ordinary day to day lives. Even to just visit France or Spain, maybe Portugal. Maybe if I stay in Mexico longer then they will visit again, and we can take them to more places in Mexico. There’s just so many beautiful places here. 

Unfortunately my sister, her fiancé and my two nephews can’t afford to come. I understand completely but I was pretty upset and sad about it. I only plan on having a wedding once and it’s upsetting to know that they won’t be here for it. Or that they won’t be able to see Mexico and where my fiancé is from. So I’m pretty sad about that. But I know that if they did they would have a big loan to pay off and I don’t want them to have to worry about that….. and all this due to my wedding. I’d feel pretty guilty.

But hopefully one day they will be able to visit. I know they would love it here!

Aisling.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 2)

When we travel, we rarely splurge on where we stay. The only exception was when we went to Vietnam and stayed on a fancy boat in Halong Bay: Cruising Down Halong Bay, Vietnam: Our Cruise Boat

My fiancé found a good deal on a hotel in Playa so we jumped at the chance to stay. Because it’s the low season they lowered their prices which we were more than happy to pay!

We stayed at the Occidental Hotel at Xcaret and we really enjoyed it there. The weather was perfect for the two days, and pretty much all we did was relaxed, swam, drank beer and ate food. Also the place is HUGE, with places even off limits only for special members. (They have their own restaurants and pools).  They even have a small shuttle car to bring you from the beach to the main lobby it’s that big!

 

There are monkeys, deer, flamingos and racoons that live in the hotel area and while we were walking back to our hotel building at night we spotted a deer walking among the trees and it was so cool. The buffet breakfast and lunch was also really nice!

Altogether we paid about 80 euro per person per night with food and drink included. So it really was very cheap! I have no idea how much it would be during the high season, and I don’t want to know either! So we were rather sad having to return to our hostel for the next 2 nights.

On our last day we went to Xel-Ha, a nature park where you can do lots of water activites! It was very unique for me, as you’d never find this in Ireland whatsoever. There were cenotes, rivers to swim in, cliffs to jump off, walking trails in the jungle, restaurants to eat at and places to relax. It’s a great place for kids and I’m sure my nephews would love it! Here is the website to check it out: Xel-Ha Park

 

There is a big river where you start at the top and swim down with the current. You can do this by snorkelling or with a floatable chair.  Because the water is mixed with sea water and fresh water, this makes the top of the water cold, but when you put your feet lower  you can feel a current of really warm water! I was shocked when it suddenly got warm around my feet. It was so cool to experience!

After we were swam down the river we got food and walked around the area. We bought a ticket which included food and drink (which also includes alcoholic drinks).

I really enjoyed my time in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area. It’s much quieter during the low season but I can imagine it could get very busy and noisy in the high season!

It’s nice to have seen a different part of Mexico!

To check out Part 1, click here: Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 1)

Where we stayed in Playa Del Carmen: Las Hijas Hostel

We were told by the staff that they were closing and having checked booking.com they have indeed closed, so I won’t write a review for them.

Aisling

Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 1)

Before heading to Cuernavaca, my fiancé wanted to bring me to Playa del Carmen for a week. The flights where also cheaper from Madrid to there than to Mexico city. I have only been to areas around Cuernavaca and to Mexico City, so it was nice to see another part of Mexico!

We went during the low season, and my fiancé said there was a marked difference in tourists. I was a little wary of hurricanes (as it’s hurricane season) but thankfully we just got some rain for the week we were there!

While there, we visited the beach (it’s actually much warmer than I expected). Although the water wasn’t crystal clear because of the large amount of seaweed. They don’t exactly know what has caused this influx of seaweed, but I didn’t mind too much! It was still a lovely area!

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Next we visited Tulum with a tour that we booked. There was a big dark cloud on the way so we got caught in a huge torrent of rain and got soaked! Thankfully we dried off quite quickly though! It was very pretty though with the ruins right beside the sea. And I saw plenty of iguanas too.

After Tulum, we headed to Cobá, where we climbed up a huge Mayan pyramid and took some pictures of the area (which is literally jungle for miles and miles). I heard that this area in Mexico is full of jungle, and I always thought that the trees would be towering high above like what you see on tv in the Amazon. So when we were driving literally in the middle of the jungle, I realised that the trees aren’t that high at all. It’s just that it is so dense with foliage. It would be impossible to walk in it. So I was surprised with that!

Finally we visited a cenote, which is a natural pit with water in it. I didn’t manage to take photos because I didn’t want to get my phone wet, but we swam in the water and it was FREEZING! We went to an underground one, so that made it even colder. Some have open tops so the water isn’t as cold. The depth of these can go for 100’s of metres! It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. Bare in mind, Tulum, Cobá and the cenote were done in 1 day, so we were wrecked when we came back to our hostel!

On our next day trip, we first visited Chichen Itza and I think this was my favourite place that I visited! The pyramid was very impressive! You used to be able to climb up it now unfortunately a tourist fell and died so they stopped allowing visitors up it now. I don’t mind though because I think it would be damaged by the amount of people climbing it. (plus no one will fall now)

There are also also mayan ruins in the area which are also cool to see.

We then visited another cenote, and this time it was an open top one. I also was able to get some photos of this one! The weather was a bit cloudy so the water was a little cold, but not as cold as the first one we visited.

Our last stop for the day was to Valladolid Town, a town that seemed as if it was in the middle of nowhere. It was very cute though and I loved the architecture. We only got to stop for about 15 minutes so we were in a rush to take some nice photos.

The stones that were used in this church were actually taken by the Spanish from Mayan temples to make churches like this one.

Again, another very busy day for us! But next we were going to spend 2 days at an all-inclusive hotel. To read more click here for part 2: Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Part 2)

Aisling