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Journals from Oaxaca, Mexico

2011-02-28 ¬°Bienvenidos a Oaxaca!

    We have been in Mexico for about three weeks now, and I think it has finally hit all of us that we’ll be spending the next four months in the country. I think it’s safe to say we are having an amazing time. Our group bonded pretty quickly and I’m glad to have made such wonderful, meaningful friendships already. Our time in Mexico City was brief but enjoyable, to say the least. We stayed at the Hotel Catedral, situated pretty much in the center of the city and only a few blocks from the metro. Places we visited while staying in Mexico City included the Museo Natural de Antropologia,  Tiempo Universitario, El Templo Mayor, and a day trip to Teotihuacan where we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun. Needless to say, that was pretty awesome. I had the most amazing orange juice of my life at a restaurant situated but a few blocks from our hotel called Café Popular.  We took the third largest city in the world head-on and had a fabulous time. While climbing the pyramid was one of the most exciting things I’ve done in my entire life, an experience that stuck with me even more was when we went to the Tiempo Universitario. We viewed the exhibit they had of Jose Orozco murals and got to see the first mural Diego Rivera  ever painted. Lindsey, Katrina, and I literally sat in awe in the auditorium (where the mural is located) for a good 15 minutes.

    The bus ride to Oaxaca took about six hours from Mexico City, and we were all a little nervous about meeting our host families, so it was not the most pleasant of drives, but we made it. I absolutely love my host parents, Josefina and Salvador. Josefina, or José, loves to chat, or “platicar” in Español and Salvador, or Chava, still has yet to get my name right (I’ve been called Beth and Ted a lot) but he likes to joke and we have had some solid conversations about politics. My house is situated in the neighborhood Fracionamiento Lomas de la Cascada which is about a 20-minute walk from school, but it’s an absolutely gorgeous one. The sunshine will never grow old. Our classes at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca have been going well so far. We were split into two groups for our Spanish class and then together we are taking IDST 275: Topics in Latin America: Monte Albán and the Origins of Complex Society in the Valley of Oaxaca and Mesoamerica with Dr. Robert Markens and IDST 271: Identity and Culture in Mexico with Professor Violeta Ramsay.  Professor Ramsay accompanied us on the trip and I’m excited to get to know her better, as well, since this is the first time I’ve taken a class from her through Linfield.  I think my favorite class right now is in fact Spanish, however. It is an interesting notion to take a foreign language course from a teacher who exclusively speaks that language. Our Spanish teacher knows about as much English as my parents know Spanish (which, for those who don’t know them, is not much). As with my host family and other people I meet on the street, the language of expression through hands and the face can really help when asking questions or trying to get a point across in class. Plus, I have been able to become more confident in the Spanish skills I  already possessed.

    The only negative thing about this trip is my Internet connection. It is extremely slow and I don’t have access to the Internet every day, which is part of the reason why it has taken me so long to post this first entry. So my apologies to IPO. I promise I will write more in the future, I just wanted to get some words up while I could.   

P.S. The picture is of some of the group at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan. (from L->R: Danica Andresen, Myself, Lindsey Thomas, and Libby Sturges)

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