As of today, I have spent a full week in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. I must say that I am highly impressed with the culture, atmosphere, history, and overall experience in this Mexican state. The first few days I experienced a culture shock because everyone I interact with (from my home-stay family to the staff at the health clinic) speaks only Spanish. After a few days of feeling discouraged, I realized I have an option of continuing to pity my Spanish skills or to accept the challenge and go outside my comfort zone to learn as much as I can. I indeed chose to take on this challenge and my Spanish is getting better with each day.
The Mexican state of Oaxaca is nothing less than beautiful. The people here are extremely friendly and always have time for conversation with a stranger. In the city of Oaxaca, the streets are setup like a grid. This makes it easy to navigate around the city. I already explored various restaurants throughout the city and still have many more to go to. I live about 15 minutes from the Zocalo which a popular plaza located in the center of the city. What I like most about the Zocalo is that any day of the week you will find families and individuals sitting down enjoying the scene. It captures the very essence of the culture in which they take time to appreciate life for what it’s worth. In the United States we are often caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to get to the top that we often forget to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. We neglect the simple things in life which sometimes hold the solutions to our problems.
We got the chance to explore the history of Oaxaca. Last weekend I participated in a field trip to Monte Alban, an archaeological site that has history dating back to 500 BC. It was an amazing feeling to climb the stones of pyramids of one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica. The elevation of the site is about 6,400 feet making the air thinner and the sun hotter. This provided a great defense location for the Zapotec civilization, the indigenous occupants of the land.
I am looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead.
A different language is a different vision of life. ~Federico Fellini