Monday, August 27, 2007

Living La Vida Ordinary

I must confess that when Sonny and I began the discussion of moving overseas, my head filled with images of a glamorous and exciting life, akin to that of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Of course they were rich, still, I pictured living in Europe and spending our weekends traveling to various cities throughout the continent, sitting in cafes along the banks of the Seine or the Rhine, visiting museums and churches and monuments.

Well, it has been three months since we have been living in Mexico and this is how we spend our weekends: Sonny takes Asha for a walk to the bakery for fresh croissants and bread early in the morning, then we walk to the market to buy fresh produce and DVDs, take Asha to the park for a bit, go out for breakfast or lunch. Sometimes we go to the mall, or furniture shopping, and once in a while we will drive around Mexico City trying to explore some sights (usually getting lost in the car), but mostly we just spend our time walking around the city and buying flowers or some trinket from a local shop, hanging out at the park watching the remote controlled boats and children riding ATVs, or taking Asha to the zoo or children’s museum.

Clearly, we are not living La Vida Loca. I think this has to do with a combination of the fact that travel within Mexico is not nearly as easy as it is in Europe (there is very limited rail travel within the country), and the fact that Sonny and I are not the most adventurous people in the world, who love to constantly try new things. For a while I have been beating myself up about this fact, thinking that I am not the kind of person who should be an expat, who deserves this type of opportunity, because I do not want to jump in the car every weekend and discover every little and big sight in and around Mexico City.

What I have come to realize is that our current experience of just hanging out on the weekends without any agenda is a very new experience for us. In New Jersey we were fortunate enough to have all of our family and friends, and every weekend there was something to do with someone – a party, a puja, a scheduled event with friends. While it was wonderful and we enjoyed spending so much time with everyone we cared about, we missed out on a lot of family time, just the three of us. Our town offered so many family activities on the weekends – from a Halloween parade to caroling in the town square on Christmas Eve to ordinary fairs throughout the year – that we had to skip because we had extended family events going on at those times.

Well here we are with no family and very few friends so far. We have nothing stopping us from just spending time together as a family, without having to worry about hopping in a car, getting to a particular destination and trying to learn everything “notable” about that sight. Instead, for the first time we are able to just “be” and enjoy the everyday little things about life in a city. And I have to say that while we have plans to travel and visit a number of sights throughout Mexico over the next few months, right now we are just enjoying our every day, ordinary life – which in itself is a new experience for us.


Diana said...

i'm a mexican living in milan, i'm from queretaro, it's not too far from mexico city, i widely recommend you to visit this city: santiago de queretaro, and also tequisquiapan, and bernal, all in the state of queretaro.
you just need to drive 200 km from mexico city to north-east direction.
living abroad is not easy, mexico is not what everybody has in mind, like a huge carnival with parties everyday. mexico is also huge and train doesn't exist, but near to mexico city you can go everywhere, as well, everybody describes mexico city as an exciting and vibrating place... i don't like it at all. you have beautiful towns and cities all around: taxco, cuernavaca, puebla, queretaro, valle de bravo, tlaxcala, etc. just get a map and a mexico tourist guide... and discover my country, don't get bored.

Rupal said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, Diana. We have been to Cuernavaca and Tepotzlan, and have plans to go to San Miguel de Allende and Puebla over the next few weeks, as well as Los Cabos in a few months. There is much to see in Mexico, I agree, though we have been anything but bored while living in the city. For the first time my husband and I are able to spend time together and with our daughter without any sort of agenda or feeling like we "must" do something. So while we plan on discovering some new places, we are thrilled just to be able to do everyday things in the city that we never had the chance to do before, because we were always so busy.

Flor de Calabaza said...

I´m from Mexico City and live in Germany ...I miss life in the fast lane!
There is so much to see in Mexico City. Go to Coyoacan during the week (not on the weekends) and just walk around and go eat quesadillas at the market next to "La Guadalupuana" (Garcia Marquez hangs out there once in a while). Walk over to Frida Kahlo´s house or Trotsky´s house is also in the area. Take a stroll through history lane!
Go for a drink at el Hijo del Cuervo or a pitcher of beer at La Puerta del Sol. What more can you ask for? Good food, great beer, sun and culture all in one day!

Ann said...

Honey, there ain't nothing wrong with just "being" :) slowly but surely you will uncover events and things to do, but often it is quite nice and necessary to just take a walk and breathe it all in - miss you!
ann lafeir