Friday, June 26, 2009

Stepping outside...

It's stressful looking for a place to live. And sometimes this stress can completely engulf you and lead you to make rash decisions - you just want a place NOW! so anything will do. Ok, well not anything; but the desperation to finally have a home leads to some not so well calculated decisions. I'll give you an example - I lived in one apartment with a bus stop outside my bedroom window. It never would have occurred to me that this would have been a big deal. But after the first few mornings of waking up at 4am to the sound of the bus-route recording as commuters got on, I thought to myself - how could I have not forseen this would be a problem?!

So now, I take my "neigborhood scouting" very seriously. It's great to have a super apartment in a cute building - but all we have to leave our havens once in a while, and it's highly important to like what you find when you step out the front door.

Yesterday I decided to walk around our new realm to see what is in store for us...and I was quite happy with my findings :)

Cute little park for when we have our cute little dog - eventually.

The convenience of Starbucks, a deli and wine shop, drycleaners, and bank HQ is a total plus!

Not to mention the metro stop and newspaper stand.

A lovely perk is freshly squeezed orange juice right around the corner and yummy queso Oaxaca (string cheese).

And then of course, as in every big city, but most especially in Mexico, there are those random street vendors you find everywhere selling things you never thought you needed - but maybe can't live without...:)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The falling sky...

I don't know if it's the altitude; maybe subconsciously I feel closer to the heavens knowing how high Mexico City is above sea level: 2,240 meters (7,349 feet). The sun seems more intense and the rains louder and heavier. And that is coming from me, having lived in a country where the tropical sun burns and monsoon rains are a fact of life.

Last night would have been perfect to take out the lancha (speedboat. If we had one, of course).

Between the smallest font in the world that makes up the Guia Roji, and us almost sinking into the Periferico, let's just say it was an adventure making it home last night. As is everyday in Mexico City.

Throw in the lightning, thunder, our complete and utter ignorance of present location, me snapping fotos...and waves. Of course, the waves!

But happy to report we made it home in one piece despite our very first Mexican thunderstorm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me and my boxes and me.

We are *THIS* close. All the paperwork is ready and so it's just a matter of time before we sign the contract and move into our new place! Yipee!!! I don't remember the last time I've been so excited and eager to move and decorate and settle in. I realize that a lot has to do with the fact that I've been living out of my suitcase the last year and a half, so maybe this reaction has been influenced and skewed a little :P But still...excitement is in the air.

This is the nth time I've looked for an apartment now over the last 10 years...I can't even count. Of course, every country is different, and there are pros and cons to what's available depending on where you are in the world. For example, we didn't have an oven in Shanghai - don't ask me how I survived 4 years without one! We made do.

What surprised me the most about looking for a place in Mexico City was that every broker/owner touts the fact that the building has 24 hour security. In other parts of the world - this perk would imply that you can have anything delivered at any hour! In Mexico though, it's really all about safety. So at the end, everything is controlled with alarms and electric buzzers to enter the fortress that has become your apartment.

I don't know if it was just luck or what...but we found this place by total chance. Our little contemporary Mexican living space for now. At least until we can buy a place of our own at some point...

At the beginning of our hunt for our new space, our M.O. was the internet search on sites like Metros Cubicos and Aviso Oportuno. Really though, the easiest was to walk around (or drive around, if you have a car) and start calling the numbers you see hanging outside apartment buildings. This is how we got lucky!

I am also wondering how much paperwork is involved for foreigners who rent in Mexico City. I am thinking that maybe we had an advantage based on the fact that my gordo is Mexican, and therefore we had an easier time with all the documents...which isn't saying much actually, because we still had to prepare all sorts of "proofs" (if you will):

  • Copia identificacion IFE fiador - this is the person who will back you up; co-signer I think is the word I am looking for.
  • Copia escritura del fiador - deed of ownership; the co-signer must own property in Mexico City.
  • Copia ultima boleta de preadial pagada - up-to-date real estate tax payment on said property.

I figure there is some relocating company that makes it easier for foreigners to deal with all the paperwork. The 2 websites I've found that seem to be the most helpful with real estate queries are Mexconnect and Solutions Abroad. In case any of you want to move here ;)

So with all this ilusion to move into our nueva casa...I just had to go through all my boxes that arrived from Shanghai and do a bit of organizing! So the morning was spent rummaging through about 25 boxes figuring out what should stay (meaning go into storage - at least until the Mexican winter) and what should go. Of course everything is important and I couldn't decide (these are all our earthly possessions afterall!), so all 25 boxes are moving in with us. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

This is how they eat popcorn in Mexico.

and how I eat it too. (*blush*) heehee.

YUM - popcorn with salsa valentina. just one of the few inventions of this beautiful land. The other invention I am grateful for, which I am sure I will have many chances to write about due to my obssession with it, is clamato con cerveza. Pure genius. All I have to say about that! :)

My suggestion when it comes to the popcorn - take the salsa valentina on the side, otherwise it gets too soggy! We don't like soggy popcorn.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Battle of the Bacterias

I have always thought very highly of my stomach.

Growing up in Manila, I've most likely been exposed to countless bacteria found in food. I would rather not think about what it is I ate that may have contained these creatures - but in some weird way, I would like to express my gratitude for their contribution in making my stomach highly resistant.

When traveling, I usually pack my first aid kit with the typical meds for the most common body ailments: headache, sore throat, runny nose...etc. BUT hardly ever do I bring anything for an upset stomach. And so far I've survived eating street food and drinking tap water without any adverse effects.

Lamentably, the boot camp my stomach went through all these years have proved not sufficient to combat whatever it is that found in Mexican cuisine...I can't pin point what exactly triggered it - I think it was more of an overload of everything I've stuff into my mouth over the last week.

Of course being sick would not be complete without the beloved Mexican home remedies. I started with te de manzanilla (chamomile), caldito de pollo con arroz (chicken soup with rice), atole de arroz (type of rice pudding), and this morning I was supposed to have a tamal dulce.

In other news...the search for our apartment continues. I can't wait to have our own place and to discover a new neigborhood so I can share more stories.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A different look

After my near melt-down yesterday, I awoke with a new perspective. I started thinking about all the previous visits I've made to Mexico, and I really am lucky to have been exposed to it all prior to our big move. Hence the change in the banner of this blog. I started looking through great photos of our trips (courtesy of the fine eye and super camera of my husband-to-be), and I got inspired thinking that I do have a leg up since I'm not starting from scratch.

I've been reading the material of other incredible writers/bloggers out there who mas o menos started out like I am about to do. They all seem well settled and loving la vida Mexicana. You give me hope ;) Gracias. Lots of you just packed up and moved down south, which is really an incredible feat; kudos to you! I guess it is quite similar to how we just packed up and moved across the Pacific to Shanghai 4 years ago. I should be able to do it all over again, right?!

Being as that my love is Mexican, we have an incredible support group of family and friends that will definitely help with acclamitizing; but I do look forward to meeting the other expat souls out there in the big city who are looking for their spot too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A day of firsts...y despues?

First monday, first june, first of june, first day of "settling in". But all I did was toss and turn the night before this BIG day and waste precious hours of sleep as my mind was racing a mile a minute with all the tasks on hand.

I really did try to start the day with all the intention of organizing our lives, but as you can imagine, it isn't that easy to figure everything out before lunch. Instead of creating my game plan, I started feeling this overwhelming desperation/anxiety and nerves of what's in store for us.

There is soooo much to think about:

  • finding an apartment - and where in this monster of a city???
  • my hubby and his new work schedule - where do I fit in, of course?
  • I have a wedding (mine!) to continue planning
  • what am I going to do with my time? i need to get priorities in order...

It seems all nice and neat with bullet points, but honestly, I don't even know where to start!

One day at a time I guess. The only consolation is that I finally have access to a threadmill, so today was also marked by my first workout; and with the altitude of Mexico City, you burn calories like a bat out of hell! :) Yehay for less oxygen. Never thought I would say that.