Monthly Archives: December 2015

La Noche de Los Rebanos in Oaxaca

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A week ago, I was in one of Oaxaca’s fantastic mercados and my attention was drawn to this poster. I had heard if this only-in-Oaxaca festival and this winter I count myself fortunate that I am present for this years’s event.

And what a spectacle it is! Located all around the zocolo or Plaza Principale as they call it in San Miquel de Allende this is a well organized and yes, heavily policed event. Riot barriers were erected outside a raised walkway where you could view the amazing carvings from an optimum viewing level.

I arrived in the zocolo just as they were setting up and putting up the name signs and I was very glad I did. Within an hour the crowds that could initially move fairly freely to see the exhibits grew to full throng size. By the time I left about 5 o’clock it was a flowing sea of humanity and some it was quequed up to enter the raised walkway.

Because I had arrived early I was not compelled to join the one and two hour wait line.

So what was my impression as a first time visitor?

One word? Incredible1  Apparently, special radishes are grown just for this event. They are huge and carvable. The elaborate carvings even though they are covered need to be spritzed with water during the event so they will make it to the evening. I took my intermediate English class to this amazing event and some of them had never witnessed this festival.

I only stayed until dusk. The crowds were getting bigger by the minute and the line up was forming to view the carvings from the raised walkways around the zocolo.

I missed the fireworks to come later but I did see ALL the radish carvings and corn husk creations!

 

 

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When do people learn languages?

http://www.zompist.com/whylang.html

This it’s such an excellent question and one that has a multitude of different facets. Certainly, my tenure in public school French classes ( grade five to twelve) did not help me become even functional let alone fluent.  Although to their credit they did help me somewhat when traveling in France, Quebec and St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Of much more use in my present post elementary teaching life and lifestyle is Spanish and I only started learning this widespread language during my first snowbird winter in Ajijic and Guadalajara, Jalisco. I became aware of a highly successful Spanish program for mature learners called the Warren Hardy Approach.

Starting with just 100 high frequency verbs I was able to quickly navigate the daily requirements of living in a small lakeside Mexican village albeit one with a significant foreigner population. After two winters there I moved onto San Miquel de Allende, another place with about a ten per cent gringo population. And now I’m happily settled in Oaxaca a larger city with even fewer foreigners.

In this almost immersive environment coupled with additional Spanish language instruction after Navidad I should be able to break out of beginner espanol and speak not only in the present tense but in the past and future as well.

Viva Oaxaca!