Usually when I mention Mexico City to friends or family they say either one of two things: 1. oh it sounds dangerous and crazy! or 2. oh i’ve always wanted to go there! And now that I think about it, i remember doing some extensive googling relating to the safety of the city before our first visit nearly 4 years ago. And after our visit I remember feeling like I’d been let in on a secret.. I was so amazed by how safe and peaceful and cool it is. But then both times I’ve visited it’s been after being in Ciudad Obregon, which would be similar to hanging out in a small town in Arizona or something and then going to New York. Maybe my amazement is just relative.
Anyway, this visit has felt so different to last time. With a nearly 5 year old and a 14 month old, we were definitely slaves to the nap-time but also during that nap-time we had a nearly 5 year old who needed attention. Traveling with small kids to a city where you know nobody can be quite exhausting. In Seattle we rely so much on our community and we hardly ever feel as though we don’t have enough time for each other or ourselves. I know it was only for a week, but it made me think about if we were to be traveling for longer to places where we knew nobody and what we would need to do in order to have time for just Ivan and I.
We arrived last Friday and we had a weekend with Ivan just exploring the city. We walked until our legs and feet hurt and I was still feeling quite unwell but I so desperately wanted to keep up. We have eaten so well but we don’t feel like we’ve overeaten. Most days we had breakfast at home (obsessed with this, topped with chopped dates, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chopped apple and cinnamon) with a black coffee and then we would choose one ‘big’ meal for the day (either lunch around 2 or dinner around 5). I’ll write another post about all the great places we found to eat here.
So we hung out together for every minute of the weekend (and Teo tried to nap on-the-go, which is so much harder for him than it ever was for Mika) and then on Monday Ivan had to go back to work (remotely) so I spent the week with the kids mostly from about 10-5 with a lunch break with Ivan. We explored the library and walked the city and ate the food and drank the coffee. We played in the parks and watched the water fountains and tried to see who could spot the street art first (Mika would sometimes point out actual graffiti and say ‘ohh mama, look how cool that is, all the pretty colors!).
Some things about our trip to Mexico City, because a list is easier and my brain is exhausted:
- We stayed in Condesa again. We used AirBnB and this time we stayed in a HUGE house right on Parque Mexico and it was so dreamy. We had three rooms to ourselves, mostly we slept in the king bed and Teo had his travel bed in a different room and then Ivan used the other room as an office. I definitely played out in my head how it might feel to actually live here for a year.
- People drive like CRAZY. Being a pedestrian feels dangerous here, oh so different to Seattle.
- It’s not super easy to be here if you don’t speak some Spanish. I’m sure you would get by, but most people here only speak or prefer to just speak Spanish, which kinda surprised me considering what a huge city it is. But it’s great if you wanna practice your Spanish!! (Like I do).
- We visited the Children’s Museum (Papalote) and it was under construction! Only 4 spaces were open and since we had walked 2.5 miles (up and down stairs with a stroller) to get there, I decided to make the most of the trip anyway. Mika had a really great time, but if you don’t speak any Spanish I’m not sure if you would really get as much out of it as you could. The helpers all mostly speak just Spanish and the instructions for the activities are all in Spanish too.
- The street art!
- It’s very strange (to me) that there are no public swimming pools in Mexico City. There are fitness clubs, but you have to belong and they don’t offer day-passes for visitors.
- People love their dogs. There seem to be people walking their dogs everywhere and also, a lot of people walking other people’s dogs. On the street we were living on there were FOUR shops just for your pet (dog).
- I’m so glad we actually made it to Coyoacán this time. The markets there are very much worth the trip (we took an Uber) and we spent at least 3 hours walking around.
- And finally, we saw the pyramids! I will write a separate post about this, but yep, I am so glad that we did it.
And here are some photos:
View from the kitchen table.
Our sweet little kitchen.
The water fountains!
The sweet little library in the park by our house. It was open early every day and had so many great resources in a little ‘kid’s room’. On the day that it rained we hung out here for a few hours and met some interesting homeschooling families.
When we didn’t have a highchair, the stroller had to do. He’s all like, ‘don’t touch my food!’
The house we lived in! So old and so beautiful. They were actually filming some scenes for a television show there on the day we left.
In the Coyoacan markets. A little bit crazy, a lot of the same things, but also a lot of cool things. We bought a little wooden toy for Teo and a dress and a bag for Mika.
180, a cool shop in Roma Norte with lots of cool made in Mexico things.
All the dogs! It was like a doggy playdate/day-care at the park in the mornings. Teo LOVED it (he loves dogs).
He liked riding like this but he most definitely could not nap like this. (He had to be on my front for nap-time).
The kitchen balcony. The plants made this place feel extra wonderful.
Playing in the park opposite our house.
In Coyoacan, the city named after the coyotes that used to roam there.
6 months in Mexico. What an adventure. A quick re-cap:
When we first arrived I couldn’t help but notice the differences.
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 re-visited some of the same spots we did when I was pregnant.
I fell in love with twilight.
And now we’re off to Seattle to start our next adventure!
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!
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
We finally managed to get everyone together for some family photos. The only one missing is Ivan’s dad! We spent the early evening playing in the backyard of Ivan’s brother’s home and then we finished the night with some sushi and gorgeous entertainment in the form of Mika and her little cousin Maria-Renee. It kinda sucks knowing we’ll be so far away from this soon!