“My” Isla Mujeres student is graduating from university!

Isla Mujeres Scholarship Group, especially Team Alejandra are proud to announce that Alejandra will be graduating from university in Merida on Friday with a K-12 teaching certificate.

I have been one of Alejandra’s co-sponsors for three of her four years at university. Unfortunately I have only had two opportunities to visit with Alejandra while she was home on school holidays. However, on my frequent trips to Isla I often saw her mother Juana. I would pass Juana almost daily on my way to and from the beach. We often just waved or hugged as neither of us speak the other’s language fluently.

We are hoping to have photos to post after her graduation ceremony. Alejandra wants to teach kindergarten because “everyone needs to start school”. Alejandra’s preference is to teach on Isla but said that she will work wherever she can find a job. Finishing university is a HUGE accomplishment for Alejandra. Last July Alejandra had a baby. Even with the birth of her son Angel she was determined to complete university. Alejandra’s aunt in Merida has been watching Angel while she is at school. Alejandra’s university education will make her dream a reality. By doing so her entire family will benefit. In addition to the university costs incurred Alejandra’s mother is supporting her family by selling wraps/pareos on the beach to tourist.

Things we learned:

▪                Most Mexican university programs like the one that Alejandra is attending are strict 4 year programs. There is no stopping in the middle of it. If a student drops then later wants to complete the program they must start from the beginning. This is very different from the USA college system where many students take much longer than 4 years to complete their studies to receive a degree.

▪                In order for Alejandra to be able to apply for work as a teacher after she graduates in June she needs to obtain a “Titilo” (license). The license is $9,000 pesos, Depending on the exchange rate that is around $750 – $765 US. Every graduate who wants to get licensed to practice what they studied will need to pay for this.

▪                It came as a surprise to Team Alejandra a month or so ago to find out that she did not have her own computer. Had we known that earlier we would have made it possible for her to receive one. Not having her own computer had to make it difficult or at least inconvenient for Alejandra to complete the work her studies required.

The Isla Mujeres Scholarship Group is a great program for those of us who are “Islaholics” to pay to it forward to the people and island that we love.

Alejandra and her son Angel. Photo taken in January at the Mango Cafe on Isla Mujeres.

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Photo Friday – People

Revolution Day parade

 

 

Dancing in the zocola

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday – Dos sunsets

Lines – Photo Friday

Photo Friday – Lines

The “day trippers” heading back to Cancun from their brief visit to Isla Mujeres.

Wordless Wednesday

Meeting with the Isla Mujeres student I sponsor

One of the other co-sponsors of Alejandra; the Isla Mujeres student I assist with university expenses met with her and her family for breakfast this morning. Maggie who runs La Gloria English School made the arrangements and came along to help interpret.

When Alejandra goes back to Merida she will take her exams for last semester. She feels good about them and thinks she will do well. She has a proven track record of maintaining excellent grades through high school and university. Alejandra has one semester left before she graduates with certification to teach K-12. She wants to teach kindergarten because “everyone needs to start school”. Alejandra’s preference is to teach on Isla but said that she will work wherever she can find a job. Finishing university will be a huge accomplishment for Alejandra. Prior to Alejandra’s mother asking Maggie if she could become part of the Isla student sponsorship program her family struggled to help her make if financially. I wrote about this before but mom Juana was supporting the family by selling pareos on the beach. Not a lot of money to be made doing that.

Last July Alejandra had a baby. Even with the birth of her son Angel she was determined to complete university. Alejandra’s aunt in Merida watches Angel while she is at school. There is no taking time off and then continuing on with already earned credits. If she had taken time off she would have had to start her four year program all over again. Alejandra’s education is truly a family event.

I am so proud of Alejandra!

Isla trip with family and friends October 1 – 10, 2010

I have been traveling to Isla four times a year for the last several years but I only post a trip report about once a year. This trip was very different for me. My daughter Tara, her husband Kelly and two other couples were there staying in a house on the airport strip. Allie, my 22 year old nice and her friend Lisa came down for just a quick four night stay. They stayed with me in the apartment that I rent year round with a friend. Usually my friend Denise and I are on the island at the same time or I am staying by myself.

Seeing Isla through Allie and Lisa’s newbie’s eyes was fun. Also two of my daughter’s friends had never been to Isla before.

Although Tara, Kelly and two of the friends flew down the same day that I did we were on different flights/airlines. I was scheduled to arrive in Cancun about 30 minutes after them. My flight left Houston late so they all had to wait for almost two hours at the bar outside the arrival area.  Oh, darn they had to start drinking cervezas before me.

I had booked a complicated set of rides to and from the airport with AGI. Thankfully Javier and Lisa understood what arrangements I needed. I was leaving on the 10th on a 1:30 flight, Tara and Kelly leaving the 10th but on a 4:00 flight, Kim and Rob leaving on the 13th and Allie and Lisa arriving on the 4th and leaving on the 8th. When we got to the ferry dock I paid in full for all of the roundtrips so that was taken care. Our driver on the way to the ferry asked if we wanted cold beer. He stopped at OXXO and ran in and bought us two six packs of Sol for the drive and ferry ride.

Tara and Kelly and their friends stayed out on the airport strip at Villa Tranquila. VT is a beautiful home with killer views from every floor.

Kelly was excited to be on vacation on Isla for the first time in almost four years. The highlight of the vacation for Kelly was that he got to hold a baby turtle and release it at the turtle release October 2nd at Playa Media Luna. He has a video of it on his cell phone but said the file is too big to email it to me.

Looking south from VT

The three guys rigged up a pulley utilizing a golf cart to get the massage table up on the rooftop. My daughter was scared to watch since she thought that the rope was going to break and someone would get hurt.  Once they got the table to the rooftop they said it would have been easier to carry it up the narrow spiral staircase. But hey guys will be guys!

Sunday night we went to the Soggy Pesos for the barbeque ribs. Some of us had the combo plate, ribs, chicken and sausage. Both the combo and the rib plate come with a healthy scoop of really good potato salad, black bean corn salad and corn bread. It looked like we had a ton of food on the table but I was the only one who took leftovers home. We were the only customers so Fredy wanted to buy us a drink. He made these shooters with tequila, Kahula, Coke and one other ingredient that I can’t remember.

Allie and Lisa had plans to do “everything” which included swimming with the dolphins and Garrafon’s zip line. After the first day on the beach at Sergio’s being served strawberry daiquiris by Rogelio they were content to just spend every day at the beach.

Each day I drove them around and showed them the island. They loved to just take the full loop drive around. I took them into the colonias so they could see more of the island. One night I tried to find the “crayola” house but got started too far south and we drove around and around for a long time and didn’t find the house. We were laughing hysterically at times because we started to use the dogs lying in the streets as our landmarks to tell if we had already driven down that street. A couple of days later after visiting the turtle farm I drove down a street on the opposite side of the salina where I knew I could see that back of the house to get my bearings.  Then I was able to find the house so they could see it close up. They also wanted to go into the Super Express in La Gloria so that they could say they shopped at a real Mexican grocery store.

Allie, Lisa and I visited the turtle farm. Lisa must have asked me a dozen times if they could hold the babies. Every time we went to a different tank she asked, “do you think we can hold these?”

The girls and I had breakfast at Bally Hoo one morning. I had the Island wrap and the girls had scrambled eggs with bacon. Thanks Isla Gringo for the recommendation. He even showed up that morning and said hola and we chatted for a couple of minutes.

Two girls, four nights and a whole lot of their crap.

Allie and Lisa sad to leave Isla. They will be back!

My daughter, her husband, her friends and I having tequila shots at Adelita’s.

This was my Breakfast Trio at the Rooster Cafe my last morning. This was the morning that I went out of my apartment to find my golf cart was gone. My friend Jeri and I drove around until we finally found it across town parked in front of some apartments. It had gas and started so I was ready to go eat.

Tara’s friends Kim and Rob were scheduled to fly home today but due to Hurricane Paula their flight was cancelled. They are “stuck” on Isla until Friday afternoon. I can think of a lot worse places to be stuck.

That’s it for this trip. Next trip booked for Christmas time. I will be on the island for almost a month then.