I know what you’re thinking. First you’re thinking, “Well it’s about time we heard from you again!”. Next you’re thinking, “Wait, why are you writing about Mexico? Been there, done that, Shermanos!”.
You are right. It has been awhile since an update and yes, we have already been to Mexico. But we went back for a wee bit! One of the things we try to do is meet up with other families who are doing similar things we are. It can be a solitary life on the road, and although we meet local people where we are living, it’s still hard to find the deep connection that comes from leading a similar path outside of one’s home country. So when we heard about a conference taking place in Mexico for Worldschooling families, we felt like we should go and meet some new friends! And by “we” I mean “the girls and I”. Dan determined that he was very busy
washing his hair and could not go. If you know Dan at all, you know this conference thing is just not his scene. I mean, there will be people there. So already we’ve got one strike. And it’s colder than in Medellin. Two strikes. So he felt like this would be a good time to get some stuff done in the USA, namely seeing his dad and eating donuts. He likes going to the USA by himself. No naggy family members dictating where we eat for dinner, he can have some good solitary time in his favorite country and he can control the shopping. Although I discovered that I could order Amazon and have it sent to our PO box for Dan to pick up, so that strategy failed.
We’ve attended several conferences like this before. We went to the first summit in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. And almost exactly a year ago we were attending one in South Africa. The girls and I knew the social time would be off the charts and we were right!
Make New Friends But Keep The Old
We had some online friends we had to meet, namely the Cate Family, whom we have known for 18 months but never actually met in person. Jamie and I both lived in Gilbert before leaving on our journeys (although we were completely unaware of each other back then) so we have a lot of the same favorite hangouts and, coincidentally enough, even a few friends in common. We have kids approximately the same age, with many common interests (read: it involves the internet and rhymes with “midio tames”). Jamie and I are both admins on a Worldschooling Facebook group and we talk online almost daily. So the time had finally come for us to meet in person. This was epic!
But not all our meet ups were new friends. We met some crazy fun Worldschoolers in Thailand and we were happy to hear they would be in Mexico too. With girls very similar in ages to ours, we got to hang out once again, and this time we lived together for a week in an Airbnb!
And of course there are new friends. Just across the hall (as in, 3 feet from our door!) in another Airbnb apartment, there was another Worldschooling family here for the summit. With yet MORE KIDS in this same age range, they joined the gaggle. These 4 families created a group of 13, which was formidable as we wandered around town, through markets, and we made quite the scene when we showed up at small restaurants looking for tacos. Our winning formula was hanging out at large plazas where the adults could talk about everything under the sun, and the kids could play tag and any other game they could dream up. The weather in Guanajuato is sunny most of the time, but a lot cooler than Medellin. But middle of the day outside games were just fine.
This is kind of an interesting town. It was nice to be back in Mexico to see things that are familiar (and eat yummy tacos) but this was a new area for us to explore. Guanajuato (which will hereafter be referred to as GTO because I am so tired of typing that crazy word) was settled in the 1500s and is tucked into the mountainsides, so there are crazy hills to navigate, similar to Medellin. Unlike Medellin however, they use a lot of tunnels to navigate around the city. Some of these tunnels are really long, they have exits all to themselves, they have a parking lane, stairs up to the street and even full sidewalks on each side! Tunnels are fun, except when you are trying to use GPS and it loses service in the tunnels.
This is a town of musicians. As you walk down the street you see tons of people wandering around playing, strumming, carrying an instrument or enjoying the street music. Our pack of kids was inspired so our 3 ukulele players in the group promptly began jamming and creating new plans for the Summit’s talent show. It was so neat to see Zoe enjoying her ukulele and singing with other Worldschoolers.
I didn’t hang out with Haley much during our time in GTO. As a teen, she was asked to volunteer her time with the kids’ club, in the role of a group leader. She did this very successfully 2 years ago and she was more than ready to step into the role again. Shortly after landing in GTO I sent her off to live with Lainie, who was the organizer of the retreat she participated in while we were in Thailand. I only bumped into Haley periodically after that. It’s kind of strange to send your kid off with some money, tell her to get enough sleep, eat well and have fun… in a new town… in Mexico! It’s crazy AND cool. But she had a great time and I loved seeing her reunite with some friends she met on the retreat and flex her new Independence Muscle.
The actual week of the conference happened to have a freak weather pattern move through on 2 of the days. It was cold. REALLY cold. The conference venue did not have heat so we all layered up as much as we could and consumed a lot of Mexican hot chocolate (#sorrynotsorry). The kids’ program took place almost entirely outdoors so we had a lot of noisy kids coming into the conference venue those two days. Thankfully it warmed up on day 3 and mother nature played a cruel trick on us by actually giving our kids sunburns when we were completely oblivious to that possibility.
I gave a short presentation at the summit, entitled “How to Stay Sane While Worldschooling”. The irony is strong in this one. The presentation really was about how I’m actually INsane but I still manage to get up and get dressed every day, and somehow go to different countries sometimes. I think people appreciated hearing that just because you travel doesn’t mean your family is a well-oiled machine at all times, and that there’s room for insanity in travel too. The girls participated fully in the presentation and we only threw Dan under the bus a few times. That’s what you get for going to the USA without us, Honey!
But I wasn’t the only one who participated in the Summit. Haley took part in a teen panel designed to reassure parents that despite all the crazy different educational techniques and whirlwind travel, the kids do really turn out OK. I was happy to hear that.
Zoe did her part at the talent show by playing a fabulous Worldschool-y song by Shakira called “Try Everything”. There were tears of joy and pride, I assure you. If you have a moment or two, watch her video!
Home Sweet Home
But all good things must come to an end and by the 12th day we were ready to go “home” to Colombia. You get a good sense for how you feel about a country once you leave it and then go back. I liked seeing familiar things in Mexico but I was happy to go back to our sweet digs in Medellin. We were greeted at the airport with big hugs and kisses by our good taxi friend Ramiro, who chatted all the way to our house. The door guards had big smiles for us and wanted to know all about our trip and were very appreciative of our little candies we brought back. And the girls returned to school (where they were greeted with many more questions) with gifts from Mexico for their school friends, which were well received.
We don’t have any more trips planned at the moment, but we have a calendar that is pretty active with people coming to visit. The Cate family arrives for their indefinite Colombian stay at the end of this week. The other 2 families that we hung out with in GTO also have plans to join us here later in the year. And each month we have someone new visiting and we will enjoy showing them around our home. You, too, could be the lucky recipient of the Shermano Family Tour of Medellin. Book your spot on our calendar today. And then be sure to give me your address so I can have Amazon deliver stuff for you to bring me.