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