Stephanie N.

Fall–Spring 2009–2010

“I’ll have the cow udder taco please.”

Eating something for dinner that you’ve never even considered putting in your mouth before is one of those experiences that you can’t imagine what it will be like until it arrives. My first bite into the porous, light brown slab of meat captured the essence of almost every one of the 352 days I spent in Mexico. Everywhere I went, my senses were bombarded with new sights, sounds, and tastes. Everyone I met challenged my previously conceived notions about lifestyles and social customs in ways that I hadn’t considered before.

The people I interacted with made the year valuable and unforgettable. They taught me the local slang, showed me they best places to get a hot chocolate, raised their eyebrows at my ridiculous attempts to dance, and laughed at my language blunders. Although I struggled initially with my less-than-outgoing personality and the shock of being in a country where I didn’t know a single person but myself, I eventually grew close to a few friends with whom I discovered common interests or similar personality quirks. Without a doubt, the people I met in Puebla, who nudged me out of my comfort zone while simultaneously welcoming me into their lives, made this the amazing year that it was. I hope to return to Puebla to thank these people for what they have given me, and I hope that other students in the future can experience this profound connection too, in their own way … and try some new foods while they’re at it!