Thursday, May 28, 2009

And so it begins...

Uffffffffffff! We finally made it to las tierras mexicanas. We arrived this morning before dawn and I'm already fighting the jetlag in an effort to try to get my clock set in motion. A little diffcult though when my body thinks it's almost midnight and has gone without sleep for nearly 24 hours. Anyway, used to it by now.

Just wanted to post this short note to say we made it across the pacific, a little bumpy, but we are here in one piece. The last 2 weeks have been crazy busy, I need to sit back and think about all that happened so i can make sense of it before writing anything down. But will do so soon :)

Regarding Mexico City: I don't have much to write about right this second, considering we have been here all of 5 hours, but i already had tamales, and i'm glad to hear that the tortilla lady next door is still around screaming tortiiiiiiiiillllllllllaaaaaaaaaaa at the top of her lungs. The neighbors dogs are there as well. And i'm sure the confused rooster will surface at about 4 this afternoon thinking it's dawn (maybe it has permanent jetlag!). Sigh. The welcoming sounds to confirm you are home.

There shall be no "settling down" activities this weekend. That will start monday. I'm off to Cuernavaca for a relaxing weekend with the familia.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

(Sigh) Shanghai...

Today happens to be one those incredible spring (borderline-summer) Shanghai days that I love so much. You know what I'm talking of those glorious mornings where you wake up and you just cannot possibly fathom staying inside... After a morning of cleaning, we headed out for a lovely late lunch al fresco. Nothing is better than sitting in the sun with a cool breeze and the most refreshing, delicious, and crisp sauvignon blanc in front of you. At least for me anyway ;)

It's just one of those things that puts you in a
good mood with a perma-smile on your face and "life is just dandy" kinda feeling! Weather plays such an important role in our outlooks on life. I couldn't imagine living in a place where it is cold and rains all the time (my hair! - oh the horror!). The Finn in me doesn't play a role when it comes to dealing with harsh climates! I'm a tropical girl all the way.

I have a whole new found appreciation for
blue skies.

On a completely different note: the reason we got up early this morning was to make sure our house is spic and span in the hopes that our landlords will help us out and give back some part of the deposit. Well can I just say how freaking cool our landlords are!?!?!? They gave us back the whole deposit PLUS only made us pay half the month's rent. Woohoo! We are pretty good tenants and kept the place looking new, but this does come as a surprise. Just when you thought there aren't any decent people is full of surprises.

We are leaving in 4 (FOUR!!!)'s only starting to hit me now. Crazy new adventures are about to commence.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meet Cantinflas

Sigh. I know not everyone is a bird-lover, but isn't he the cutest? This little man has been with my family for almost 15 years and has become my gordo's new obsession. Understandably, of course.

A few facts about African Grey Parrots:

  1. They are considered to be the most talented talking parrots.
  2. In many cognitive tasks they perform at the level of dolphins, chimpanzees, and even a human toddler.
  3. The owner should expect to hear regular renditions of the microwave, telephone, alarm clocks, dripping water, wild birds, video games.
  4. They require large cages, a varied diet that includes fresh foods, and plenty of safe and destructible toys.
  5. An ability and tendency to produce human speech.
Specifically, Cantinflas:

  1. Repeatedly says PANGIT (translation: UGLY). We have yet to figure out who he is referring to.
  2. Makes some noise resembling a laser: pew-pew, pew-pew, and whistles, and says hello when the phone rings.
  3. Loves apples and corn, and apparently cheese - although we don't feed him that too often.
  4. Rips apart newspapers.
  5. ...and for some reason continues to call (in my mom's voice) for FRED - our gardener who passed away nearly 4 years ago.

Considering they have a life span of about 50 years, Cantinflas is a mere teenager and has many decades left in him. Thus, we have made the decision to bring him with us to Mexico. Of course, we did not ask him for his opinion, although I do get the impression he won't be very happy to be confined for the duration of the trip. But now that I think about it, it will be his first time flying; naturally or otherwise.

Now we are faced with the
slight inconvenience of actually getting him to Mexico from across the Pacific. Who knows if that will happen this trip over, but at least now you know that with all the other things in life that I must worry about, I've added importing a pet parrot to my list.

Lasting Impressions

I know this is supposed to be all about Mexico, but since I am not quite there
yet...there is going to be lots of nostalgic tales and scenes as my last few weeks wind down in Shanghai. We got the chance the other day to visit the "Cuauhtemoc", the Mexican sailboat/naval academy (coincidentally), as it docked on Shanghai's shores for a quick visit.

While the boat in itself is majestic, the backdrop of the famous Bund and P
udong is hard to beat. Let's just say we had the best seat in town. These areas are considered quite touristy so we really don't come around here often...but jeez....when we do: it still takes our breath away. I'm sure you can understand why...

My gordo got a little inspired afterwards to take a few shots from our apartment balcony. This is what we see every night as we look out into the great maze that is Shanghai, Jing'An district

We take for granted sometimes that we live in this great big concrete jungle. Sure, we complain of the pollution, the noise, the congestion...but when the rare blue sky makes an apperance above, Shanghai is really a beautiful city that beckons you to come explore and get lost in its charms and contrasts.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Comparisons Across Oceans...

I always wonder what to answer when people ask me: "What is the Philippines like?" Hmm. How should I sum it up? Is it even a possibility to do so in a few sentences?

When my other half finally made it to Manila, he said to me..."I feel like I'm in Acapulco". WOW. After having been to Mexico multiple times prior to his arrival in the Philippines, it took him saying that for me to come to my own realization as well. I've always felt a strong pull to Mexico and its culture and its people. Could it possibly be because it is so much like the Philippines in more ways than one???

I am hoping that a few photos will provide a more accurate description of the similarities between the two worlds. At least it will do more justice than the adjectives I can come up with. Take a guess where each shot was taken...

So throughout our relationship, we have constantly explored the similarities between our two cultures. Crazy enough, we even found out that the Filipino language, Tagalog, has a few hundred words that stem from the indigenous language of Nahuatl. I always knew that the Spaniards left their mark on both our countries, but never would have thought that the pre-colonization vocabulary would make it's way to the Philippines and into the language. My favorite of which is def
initely Tiyangge (Nahuatl: Tianquiztli; Mexican Spanish: Tianguis) :)

The Manila-Acapulco Galleons certainly left their mark.

So who knows, maybe it won't be so hard for me to adjust to life in Mexico after all! :)

Contemplating Departures and Arrivals

Go figure. I arrived in China nearly 3 and a half years ago with all the intention of documenting my life here in some way. Given reason X, Y, or Z, it just never happened. Too much to do, too little time. The typical excuses and justifications we give ourselves, right?

But the good news is that it's really never too late to start! Same intentions, different city!!! My life is about to change in a BIG way. My lovely fiance, a.k.a. husband-to-be-come-November, and I have decided it is time to go "HOME". Where is home you might ask? Well, that depends on who you are asking.

I was born in the Philippines - Spanish Dad and Finnish Mom - and I lived there until the ripe old age of 18 (!) before heading off to discover the world (eh - university), staring in Madrid, Spain. From there to the good ole' US of A to finish school, work for a bit, then my last stint has been in the pearl of the orient - Shanghai. So where is HOME? I guess you could say Manila, considering it's where I've spent the most time. But I've come to the realization that home is truly where the heart is (OK, I know it's cliche, but it's appropriate!)

So my goal for the near future and rest of my life is to make Mexico my HOME. I am crossing my fingers that I will somehow manage to feel my way around and successfully create my own little cosmo in one of the largest cities of the world. The fact that my love is Mexican (and I mean, really MEXICAN!) will surely help with acclimatizing.

This blog will be all about my personal journey as I settle down, discover a new city and country, and make a new life for myself. And of course, I am hoping that it will include lots of helpful tips on living in Mexico City.

I can't wait to share all the amazing discoveries and new experiences - hopefully in an effort to enlighten and inspire those other "lost souls"/"forever expats" out there who are looking to making their little niche in this big, big world.