I am writing this from the courtyard what I have decided will be my cafe in Oaxaca. Jazz is playing over the speakers and I am sitting in the courtyard with free wifi sipping on a chocolate helado (iced chocolate) and procrastinating starting my Spanish homework from the class I just completed.
I flew into Mexico city from JFK on Wednesday at lunchtime and in a sleep deprived haze, slid into a booth at an airport hot wings restaurant, aptly named “Wings”; and pretty much nursed a hot chocolate and a fruit salad to stay there all afternoon until my 40 min flight to Oaxaca departed at 5:20pm.
I got picked up at Oaxaca airport by 2 members of my extended host family in Oaxaca, hilariously in a VW beetle – the old model. I say hilariously as at this stage I am carrying my go-everywhere-with-me day pack crammed with electronics, my 23kg travel pack with a drink bottle swinging off the back, my new now also stuffed sports bag and a rolled yoga mat. We all had to nurse something in the car, and my travel pack had a half the back seat, squishing Ana on every turn.
Heading into Oaxaca on Wednesday night it just felt right. The sky was turning violet over the hills, the beetle was humming along past people leaving work and crowding into collectives to get home; other people were walking along the sidewalks getting dinner or supplies, and tiendas were selling pretty much everything you could think of as we idled for traffic lights outside their open doors.
My accommodation is simple with a bed, desk and bathroom – but all I need, and it was nice to be able to unpack my things after 8 weeks and organize my room. I slept very very well my first night.
There are 3 others girls staying with the same family (we all have separate rooms in a kind of hotel layout). 2 are American and here on a university study abroad type deal until the end of November, and upstairs next to me is a Japanese girl from France who is here studying English until the end of this month.
Yesterday I pretty much just took it easy and found the foundation I will be volunteering for, and organized where I wanted to take Spanish lessons. There are quite a few choices for Spanish schools in Oaxaca, so I wanted to find one that would have small classes and suit my Spanish level rather than a large class where you wouldn’t necessarily get the correction you need to speak well.
My plan for the next couple of days until Monday when my routine of class and volunteering kicks in is just to take it easy. Wander around the central city, visit galleries, have coffee, try different foods, find a bookshop and maybe research some points of interest and day trip for next weekend.
It’s nice to start coming back to my centre, and to just concentrate on being here rather than thinking through my next connection or means of transport and how I will get from the train station or airport to my accommodation in the quickest easiest possible manner.
I have a new word today though: cohete (co-het-e): fireworks.
Yesterday afternoon during a patch of rain I heard loud bangs and want too sure what it was – storm cannon? Then early this morning someone went to town letting fireworks off around 6:30am. I asked my homestay mother about it over breakfast this morning and she said that fireworks are for fiestas, but really in Oaxaca, fireworks are used to celebrate last night, this morning, the full moon, next Tuesday, random Thursday’s, and a great dinner. In other words todo el tiempo, all the time. Welcome to part of daily life in Oaxaca.