This is a guest blog from Jessica. She also writes a blog highlighting Twenty Dollar Dates in the Columbus area, check it out at TwentyDollarDates.com
I had the privilege of studying abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico my 3rd year of undergrad at OSU. I loved every single minute of it! Mexico is beautiful and full of never-ending culture–everywhere you look there’s something wonderful to see. My knowledge of the Spanish language grew and my appreciation of Mexican culture grew as well.
I woke up everyday to warm weather & to the sound of vendors selling things in the street. This yelling at sunrise became, surprisingly, a comforting sound as my study abroad summer continued. “Verduras!” “Gas!” “Carne!” “Agua!” Selling vegetables, meat & even natural gas didn’t surprise me. But water?! Of all things I 100% take for granted in the States, water is probably #1. I drink a ton of water each day, constantly refilling my water bottle with the seemingly ever-flowing source of water at water fountains, my Britta filter, office coolers, sinks! But in Guanajuato, families….bought…drinking water?? On top of paying a monthly bill for bathing water?? It boggled me. I quickly realized that clean water was a precious commodity in Mexico. Our host family bought three jugs of drinking water each week & no fail, at the end of the week we were out & waiting for our Monday delivery in anticipation. I started to drink less and less water, humbled by the rarity of it. I suddenly felt so spoiled and “American.” Not having to worry about my drinking water was something I was so privileged to in the States!
I had a conversation with my host mom about this and she just nodded and smiled. She said, in Spanish, that I was in fact spoiled. Growing up her family did not have water jugs delivered to them–they had to walk to the local well each day. So in Mexico, her family now is actually considered quite wealthy, getting their three jugs of water delivered each week. Later that day, she had to lecture us (with a laugh) of being more considerate when bathing & flushing the toilet–only 5 minute showers & only flush when it’s #2.
Needless to say, I learned to consume less water. I learned to be grateful when I brushed my teeth with clean water, when I pressed the water fountain button & when I turned the faucet to get a glass of water. And now when I see an office cooler, I always think differently.