In my first two weeks I have:
- Toured the city by foot and bike
- Eaten chapulines (grasshoppers) at a local market
- Attended a “Lucha Libre”
- Explored Monte Alban historical ruins
- Visited the ex convent of Cuilapam
- Toured the temple and museum of Santo Domingo
- Cheered for Oaxaca’s soccer team the “Alebrijes”
The first thing I did after arriving in Oaxaca was meet my host family. I am very fortunate to be living with two very caring host parents, my host father’s parents, a fellow SOL student, and an adorable german shepard named Draco. Because I am living with a host family, I get to try authentic Oaxacan foods daily. So far at home I have enjoyed tortas, tacos, chiles rellenos, sopas, cremas, tortillas, quesillos, and more.
While settling in during my first few days, I had plenty of opportunities to get to know the city. My host mother took me on a walk to the school and nearby landmarks such as the “zocalo” and the “plaza de la danza”. As a group we toured the city both by walking, and later on with a bike tour to see even more of the city. The streets are constantly lined with food vendors, artwork, clothing, jewelry, and more.
As a group we stopped by one of the largest local markets called “20 de Noviembre”. I tried “chapulines” which are very commonly eaten in Oaxaca on foods such as elotes, quesadillas, or hamburgers. We also tried “tejate”, a traditional drink which is made with corn and cacao. It is known for being “the drink of the gods”.
As we started to get into the rhythm of classes, we began to venture out more as a group. We went to see a “lucha libre”, which turns out to be quite the family event for people in Mexico.
During the weekend, we took a trip to Monte Alban. The historical ruins were once populated by the Zapotecas who used the temples to be closer to the gods. As time passed these ruins were also controlled by the Mixtecos, Aztecs, and eventually the Spanish.
On our stop in Cuilapam we learned more about the Spanish influence in Oaxaca and the conversion to Catholicism that is still dominant in Mexico today. Inside the ex convent we were able to see how the indigenous cultures impacted the practice of Christianity in Oaxaca. From the construction of religious buildings, to the artwork and figures that were represented, there were traces of traditional practices from preexisting religions.
We later toured Santo Domingo which is a cultural site that includes a church, museum, and botanical garden. The museum tour took us through endless halls of artwork, pottery, and more from different time frames of Oaxacas history.
Most recently, we attended a soccer game of the Oaxacan team the “Alebrijes”. There were many food vendors selling foods like potato chips with hot sauce, peanuts, tostadas, and candied apples with chamoy (which I tried, and loved). Best of all, they won!