Landing in the Heart of Mexico: A Gringa's Story
by Collette Sommers

"I arrived at Mexico City International Airport, with my Pollyanna grin and an open mind, ready for whatever might be."

In this memoir, the author relates her adventures during her semester as a young college student in 1966 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. Having always had a fascination for both the language and people of Mexico, the opportunity to study abroad immersed in the culture she adored was profound. During her time there, she lived with four other young American women students in the home of sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Castillo, who arranged social outlets for the group as well as providing room and board. Not only does Sommers find her love for Mexico and its culture grow as she begins her studies, but she also meets and falls in love with a man who will show her aspects of his homeland that she will cherish her entire life.

One of the most endearing elements of Sommers’ writing is her ability to exude her enthusiasm about Mexican culture through her prose. As one reads through her memoir, the author’s love for the people and their culture shines through each word. Through vibrant descriptive language, readers are transported through the plazas, parks, and museums of the cities as well as through the countryside to various homes. Family friends of their sponsors escort the author and her fellow students so they can experience the full flavor of the culture. Though written some fifty years after the fact, this memoir reads as if it were written as it unfolded back in 1966, giving readers the feeling that they, too, are experiencing each new event in this substantial time in the author’s life along with her. This is a beautifully written tribute to a country and people. It is a journey not to be missed.

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