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Journals from Instituto Cultural Oaxaca - Oaxaca, Mexico

2014-02-09 So Many Changes, So Many Adventures

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Outside of the National Anthropology Museum

It is hard to believe I am actually here in Mexico. I am full of excitement for the new adventures and experiences coming, but also I am nervous and fearful. My nerves and fear come from worries about trying to adjust to the new culture as well as communication problems. As time goes on, I am sure I will become more comfortable with things and learn tons from the experience. Even within the few days I have been here, I have already learned so much! To begin our group’s study abroad experience, we started our trip by spending three full days in Mexico City (the other two days were mostly travel days). We got to experience so much within this small time frame that it felt like much longer than it was because of how much we packed in. The night we arrived, we did not do all that much. We had dinner in the hotel and just explored a little bit on the streets close to our hotel (we had a really early flight so we were all pretty exhausted). The next day is when we began making excursions, but only to places that were within walking distance. These excursions included visiting a pedestrian street for shopping, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Cathedral close to our hotel, the Templo Mayor, and the café del Tacuba, where we ate a late lunch. We walked to the Palacio twice, once to purchase tickets for a performance occurring there that evening and the other to go to the performance. There we had the opportunity to listen to a string quartet. The Cathedral was magnificent! It is near the Zócalo (city square) and was built upon old Aztecan ruins. It was beautiful inside and out. At the Templo Mayor we had the opportunity to explore around the ruins of an Aztecan temple and learn some more about it after seeing the ruins. At the café del Tacuba we got to have our first experience listening to a Mariachi band in Mexico. On our third day in Mexico City we got to branch out a little further by taking a van with our tour guide Angel, who was very knowledgeable about the city. On this day we got to see several different museums. These included the national anthropology museum (which was so big we could not visit all of it), the house of Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera where pieces of their art were exhibited, and then we had the opportunity to take a boat ride in the canals of Xochimilco. The last excursion day was probably my favorite so far. We once again had the opportunity to travel with Angel and went to the Palacio de Tres Culturas, the Basilica de Guadalupe, and Teotihuacan. The Palacio de Tres Culturas was another site of Aztecan ruins, but there was also a church located right by it, which was actually constructed using some of the Aztecan Temple materials. The Basilica was the place I was looking forward to the most. There, the tilma of Juan Diego that has the image of the virgin Guadalupe hangs, and beside the Basilica are several churches built on the different apparition sites of Mary as well as one that was built upon Mary’s request. The last trip of the day was to Teotihuacan, which is a historic site where there are several temples and other ruins. We got to climb up to the top of the temple called El Sol (the sun) and part way up the temple called La Luna (the moon). It was hard work, but the view was worth it! Archeologists do not seem to know who built the temple, nor do they know why they left. The Aztecans are the one who named the area Teotihuacan. Since coming to Mexico, I have started getting a little more comfortable with how things work. I am still trying to figure out what is a good deal in pesos for certain things and I still need to practice hard on my Spanish oral skills. However, these skills should develop more as I spend more time here in Mexico, attend school, and live with my host family. Until next time. Adios!

-Shelby Reece

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