Journals from Spring Semester 08: Oaxaca, Mexico
Cuevas in Mitla Archaeological Site (most of the group)
My family is absolutely AMAZING! I am starting to learn more and more about my parents and brothers. Beto is 24 and is obtaining his degree in tourism management. Alejandro is 21 and is attending veterinary school. He just got married on the 23rd. My host dad sang and played his guitar and Ale and Arturo sang as well. Then there is Arturo: he is 20 and is also studying tourism management. I have two lovely host parents, who are both dentists. There are 3 little dogs and 1 cat. I live in the upstairs part of the house, where the 3 boys used to sleep, so there are 3 beds in there. There is another host student living here but I don't see her that often.
The classes we are taking are fun. We have: Monte Albn and the Origins of Complex Society in the Valley of Oaxaca and beyond, Union of Community Museums of Oaxaca, Practices in Community Interaction, Grammar Class, and Gmez' class (which I think is basically the history of Mxico). We get to go on field trips almost every weekend. We've been to Tequixtepec to witness the Fiesta of the Second Friday of Lent, to the cuevas (caves) in Mitla to see where certain indigenous groups used to live, and Teotitln de Valle to watch rug weaving.
We each have an intercambio partner. Mine is Abraham. He helps me with my Spanish and I help him with his English. I really enjoy talking to him. He's a teacher and I'm an education major. We both like running and dancing too. He's going to teach me how to salsa sometime soon! I can't wait!
It is normal to get catcalls when we are in groups. None of us ever respond; half the time we kind of giggle and keep walking. I don't take it personally because I know they do it to basically every woman who walks by. Its normal to let someone know you think they are attractive. It is also common to show affection in public. When you greet someone you kiss each other on the cheek. I think its a sweet sentiment.
People have already asked me if I eat rice and beans every day and the answer is NO! I have breakfast at 8 and I eat fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, quesadillas, or eggs. Lunch is between 2 and 3. We eat different dishes all the time and so far I like them all. We usually start off with some sort of soup or salad and then the main dish. I've eaten pasta, fish, rice, tortas, and more. There is always some sort of meat and vegetables. Everything is fresh. Dinner is usually quite a bit smaller and takes place between 8 and 9. My host mom likes to make me chocolate banana shakes and sandwiches. Sometimes I'll eat fruit, bread, or tacos. I've noticed that I eat more than everyone in my host family...
Speaking of food. I love ice cream. The texture here is a bit grainier and the flavors are a little different than those from the US, but I enjoy it anyways. A type of ice cream treat that is popular here is nieve. I don't really know how to describe it. Its a cross between ice cream and a snow cone. Beto took me to taste some on my first day here and I really liked it! So if you ever get the chance, you should definitely try it.
I'm typically an independent person, so living in Mxico has been different. We have a maid that cleans the house and cooks lunch sometimes. When I get up breakfast is already made and waiting for me at the table. Every meal is made and set up for me. I have to take my laundry to a lavanderia, where they wash, dry, fold, and iron your laundry for about 15 pesos per kilogram. Its strange, but really convenient. Its going to be hard coming back and having to do all these things again!