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Monday, 1 March 2010

Settling In

Time has flown past in the first two weeks of being here. There has been a lot to do and a lot to think about. Most of the time here has been spent looking around Ixtpec and venturing to some of the other towns nearby, such as Juchitan, Salina Cruz and Tehuantepec.
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I have been a bit reluctant to be running around with a camera taking pictures of things until people recognise that i live here and also to guage how safe all the areas are in and around here.

When im not out and about i spend the time that i have studying Spanish. There is going to be a strong correlation between how much of the language I can speak and understand and how full my experience of being here will be. Being surrounded by the language every day has helped a lot. Even after two weeks the amount i can understand has increased i great deal.

I had been staying in a furnished university apartment up until a few days ago, when I was told that they needed it to house some other new teacher that was arriving. I cant move into the house that i will be living in until the 15th of March, so until then, another American teacher and I have been given an unfurnished apart on campus. I bought a blow up air mattress and have been living it up on the floor. There are no cooking facilities as its completely unfurnished, but the food is so cheap here that I have been eating out in town all the time anyway.

I havent been able to start my actual job yet because of some delays in getting my working visa back. The immigration office that deals with the visa process seems to be incredibly inefficient at the moment, or possibly all the time! One lesson that i have learnt very quickly about living in this area is that you have to be very patient or else it will drive you mad. It can take quite a long time to organise things. Another teacher that arrived at the same time as me has been looking for a house to live in. There is no real system in place for finding accomodation here in Ixtepec. Finding a house consists of walking around and asking people in the street if they know anyone that might have a house to rent. Quite often the person you ask has an aunt or friend down the road that has one. Walking around to find the aunt or friend is then followed by waiting around more and then being told to come back tomorrow and then the next day etc etc and it makes organising anything incredibly difficult/frustrating. Any experiences i have had with estate agents at home generally made me hope that as a collective they would come to an end in a firey pit in hell, but after seeing how it works here my opinions have softened a little, but still only a little. I have been told to phone the immigration office on Thursday to check if my visa is ready so i would hope to have started work by next Monday, but as i know so well already, i can never be sure!

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