Katrina Nygaard

Katrina Nygaard

Katrina Nygaard

This winter, I will be leaving the gray, snowy disaster that is Chicago for the lovely colonial city of Oaxaca. Situated in Mexico's southwest, the city will be an amazing opportunity for language development as well as a geographical laboratory. Oaxaca's ancient, colorful, winding streets will provide fantastic contrast to my experience in the Midwest.

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca March 9th 2012

Muralismo Possibly the most popular art movement in Mexico is the mural movement of the twentieth century. Begining in the 1920s with the end of the revolution, muralismo has since gained Mexico international fame. These early murals, painted by greats like Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros, portray themes of revolution, history, nationalism, marxism, industrialization, christianity and the state. When we were in DF, we were lucky enough to see many of these works in Bellas Artes and the Palacio Nacional. Despite, as I learned in class the other day, Rivera's self promoting and selfish character, I am still enamored by his work. While not the body of his work, I find his signature lilies and portrayal of the bourgeoisie absolutely beautiful and emblematic of the glamour of the 1920s. Rivera is probably rolling in... read more
Silence Kills

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca March 3rd 2012

El Mercado The markets in Mexico are, by far, one of the most fascinating aspects of daily life. Vendors come each day or week to sell everything from food, seeds and flowers to clothes and tupperware. People crowd into narrow stands weaving their way around the labyrinth of carts and booths. The markets are overwhelingly fragrant; not always in the best way. The scent of flowers and tacos are mixed with fresh meats and Oaxacan cheese. Over the course of the last months, I have visited quite a few different markets, both in the city of Oaxaca and in small pueblos in the country. Each has a distinct flavor and customer base. Some are small and open daily where as others are only weekly, rotating from town to town. Every day near the centro there are ... read more
Llano Park Market
Tlacalula Market

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca February 24th 2012

La Lengua- tongue or language. Living in Oaxaca has been invaluable for improving my Spanish- both listening and speaking. Stumbling to explain we are learning in class over a bowl of coco puffs every morning with my host mom has, most definately, become much more tolerable over the last few weeks. So much of the Spanish I have learned has happened outside of the classroom. Don't get me wrong- we are still struggling with the infinity of tenses and the ever frustrating subjunctive. Regardless, I have picked up a lot of colloquial vocabularly by just being in the city. Here is a little list of some common terms with one or many meanings: ¿Que onda?- what's up? ¡ay!- an exclamation. along the lines of jeeze or really!? Often, ¡Ay! ¡Dios mio! chido- cool guey- dude guera- ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Puerto Escondido February 21st 2012

Puerto Escondido I will begin this post by thanking all the great presidents who made it possible to not have school on Monday. Because of this, we were able to take a mini vacation to Puerto Escondido, a beach town on the Pacific coast. After finishing up our essay exams Thursday afternoon, we took an overnight bus to the coast. Unlike the midwest where 8 hours will get you easily from Minneapolis to Chicago, 8 hours in Oaxaca involves driving over super curvy mountain ranges at about 40km/hr. We were told that the trip was going to be very rough (friends that went before all vomited at some point on the tri). With this in mind, we took some motion sicknes pills and did just fine. We arrived at about 5am on Friday morning in Puerto ... read more
Mayflower Hostel

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca February 6th 2012

FOOD I think it would be absolutely impossible to talk about Oaxaca without talking about the food. Let's not kid ourselves, most of my free time here is spent going out to cafes, restaurants, bars, food stands, really anything where I can eat or drink something. Given this, I will share with you all some of the most (and least) delicious aspects of my trip. Tacos al Pastor- the tacos from this little taquería in our neighborhood are fantastic. While you can get just about any type of meat, they are known for tacos al pastor and gringas, two types of tacos that use the pastor meat. This (I think pork?) is roasted nightly on a spit, covered in some delicious mystery orange colored spices and served with onions, cilantro and a chunk of fresh pineapple. ... read more

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca February 5th 2012

Sierra Norte This weekend we took a hiking trip to Sierra Norte, the mountain range just east of Oaxaca City. The area has recently become a popular site for ecotourism which has helped to bolster the community and create jobs. Anyways, as far as the trip goes, it was an adventure. Really, any attempt at planning a trip in Mexico is an adventure, so who am I kidding in thinking this was any different? We started out (fairly) early Friday morning for the 2nd class bus station. After leaving the quiant, almost touristy, streets of the center, we saw a different side of Oaxaca. When we finally found our way into the massive station, we found the ticket gate and bought seats for the trip. Being the well prepared girl I am, I figured it would ... read more
La Cascada

North America » Mexico » Distrito Federal » Mexico City January 28th 2012

Mexico City This past week our class took a trip to Mexico City to visit about 1289758396720345 different sites important to Mexican history. While you may think I am exaggerating, I am not. The trip was a whirlwind 5 days but was totally amazing. Unlike Oaxaca, where we are allowed to run wild through the streets, our teachers had other plans for us in North America's largest urban center. We were ushered around from one museum or historical site to the next for, easily, ten hours each day. Since I can't possibly remember everything that we learned, I am just going to make a list of some of the highlights. Monday- the trip into the city. Surprisingly the most relaxing day. We took a bus for the 7ish hour trip between Oaxaca and DF through some ... read more
Ninos Heores
Post Office

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca January 20th 2012

Los Colores Oaxaqueños Oaxacan Colors Oaxaca is, undeniably, the most colorful city I have ever been to. There is almost nothing more to be said about it. In the historic city center, stuccoed buildings line cobblestone streets in every color from bright blue to yellow to hot pink. From the mountains, you can see the city scape: a crayola box of buildings, dotting the dry, dusty hillsides. But it doesn't stop there. Color is everywhere. From city parks to the Zócalo, the city's main market square, street vendors carry trees vibrant baloons. Even the food here is colorful. Candied fruits on top of panes y pasteles have a glossy, suggary sheen. Agua de Fruta, a popular juice drink made of blended fresh fruit, water and sugar, takes on the color of its flavor. Another drink, limonada, ... read more
Agua de Frutas

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca » Monte Albon January 13th 2012

Monte Albán This Tuesday, our class took a trip to Monte Albán, the largest archeological site in the Valley of Oaxaca. It is situated in the center of the valley, at the meeting of the three different valley arms. While its function is debated, it is possible that Monte Albán served as a central capital with political and military functions, much like modern Washington DC. The site consists of numerous residential areas as well as large pyramids at the city center. The pyramids, typical to many in Mesoamerica, are rectangular and are orientated with the cardinal directions. The pyramids each have a large stair case, leading to one or two platforms. While many of the pyramids were roped off to tourists, we were able to climb to the top of one at the south end of ... read more
The Southern Valley
Danzante Wall
Ball Court

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca January 7th 2012

While I have only been in Oaxaca for 4 days, it has been absolutely insane. It is nearly impossible to list all the things that I've done in this short time, so I will try to be organized and give a small flavor of each major event. Maybe if I am really lucky, I will even sneak some pictures in for you all. But enough chatting. The Trip- I left for Oaxaca early Monday morning and proceded to travel like crazy- first MSP to O'Hare in Chicago, then Mexico City, and finally, Oaxaca. After a near heart attack at O'Hare (why is it that American airports are more difficult to navigate than ones where much of the staff doesn't speak English?), I made it to Mexico City. I was served a delicious lunch on the plane, ... read more
Inside the Tomb at Zaachila

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