La Segunda Semana

Wow. Another week has already come and gone and I have fallen more in love with Oaxaca. Last Sunday we got to go on an excursion to the Teotitlán Village and it was one of my favorite excursions yet. We visited “Vida Nueva”, which is a cooperation started 23 years ago by indigenous Zapotec women. They started the organization with a desire to contribute to the work force within their community, overcome “machismo” (male dominance), and use their profits to fund community projects. Pastora was the Zapotec woman that taught us the history of Vida Nueva and the processes they use to make the most beautiful tapetes (rugs). She began by giving us a demonstration on how all of the dyes are made from natural resources. It amazed me how there is no recipe to make the colors; the shade of the hues depend on how long the materials soak in the water and they can also be altered by adding lemon juice. Pastora also gave us a demonstration on how the rugs are woven on a loom. She told us that every rug takes approximately 2 weeks to make and each one is unique. I tried to thread a single line of the tapete and struggled, so shout out to the Zapotec women because they’re amazing.

This week we also got to tour a ton of the art museums around Oaxaca. I do not know a lot about art, but I appreciate the beauty it adds to the city. A lot of the museums are free with our student ID, which is also a perk. My two favorite museums were the textile museum and the stamp museum. The textile museum showcased traditional dress for each indigenous group of Oaxaca and the stamp museum housed stamps from around the world.

On Monday my intercambio (language exchange partner) and I went to see a movie and we got dinner afterwords. I decided to live life on the edge that night, so I ate some street food. I ate the most fattening hamburger of my life with 2 cheeses, lettuce, tomato, ham, an unknown meat, and many salsas. I did not puke 2 hours after the fact, so I see more street food in my future. I also bought some hand fried potato chips with hot sauce and lemon juice. I have probably gained 5 pounds this week. But when tacos are $1 and margaritas are $2, it is inevitable. No regrets. Also, I have tried 3 of Oaxaca’s famous moles- 4 more to go!

All the food I have been eating here really hit me when I had to climb a nearly vertical mountain at Hierve el agua yesterday. The climb was a struggle, but the view was totally “vale la pena”. Every time I stalked Oaxaca on pinterest, tons of Hierve el agua pictures would pop up, so I had been hype about this excursion for months. Hierve el agua literally translates to boil the water; it is named that because at the top of the petrified mineral deposit there are pools of water that bubble. However, the pools are actually pretty cold because it was cloudy/rainy yesterday. Somehow I still managed to get burnt, so I learned to never underestimate the power of the Mexican sun.

We also got to see the Mitla ruins and market. My favorite part was exploring the underground tombs and the local shops. Of course I bought another pair of hand woven shoes because they were $12 and I couldn’t resist.

My goals for this week are to learn how to cook at our cooking class, to eat tacos off the street, to continue learning Spanish slang, and to make the most of the time I have with friends that are leaving Oaxaca on July 1st. I’ll let you know how everything goes next week.

Hasta Luego,

Kourtnie

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