Monday, December 14, 2009

"El Aquario"

This past Friday, december 11th, I woke up bored and with an erg to get out on an adventure, so sure enough thats what i set out to do. Got showered, had breakfast and contacted my friend Teo. He replied to my message right away and came by my house to pick me up with in 40 minutes.
How ever our adventure got off to a slow start. We had made plans to go on a kayaking/snorkeling excursion and we were all ready except we forgot the paddles for the kayak. we only realized this after having already having driven 20 minutes almost at our destination. we thought for a bit and then figured we would have to borrow some, because we didn't have that much time to drive back. So after several phone calls and a bit of waiting around we borrowed a pair from Andre's family and a pair from Teo's old work.
We finally had all the equipment ready after about 40 minutes and were ready to go! we picked out the equipment we would bring along and we launched the kayak. As Teo was in the back seat of the kayak fixing up the fishing rods, I was busy paddling away towards our destination of "El Aquario".
As we struggled a bit against the strong ocean winds we admired the crystal clear water and dragged two fishing poles in the water behind us. While in the more open areas of the ocean we had to paddle hard to keep up any speed. As we kept moving i kept asking if we were there yet or where this place was, i just kept getting the answer of "oh a bit further" or "not quite yet".
Then we saw it, after a long while of kayaking we had arrived at "El Aquario". The water was crystal clear, the pelicans were out fishing and there were a few boats coming out of the harbor. the wind from the open ocean was now blocked by the cliffs and we easily kayaked in a bit further. Admiring the crystal clear water and all the surroundings i decided i had to get in and do some snorkeling. we parked the kayak and got on our equipment. I grabbed a bit of water to drink before getting in and then i went ahead and hoped right in, my friend Teo screamed about how cold he thought it was when got in but i enjoyed the refreshing water!
As i was blown away with how much i could see in the clear water I started seeing some amazing sites, a school of angle fish, billions of little jellyfish (that ended up stinging me a whole bunch) many fish i had never seen, beautiful plants and some really interesting star fish that moved like an octopus! how ever after being stung many many times by the little tiny jellyfish i decided to get out for a bit and but on my t-shirt. With my t-shirt on i felt a little more protected and the stings no longer hurt so i decided to get back in for some more.
How ever as i was fixing up my scuba mask and getting ready to jump back in, a giant eel swam past me! i screamed for Teo to get over here as fast as he could, this thing was giant (something like 4 feet long and real fat). we swam over real fast and i told him what i had seen, so we searched for it again, sure enough we found it under a rock, as we admired it it seemed to get scared and tried to scare us off with its big teeth. as we backed off a little bit it came swimming out of the rocks and we could see its great size again.
after it scared us a little bit more we moved on in the search of more cool stuff. we found tons of new fish, including a giant school of metallic fish, and an underwater cave. after practicing my deep diving and searching for a bit longer we started to get a little cold in the water and decided it was time to pack up, we got out of the water only after finding a puffer fish and a second smaller eel.
After back in the kayak we decided to do a little more exploring in the little near by caves and just to have a little more fun kayaking around. after tiring our selves out anymore we started heading back. with a long distance to cover we paddled calmly just chatting away, we finally arrived at the shore, packed it all up, returned the paddles to their owners and got back safe and sound.
It was quite the successful Mexican adventure!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I believe that in some of my past writings i have mentioned the canyon of Nacapule, but just to make sure everyone is on the same page Nacapule is a some what large canyon set back in the Mountains right out side my city. There is a small source of water giving the canyon a some what tropical appearance despite the dry, dry rocky cliffs that showcase the desert climate.
So now that we are all on the same page with the word Nacapule, I've got a small story i thought was worth telling. Just another adventure from here In Mexico.
This past Saturday, the 5th, after sleeping over at my friend Andre's house (from Brazil) Andre, our friend Teo and I headed out with a couple of water bottles and our good hiking clothes in hope to conquer the canyon of Nacapule.
We got a start at about 11:30, as we entered we got of to a slow start as we were goofing around and climbing the cliff ledges and getting of track. after a bit we picked up the pace, we we got further in we saw the first signs of water and then came to our first large obstacle, to continue on we had to climb upward a ways. but sure enough it turned out to be easy, we climbed through a cave and came out other wholes and ended up on top.
As we continued on the little streams of water got stronger and we started finding more wild life, after a failed attempt at catching a frog we picked up the pace yet again. After a good 30 more minutes of hiking we came to a more open area were our friend Teo suggested we take a bit of a side route and climb up this small peak. when we got up there we enjoyed the view for quite some time as it was utterly beautiful. On the way back down Andre and I attempted to catch one of the little Lizards that are all over the place and while doing so we encountered a small scorpion, really pretty animal!
we got back down on ground level and found more wild life which slowed us down before sped up again. As we hiked in further we heard Andre call out "se acabo!", which means its ended or over etc. So here was obstacle number two, very similar to obstacle number one but quite a bit larger. as we first tried rock climbing vertically and climbing the trees in attempt to get up to the next level we realized that was going to work. So we decided to walk back wards a bit and climb up the side of the mountain.
After maneuvering many slender edges and climbing some pretty freaky spots we passed the big road block and were able to climb back down and continue (we were essentially on the other side of a large rock formation that was basically a giant wall we had to climb up and around).
As we kept hiking we continued to enjoy the wildlife and other cool bits and pieces, and soon enough we came to another rock exactly the same as the first one. we had to climb vertically up what appeared to be a dry water fall to continue. So with a lot of care and very calmly we climbed out just to be disappointed by yet another of the same thing. At this point it was getting late and we were super thirsty as we drank all our water much earlier. I attempted to climb this one but it was a bit harder and didn't feel safe.
So we decided to turn around and make our way back. On the way back we faced the same obstacles, scary heights and skinny ledges, we crawled through a little cave and made a water break at a small waterfall (the water at the canyon is clean and drinkable). As i was filling the water bottles i spotted a tarantula, they really are beautiful! First our friend Teo carefully picked it up and then passed it on to me and after i held it in my hand for a bit i passed it on to Andre. It was awesome to hold!
After about 4 and a half hour of action packed hiking and climbing we finally made it back to the car were we packed up and hit the road. we were all exhausted but not with out a reason.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Trip

Today, Tuesday November the 17th, got off to a rather boring start as i woke up a tad sick and didn't end up going to school. As i finally got my self out of bed i decided to make the day productive and jumped into organizing/posting photos and other updates about my time here so far.
After working for quite some time i heard my brother get back from school and that's about when i got the call from my friend Teo. It went something like this "Hey Nick it's Teo, what ya doing right now?" "Nothing" "And what ya doing in a little bit" "Nothing" "well in that case you want to go kayaking with me" "Of Course!" "Ok ill come pick you up in 30 minutes".
So i saved all my work, changed into my swim suit and packed my little back pack with my beach/snorkeling supplies. sure enough by the time i had grabbed a bite to eat, Teo was at my door. we hit the road and drove to this little hotel area, where we had to convince the guard to let us be there. After a bit of talking with the guard Teo compromised to move the car to a public area. Then we got the kayak of the car and onto the beach as well as two fishing poles, a tackle box and our snorkeling equipment.
We wasted no time getting into the water. We hoped in the kayak and picked our destination, we were headed for a small island quite some ways out. As we paddled hard we crashed into and flew over the waves. after battling the waves for quite some time, we made it to the little island (quite the trip). The island was covered in pelicans, quite impressive birds.
as we paddled around a bit we decided on fishing over snorkeling, we paddled a little away from the rocky island and set up the poles. With the poles ready we casted our lines out just as the sun was going down (perfect timing). sure enough with in a few minutes i had a fish on my line. i reeled it in and Teo unhooked it, he showed me the fish and all and then we let it go. we set up the rod again and threw it out there, sure enough in a few minutes i caught another one, same kind (cochenito). only this time while Teo was unhooking the fish another fish bit the small line he was using and pulled it out of the kayak, we both went crazy and Teo dived in after it. He dove under water and had it with in a few seconds. After Teo was back on the kayak safe and sound one more cast got me a third fish.
By then it was getting dark and we had a long journey back to shore. we packed up the fishing poles and headed out. On the way back the waves were on our side and we made it the shore much quicker than the journey out to the island. on the way back we look at some crab traps but didn't see anything in the one we pulled up. At one point we thought we lost the car keys and had a good laugh when Teo remembered were he had put them. after a bit we were back to shore and nice and tired. Teo went for the car and i packed a few things up, he brought the car around closer, we packed up all the equipment and the kayak and we were ready to go.
the trip was a huge success and a huge change of pass to my uneventful tuesday of sitting in my room.

More stories coming soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Weekend In Mexico!!!

So I'm sorry to all that i haven't posted in so long, i don't have much of an excuse besides that i try to post on the weekends and i've been getting caught up in these past weekends, i think you'll see how that could happen after i tell you about this one.
Alright so so getting on about my weekend, lets start with Friday. The weekend kicked off in a good way with an early release from school, i hung out with my brother and his friends for a bit and then headed for home. as the afternoon passed to the night, i started my search for what to do that night, texting and chatting with friends. Then about an hour before i had to be out the door i was told by my friend Andre (brazil) that we had a reunion with the rotarians. so i quick got ready for that and was ready by 8:00 (when they said they'd pick me up) of course after the transfer to mexican time i was picked up at 8:50.
We hit the road right away and headed to some beach front condos in San Carlos, where all the rotarians were meeting. we found them all and did our greetings and what not. at that point we where waiting for the other guests, we waited just talking and having snacks. then they arrived, more and more just flooded in, doctors from the US, medical students and the Mayor of Guaymas!!! so of course knowing english and spanish i was able to converse with everyone there, making it a fun night of meeting all sorts of nice and smart people. As i continued to chat with the group, I found out more about what the medical students and doctors where here for. turns out they had a project with the rotarians (I think it was hosted by the rotarians) to help out the poorer community that has hearing problems. they examined and fitted with hearing aids some where around 400 kids and adults. The night was just filled with chatting with friends, meeting awesome new people, eating great food and just building memories ill always have.
Afterwards i headed to André's house to spend the night there, we ended up staying up pretty late, but after a bunch of poker and bean tacos we called it a night. next morning we woke up with our alarms, ready for the beach! (this is when my weekend really got fun). so we got to our favorite beach (la playa de los condominios pilar) around 10:00 and were ready to have a god day. we walked down to the beach to the best part of it where the ocean forms a little lagoon like body of water. we started just swimming around and enjoying our selves. as time passed we just swam around in different parts, next we headed to a part where you can do flips and dive into the water, we had some fun with that and then got an idea. we took out my camera and started taking photos and video of funny stuff, including pictures of us doing dives, we look like super man in some of them!
after having fun with that for a while we where hanging out when we spotted dolphins not far off the cost. we dashed into the water in attempt to close the distance on the dolphins, as we walked and swam through the water we managed to get a bit closer to them, but nothing super close, but we were for sure close enough to get a pretty sweet view of them as the came to the surface! after chasing, and swimming after them for a while we realized how far our into the ocean we swam! it was time to get back to shore, as we swam back it felt like we would never make it, but of course we made it back just fine with out problems, and wow we gained some good exercise from that!
we were back on the shore but our day at the beach still wasn't finished! we checked the time and made sure we had no missed calls on our cell phones and then headed out for another adventure, this time we swam across a small body of water and made it to another sandy area where large amount of pelicans and other birds flock, at first they flew away but then as we waited in silence some started coming back, we sat around watching the birds eat and socialize, it was pretty interesting. after that we made our way, along a very big, long rocky coast, skipping rocks and finding sea shells, after filling up some pockets with sea shells and skipping a billion rocks we got back in the water and swam our way back. afterwards we checked the time again and found out we had been at the beach for around 5 hours and thought it was about time to head back, we called for our ride and they told us 30 minutes. we went to the pool at the condos to rinse off the salt and sand and to wait for our ride.
My dad picked us up and we headed back to out houses nice and tired, i ended up relaxing a bunch and then friends came over, and we were just hanging for a bit then went to on of our friends house for his birthday, where we hung out with his family and had some great food.
From there we came back to my neighborhood where we hung for a bit before we ended up heading to a party for a while, after the party i just came home and went straight to bed, being as tired as i was.
sunday started off with a nice amount of sleep, woke up round 11:00 made some toast for breakfast and then went to go relax on the computer a bit. then i just hung out for a while with Monica (finland) for a while, just relaxing on a sunday, then i decided i was time to relax and finish this blog post. sunday turned out to be a much needed restful day and friday and saturday where awesome active days with late nights.
(the two photos are from the day at the beach. One is me jumping into the water ad the other is the shadows of Andre and I when we are super happy at the best beach ever.)
the next post wont be as long as last time, stay in touch,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hurricane Jimena!

So I was going to include this post in the other one I just made, but figured i'd give it, its own post.
This weekend has been a new and interesting experience, rather exciting but scary as well. On thursday September 3rd Hurricane Jimena passed through the area of my city. school was canceled both thursday and friday allowing us to watch, explore and experience the storm full on. Through out the day I wrote notes and took pictures of what i saw.
My thursday started off with waking up at about 3:30 into the morning with my mom screaming, turned out there was a gas leak to caused a little fire and she was putting it out when she was screaming. the police came to check stuff out and make sure it was safe, and my dad got home from Tucson. After watching the rain for a bit we headed back to bed. The woke up again around 8:30 or so knowing there was no school! One of the first things i noticed was our room was a little wet. went down stairs and got some breakfast. Starting early in the morning and through out the whole entire day, the electricity went on and off, as well as the internet, phone service, and water supply (the water cut out in the middle of my shower). After breakfast my brother and i rain around in the rain and crazy wind for a bit and then came back to shower off and warm up. As the day went on the same problems continued and the rooms such as our room and the bathroom started flooding, so we were mopping them every once and a while. After a while My brother, dad and I all went on a search to find some bread. While driving through the rivers (streets) and lakes (parking lots) we couldn't find any place that was open. So we went back home for a while only to head out again to explore the destruction and go get some drinking water. Thats when I saw dozens of uprooted trees, flooded everything, stuck cars, destroyed walls and fences, destroyed taco stands (at one there was a guy cleaning stuff up in a boat). Fire fighters and police were rushing around. roads were some what destroyed, it was a mess. After a bit of driving around we saw that some of the OXXOs were open and went there to get some basics for the house, since they were come of the only places open, lines were forming out side them to bye stuff (as seen above).
The strong rain and wind lasted for around 24 hours straight, including the weaker rain and winds it lasted more around 35 hrs. But the sight of destruction didn't end there, in these few days after i have seen cars stuck in mud off the roads, brand new streets torn up, concrete walls completely taken down and a lot more. I saw all of this close to my house but we got lucky, where i live we didn't get the worse of it. how ever surrounding areas weren't that lucky. areas surrounding us got it worse than us, and we got some pretty big damage.
I'm glad i was able to experience a hurricane from a safe spot, if you want to see more photos check out and if you want to here more about the hurricane just leave a comment with what you want and ill fill you in.
Best regards,
Nick Dykstra

Lots to say!

It has been quite some time sense my last blog post thus giving me quite a bit to say. I think ill just kind of go in order, like a time line and recap the things that are worth mentioning.
So first week of school! School started for me on Monday, August 24th and the first day was not easy. I was the new kid, getting all the weird looks, between not having a uniform and having blonde hair i didn't blend in very well. Didn't know anyone, didn't get how the school was run or how the schedule worked, and couldn't understand or communicate with others very well and the school i was going to was a completely different atmosphere, people and all. I didn't think i could do it, but despite my bad feelings about it, i got up the next morning and went again. Sure enough the second day felt a little better, still wasn't feeling great about it but I was glad it went a little smoother than the first day. I kept plugging away, and kind of dragging my self to school, then when i had to time to step back and look at it i could see it getting better, i have now completed 2 weeks of school and I'm feeling better about it. I'm growing more accustomed to the people and atmosphere, and over all I'm realizing that even though I'm not being academically challenged I'm going to learn a lot being in a different atmosphere I'm not accustomed too. On top of that I'm going to learn some amazing stuff, this semester i will learn and practice the basics of scuba diving and next semester i will learn and practice the basics of deep sea fishing! Can't learn that in Wisconsin.
So after a hard first week of school, I had a great weekend to help me recover! I started off the weekend with a party on friday night! It was the birthday party of a friend and by far the biggest birthday party i've ever been to. Held on a rooftop property, there was a dance floor and DJ, amazing tacos and drinks being served, around 100 people and just a great atmosphere! After a great night out with friends i got some good sleep just to prepare for another day out. Woke up saturday morning, relaxed with my brother, and enjoyed a lazy saturday morning. Around 2:00pm we hit the road, grabbed some lunch at a great sea food restaurant by the name of "Cachoreadas". After fueling up we headed to the beach. there we met the two other exchange students and some other family friends. The time was finally here to try wind-surfing! We dragged the giant sails and boards out to the water and set um up. Plamosa, being the only one that already knew how to wind-surf, hopped up on one of the boards and started teaching us. Being to excited to try this out, was the first to jump on the board, of course first thing that happens is the string for puling the sail out of the water snaps on my and i go flipping off the board, only to get right back on! the string was fixed and i was back at it, i went for a long time with little success then gave up the board to let the others give it a shot as i went kayaking around with my dad. after a bit of kayaking i got back on the wind-surfing board as the others got out of the water to rest on the beach. i kept going and going, and couldn't seem to get any where then as i was walking the board out of the rough parts of the beach i cut my foot open but still really wanted to get some where on that board. i kept going and going until i was told i had t get out of the water to leave, sure enough before i left i was moving on the board, it was pretty amazing! i didn't make it super far and do anything impressive but i was moving :-D
We then packed up and finished the night at the movie theatre! Next morning we woke up and got a bit of an earlier start by heading out to our ranch to get ready for company. we set up everything as people started to come, we hosted the other rotarians and there families at our ranch. it was a blast; we had great food (fish tacos), played soccer, hung out, went swimming and had a great time. it was that night that i learned that the older brother of a friend here is one of the exchange students i met while still in the USA, that was a great time. So that is about what my awesome weekend consisted of, i sure didn't want to go back to school after that one!
That is a bit about what i've been up to lately. having some good times here and trying some cool stuff, still loving the food and i can't wait til i have more to tell you!

Comment and stay in touch,

fotos nuevos!!!

Acabo de poner fotos nuevos en mi pagina de Flickr! Hay Muchos nuevos, algunos normales y algunos muy interesantes! Mira! comenta! disfruta!
disafortunablemente, no puedo poner el todo de mis fotos por que Flickr no me deja con un pagina gratis.

p.s. don't miss that i just made two posts (not just one like normal) so make sure you see them both. one is titled "lots to say" and the other "hurricane Jimena"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My First Snorkeling Trip

Today, Sunday August 23rd, i set out on my first snorkeling adventure. It will always be one to remember. I'll Start from the beginning. I woke up at about 9:00 or a little before to my brother yelling my name, I responded and he asked me if i wanted to go snorkeling after breakfast and of course i almost jumped out of my bed with excitement. How ever being very tired i lounged around for a bit in my bed before getting up to take a shower and get breakfast. We hung around the house a bit and had breakfast, thats when i tried Machaca (a dried beef). After Breakfast my dad and i picked up some snacks for the trip to the beach. We left shortly after we got back, first stop we picked up a friend, Plamosa (He is a rotarian as well as the dad i will be staying with in about 5 months when i switch families). From there we went to our ranch for about 30 minutes, we grabbed a tent for the sun and some other equipment for the trip. We then hit the road for the beach. we went to a sweet beach in San Carlos, when we got there the two other exchange students (andre from brazil and monica from finland) as well as two other friends were already there, having arrived about 15 minutes earlier. My brother and i hoped in the water with them right away and just floated around near shore for a little while with our masks on. Then we suited up with the res of our equipment and started snorkeling. At first we were just stayed in by our side of the shore because going out just a small bit you could find rocky areas and see some sweet fish. Then the others asked andre and i if we could swim well, We both replied with a yes. With that answered they told us we we going to swim out to this rocky out-skirt that was a ways out there. I said alright lets do it, so we started going out and i was kind of watching the water the whole way looking at the fish and other wildlife. finally after a long swim and lots of exploring the water in between the shore and the out-skirt we got there. so now we are at this spot with lots of rocks and little reef like areas. So we just kept exploring and thats when i couldn't keep track of all the things i was seeing. I saw probably around 15 or more types of fish, just beautiful bright colors and all different sizes and looks. I saw and found different shells. I saw some plants and I saw tons of sea urchins. I also saw 3 different kinds of star fish as well, i got to see so much i had never seen before. so after a lot of snorkeling around i hoped out and started climbing on the rocky out-skirt with andre, it was sweet and the views were stunningly beautiful, too bad i couldn't swim with my camera out there. we did that for a while and then met up with the others again and then we headed back for the shore. We hung out there for a while, just swimming around a bit, skipping rocks, having sodas and chips and having a good time in the sun. and then after a while we packed everything up and went out to eat, the food was great, and it was a blast i felt like i was communicating so much more, the language was actually getting a tad but easier. We had a nice dinner, i had chicken tacos and a slice of cheese cake for desert, then we hit the road for home. dropped of Plamosa and monica, the foreign exchange student (his daughter) at their house, and then made our way back to our house. Wow I'm tired! it was a blast. Oh yeah and from one day of scuba diving parts of my body are like black. the tan line from where swimming suit covered and my back is like black on white. my stomach and chest are tan as well, as my arms and face, just not as tan as my back. i didn't think about it while i was snorkeling around but the whole time i was going around my back was getting pounded by the sun, but the water was keeping it cool, so i didnt notice. My first snorkeling adventure was a huge success in every way not just the snorkeling part. I feel like I'm finally settling in, I'm trying so many new things and thats just what i wanted.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


for convenience and display reasons im going to be posting the photos on my flickr account rather than here on the blog. I will always try and remember to write a heads-up post here when i put up more photos on my flickr account to make it easier for you. but on flickr the photos will be easier to access and look much nicer.
here is the link....


It's Nothing But New

With only one week down, my head is already tangled in cultural differences, new experiences and sights, food I'm trying for the first time, hot weather and a fast new language (yeah they speak too fast here for the spanish i learned in school). I don't know what to order when i go out to eat, or what half the little treats are in the gas station. All the small information you grow up with and you take for granted, is gone. Its a new world, but don't get me wrong, the differences are fun and the new experiences are great.

After my 22 hour long day of flying, unpacking and not understanding anything that was said to me, I got some sleep and started the next day just like I do at home;relax then breakfast and shower (only they eat way more for breakfast, they thought it was funny that i thought a bowl of cereal and fruit was enough). My first morning continued with relaxing in front of the TV with my younger brother, soon enough it was lunch. I had some home-made tacos, and again we ate quite a bit :) (like dinner in the US lunch is their main meal here). As i continued to communicate with my limited spanish, I ended my first full day with brother, as we tried to play soccer, but couldn't due to field availability. After my first full day I finally realized that they relax in other countries too and that I'm not going to be traveling and seeing the beaches and beautiful sights every minute of my exchange.

Time started to pass faster as i grew slightly more comfortable with my new home. I started meeting new friends and family and tried even more typical foods. I quickly learned the daily pattern; of relaxing in the morning/afternoon and going out at night. After a day or two I started fitting in and started to do a bit more. Even if my spanish wasn't any better, I felt more comfortable embarrassing myself.

On day number 3 or so I wanted to do something with my family, so I told them i wanted to make a smoothie, they didn't really know much about smoothies. So that day I enjoyed making my family a smoothie. My brother, mom and I made a run to the super market, we got the typical groceries as well as smoothie ingredients. they had never really tried a smoothie before, and i love them, so i had to make them one. Sure enough they loved it and wanted to make more the following days.

Another day or two passed and i was headed to San Carlos with my family. After about 2o minutes of driving we grabbed some ice cream, and then headed further into the city. As i stared at the ocean, they pointed out various sights to me, such as a mountain by the name of Tetakawi (breasts of the cobra). this mountain is the most famous peak in the city of San Carlos. As we drove to our destination i gazed at my surroundings with a great big smile. in about 10 minutes we wound up on top of this small mountain, over looking the ocean and rocky coast. i took pictures and checked out the small shops that were up there and then we were on our way. we drove back down and made a stop or two for some photos and then headed to a friends house. These family friends were also hosting a student from brazil. I got the chance to meet him and walk around on the beach with Andre (the student from Brazil) and my younger brother. It was quite the view! Time flew past and it was time to head back. but my night didn't end there, shortly after we got back around 9:30 my brother and i headed out for his friends going away party. there i met lots of new people and got to see a bit more of a popular neighborhood (miramar). Finally after a several hours there we ended our night just to take wake up tomorrow for some more. It took me until this day to realize how fast you can become busy in this culture. One minute you are relaxing in front of the TV, with nothing planned and the next your in the car only to return after 6 hours of adventures.

next day, after relaxing for the morning, i headed to our ranch (about 15 minutes fro our main house) with my brother, mom and dad. there we had lunch with our grandma and a cousin. thats when i fell in love with ceviche (we had it on a tostada, but ceviche reminds me of a sea food pico de gallo with more ingredients). we hung out there for a while, kicking the soccer ball around and swimming in the pool. We headed back around 9:30 and then finished the night with a standard "driving around, listening to music and getting food".

During the ride back from the ranch that night i heard a little but more about my school from my mom. i start school this coming monday and the school is called cet del mar. my mom claims it is the best school for guys and that ill love it. as i began to as more about it I started to realize my mom wasnt lying. i found out ill have the chance to take classes such as scuba diving, kayaking and other sea related classes. The school is on the ocean, and supposedly is like a little island connected with a small walk way. It's suppose to be easy in terms of homework and i've heard its like a year of vacation, because the work is your traditional boring school work. All of this i have just heard from others (in spanish). So when school starts and i see it for my self, ill post some more about it :)

Recently i have continued to do small things from day to day. i have begun to attend rotary meetings, and have met the other two exchange students in this area. I've hung out with past made friends and made new ones. I've played soccer and eaten out 10 times or more in a week. I've done a lot and i just can't remember it all, its hard to sit down and process it all into one blog post at once. As i remember more stuff i want to share, ill have to update you. for now i hope this gives you a good idea of what i've been doing and what has been going on here.

I'll be in touch,

p.s. asking me questions or making suggestions would help me with the whole remembering what else to post.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Im here!

I just arrived in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico yesterday at about 3:30 (5:30 in wisconsin). My flights started bright and early, i left madison at 6:30 and flew into memphis, from there i took a plane to Phoenix and then hoped on a tiny plane with a total of 8 passengers on it and flew into Guaymas. I got off the plane and started sweating right away. The airport here is less then half the size of your typical Walmart so finding my host family, even while i was fighting the heat, wasnt a problem at all, they were 4 of the 12 people in the building. As i continued to sweat my host family welcomed me with a nice meal at this small traditional restaurant where we met up with my older host sister. we ate and then returned to my new house, they showed me around and my host brother helped me unpack. I gave them there gifts and they loved it all! as they day went on we just hung out and i got to know them a bit more, we asked questions about all my responsibilities etc. after that was settled my host sister and mother took me out to show me around the city, i met my rotary chairmen and had a desert called respaldo (This is like an icy but better, it has real fruit and the syrup is real). When i got back i almost went to bed, but then my host sister invited me out with her friends so i couldn't pass up another opportunity to meet people and see new stuff, we drove around in her friends mustang :) and stopped various places, i met probably another 10 people that night and got to see a beautiful sight of the city lights across the water! after driving around and hanging with people we decided to call it a night. After being awake for about 22 hours i crawled into my new bed and fell right asleep!
it feel likes home here but at the same time it doesn't. My host family is so similar to my family in madison and they are so welcoming and helpful, but obviously its not going to feel completely right at first. I guess i had these ideas that when i got here i was going to be blown away instantly with sights of the city and all this beautiful stuff and when that didn't happen right away i thought i didn't like the city. I thought about it and then remembered what previous students had told me, that i must go with an open mind, not expect anything and then ill fall in love with it! so thats what i plan to do in these next few days.
so thats a bit about my arrival here in this completely new country! ill have to tell you more later.
Nick Dykstra

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How I First Dreamt the Dream

My interest began my sophomore year of high school when a presentation was given in our spanish class about an organization by the name of Amigos de las Americas. This organization worked to send high school students on trips abroad to less fortunate areas of various SouthAmerican countries during the summer to live as a part of their host family and help improve the community through leading volunteer projects. I Attended a meeting regarding this program but then shortly shied away from it when I didn't see too much enthusiasm from my mom.
But i just wasn't satisfied, i had to study abroad some way or another. As my year progressed i heard rumors of a friend studying abroad in Chile. A few nights later i was on the phone with her asking her what program she was studying with and all the details she knew. As i listened to her describe it, I knew it was the one i wanted to be a part of. It was in my price range, it was a full year long and a couple friends were already doing it! She told me it went by the name of Rotary International Youth Exchange. She gave me the website and that night i was already telling my parents all about it.
Of course the reaction i got from my parents was an immediate no. They wouldn't let me be gone for so long, they said it was to expensive. Right away i jumped on it, i called the program found out more information, got the application going and planned a meeting with a district chair (to help convince my parents). With a little help from my parents i was able to whip together the intensive application in no time, the meeting proved to be great. (I later became good friends and have a close connection with the district chair, Judy Levine)
I soon heard i was accepted and that i would be a part of their program. At this point you could still opt out and I hadn't locked my parents in yet. So i Just kept going and before you knew it I had my country assignment of Mexico. Now I had to make the decision if I was going to do it or not, and luckily my long hours or nagging my parents about it payed off, I was in! We payed the initial fee and officially said we wanted to take part in Rotary Youth Exchange.
Conferences started, and more paper work came our way. I started meeting with my sponsoring club and then one day in my inbox i found an email from Sinai Banco-Vargas, who's family i quickly learned would be hosting me in the city of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico.
by this time school was out and my mind couldn't go anywhere but my future trip abroad. more work to be done and things to be figured trickled our way and we dealt with them as they came. Another conference in Michigan came and went with unbelievable memories and new friendships.
Everything began to fall into place, because i had made it, i was now and for ever a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.
I thought it was to expensive, I thought it was too much work, I thought I couldn't handle another language, I thought I couldn't leave for that long, I thought my parents wouldn't let me. I thought a lot of things, but I never thought I'd be leaving in a few weeks to live in another country for an entire year.

Getting Ready For The Year Abroad

As my departure date creeps closer and closer, now inside three weeks, there is always something to get done. The start to my year abroad is so close and i don't know what to think, my thoughts and ideas fluctuate from minute to minute. Im excited out of my mind, but I'm Scared. I'm open minded to a new year but I'm nervous of what it could bring. I'm ready to see new things and meet new people but not ready to say goodbye to friends and family. All these thoughts and ideas all in one days play. This year will be one to remember, thats no question, but its easier said than done. There is a lot of work involved with the program and preparing for such a big step in my life. A lot more than buying a plane ticket and packing a suitcase. emotionally and physically a lot is put into it, but only because i know the rewards will be twice as big. As that date gets closer and closer, i just can't wait, i just can't believe its happening, i just can't wait.

I'm excited but not with out nerve, I'm excited but not with out reason.