Just where has the time gone?. I just seems only yesterday that I arrived in this beautiful colonial city. In the last two months, I have settled into my lovely apartment in Barrio Xochimilco, had daily walkabouts and basically gotten into the groove of being a first winter snowbird here.
Being out of the gringo zone definitely works for me. The prices overall are cheaper and it is necessary, not optional to speak Spanish. Many a day actually goes by where the only English I hear is in my head. I only volunteer once a week at the Oaxaca Lending Library where the small community of expats and snowbirds gather. Other than that, I speak English to my TESL students and before and after I have to get along totally en espanol.
I was a bit worried about not being able to attend Spanish Escuel because of my morning7afternoon volunteer and teaching gig but I ve found a school in Centro that offers two and three hour classes in the afternoon. They also offer weaving, cooking and dancing classes as well. This school is fairly close to my home just out of Centro so I will not have taxi expenses.
The taxis are cheaper here than Ajijic or San Miquel de Allende and it s usually easy to flag down a cruising taxi. Smetimes the driver wants to talk in either language: sometimes not. What I have found thus far that there are quite a lot of locals here who have spent varying amounts of time in the United States. They came back voluntarily or were deported in the ongoing border control sweeps.
There are quite a few English schools here and I was fortunate to get a teaching gig at one of them. I thought I was going to start teaching English online this winter and I got all the equipment to do so but I m finding face to face teaching so much more personal as well as enjoyable. I ve done a fair amount of research on the various TESL sites including video series and was quite surprised to find so few of real value as far as my intermediate students are concerned.
Viva http://www.esspressoenglish.org This site has been indispensible for so many aspects of Intermediate English. The creator/teacher, Shayna speaks clearly, slowly enough to understand and does not have either an Australian or English accent. Far too many of the video series are what I call vanity videos. They feature a teacher standing in front of a whiteboard talking to the camera. Yawn. What i needed especially in a two or three hour class is interestin visuals and variety not the old chalk talk (albeit with a whiteboard!)
Oaxaca is a wonderfully walkable city devoid of the dreaded cobblestone streets! The sidewalks are much wider here and mostly in reasonable shape. There are the odd perilous patches or high curbs so you still have to be present and pay attention but walking here is so much more enjoyable here than on cobblestones. Centro is more or less in a grid pattern so places are easy to find and walk to.
And the mercados! I just live for the markets here and each one has its own personality to the Anything Goes El Abastos Mercado to the charming neighbourhood Merced Market quite near my escuela. One thing I bought right during my first visit was a super strong bola made of old but strong and serviceable sugar sacks. A mere five pesos this bag has served me very well on subsequent mercado outings and weekly produce shopping trips.
I did get hit with a bot of bronchitis here possibly due to the heavier traffic and the reduction in air quality. Since I took an early retirement, I have been sick very, very rarely since I no longer operate in a germ pit working environment. I was able to attend the Christman Eve mass on December 24th but on Christmas Day I thought it prudent to go and find a Discount Farmacia and visit a doctor to obtain some antibiotics. Fortunately, during one of my previous walkabouts I had made notice of this efficient combination at the end of my street. With what little energy I had remaining I got in right away to see Dr. Sanchez and she confirmed my diagnosis. I took the prescription next door got my bag of antibiotics, antihistimines so I could sleep and some vile tasting cough syrup. The fee for the doctor was a mere 30 pesos and the med bag about 20 dollars CAD.
I took a while for my energy to return but now that it has my snowbird life can unfold as usual. I m back walking and exploring different neighbourhoods and getting more serious in practicing my espanol. Starting today, I pledge to study for the next 49 days straight which wil take me to Leap Day at the end of February. Starting today and every Monday I pledge to listen to and apply one of Jack Canfield s Success Principes program. I gratefully received a scholarship at the end of September but the week and months have again slipped by interrupted by the extended Navidad season here.
Time to become more disciplined in my blogging posts, my Spanish and the Canfield Program which actually has its own blog to chronicle my journey through the 58 Success Principles.