Hi, I’m Kayla Gagnon and I went down to the Yucatan with Karla Peña and the Yucatan program 2012-2013. It’s really hard for me to condense my experience and even put it in words because it was very very personal. One difficult obstacle besides not knowing any Spanish at all and being immersed in an entirely Spanish speaking culture, [it] was very humbling to learn other ways of communication. But also, see beautiful amounts of patience that other people have with me and with the people who go down there. Spending over twenty minutes to ask my host mother how to turn on the shower, or where I could find a towel.
And, at the time, those experiences, being semi-stressful and overwhelming, but looking back and seeing how beautifully enriching and worthwhile those experiences and obstacles were. It was definitely really difficult to hear certain things and learn to not only bite my tongue, but to accept that this is just how it is culturally and find the beauty in that.
But because I was in a completely new context, completely new setting, completely new culture, I was able to look at all of those issues that I was trying to leave behind with a completely different mindset, fresh eyes, lighter breath and able to process and assess them in a way that I could not have done here. And I didn’t expect that to happen. I’m still processing and thinking about things that I did, had learned and bringing it back here with me to help me grow.