Browsing Tag

Mexico City

Food, Mexico, Reflections

A few of my favorite things…

March 21, 2015

Given the fact that Mexico City has been my home for several months now, I’ve been meaning to make a list of my favorite things.  Whether it be amazing street tacos from a lady by my work, Sunday bike strolls on Reforma or fun events with my co-workers, here’s a list of things (in no particular order) that always seem to put a smile on my face.

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1. Churros rellenos. These lovely things are churros that are fried and made right in front of you and are filled with nutella, chocolate sauce, cajeta, caramel, strawberry sauce, the list goes on! These are most popular in the Coyoacan neighborhood.

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2. Jardin del Centenario in Coyoacan neighborhood. The fountain with the two coyotes is symbolic of the Coyoacan neighborhood, as it used to be called the land of the coyotes. Go Yotes! Around this fountain is a gorgeous square with great restaurants, artesanal markets and a beautiful church.

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3. The said beautiful church in Jardin Centenario Coyoacan called the Temple and ex convent of San Juan Bautista. It’s my favorite church in all of Mexico City.

 

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4. Mercado Medellin. This is a huge building and inside is a giant public marketplace. I try to go once a week to local food vendors who have the best and freshest avocados, bananas, mangos, eggs, peppers, etc. All of the vendors are so nice, the prices are reasonable, and it’s way more enjoyable shopping for groceries in this environment where you can build real relationships with your food providers.

 

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5. The view from MásNegocio, my workplace! This is from the top floor of the building and is such a gorgeous view when the pollution doesn’t cloud the view of the mountains in the distance.

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6. Berry cheesecake ice cream for 15 pesos (1 dollar), sold from a guy who makes homemade ice cream and posts up at a corner by my work everyday. Probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

 

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7. One of the fountains 1 block away from my apartment in Condesa. There are usually food vendors selling coconuts and other fresh fruit.

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8. My running route on Paseo de Reforma. The reason I signed up for my half-marathon is because I discovered this lovely path at the beginning of January and I look forward to my runs due to this view!

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9. Nutrista frozen yogurt. It’s 2 for 1 on the weekdays and usually a wonderful snack my co-workers and I take advantage of every once in awhile.

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10. Friday lunches with co-workers, the best! Most of my favorite restaurants have been fund when dining with my co-workers. We have a few beers, really good food, and take about 3 hours mid-day to chat about weekend plans. Mexicans know how to do Fridays.

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11. Riding bikes on Reforma on Sundays! Sundays are my favorite day of the week in Mexico City for this reason. From 9-2pm ish, this whole street shuts down for runners, bikers, roller bladers, etc. to enjoy the day off and the beautiful weather. There is always something fun going on along this street whether it be free bike rentals, Zumba classes, kick-boxing or food.

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12. Amazing street tacos 20 steps from my work, sold by a woman who carries many taco flavors and transports them in white tub containers. We call her the tubito lady for this reason. My two personal favorites are shown here: chicken breast with her homemade guacamole and pork with green mole sauce.  30 pesos (2 ish dollars).

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13. CUPCAKES BY TOM. This gem of a place is located two blocks from my apartment so I’ve had to exhibit some pretty solid self control to only buy something here once a week. Usually I stop by for a muffin and a coffee for breakfast, but their cupcakes are so good as well.

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14. Comida Combi. This man drives his VW van to the same spot everyday and supplies a 3-course meal for 50 pesos (3 dollars).

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14. Comida Combi continued. Soup, rice, bean, tortillas, main dish, and a drink for 50 PESOS. Puts a smile on my face every time I buy his food.

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15. My fellow Binational Business Fulbrights! I don’t know where I would be today without them. Living in Mexico City has had its ups and downs, and the amount of support and kindness this group has shown me has gotten me through it all. I’m so thankful for them!

Mexico, Reflections

I Wish You Enough

January 14, 2015

You know that feeling when you get when you’ve just had a wonderful weekend, but can’t seem to place exactly why?  That’s the kind of weekend I had, and it’s just what I needed.  My first week back to D.F. had been a little overwhelming, just like it is for everyone after a long break:  back to work, back to classes, jet lag, etc.  A week full of “starts” can be both exciting and overwhelming.

“Distance makes the heart grow fonder”, that lovely, awfully cliché saying, could not have been more true about my feelings for D.F.  Coming back from Germany, I was able to look at D.F. through the lense of a long-lost friend.  I went to a Theory of Everything (highly recommended) with my roommate on Friday, and Mexican movie theaters have this special type of caramel popcorn that I’ve never seen sold anywhere else.  Yay, Mexico!

On Saturday I went to el Bazaar Sábado, located in San Ángel.  This special artesanal market is located in one of the oldest and most calm neighborhoods in D.F., and I’ve always been wanting to go.  One of the things I’ve grown to love about Mexico is that there is always something going on in the streets.  You never have to walk more than a block to find street food with everything ranging from cactus quesadillas to freshly sqeezed pineapple juice, or street vendors selling socks to cell phones to art easels.  You name it, they have it on a corner somewhere.  This market was very similar to Mexico’s bustling streets.  Besides a large building open only on Saturdays, many artists had swarmed the nearby park and plaza, posting up their art to potentials buyers.  The weather was gorgeous as we walked among the cobblestone streets of near the park and into the bazaar.  I ended up buying some organic coffee grown in Chiapas and a tapestry made of tree bark.

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San Angel Bazaar Sábado.

 

That night we went to an amazing restaurant called Butcher & Sons, located in Roma.  Known for it’s incredible hamburgers and specialty gin menu, they definitely didn’t disappoint.  I’m biased because I think my Dad makes the best burgers in the world, but this place came in at a close second.

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Cheeseburgers, cheese fries, gin out of mason jars, what more could a girl need?

 

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I’m always happy with chocolate cake in my hand.

 

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to run a half-marathon this year, so I went for a long run along Reforma, one of D.F.’s busiest main streets, with my roommate.  It was gorgeous weather, and once we hit Reforma, we realized that it is closed for runners and bikers every Sunday.  Such a great surprise!  We were in the midst of families teaching their children how to ride a bike, determined runners and bikers, and other families just enjoying the weather.  The energy coming off this space was so lively and cheery, it was impossible not to be in a great mood.  I look forward to training for this half-marathon if I’m able to run with all those people every Sunday.

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One of the many fountains about a 2-minute walk from my apartment.

This first weekend back really helped me appreciate Mexico for what it is.  The first trimester was difficult for me because I wanted D.F. to be something it wasn’t.  I wished the traffic weren’t so awful, my schedule weren’t so busy, the city weren’t so large and chaotic, etc.  In my mind, I felt like my time in Mexico wasn’t enough of what I was expecting it to be.  After returning from Germany, seeing the juxtaposition of cultures between the two countries has helped me appreciate Mexico more than ever.

I came across this poem written by Bob Perks:

I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.”

As a girl who is happiest with a busy schedule to keep her hands and mind busy, I often struggle finding the fine balance between when my schedule is “just right” and when my plate is just too full.  In a world where businesses and organizations strive for innovation, efficiency, and always striving to be better, it’s easy for me to carry this concept over into my personal life.   “What more can I do?” and  “How can I make this better?” are awesome questions to tackle on the job or in the classroom, but are harder to answer in a personal setting.  The way for me to make my experience an amazing one in Mexico is to let this experience, this city, and my life, be enough.

Mexico

Sunday Funday at Xochimilco

September 15, 2014

Hola Amigos!

This past Sunday we went to Xochimilco, one of the boroughs of Mexico City about an hour south from the historic center of the city.  Xochimilco is labeled as a World Heritage Site because it has an extensive 110 mile canal and lake system where tourists and locals are able to ride trajineras (large, gondola-like boats) among the canals.  We had a large group of about 20 people that all fit onto one colorful trajinera for a few hours of fun!  The description nor the pictures can do this place justice, but I’ll certainly try.

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Trjineras. Non-motorized boats that can fit up to 20 people on each of these boats.

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Me taking a cheesy photo driving the trajinera. The actual man that drove/controlled the boat for us all afternoon is to the left.

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A view of the rest of the canal. Usually the canal was completely filled with trajineras all afternoon, but I caught this at slow moment while it was raining.

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Some Fulbrighters aboard the boat! We were joined by nine other co-workers of a fellow BBer who is working for a law firm. They had been to Xochimilco before so they knew all of the tricks of the trade!  All in all we had a wonderful day.

 

Mexico

Orientation Week: The shortest distance between two people is a story.

August 31, 2014

Hello everyone!

This past week was my first down here in D.F.!

Day 1 (August 25) was particularly rough for my family and myself.  Like typical fashion, I hardly got any sleep the night before as I packed and re-packed my suitcase and asked myself odd questions…When’s the next time I would sleep in my own bed?… How much will have changed the next time I’m home, and what will have changed more?… How many days into Mexico will I miss the wide open spaces, the sunset off the back porch, my car, or Colby Jack cheese (seriously)?  I am never a fan of “the night before” embarking on something new.  It always takes the day before for me to comprehend the magnitude of change that I am choosing to pursue by casting away what is comfortable in my life and exchanging it for something entirely new.  For some, the days following departure are some of the most exciting.  For me, I always have to find the strength to pack my suitcases, hop in the car, say teary goodbyes to my family, and head to the gate with as much optimism I can muster.

As you can about imagine, I was a bit of a mess throughout security and my first flight.  By extreme luck as I was boarding to Mexico City I happened to be sitting next to a girl on the plane named Brittney.  Like the extreme creep I am, I noticed that she was on her phone looking at a Fulbright Facebook page that we are all apart of. I asked her about it and as we were talking about the program, another girl, Emily, from across the row chimed in.  Three Fulbrighters ended up sitting together the whole ride to Mexico City!  It was such a relieve to meet two wonderful women in my same situation, and we greatly enjoyed chatting during the flight and sharing the same excitement as we landed in Mexico City for the first time.

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Fulbright friends on the plane! Such a relief. Photo credit: Brittney.

We arrived in the Mexico City Airport and took a taxi with a few other Fulbrighters to the hotel for a week-long orientation.  The rest of the week was spent attending preparatory meetings, trying great food, and meeting all 90+ of the Mexico Fulbright Fellows.  Here’s a few highlights of my week…

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A few Binational Business interns with Earl Anthony Wayne, the US Ambassador to Mexico. Mr. Wayne was able to join us for lunch during one of the orientation days. We were also able to visit the U.S. Embassy for an informational panel.

 

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First time viewing the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City!

 

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A few of the 2014-2015 Fulbright-Mexico cohort in front of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Photo credit: COMEXUS – García Robles Facebook Page.

 

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Interior of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, where we were able to watch a Folklore Ballet of Mexico’s cultural heritage.

A little bit of info about the Fulbright Program.  Funded by the U.S. Department of State, this program allows thousands of students, scholars, etc., participate in an educational exchange with over 155 participating countries over the world.  Usually the U.S. Student Program offers two routes to pursue.  An English Teaching Assistantship is given to students who teach English at a given location in their host country; a Research Grantee is affiliated with a host institution to complete a carefully crafted research project that is unique to the country they have selected.  For Mexico, there is a “hybrid” program called the Binational Business Internship Program (that’s me!), where grantees are to work for a multinational corporation full-time and also take MBA courses at one of two prestigious universities in Mexico City.  This year the 2014-2015 Fulbright cohort in Mexico exceeds 90 grantees in total and there are 12 Binational Business Interns (BB’s).  For more information about the U.S. Student Program, http://us.fulbrightonline.org/ is the link.

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2014-2015 Binational Business Interns. The 12 of us will be working for different multinational corporations and also taking MBA courses at ITAM. Photo credit: COMEXUS – García Robles Facebook Page.

Overall, this week has been quite the whirlwind of emotions and shared camaraderie with all of the fellow grantees.  My favorite college professor uses this quote to describe the connection people make with each other when meeting for the first time:

“The shortest distance between two people is a story”

– Patti Digh

This quote has been the perfect explanation during orientation week.  Hearing everyone’s stories such as why they chose to apply for the Fulbright in Mexico was especially humbling because all of the grantees are exceptionally talented and we will learn so much from each other`s knowledge!  We have all greatly benefited from the deeper conversations (our current fears, concerns, plans, etc.) because it reminds us that we aren’t alone.  We are all facing the stark reality of finding our own housing, purchasing Mexican cell phones, and navigating our own way throughout the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.  For the most part, our Spanish is rusty, our tasks are unclear, and we feel like we’ve been blown with the wind a little bit through this process because none of us know what to expect; but that is what makes the Fulbright experience so unique.   If we had been given set instructions for phones, lodging, etc., we wouldn’t have had the independence we do this week to forge our own path and make our own decisions for the next 10 months.  Never have I felt so fortunate to be associated with such a wonderful cohort of people whose main desire is to live and learn from this new culture.  Cheers to the next ten months in this beautiful country.  More posts to come soon!

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Beautiful view of Mexico City from the top floor of our hotel for orientation week! So excited to see what these next ten months will bring.