Hospitality, a UWC mentality

5 Jan

Friday morning, 2nd of January, 12 PM.

As Jimena’s mother walks up to me, she asks me what I want to eat for breakfast. “Fruits? Papayas and wabas? Or would you rather eat meat? Taco’s with Baracoa?” For a minute more, names of other Mexican delights are thrown at me. Finally, I choose for some fruits of which I’ve never heard before. During breakfast, Jimena tells me and the other guests about a very beautiful little town, where she wants to take us today: Tepotzotlán. Meanwhile, Jimena’s sister tries to teach me all the fruit names in Spanish. I realize that this is real hospitality.

Together with Eliza (Romania ’16) and Yuehan (China ’15), I spent my entire winter break at Jimena’s place (Mexico ’16). Besides being one of my best friends, Jimena lives in the same hallway in Chumolungma, one of the girl dorms at UWC-USA. For shorter amounts of time, Whare (New Zealand ’16), Victor (Mexico ’16), Mojia (China ’14), Alex (USA-NC ’15), Duan (China ’16) and Shinpei (Japan ’15) pass by Jimena’s house as well. It is a lot of fun to discover the beauty of Mexico City and with all these friends.

The busy-ness of Mexico City forms home to Jimena, who lives there with her parents and her sister Carolina. Due to the size of the city and the criminality going on in a city like this, Jimena’s parents often bring us by car to the centre of the city, to the sun and moon pyramids at Teotihuacan, to the wonderful little town of Tepoztlán, and to the romantic city district of Coyoacán. Besides showing us around, I see the joy on the faces of Jimena and her mother while telling us about delicious Mexican specialties, such as cactus and Taco de Ojo.

A great sense of natural hospitality is present in Jimena’s family. It is special for me to see how much effort they seem to put into sharing their home culture. I feel really welcome, as we now share warm Mexican family memories like Christmas and New Year’s. The openness and natural hospitality might be a UWC trait. I also opened my house to about ten friends during summer break. Sharing culture, stories and experiences is fun to UWC students.

As winter break is almost over and I need to start concentrating on the upcoming exams, I thank Jimena and her family for all their warmth, openness and hospitality.

New Year’s Eve
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