Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Still In Love With Oaxaca

I've been back for a week since the end of our summer travels, yet I haven't been to the zocalo yet, nor had mezcal, or even been to a shop. But I'm not jaded, I could never be. It's just that daily life has taken precedence over being able to settle in slowly and appreciate all Oaxaca has to offer. We're starting our seventh year in the city of Oaxaca, a year full of changes for certain.

Max decided to try 7th grade in the United States (which you couldn't pay me to do, not when it went so poorly the first time). He's enjoying the suburban life of skateboarding, not to mention his first experience of attending school fully in English.

Geni is enrolled in 2nd grade at Colegio Stanley Hall, a tiny, beautiful school a couple blocks from the famous Tule tree. Hers is a village school, with weekly lessons in Zapotec and a PE curriculum that consists of learning Oaxaca's regional dances. So, perfect.

For the first time in my freelancing career, I hit home with a giant contract. So much writing to do, and on a topic I love: 65,000 words. The downside: Due in October.

Steve succumbed to his lifelong attachment to screenprinting and brought himself a little machine and some water-based ink.

So, what's to love in this very domestic return to Oaxaca? Primarily, how gorgeous everything is. We have a September rainy season, by the looks of it, and the mountaintops are shrouded in fantasy novel-level fog. In fact, we will navigate through that this weekend as Geni has requested a camping trip as her birthday present. But the city is so beautiful too, with the green cantera stone almost glowing in the diffused light of afternoon.

So I haven't made it to some of the more famous Oaxaca spots yet, but I did go to a village comedor and the tlayuda came with local mushrooms that were divine! And the used clothing stands at my neighborhood tianguis are more hopping than ever: all denim 25 pesos.

I've also managed to get to two outdoor Zumba classes and had the requisite killer margarita at La Biznaga. Some of the most fun was going to the tiny papeleria in my neighborhood to get Geni's schools supplies, because I now know how to work the 35-item list rather than just handing it over to the clerks at the Provedora Escolar school supply warehouse. No archaeological sites yet, but a great visit to the Hecho en Oaxaca show with murals and mixed media pieces by Dr. Lakra, Swoon, and The Date Farmers.

Through all of this laid-back life, there is the constant of missing my little boy. I know he's happy, though, and that means everything. He sees the California suburbs as something other and fascinating, just the kind of experience I yearned to escape. He skateboards on sidewalks and through cul-de-sacs. He meets friends at the mall or to play video games. When I ask him about his school day (7th grade! In English! All new people! So very far away!), he tells me, "I hung out and talked to my friends." So there it is, the beauty of his daily life. Cheers, Maxito!


Carmen said...

Hi Serena - I googled Montessori schools in Oaxaca and found an old blogpost of yours. My husband, children and I live in Tlacolula. Any chance the Waldorf Alternative school is still going? Please contact me at


Serena said...

Hi, Carmen! Great to hear from you. Our school project is on hiatus, but the Tule school is small and charming, and quite near you. Colegio Stanley Hall, a couple blocks from the tree!

Naxx said...

Hi! Trying again, forgive if it posts twice. I found your blog because I'm looking for a pre-school for my almost 2 year old for the next 6 months while we're in Oaxaca. I'm sad to hear your project is on hiatus. How young des your school go, and any other suggestions?

Debbie Out Loud said...

Hello, Serena! Are you still in Oaxaca? I was checking for an update, and see that it's been quite some time!

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