The New Normal

The Things I (Already) Know I Will Miss

~ By Tara

I am a couple of days past the one month milestone of living in Isla Mujeres and for me this is always an odd checkpoint. A month is about that point where you have overcome the nervousness of immersing into a new culture, but can still find yourself confused in a new situation. My first day jitters of teaching have gone away, but some days can still bring brand new challenges. The places I used to imagine in my head before I arrived have been replaced by the places I see every day. I have a routine and discovered my new normal.

In this time, I have discovered a few hidden gems and the magic about the Island that I will miss come December. The magic of Isla is the friendliness I have encountered as a teacher in the elementary schools. Each day I am greeted by hundreds smiling kiddos, eager to hug me and always asking if they have English class. The teachers have been warm and welcoming and are always trying to help me out. Whether it be something small like offering me their markers or telling me I can sit in their desk, it is nice to have them supporting me. Sometimes it is bigger things like changing their schedule around to let me teach class early to make it home before the rain or inviting me to have drinks and eat ceviche with them after class. I already know I will miss the teachers as much as the kids when it is time to leave.

A few of my personal favorite hidden gems is the Mercado close to the teacher house. There is a place where you can buy freshly made tortillas for less than 50 cents, fresh fruit and vegetables, or my obsession—limonada. For 25 pesos, I can get ice cold freshly squeezed lemonade in a large cup. I am going to miss the lady who works there who laughs because she already knows my order when I walk up to the window. My second favorite place we have discovered is a small restaurant on our street, we call the “corner restaurant” (very creative). They have empanadas and quesadillas the size of your face and the food is a steal for the size and quality (about $3). The last gem is a small beach near the hotel La Joya. It is a secluded area with a cave and it is a beautiful place to go snorkeling. The water is bright blue and you can enjoy the peace and quiet of a less crowded area.

This is only a small list of the magic I have felt while living here and I know there are still many places left to discover. A month may be short, but a month is long enough to know that Isla Mujeres is a special place filled with welcoming people, who will certainly be missed when I am gone.