We’ve been in Oaxaca for about 3 weeks now and it seems that each day, we acclimate more and more to the Mexican lifestyle. Things are slower and simpler and the days, like the people here, are relaxed and easygoing. A normal day is breakfast, coffee, a swim, some homeschooling and maybe a trip to the park or a market to grab some supplies. We might read or Catherine might do some yoga, maybe a beer, some music, maybe even a nap. Often, we don’t know the day of the week or the time..or the date. A person can’t live this way forever, obviously, but after the tornado of activity that led up to our departure, it seems somehow that we’ve earned this bit of sloth and we’ve embraced it without regret or shame.
This is not to say that we haven’t been active in spurts. And when we have, it’s been great! Leading up to Christmas was a blast as Mexicans truly love the season. There are dozens of celebrations before the big day but one of the biggest is, “The Night of the Radishes” (Noche de Rábanos). This is an annual event dedicated to the carving of oversized radishes. I spoke briefly with an English speaking local at the festival who asked me what I thought of the spectacle of it all. “I’m not sure what it all means,” I said. “But, I like it.” “Your attempt to understand it will only diminish your appreciation of it. Just accept that it is and enjoy it,” he replied. I told him I could do that.
Christmas itself was more low key than the kids are used to, but they seemed to roll with it and generally embrace the simplicity of it all.
We also spent an afternoon exploring a bit. First, we went to Arbol del Tule which is the largest tree in Latin America. It’s located in the church grounds in the town center of Santa Maria del Tule, approximately 10 miles east of Oaxaca City. It’s a cypress tree with a circumference of 145 ft. This makes it the stoutest tree in the world! It’s also 16 stories tall! The pictures truly do not do it justice!
Later that day we checked out the ruins of Yagul. This is a site associated with the Zapotec civilization and it was first occupied around 500 B.C.! Descendants of the people who lived in Yagul still live in the areas nearby. There are bigger and more well known ruins like Monte Albon which we haven’t seen yet. But, this spot was recommended by a few people so we checked it out first. And what a great call! This was probably the biggest highlight for the kids to date! Unlike any similar site that might exist in the states, there is very little that is off-limits or forbidden. So, the kids were free to run and explore the site for hours. There’s stairs and caves and tunnels and carvings. And when they stopped for a moment to hear a little about the history of the site and the region, they were fascinated. It was an absolute blast!
Otherwise, we’ve made it into the city a few times to just hang out and explore. Oaxaca is truly amazing! Each time we go, we discover something new and exciting; a restaurant, a bar, a gallery, some new building with incredible architecture, etc. There is art and music and life infused into everything and it’s reflected in the warmth of the people and the beauty of the surroundings.
Well, that’s it for now. More to come!