first impressions.

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1. i sat with one of the other volunteers during his shift at the reception desk this morning. it was a blur of keys & folders, hellos & goodbyes, paperwork & phone calls. there is a constant buzz of people here. this morning i breakfasted with a man from new york city, a woman from belgium and an american woman who lives in chiapas–eating food cooked by one of the other volunteers, from spain. there is so much to say. so much to talk about. and, also blessedly, so many opportunities to sit together in silence. i forgot how draining it is to adjust to living in a new place & speaking spanish all day: it is physically exhausting. every moment, though, is so thrilling.

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2. i can see the monumento a la revolución from my bedroom window. (peep the gold dome on the right side.) porfirio díaz began building it as his government’s legislative palace, but the project was interrupted by the revolution & his subsequent ousting. (awkward.) yesterday one of the other staffers took me on a walk around the centro histórico. we saw the zócalo, the templo mayor, a few cathedrals, an old hotel whose stained glass-ceilinged lobby held ornate birdcages with tiny canaries. if you’ve traveled with me before, you can imagine my awe at all this. my eyes can’t open wide enough to take it all in.

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3. the casa is speckled with hidden courtyards & gardens–this one, on the second floor, outside the shared women’s dormitory adjoining my room. as of today, i share with audrey, another volunteer from the US who just arrived. the volunteer team is about to transition–several people are leaving this week and audrey and juan, a guy from bolivia, and i will form the new one. before i arrived, i couldn’t believe that i was really coming here; as i passed through security in newark, it finally set in, but now it’s hard to believe i’m here for nearly a year, swimming in so much newness.