Three Voyages: Katie Heilman


Katie Heilman

From 2019 to 2021 Junior Katie Heilman and her family lived in Mexico before returning to the United States. This past summer, Heilman returned to the cities of Saltillo and Mazatlan with the intention of visiting family friends.

During their two week stay, Heilman and her family returned to their favorite spots, predominantly spending time on the seaside. Heilman described her most memorable moment during one of these
escapades: getting stung by a jellyfish. Although this encounter was far from pleasant, Heilman recited it with an air of humor.

Due to her previous experience with the area, Heilman outlined that her trip was different from average tourists. Primarily, she did not go sightseeing. However, she does recommend researching sites and landmarks of interest when first visiting the area. Heilman agrees that a simple beach trip isn’t so bad either.

Additionally, Heilman recounted that she did not experience as much culture shock as one might expect. Her language barrier was miniscule compared to the average tourist, although she could see how it could present itself as a problem for people who have never been to the area before. When in an area with an unfamiliar language, Heilman recommends that one immerse themselves as much as possible. In addition, consider enunciation, speed and patience.

Heilman stated that, in her opinion, Mexico differs from the U.S. in two dis tinct ways: meal times and road systems. Traditionally, breakfast in Mexico is eaten much earlier at around 6:00 am. Lunch is typically eaten later at about 3:00 pm, and dinner can be eaten as late as 9:00pm. In regards to meal times, Heilman says that it takes some getting used to, but that the food of Central America makes up for it, proclaiming her family friends’ tacos as the highlight of her trip. She described the road systems as
a greater difference, stating that, “traffic signals are just suggestions.” Although she retained her license, Heilman’s family refused to let her drive on the unruly roads of Mexico during their trip.

Despite the confusing traffic dilemmas, Heilman says that overall the trip was a great experience. She recommends visiting the area multiple times, if possible, as she believes that her trip after knowing the area was much better.