May 29

Feeling like a tourist.

This photo was taken very early in the morning, almost exactly a week ago. We were still in Mexico, about to jump on the bus to start our journey.

And now we are in Seattle. We’ve been here a week but it still doesn’t feel real. We (very kindly) have a place to stay temporarily while we search for a home. It’s ridiculously exciting.

My Dad has been visiting for the last few days. It’s so nice to spend time with him and for Mika to get to know her Opa. Since he’s been here she’s mastered the sign language for ‘doggy’ and she pairs it with a very adorable ‘ROOROOROO’ every time she sees one. So cute.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of incredible food there is here. From markets, fresh produce, exotic spices and cheap organics to possibly better coffee than NZ and amazing vegan cafes & restaurants…we’re in heaven.

Our legs are sore. The first 4 days we walked many many kilometres every day – definitely one of my favourite things about being in a new city. We’ve been making the most of the lush green parks, playgrounds and afternoon sun – especially before Ivan starts work.

I have lots to say, but right now we’re making black bean and corn tacos for my Dad before he leaves tomorrow and then we have a very competitive final game of Catan to play.

Here’s our first week in pictures:

Exploring our new city on foot.

First haircut. Fastest $10 ever spent.

Assembling Mika’s first ever crib. (With Mika’s help).

Sunny early morning wake-ups.

Golden Gardens. I had no idea this existed in Seattle. I am so in love.

Fruit eating and playgrounds in the afternoon.

Hanging out with Opa and loving it. (She can even say ‘Opa!’)

Alki Beach in West Seattle. Another place I had no idea existed but am now extremely happy that I know about.

Vegan tamales and quesadillas from the Ballard Market. Super good.

Super grains for breakfast.

A sleeping beauty.

May 21

A quick re-cap

6 months in Mexico. What an adventure. A quick re-cap:

When we first arrived I couldn’t help but notice the differences.

I started running again and ran my first race post baby in Mexico City!

We quit eating sugar and started our new food blog.

I stopped washing my hair (For the record, I lasted 6 weeks. Then I washed it and kinda wished I hadn’t. I’m definitely trying this again!) and stopped using face wash (baking soda & honey are amazing!)

We celebrated our first Christmas in Mexico and wrote a family manifesto for the new year.

We re-visited some of the same spots we did when I was pregnant.

Adele and I pre-launched the new yMedia.

We lived.

I fell in love with twilight.

We stopped eating meat, dairy and eggs.

We visited the beach.

We both gave up coffee for a while and we re-thought our running tactics.

I found inner peace and we got rid of our stuff.

And now we’re off to Seattle to start our next adventure!


May 19

Finding food

We had to wake up at 4am so by the time our first interview was over, we were starving.

We walked to the town centre and asked some people where we could get some frijoles and guacamole. We were met with blank stares and mumblings about cabeza and lengua. Ivan eventually stopped to ask a man at one of the many taco stands we were passing if he served guacamole. He didn’t. What do you want? He asked in Spanish and Ivan replied frijoles y tortillas y guacamole y verduras. He looked at us suspiciously with his broken teeth and sweaty brow and Ivan clarified no meat.

How about fish? Another sweating fat toothless man wearing a cooking apron appeared out of nowhere, keen to help. No, no meat. Ivan repeated.

Head scratching, sighing, suspicious side glances and vague pointing in different directions ensued until one of them mumbled something a Chinese place with maybe what we were after.

The Chinese place sold sushi, go figure. With a huge selection I figured I’d just ask for the vegetarian roll. Turns out that despite a four page double sided menu, they had not a single vegetarian roll. And every single roll had philidelphia cream cheese in it too.

So we asked for 2 rolls with just avocado, carrot & cucumber. The lady checked the menu. We assured her we’d checked it already. She found one with avocado, carrot, cucumber, crab and philidelphia. We said yes yes, but without the crab and philidelphia. She didn’t understand why. There was a quick consultation with the chef to confirm this was possible and finally we were satisfied.

The sushi was awful. And a few hundred pounds of shrimp and chicken had somehow found their way into the side of vegetable rice Ivan ordered. We left with queasy tummies.

After an afternoon snack of canned beans from a gas station, we finally arrived back in Obregon.

The good news? We’re one step closer to Seattle…Visas approved!

May 15

Desperate Measures

This little family just got hit with a nasty 24 hour bug. Urghh. The worst is over now though, and we’re slowly starting to eat solids and feel a bit better on our feet.

Last Friday Ivan and I took a much needed road trip to Alamos. It was a spur of the moment thing, fueled by the fact that we have another few days to wait until our visa interview and this heat plus lack of things to do here is driving us nuts. So we hired a car for the day, left Mika with her grandma and drove for 2 hours to Alamos for a very good breakfast. We played a long scrabble game, talked about our wedding and drank a couple cups of pretty good coffee before jumping back in the car and driving home again.

It wasn’t so much for the breakfast that we did the trip. It was for everything. For the 2 hour drive with no baby, for 7 hours of just Ivan and I, for the excitement of being somewhere new (even if only for a few hours) and for sitting in a beautiful tranquil setting for 3 hours together. It was just what we needed.

The place is in Alamos and is called Teresita’s. It’s super cute as you can tell from these pictures!

Mika was perfect for her Grandma. She napped, she played, she ate and she was super stoked to see us when we got home. Oh, in other news…Mika is starting to walk! Her record so far is EIGHT steps! I’m kinda embarrassed to say that I almost cried the first time she did it. I have no idea why, but it just feels so…momentous. This is IT. This is huge. She’ll never be a little crawling baby ever again. I’m so proud and excited, but clearly also a little bit teary at the thought of it all :)

May 10

I found inner peace whilst doing the dishes.

Yep, I found inner peace whilst doing the dishes.

So you may think that I’ve gone loco from being in Mexico for too long. The heat! The guacamole! The beans! Surely something had to give sooner or later. Maybe. But hear me out, my latest epiphany has been a great one.

How to have a clean and orderly house (and hence a peaceful and quiet mind)

  1. Have only what you need.
  2. Have only things that you believe to be beautiful, that you love to use and see.

I’ve always wondered why a clean home makes me feel good. Actually I haven’t so much wondered this as I have wondered how I could possibly allow my home to get messy when I know how good it feels to have it clean. Doesn’t this sound familiar? How often do we allow our lives to get to a point where we know we aren’t happy? Wouldn’t we all feel better if we only ate nourishing and simple foods? Wouldn’t we all feel better with less computer time and more  exercise time? Of course we would. But somehow what’s best for us isn’t always what we do.

I’ve always assumed that I would hire someone to clean for me. Not in a rich snobby way, but in a practical ‘my time is worth more than this’ kinda of way. (On second thoughts, maybe that is a snobby way). Growing up, we had a lady who came once a week for a while to give the place a good clean. Mum would usually ‘pre-clean’ before she arrived, which I never understood. Here in Mexico there is a cleaner who comes every second day. At first this was amazing. We could be as MESSY as we liked and it would always be cleaned up within a day. Why wash your dish when you can just grab another one from the cupboard?

This mindset started revealing how unhealthy it was when our plans would backfire – the cleaners here are mega cheap and you get what you pay for. Some days she just wouldn’t show up. So one day of living in filth would turn into 3 days. Not so great. Not so healthy.

You would think that by having someone come and clean for us, we would feel freed up to do other things. Sure we were, but how were we developing as people? Strutting around, confident that someone else would clean up after us, leaving dirty dishes in the sink, letting food rot in the fridge, leaving clothes on the floor, beds unmade – this is not the kind of people we wanted to be!

We want to be considerate people. Considerate of our impact and conscious of each action. If we drop something? Pick it up. If we eat off something? Wash it and put it away. If we take something off? Hang it up.

These are the actions that are coherent with the kind of life we want to lead. We had considered being mindful eaters, being present in our conversations and relationships, making sure to move and stretch our bodies daily – but what about being mindful inhabitants? It was like the missing piece of the puzzle, the ultimate ‘d’uh’ moment.

So as I was washing my dish, feeling the warm water run over my hands and knowing that I wasn’t leaving any trace of my actions for someone else to clean up, I felt present. I felt relaxed. I felt strong. It felt like yoga, in a very simple way:

Unite your body with your breath in any shape your body can make. This is yoga. Be mindful of your thoughts. Be forgiving of yourself and others. Honor your intentions. If your intent is yoga, if you FEEL yoga, if you breathe yoga… it IS yoga. From here.

If we don’t have a house filled with stuff and if we take care of the things we do have and if we see our experience with these things as journeys that need to be completed, then we don’t need a daily cleaner.

Having a cleaner in our house has made me feel less connected than ever and it’s been an amazing discovery and lesson for me in my journey to live a mindful, simple and peaceful life. I want to teach Mika these things by leading by example. I want her to see me taking care of what I have and being respectful of the space we live in. I hope that she sees how much her papa and I love washing our dishes together after dinner – seeing it as a time to talk and relax and complete our meal.

This has been a very long post, but it has been something on my mind a lot lately and I wanted to share it. If you have any thoughts about it, I’d love to hear :)

[images found here, here and here.]