I have now been in Oaxaca for about two weeks, and have slowly been adjusting to my new environment. On Saturday February 8th, we spent the majority of the day riding on a bus to take us all to Oaxaca from Mexico City. It was long, but in the evening we finally made it to our destination: the bus station in Oaxaca where my host mom was waiting for me! As we pulled into the station I become nervous about meeting my new family, but felt better after talking to them that evening. I live with a host Mom and Dad who have four kids. There are three boys and one girl, all of which have moved out.
This leaves three rooms open for guests, which currently are all occupied by students. One room is mine, another is where a student from a school in Chicago stays, and a girl from New Zealand occupies the other. I do not see the student from Chicago very often, but over the time that I have been here I have gotten pretty close to the girl from New Zealand. Her name is Tumanako and she is very sweet. We have quite a lot of things in common and usually are able to eat meals together, and often times spend some of the evening chatting.
Over the two weeks I have been here I have been able to get into more or less a routine. For instance, meals are generally at the same time each day and I leave to walk to the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca (ICO) at the same time each day, except on the weekends and Fridays, for classes. Mondays and Wednesdays I have anthropology and Spanish classes and then return home for lunch at about 2pm. I then return to ICO by 4pm to meet with my intercambio. Intercambios are people that each of the Linfield students are paired with who are from Oaxaca that are studying English. We are able to practice Spanish and they are able to practice their English in this pairing. They are also able to help give us some inside information about Oaxaca and help us get used to traveling around the city. My intercambio has taken me to a couple of movies, an art museum, and has introduced me to some new foods. Intercambios last for generally one hour, and then I usually either explore the city or go back home.
Dinner is served at 8pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays I attend an education course taught by Kena Avila from Linfield, followed by Spanish again. For the last two weeks my second part of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays have been basically the same as Mondays and Wednesdays, but this coming week we will begin teaching English in Teotitlán de Valle. I have been able to explore several places since I have been here, most of which have been in walking distance.
The first weekend I was here I went with my host parents to a party in a small town about 45 minutes away from my house by way of car. It was a great cultural experience. There I got to practice my Spanish and try mole. Other places I have visited include the Zocálo (city center) that I have visited several times, the Templo de Santo Domingo (a beautiful church, which has so much detail in its structure that is amazing) along with a few other churches located around the city, an art museum, and several different cafes. There is so much to experience and to see yet!
Until next time! -Shelby Reece