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Pop-Up Recap: Guanajuato Week 1 | February 2022

Guanajuato is a magical town with alleys, tunnels, street food, colonial architecture, museums, shops, plazas, and loads of lovely people. And... we certainly did not leave much uncovered during our first week pop-up. Thanks to my co-hosts Annie & Jill, we were able to add all sorts of unique ways to experience this charming city.

Photo credit: Chong See Ming - I wish we had you at every pop-up See Ming! You always make sure everyone gets into the picture. Here's our eclectic group outside of the Don Quixote Museum.

Our first pop-up week in Guanajuato was full of anticipation of the Project World School Family Summit. We were thrilled to be in town early and have the chance to scope it out prior to the summit and the rest of the worldschool crew's arrival.

So for this pop-up, we began with a walking tour of the city, alleys, and a venture into the tunnels. If you've been to Guanajuato you'll know there are many tunnels and they often interfere with how you navigate above ground as well (sometimes the GPS tries to route you above or below ground without knowing the difference). This tour was an add-on option we arranged and families who chose to participate paid an extra fee (photo credits also See Ming, thank you!).

Our families represented the US, England, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Australia, France, and Moldova. Everyone brought such rich life experiences, it was wonderful getting to know everyone and learning bits about your lives and travels.

But regardless of our origins, Guanajuato was a new experience for most of us! Even those of us who had previously visited, the city seems different on subsequent visits... maybe a bit more familiar, maybe feels a bit less spread out... but for sure the museums are amazing. Though we visited lots of museums and monuments, we always respected the group's pace.

This was especially important for the younger kids -- sometimes an exhibit would catch their attention and sometimes not... but you'd be amazed by how much more willing the kids are to look at the details when they explore with a group of friends and point out what stands out to them!

*Photo credits: Jill Costello, Lance Carlson & Rachel Carlson, at the Pipila Monument, Don Quixote Museum, Mummy Museum, and Diego Rivera House

We also had a fantastic volunteer day in a little town called Cajones. It included interacting with local kids (art projects and sports) as well as a special hike to the top of Cerro Sombrero with a local guide who helped to explain the petroglyphs and significance of the area.

This hike was arranged by Todd, one of the founders of Resplandor International (a non-profit designed to provide education and experience for local children and families). As we arrived in Cajones, Todd helped the entire group find the trailhead (via pickup and squished SUV ride - totally cool in Mexico). Once we arrived, we made a special request to visit the grounds and promised to travel in peace with open hearts and minds (we were choosing to leave our worries behind us).

*Photo credits Rachel Carlson, Chong See Ming, Allison Leitch

We learned that this area was sacred to all four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each section of the summit was dedicated to one of these elements and the petroglyphs describe the importance of each area. Local legends also tell stories of people jumping from summit to nearby summits (not really that near) or walking into caves only to emerge years later. Just a fascinating area with stunning views of the dam. Oh, and when the dam was built, smaller river towns were flooded, you can see some of the towers and rooftops of the old buildings sticking out of the lake's waters.

*Photo Credits: Rachel Carlson & Alison Leitch

But that wasn't the end of our day -- when we returned to Resplandor we had a lovely lunch buffet waiting for us and our kids could play in the pool until the local children came to participate in the arts and crafts with our kids.

*Photo credits: Chong See Ming & Allison Leitch

We had so much fun creating origami and playing soccer with the local kids! It was a fantastic outing and Resplandor is a wonderful charity for those interested in volunteering or supporting. They do so much for their community!

Our other out-of-town outing was a surprise trip to Splash water park. This wasn't on the original itinerary but we often build in a "day trip day" for families to explore things a bit farther from town. It was the perfect place to set up shop and let the kids run around, enjoy the animal shows, and order some nachos and cold beer.

But my overall event was one of our final evenings. Our attendees, Cheryl & Nick, hosted a wonderful party at their rental's outdoor patio & fire pit. We had a wonderful view of the city and were able to celebrate a very special 11th birthday of one of our attendees. As worldschoolers, we don't always have the opportunity for birthday parties with friends and this was a memorable night -- city lights, food & drink, birthday cake, good company... a lovely way to wrap up our fabulous week together. Thanks for providing such an inviting space, Cheryl & Nick!

*Photo credits: Chong See Ming & Lance Carlson

So wow, what a week! And we weren't done. The Project World School started the day after the pop-up finished and we had a post-summit pop-up as well. Our hearts were filled to the brim with friendship and camaraderie.

We are grateful for our lovely guests and cannot wait to see where we meet next!

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