It’s not all Tacos and Tequila… promise!

Our first month- adjusting to life in Isla Mujeres

~ By Jo

I can’t believe it’s a been a month already… how time flies on la Isla… with its stunning sunsets and orange skies, turquoise waters and powder white sand, our lovely neighbours and the friendly community we have been completely welcomed in to. New lifelong friends, Tacos, Tortas and more avocados than you can shake a stick at… yum! I’m completely in love with Mexico and this gorgeous little Caribbean Island that I am temporarily calling home. Yes, this is my temporary home!

We’ve spent our first month adjusting to life in Isla Mujeres and our new lives as teachers…. away from the home comforts, (OK, I will admit it I’ve bought Marmite and tea bags from home and we may have already eaten our way through a big bag of Peanut Butter M and M’s from the US.) the cooler climates and insect-less lives that we’re completely accustomed to.

In the first month we have faced obstacles… cultural differences, new climates, new experiences… we’ve found larvae in our water, termites in our chairs, woken up with cockroaches next to our beds, and our ankles covered in mosquito bites.

I’ve already dropped my laptop on a hard floor with little hope of repair, bye bye touch screen, hello cracked screen. We fill our washing machine from a hose pipe and have a resident toad outside our front door every night who we’ve named Fred. I’m no longer instantly available on every messaging service 24/7 with my phone plan. We fall asleep to the sounds of children still out playing at 10.30pm, whistles, vendors still selling their goods and beeping their horns, and wake up to the tune of the gas man’s truck “zeta zeta zeta gas!” (It’s very catchy!) And sometimes it’s just feels so hot that you just want to climb into the fridge when you get home from a day at school… Like I said it’s not all Tacos and Tequila… promise!

But would I exchange the Island life for the alternative grey skies of London, a stranger’s sweaty armpit in my face whilst stood on the tube on a morning commute, being rushed along with a crowd of people, and then being sat at a desk in a windowless, airless room? Erm, I don’t think so…

An early morning walk around the Selina Grande, or to the local market and you’re greeted by smiley neighbours who want to stop you and say hello, you see your students as you walk down the road “teacher teacher!”… and a huge smile, you’ll see parents, fellow colleagues and strangers who will go out of their way to greet you and speak to you…. that’s my kind of morning commute.

Views from Summer Camp are gorgeous and blue, with the occasional yacht going past, the niños are excited to see you and learn from you. Life is different, it’s calmer, more relaxed… and yes, it is taking some adjusting and getting used to, but when you take a step back and remember why you’re here, and have the support of the Volunquest team, such stunning views like the sun setting over the ocean at the end of the week and so many smiling, friendly faces every day welcoming you in, the things we’re adjusting to become so miniscule and don’t matter anymore. Who cares about a few cracks on a laptop screen? Or whether the cast of Bug’s Life come in the house to say hello occasionally?

Like the children that we’re teaching, we are also learning… learning to live in a different culture, in a different climate, more relaxed, learning to live more simply, with less and most importantly learning how to order Tacos in Spanish. I am so excited for the next 5 months of our Volunquest adventure!