I had never been away from home more than a few days, so when my middle school offered an exchange program to Mexico I jumped on the chance. I’d imagine Mexico to be this pre-historic place where people transported on donkeys, ate beans and rice for dinner, and wore sombreros on a daily basis. My ignorance filled by my curiosity led me to sign up for the trip. When I stepped off the plane I was overcome by the amazing mountain scenery that surrounded the city. “It is nicknamed the city of the mountains,” America had explained to me. America was my exchange partner I would be living with for the next three weeks. She and her family were so nice and friendly. They provided me with the history of the city, a few basic Spanish lessons, and information about their culture.
Looking outside the window of the car, all I could see were numerous market places, bumpy back roads, and what seemed like hundreds of houses on top of the enchanting mountains. I was in such concentration of my sightings outside the car that I didn’t even notice what was playing on the radio, Mary J. Blige. I had expected the stereotypical Mexican mariachi band to be the musical choice of Monterrey, yet all I could hear throughout the trip was Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez singing 50 Cent’s “Lollipop.” I laughed knowing they probably had no idea what they were saying or what it meant.
I met America’s friends at a restaurant. I had learned quickly that people in Mexico are one of the nicest people I had ever met. They greeted me with kisses, not afraid of touching someone they did not know, and in the five minutes I had talked to them I felt like I had known them my whole life. They made me feel comfortable and were very curious about my life in the United States. I was bombarded with questions and America was especially eager to tell her friends about the “grills” that guys wore in the U.S. “So they really put diamonds and gold on their teeth, how?” I had so much fun swapping stories and comparing cultures with one another.
When we arrived at America’s house I was surprised at the style and architect of the house. I noticed in Mexico that they hardly use brick to build their houses and they were very open and spacious. After a week of getting accustomed to the excellent, restaurant style meals America’s mom cooked for us and the crazy, out of control NASCAR races that in Mexico they call driving, I learned one important thing. In Mexico they love to party.
During those three weeks I partied more than I had ever done my whole life. Partying in Mexico is a whole other story in itself. In Mexico, it is part of their culture to celebrate anything. Parents allow their children to go out on weekdays, weekends, whenever. Also, their families and older counterparts partied with them. They were enthusiastic to teach me some traditional Mexican dances such as The Jarabe Tapatio and La Raspa. The school I went to in Mexico was an open school they had no windows or doors, but I liked it that way, because it was so fresh and peaceful.
The three weeks went by so fast. America and her family had become my family and her friends became my close friends. I fell in love with Mexico and was not ready to leave. Living with another family from a different country and culture has been the best experience in my life and destroyed my stereotypes of other people
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