Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Great Mexico City Food Blog

Just found this blog on food in Mexico City, the design is amazing and the articles are really interesting. The author is from Texas, and she runs a business giving culinary tours in Mexico City.

I'm finishing my master's in the coming days, and will be moving home to Naperville a week from today. Hopefully I'll find some short-term work to keep me busy in the meantime (retail, restaurant, etc.), but my main focus will be on finding a job. I'd like to stay in the US, but am open to any city ... preferably a warm one, with a beach!

I'll write one last entry before I leave, summing up my experience in Mexico.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago

A very good top 12 list.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Tacquerias of Colonia Narvarte

The New York Times jas a lot of interesting articles on Mexico City.

Here's a piece on good tacquerias (taco restaurants) in Colonia Narvarte, a neighborhood fairly close to my house.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Restaurants in Mexico City

A list, that I plan to keep updating, of good restaurants in Mexico City.

Bistrot Charlotte (Lope de Vega 341, Polanco T 5250 4180): “It’s a very friendly place. Charlotte is always there to welcome you. The prices are fabulous. The other day I had a wonderful artichoke salad and a duck liver mousse. The portions are very generous. I had to ask for a doggie bag for the leftovers.”

Bakea (Sierra Ventana 700-5, Lomas de Chapultepec T 5520 7472): “Delicious and eclectic meals. The chef has done his basic training. He knows Spanish and French food. Everything is well seasoned. “

Contramar (Durango 200, Roma T 5514 9217): “A very high standard, very well-prepared seafood. I love the tostadas with fresh tuna.”

Rincón Argentino (Mazaryk 177, Polanco T 5254 8775): “Rigorously professoinal. The steaks are extraordinary. And I love the empanadas with cheese and chile strips.”
L’Olivier (Presidente Mazaryk 49, Polanco T 5545 3133) : “I love the atmosphere and the open kitchen, and the way they throw foie gras on top of everything. I’ve had an excellent fish there. Sometimes they’re a bit careless. It’s better at night than in the afternoon.”

Izote (Presidente Mazaryk 513, Polanco T 5280 1265): New mexicana cuisine.

Pujol (Francisco Petrarca 254, Polanco T 5545 4111): “Beautiful, with good ideas and attractive presentation.”

Bistrot Mosaico (Michoacán 10, Condesa T 5584 2932):

Tezka (Amberes 78, Zona Rosa T 5228 9918 ext. 5067): “It’s fantastic, if you’re not hungry. They do all those experiments that the Spanish chefs love to do. The technique is marvelous and the dishes are works of art. But only if you’re not hungry.”

Puntarena (paseo de las palmas 275) seafood, tuna hamburger

Rexo (condesa, esq de Nuevo Leon y Vicente Suarez) fairly-priced Italian food, pretty good

Los Arcos (Liverpool 104) seafood Sinaloa style ; tostados de camaron, callo de hacha, tacos de marlin

Danubio Uruguay 3 – seafood

Casa merlos – (victoria cepeda 80, observatorio) really good Puebla food , only open Thursday – Sunday

Nick san – ( bisques de Durazno 39) good sushi

Suntory – (filadelfia y Magdalena, col. del valle) amazing Japanese food, very expensive but if you don’t get sushi , the teppanyaki (grilled chicken and veggies) is very good and can be had for under 200pesos per person.

La Buena tierra (Michoacán in Condesa) vegetarian food

Seps (closeby Buena tierra) good pecho de ternera

Fonda Garufa (Michoacán 91) good Argentine food

Patagonia (Campeche en Condesa) good Argentine food, new restaurant

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great New Mexico Blog

Recently, a gringa friend of mine, Liz, opened a new business in Mexico: Global Luxe is an international manufacturer's representative and consulting firm dedicated to helping companies enter the Mexican market.

You can visit the website at

She also operates a really interesting blog that you can visit at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Samantha Brown visits Mexico City

I love the Travel Channel. It is swell. Here's one of their most famous personalities visiting the Big Taco. I'll update if I can find the full episode. The neighborhood she visits in this clip is Condesa, the neighborhood where my tennis club is and where I'll possibly be living this fall.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back Home in Gringolandia for the Summer

Hola (Hello) everyone, just wanted to check in and half-heartedly pretend this blog was still alive. I wish I would've updated it more, oh well, I'm here now.

The last month was pretty fun. School went well. I went to Puerto Vallarta over a weekend and helped out with a golf tournament. And a week and a half ago I spent all day in Pachuca shooting a commercial for Banorte, which is one of the biggest banks in Mexico. It was soccer-themed and I was a member of the foreign team playing Mexico (the role was a real stretch for me). There were at least 100 extras as fans in the stands. It was the first professional acting job I've ever done and the crew was super-productive and did a great job of keeping things moving. Having said that, we were still on the set for 14 hours. I'm not sure if the final commercial is ready, I can't wait to see it, I'll post it if it is put online.

Well, I'm home until August. I just hope to find a job and work a lot and stay busy and have fun. Sounds simple.

I'm going to visit Europe for the first time ever this Friday, and I'll be there 'til May 30th. I'm flying in and out of Lisbon. Once I'm there I'll be flying from Lisbon to London, then taking the train from London to Paris, and then flying from Paris to Lisbon. I was worried that my flight this Sunday from Lisbon to London would be cancelled would be cancelled due to the volcano. Well, I got a call this morning saying the flight was cancelled due to a British Airways strike. I got a full refund, and I'm about to rebook on easyJet, but there's a good chance that the easyJet flight will be cancelled as well due to the volcano. If that's the case, I'll likely forgo London and spend those days in Portugal and Spain. I still really want to get to Paris since I already purchased a ticket to the French Open tennis tournament (one of the year's 4 major events). So we'll see what happens. Either way, I'm excited to see my buddy Jon, who is teaching English in Portugal.

Monday, April 12, 2010

55 Years of Mexico City History, as told by Sports Illustrated

'Sports Illustrated', founded in 1954, is probably my favorite magazine. I was going through their archive recently and found they had a lot of interesting articles about Mexico City. Not surprisingly, there are a lot fewer articles from the last twenty years. In that time, SI has had a lot less foreign stories, and in general fewer long form articles. It used to be a lot more about hunting, nature, and travel, and now it's heavily focused on mass-market sports (NBA, NFL, etc.). I'm sure the rise of niche magazines for things like hunting, etc. is a reason for this. All that being said, you can find nearly every article ever published in the magazine online for free.

Organized chronologically, here's a few interesting ones about my new city:

-A 1955 article on the Pan-American Games in Mexico City and the affect of the 7,200-foot altitude. I definitely noticed that when I first started playing tennis here.

-A 1955 article about the newly-booming Acapulco, only a few hours drive from Mexico City and a popular weekend retreat for many Chilangos (Mexico City residents).

-An article about the city in general and being a sportsman here, from 1957.

-A 1959 article about Cuernavaca, a weekend town an hour outside of Mexico City.

-A 1960 recap of the U.S. Davis Cup team (tennis) playing a match against Mexico in Mexico City.

-A 1965 article on DF's altitude, as athletes prepared for the 1968 Summer Olympics to be held in Mexico City. (Was 'summer' a bit unnecessary?)

-A lengthy 1966 article on the success of the Mexican Baseball League in luring American stars in 1946.

-An article about the 1966 playing of the Eisenhower Trophy matches, a men's amateur team golf event, that was played at Club de Golf Mexico, the course in my neighborhood (that unfortunately is muy privado).

-A 1967 piece about the social life of the city.

-A story about the 1967 World Cup of Golf (featuring Arnie and Jack) which was played at the aforementioned course.

-A fascinating piece, written in the summer a few months before the Olympics in October 1968, about a gringo driving to Mexico City from America.

-An article written just before the Olympics discussing the tragedy of the government massacre of students at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas.

-A lengthy feature reporting on the sports results at the Olympics.

-An article by Australian Roger Bannister, written post-Olympics, about the effects of competing at such high altitude on the runners. He was the first person to run the mile in less than four minutes.

-A couple months after the Olympics, an in-depth analysis of Bob Beamon's awe-inspiring leap.

-An article reporting on Mexico hosting the 1970 World Cup.

-College football has a long history in Mexico, and this piece from 1971 reports on Notre Dame coming to Mexico City to play a football game against the Mexico City Redskins. The same stadium would host a regular-season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. This city has been mentioned as a possible site for an expansion team in the NFL.

-A long and very well-written 1976 article on boxing in la capital, easily Mexico's second favorite sport behind soccer and a chance at freedom from poverty for many youth. (Cock-fighting might be a close 3rd).

-An article from 1981 on former Boston Red Sox star George Scott playing baseball for the Mexico City Tigers after he couldn't get signed by an MLB team.

-An article on the 1986 World Cup, where Diego Maradona and the 'Hand of God' helped Argentina win the championship in Mexico City.

-Rick Reilly's 1989 Mexico Pacific Coast travel guide. Not directly about Mexico City, but related to exico City in this way: What I possibly love most about living here is how many amazing things there are to do within a reasonable drive or a very short flight. Knowing you can have a short drive to either the Pacific or Caribbean, or any variety of parks, makes this chaotic city worth it.

-A 1994 article on Jorge Campos, perhaps Mexico's most famous soccer player in the '90s and a star goalie for Pumas, one of the three teams in Mexico City.

-A 2005 preview of the US trying to finally win a soccer game at Estadio Azteca, and the reporting on the failure yet again.

-A 2008 article on John Carlos, one of the 'Black Power' sprinters at the '68 Olympics who has traveled a long journey from pariah to hero.

I hope you get some enjoyment out of reading this. I just wish the green fees at Acapulco golf club were still $1.20 and that you could rent a house at Las Palmas for $5 a night.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hola Hola

Hola, how's it going? Things are basically the same here in the city. The semester ends in five weeks, and then I'll start my final semester in August, and finish the master's in December.

First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to Mexico City tomorrow. It is her first official solo trip abroad. I'm still trying to get an invite to one of the events.

We had spring break a couple weeks ago and I went to Acapulco for a few days. It's really nice having it only a few hours drive from Mexico City. Nothing crazy there (it was past the peak of American spring break season), but very crowded from all the domestic spring breakers.

I just bought a plane ticket to Europe for the end of May, it'll be my first time out of North America and I'm very excited. My friend Jon from North Park (we played golf together) is moving to Lisbon, Portugal soon to teach English after a year teaching English in South Korea. I'll be flying in and out of Lisbon (the tickets were cheaper there than to anywhere else in Europe) and will be visiting London, Paris, and hopefully Barcelona. After that I'm planning on spending two months in Chicago before heading back to DF. I hope you're all doing well. I'm definitely excited baseball is back, I'm watching every Cubs game possible. This is our year!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back in Business

I hope you've all had a good March so far. I've been away for a while but it's nice to be back. My month has been good, having fun, playing lots of tennis at the Junior Club, went to a Davis Cup match for the first time in my life (Mexico vs. Guatemala), and that whole school thing from time to time. I'm still trying to decide if I'll spend the summer here or in Naperville. A big factor in that is if I can get a job here for the summer, so we'll see what happens. Still living in Xochimilco, but if I know for sure I'll be spending the summer here I'll try to move ASAP. In Latin America, spring break is always during Holy Week (the week culminating in Easter Sunday, April 4th this year). I'm not sure if I'll be talking a trip, but I sure hope I do.

I went to Miami last weekend and I met up with my parents and sister. It was the first time I'd been to Miami and we had fun there. Here's a general album from the trip, and here's a brief album from our visit to the Everglades. The PGA Tour (golf) was in town, and I went on Saturday for the third round. I hadn't been in a couple years, so it was fun to see, it was the CA Championship at the famous Blue Monster course at Doral. It was a World Golf Championship event, the first of those events that I've been to, and all the top players were there, except for Tiger Woods. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why. Ernie Els won the tournament on Sunday, it was his first win in a long time and it's great that it happened.

If you are looking to hang up a poster in your room, I highly recommend this photo of me. If you'd like, you can send me your printed copy and I'll autograph it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 28th

And February is now over.

I took about 400 pictures this month and picked my favorite one from each day. I'm really glad I did this project. Thanks to this guy for the idea. I really recommend trying it sometime, it really makes you appreciate the funny little things that happen in an otherwise mundane day. A friend of mine's sister passed away last fall and after that I remember him saying how important it was to appreciate every day. This album has definietly made me do that.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 27th

Perhaps the prettiest neighborhood in Mexico City is Condesa. Close to lots of different parts in the city, and a center of art, parks, restaurants, nightlife, and my tennis club.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 26th

I have spent a lot of time this year hanging out at this taco stand near my house. They have a variety of tacos, including tripe, beef shank, beef, chorizo-style sausage, tonque, brain. And of course, they have the most famous taco in Mexico City, tacos al pastor. When my friend Adam came and visited me from Miami, the first thing he wanted to do was eat tacos al pastor. Wikipedia provides this definition of tacos al pastor:

Usually pork, it is marinated over one or two days with a blend of different chili peppers, spices and herbs (such as adobo), and then slowly cooked with a gas flame on a vertical rotisserie called a Trompo (lit: spinning top), very similar to how Shawarma is cooked, with a piece of fresh pineapple on top.[2] The juice from the pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down protein and makes the meat very tender. When ready, the meat is then thinly sliced off the spit with a large knife. It is served on small tortillas, with finely chopped onions, cilantro and a small slice of pineapple, and usually topped with some lime juice and hot salsa.

This interesting video describes tacos al pastor as Lebanon's Contribution to Mexico (and no, we're not talking about Lebanon, IN, the town my mom grew up in and we visited roughly 1,000,000 times growing up). Mexican history is highly shaped by Lebanese immigrants. Most notably, Carlos Slim, the country's richest man who was briefly the world's richest man, is the son of a Lebanese immigrant. My best friend here, Kendall, is from Austin, TX. His grandfather and his grandfather's brother emigrated from Lebanon a long time ago. Kendall's grandfather decided to move to Texas, but Kendall's grandfather's brother stayed in Mexico. Kendall is finishing up his year as a Fulbright Scholar here and has been staying with his Mexican relatives.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 25th

Perhaps the two things most synonymous with Mexico City are pollution and traffic. As I've mentioned before, the mayor of Mexico City has taken a lot of actions to attempt to solve these things. A big initiative lately has been the promotion of bicycles. The main street through the city, Reforma, is closed to cars on Sunday mornings and is widely enjoyed by pedestrians, roller-bladers, and bicyclists (as an aside, the Lake Shore path is easily one of the top five parts of Chicago life). The city lately has had a big push to encourage more people to utilize bikes as part of their day to day lives. A huge concern about biking is safety, as drivers here are careless and generally insane. But even in the center parts of the city (Roma, Condesa, Reforma, Polanco), where everything is compact, hardly anyone takes a bike. You could ride your bike through Chapultepec Park, but not too many other places. I live in the far south part of the city and down here it is massive suburban sprawl; biking is very impractical down here. Apparently this month the city has finally begun constructing new bike paths, and more free bikes are available around the city. There's a cool CNN video report about the attempts to offer free bike rentals and encourage biking in the city.


I found out all the previous info just now. When I saw the posters below at a Metro station yesterday, which encourage citizens to use bikes for daily activities, my first thought was "This'll be a huge failure." Nobody in this country rides bikes, certainly not the well-off people features in these ads. But as I started researching this campaign, I remembered this Adam Carolla rant on why things never get done. His point is things never get done because people always say 'Well, that won't solve all the problems', and then people don't do anything at all. I have no idea how impactful this program will be, but given the low cost of the program, it's definitely worth trying out.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 24th

We're in the home stretch now of this month of photos, with all dates from now on ending in 'th'. Once a month, a group mixed between foreigns and Mexicans come together for a monthly party called 'Mexpats', a play on the term expat (expatriate), i.e. people living in another country. I've met some good poeple at these events.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 23rd

Sunrise over snow-capped volcanoes, taken from the 50th floor of Torre Mayor during my monthly 'Cristianos en Negocios' breakfast. Amazing.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 22nd

One of the most interesting things about living in Mexico has been the introduction to new food.

Most days I eat lunch at Tec's cafeteria. Living in Mexico has opened my eyes to a whole new world of food. My favorite: mole negro, a chocolate-chili sauce. What I hated: chicharrón, i.e. fried skin of a pig. Gross! I've also tried cow-tongue and cow-brain tacos, they were okay. I really like eating tripe tacos; I'd never eaten tripe before.

Here are some good Mexico food blogs:

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 21st

Often at stoplights here you'll see street performers doing a routine and then going car to car for tips. Until today, I had never seen a dog in the act.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 20th

I recently joined the Junior Club, a rather old tennis club in Condesa. The people there are really nice, all fourteen courts are red clay (very different style of tennis) and you must wear "tennis whites" while playing. I have one friend, Jordan, who already belongs, and we're trying to meet other people to play tennis with. It was a lot easier in the days when moms made play-dates for us.

Jordan and I played tennis today, and then had lunch there. Unlike most private clubs, the prices on food and drink are really cheap (the power just went out in my house for 3 seconds, and then came back on. This is rather normal for here) there. And they got a sweet pool. Like I said yesterday, the weather is a big reason why I moved here, and it sure is nice to lay outside by a pool in February.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 19th

One of the main reasons I moved to Mexico was for the weather. Hard to complain about sunny and 75 degrees on February 19th. Yesterday Robbie Lear and I went golfing El Copal, a course just north of Mexico City. Despite getting rather last on the way there, we eventually found the course and had a really fun afternoon. It was pretty surreal to be on a golf course surrounded by slum-filled mountains, but I suppose that is an apt metaphor for the socioeconomic extremes of Mexico.

There are a few driving ranges in the city, but none owned by people with any clear idea about what to do to really make their businesses succeed. From a business standpoint, golf should be free. The ranges should be doing all the can to offer free beginners clinics, host specific companies for free "Golf 101" days, etc. The cost to the ranges of things like this would be next to nothing. Of course, none of them are doing anything like that. I'd love to be able to open and operate driving range here. It's not that golf is inherently disliked by Mexicans; nearly all the caddies, themselves from poor backgrounds, get to play for free once a week at the course they work at, and they all love the game. I think lots of people would like golf here, and eventually be willing to spend lots of money on it, if they were first given lots of chances to try it free.

So, who wants to spot me the money to open a range here??? I'll be waiting...

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 18th

After living in the Midwest my whole life, one of my favorite things about living in Mexico City is being surrounded by mountains. It was really cloudy and rainy the last two days, and the clouds were low enough that they were covering the tops of the mountains. Let's just hope it's sunny this weekend!

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 17th

One of my favorite feeds on Twitter is "The Mexico City News." This feed, written in English, is similar to "The Onion," and offers sarcastic commentary on DF events presented as if it were actual news. One of their most constant targets is the Mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, a man who never has shied away from the spotlight. He'll probably run for President in two years, and he hates when there are days that Mexico City is not setting some of world record. But, to his credit, he has accomplished a lot in terms of environmental issues.

One of the best things to happen to the city is the Metrobus. I just joined a tennis club and I ride the Metrobus every time I go there. The bus, which has its own lane, improves travel times and is much less intrusive on the environment than the number of mini-buses that were operating before. It's still a popular myth that Mexico City is the world's most polluted city. In this report released last fall, it isn't even in the top 10. To honor DF on the implementation of the Metrobus, Harvard recently awarded Mexico City with the 2009 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership.

The Stilings are well affiliated with Harvard. I'm practically the most distinguished researcher at their Center for International Development. My uncle was a featured usher at the 2008 commencement. Oh, and uh, for what it's worth, my sister actually went there (showoff).

Naturally, there are now posters at every stop informing residents of this prize.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 16th

La clase de martes se llama (más o menos) 'La Politica en Mexico'. No se exactamente el nombre pero este suena bien. Hablamos y hablamos y hablamos, basicamente es una version de 'Hardball' pero sin el guapisimo Chris Matthews. Es una clase donde todos dan sus opiniones sobre la politica en Mexico. Para mi, es poco aburrido. Prefiero clases de matematicas, donde hacemos problemas y aprendemos ecuaciones nuevas, o clases donde aprendemos muchos hechos especificos. Es decir, me gusta salir la clase con una lista de estadisticas/hechos nuevos. La clase no usa 'Powerpoint', es una clase de 'freeform'.

De todos modos, me caen muy bien con la gente. Hay tres de mis amigos en esta foto. La en la izquierda se llama Rene nació en los estados unidos a padres mexicanos. Se mudó a Mexico con su familia en la edad de 12 más o menos. En el centro hay Lucia, los dos se graduarán este semestre. La en el la camisa rosa es Alejandra. Empezamos el semestre pasado, y tomamos todas las mismas clases (y nos graduamos en diciembre!).

Todo por hoy! Espero que todos esten bien, y espero que este blog sirva para una patada en el culo para aprender espanol wey. Confíame, vale la pena ... las chavas aqui les encantan mi espanol!

Haz click aqui para ver el resto de las fotos.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 15th

I'm feeling rather spry right now considering I only slept 1 hour last night. As long as I can make it through an easy lecture from 7-10 tonight, everything will be A-Okay!

The constant traffic of Mexico City actually leads to jobs for numerous local entrepreneurs. Many perform as window washers or performers, doing juggling or acrobatics of varying quality. But the slow stream of cars also leads to many people who walk in the middle of the road on highway entry ramps looking to sell to drivers and passengers alike. There are some things that a driver would naturally be interested in purchasing while waiting in the never-ending hell that is traffic in Mexico City: candy, cigarettes, open containers of alcohol. But the fun doesn't end there. I've seen this guy for several weeks now, and he's still going strong. Now, I've honestly wondered who would feel that the on-ramp is a perfect time to buy a puzzle. However, given the possibility of the Mexican version of this happening, perhaps I should buy one the next time I'm on that entry ramp to the Periferico.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 14th

One of the thing I've been happiest about here in Mexico is that I've found a great church. I started attending Union Church in August. The church is English speaking and has been meeting in some form or another in Mexico City since 1873. The community is 2/3 Mexican, along with several Americans, some Europeans, several people from various countries in Africa, several from Jamaica, and some from Asia. Many of the members are part of the diplomatic community. If you're interested in checking out Union sometime I'd love for you to join me.

Starting this Monday, Robbie Lear will begin leading a weekly discussion group about faith and life at the Hard Rock Cafe in Mexico City at 7:30pm. I won't be able to attend due to classes, but I definitely to encourage you to check it out.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 13th

One of the more enjoyable facets of compiling this photo diary is thinking I know which picture I'm going to publish, and then having something pop up unexpectedly. I had a couple of good ones, but I saw this around 3pm today and knew this would be the pic of the day.

'Fresa' in Spanish means strawberry. But if you hear the word in Mexico, it generally refers to a class of people (Wikipedia):

Fresa (which is Spanish for strawberry) is a slang term often used in Mexico for a cultural stereotype of superficiality to youngsters of whom many come from a high class and educated family.

The term fresa (then often likened to the "preppy" stereotype), was born in the 60's to define teenagers with a conservative mentality, who didn't drink and enjoyed being from traditional families. During the 80's the meaning changed and became a term to describe the lifestyles of the young and rich.

The fresa accent is also different (faked) from the typical slow-pitched Mexican accent, with a higher established accent, different tone and "proper" vocabulary.

In her semi-autobiographical debut novel, 'Mexican High,' Liza Monroy describes the life of the daughter of an American diplomat, attending The American School, perhaps the capital of fresa-dom. The novel, written in English, is very entertaining and is a really interesting look at life in Mexico City, including the over-the-top excesses of some of the school's student. There's an American diplomat family at my church, and one of their sons (who is a senior at The American School) said that the book is rather accurate. I definitely recommend reading it.

I've often been told that, for a variety of reasons, I am super gringo. Do they think that's supposed to be some sort of insightful statement? One thing I really love about being here is playing up the 'Dumb American' routine (something many would argue is not a stretch for me). Somehow, I was shocked to find out that I didn't quite blend in at a party last night. With this shirt, and perhaps the loss of the ability to follow through on any sort of plans whatsoever, I thought I was a lock to become puro mexicano.


Last night a girl told me I was a total fresa. I couldn't have asked for a better compliment.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 12th

A friend from school is a reporter for Fox Sports Mexico. Last night her show did a live shoot at a restaurant in DF. It was a really fun night.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 11th

Compared to America, with a variety of major cities each specializing in something different, Mexico is much more concentrated. There are three major cities in the country: Mexico City in the center, Guadalajara a few hours west, and Monterrey way to the north. In addition to being its nation's capital as well as perhaps the de facto capital of Latin America, D.F. is the nation's leader in business, universities, media, entertainment, sports, politics, and, naturally as the capital, government institutions. Nearly all my classmates from my program at Tec work for the federal government, including at the Bank of Mexico, the consumer protection agency, the Health Department, the House of Representatives, and even the President's office!

There are several government health institutions near my house, including the National Cancer Institute.

You can tell that this is a new facility. Given the numerous problems Mexico faces, it can be easy to overlook the progress the country is making. I learned a lot about this institute by watching a really powerful video Lance Armstrong made. The video is titled 'Stigma & Silence: Global Perceptions of Cancer'. I really hope you watch it, it's about nine minutes long and definitely worth seeing. It was really interesting to learn about how Mexican culture reacts to cancer. Lance came to Mexico last year and had a meeting with President Felipe Calderon to discuss the progress Mexico making is making to battle and treat cancer. Here's a short video of Lance talking about his trip to Mexico. I really admire President Calderon. He's making the tough and painful choices Mexico needs to make to be a greater country, and I can tell he is extremely sincere in the work e does.

A classmate of mine from North Park University, Peder, still just 23, has been receiving chemotherapy for about a year now, and had more chemotherapy treatment this week. Please keep Peder in your prayers.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 10th

A friend from Tec works at Profeco, the Mexican consumer protection agency. Given all the Toyota news lately, it's been pretty crazy there.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 9th

I love playing basketball. I spent most of my winter break playing at Edward's. I was happy I finally got to play again today. I was definitely making it llover.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.


I was very happy today to find out the name of the mountain I photographed yesterday. Joy, a Texan blogs here from DF, also took a picture of the mountains yesterday, and she was able to answer my question about the name of the mountain I took the photo of.

It turns out I took a picture of one of the four peaks of Iztaccíhuatl. Wikipedia has a lot of good info about it ...

"The mountain has four peaks, the highest of which is 5,230 m (17,159 ft) above sea level. Together, the peaks are seen as depicting the head, chest, knees and feet of a sleeping female figure, which is visible from either the east or the west. Iztaccíhuatl is a mere 70 km (44 mi) to the southeast of Mexico City and is often visible from the capital, depending on atmospheric conditions.

While the first recorded ascent was made in 1889, archaeological evidence suggests that the Aztecs and previous cultures also climbed the mountain.

This is the lowest peak that contains permanent snow and glaciers in Mexico.

Iztaccíhuatl lies to the north of Popocatépetl, and is connected to it by the high pass called the Paso de Cortés.


In Aztec mythology, Iztaccíhuatl was a princess who fell in love with Popocatépetl, one of her father's warriors. The king sent Popocatépetl to war in Oaxaca, promising him Iztaccíhuatl as his wife when he would return (which Iztaccíhuatl's father presumed he would not). Iztaccíhuatl was falsely told Popocatépetl had died in battle, and believing the news, she died of grief. When Popocatépetl returned to find his love dead, he kneeled by her grave. The gods covered them with snow and changed them into mountains. Iztaccíhuatl's mountain is called "White Woman" because it resembles a woman sleeping on her back, and is often covered with snow. (The peak is sometimes nicknamed La Mujer Dormida ("The Sleeping Woman").) He became the volcano Popocatépetl, raining fire on Earth in blind rage at the loss of his beloved."

Apparently, it has not erupted in nearly 12,000 years.

We certainly don't have these in Chicago.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 8th

I think the snow-capped mountains surrounding the city are gorgeous. The most famous site one can see from the city from time to time is Popocatépetl, which is actually an active volcano. This peak is one of the four peaks of Iztaccíhuatl. It has a peak of 17,159 feet.

It was very clear outside today and I was able to get a great photo from the rotunda on campus. I really hope to get hiking in the mountains sometime, I know there's some tour groups that take day trips to do it. Who's with me???

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 7th

Yesterday I watched the Super Bowl in a movie theater. I was very surprised the Colts lost, and I thought they played way too conservatively. It was nice to see a fellow alumnus of Naperville Central be the winning coach in the Super Bowl.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 6th

This week Mexico experienced perhaps its heaviest February storms ever, a month that is normally entirely dry here. Some parts of the country saw over two and a half feet of rainfall. Sadly a number of deaths here in Mexico can be attributed to the storms, and parts of Mexico City were totally flooded. These were some of the same parts of the city that only get running water three days a week due to a serious water shortage in the city (not surprisingly, those in the better off parts of town don't face water rationing). For as bad as the rains were, they actually might have an overall benefit on the city by filling the reservoirs, which have been dangerously low.

Here's a really interesting 'Wall Street Journal' article on the water situation in Mexico City: "Residents of the capital use on average more than 75 gallons of water a day, the city estimates, far more than their counterparts in most European and American cities whose daily rates are closer to 40 and 50 gallons a day, respectively."

So anyways, as it was raining hard Wednesday night around 10pm, I knew the power was about to go out. It goes out occasionally, especially during storms, but usually comes back within a few minutes. This time, I had to wait 60 hours. And this time, the water stopped working too. Having my university right near my house made this a lot less stressful, and it honestly didn't bug me too much. I'm very blessed in my life, and I still had a bed to sleep in at night and food to eat.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 5th

Parts of my neighborhood have been without power or water since Wednesday night due to the strong storms this week. This taco shop refused to be deterred.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 4th

The insane rains continued today, but around 4pm, I finally saw this. I took this picture while driving south on the Periferico. Apparently it´s sunny starting tomorrow. I sure hope so. I have not had running water or electricity in my apartment for 24 hours.

Here's the link to the entire album.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 3rd

Rain in February in Mexico City is very rare. Mexico is known for the rainy season from late May through September, but is generally rare the rest of the year (and even though, it only rains for a couple hours at night). Being a weather nerd, I headed over to to check out the monthly rainfall for this time of year. In February in Mexico City, it only rains on average 0.40" a month (comparably, most months in Chicago there is 3" of precipitation). That's what makes the last week so strange. It's been cloudy and rainy most of the last week. There was a hard downpour overnight, it rained all day today, and not surprising at all, my power went out for a while because of the rain. Though tomorrow looks like rain all day, fortunately this weekend is warm and sunny. Unfortunately, next weekend it looks like the rain is coming back. I found this explanation of why it is raining, but I'm not going to pretend I understand it.

Here's the link to the entire album.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 2nd

Today is day 2 of my picture a day album for the month. This is a picture of a rather unusual chessboard on campus. I think my Tec campus is very cool. Now, if I only knew how to play chess, it'd be even better.

Here's the link to the entire album.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Bewitched Episode Set in Mexico City?

I randomly found this while surfing around the Internet today. "Bewitched" had an episode set in Mexico City. Very campy, but worth a view. It even references Chapultepec Park. Here it is, parts 1, 2, and 3:

This is from 1969. Apparently it was the last episode that Dick York was in. He was replaced the next season by Dick Sargent.

Black History Month

Today is the first day of Black History Month in the United States. Earlier I talked about the black power protests at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Last year, during Black History Month, ESPN created a documentary about this protest. It included Toy Smith and John Carlos' first visit back to DF since 1968. Here's the Facebook page for the documentary. I haven't seen it yet, and haven't been able to find anywhere online to watch it. Posted above is the trailer. The movie seems to be playing at film festivals now. I haven't found anywhere to buy the DVD. I'm going to contact ESPN for more info on seeing the film, and to see if there's anywhere that they are streaming the film online.

Also, in 2006, the National Museum of Mexican Art, located in Chicago, created an exhibit called "The African Presence in Mexico." Mexicans of African ancestry are most highly populated in the Caribbean states of Mexico. The exhibit has been on a national tour for five years, and is at the Smithsonian through the summer. It is returning to Chicago this fall.

A Picture A Day - Mexico in February 2010 - February 1st

A few days ago my friend Matt suggested I took pictures every day this month and post the most interesting one each day. I really liked the idea, and it doesn't hurt that February is the shortest month.

Here's today's picture. I went to Cuernavaca for the first time today, a popular weekend retreat an hour south of Mexico City. It's mainly popular for it's partying on the weekends. Well, today was a holiday and I thought it'd be good to go see the city since everyone's always saying I should see it. It was okay, looked like most colonial Mexican cities, I'd imagine most people love it because of the house parties there. But anyways, it was nice to walk around for the day. I drove Go-Karts for a bit, that was really fun. I visited a Cathedral built in the 1500s. And, I had a really good lunch at a place called Casa Hidalgo. For some reason, I found these salt and pepper shakers to be hilarious.

Here's the link to the rest of the album.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Day in Mexico City

(This blog was handwritten in class tonight starting at 7:45 pm. I eventually finished this entry at 9:30pm)

Today was a particularly silly day in Mexico City, a city sure to be full of them as the capital of a country that this year celebrates the 200th anniversary of its Independence and the 100th anniversary of its Revolution. I started off with my typical morning routine of watching the silly Mexican morning shows (which my mom is not a fan of since they have too many scantily-clad women dancing around the set for no apparent reason) and reading a bunch of newspapers online. Without any set daytime schedule for now, my weekdays can be very different day to day. Today I had a meeting at noon in Lomas de Chapultepec, near my church, which is a 30 minute taxi ride sin traffic from my casa in Tepepan, Xochimilco, and, as I experienced yesterday, an hour and 40 minutes during the rush hours. Tired of paying for taxis, and with plenty of time to spare (as someone who has always been late my entire life, I love living in a city where everyone is always late. My good friend Ale (check out her Mexico City blog) once even said that I am always on time, something no one has ever told me in my life) I decided to take the Metro. On January 1st of this year, ticket prices for the Metro went up 50%. Additionally, I live so far south (ha, getting tired of me saying that? Don’t worry, I’m trying really hard to move to Condesa, Roma, or Polanco) that I don’t even live remotely close to the Metro. Though I live within walking distance of my school, it’s still so far south that this part of town has its entire own train line that is not part of Mexico City’s Metro, the Tren Ligero. After a 20-minute ride passing, among other things, Estadio Azteca, the northern end of the Tren Ligero arrives at the same station that houses the southern-most part of Mexico City’s Metro. Unfortunately, you have to buy separate tickets for the TL and the Metro. And, TL tickets went up 50% as well at the start of this year. Granted, Mexico City has among the cheapest Metro tickets in the world, and both tickets went from being just 2 pesos (16 cents) to 3 pesos (24 cents), but I still think it’s worth a mini-rant when anything goes up 50% overnight. Nearly 4 million people a day ride the Metro, and DF can certainly use more money. Keeping the poor in mind, this still is the cheapest Metro in the world, but, as I just realized, relative to the daily minimum wage, the Metro here is more expensive than Chicago’s.

So, I left my house around 10am, and stopped to get a chicken quesadilla at a little food stand around my house (apparently saying I wanted a “quesadilla con pollo” wasn’t enough to include cheese until I asked specifically for it. Hmm). So anyways, I walked over to the Periferico stop on the always packed TL (RUN MORE CARS!!), got to the Metro at Tasquena, bought some tickets de Nuevo, and got on the #2 blue line, which is always a los less crowded. The Metro here is a much smoother ride than Chicago’s and moves very fast. I knew I had to transfer to one of the train lines going west, and then to another line going north, but I forgot to specifically check which stop I had to get off to in order to transfer west (the cars don’t have full Metro maps, just maps of their own line). Turns out I picked the wrong one, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, as the new line I was on would drop me off near where I wanted to be.

While on the Metro, I started thinking about my favorite episode of Seinfeld, “The Subway.” In this episode, the gang meets up at the coffee shop, and realizes they each have to ride the subway somewhere that day. Jerry ends up on a car with a very obese man who happens to be naked, but the two become friends and spend the day at Coney Island. Elaine is on her way to be the “Best Man” at a lesbian wedding, but her train undergoes a power outage and she is stuck for a long time. Kramer hears a tip about a horserace, bets on a huge long shot and makes a killing; unfortunately, someone followed him out of the OTB and back onto the subway trying to steal Kramer’s money (fortunately for Kramer, an undercover cop arrests the jabroni). George, on his way to an interview, is invited to a hotel by an attractive woman he assumed he was rich because of the nice clothes he was wearing. In the hotel, she ties him up on the bed (which he first enjoys), and she plans to steal all the money in his clothes. Considering it’s George, he has virtually no money on him, so she decides to just steal all his clothes. During the closing credits, the gang meets again at the coffee shop, with George naked covered only by a bed sheet, and Kramer paying for the meal with his huge wad of cash. I tell you all this because while I was on the Metro today, I really think it’d be funny to do a remake of that episode in Mexico City. Maybe one of my economics will let me do that instead of taking a test our something.

So anyways, I got out of the subway in the middle of the gorgeous Chapultepec Park, a park with a zoo, historical monuments, museums, and a lake for paddleboats, among other things. This park is west of downtown, and bordering Reforma, the most famous street in Mexico City, which fortunately has seen a resurgence over the last decade, with lots of new high-rises being constructed, including a new HSBC building and Torre Mayor, the tallest building in Latin America. There is a club on the 51st floor of the building called Piso 51. Once a month, I attend a breakfast at the club called “Cristianos en Negocios” (for Christians in the Mexico City business world). We’re planning a big event to reach out to the business community in April, it should be good.

…So, (many more random thoughts to come, an homage to Bill Simmons, ESPN’s ‘The Sports Guy,’ the author I’ve read the most of over the last year. I enjoyed his 700 page “The Book of Basketball” (clever title!). The book was released in the fall, and, 6 weeks after arriving at a shipping warehouse in Mexico City, was finally delivered to my house one day in December). So, I’m in Chapuletepec Park, and still have about an hour to spare, so I take a lovely stroll around the park. There was a winter from November to mid-January, with lots of highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s, but that seems to be done for good. For the next four month, until the rainy season starts in earnest in May, it’s abundant sunshine nearly every day, and litrally no humidity. Today it was gorgeous, high in the mid-70s like it’ll be from now on, and clear skies (for the most part, ‘smog’ here is way less common than most people think). Being so high in the mountains, it still drops quite a bit once the sun sets, to the low 50s or high 40s overnight. I enjoyed the park, and started heading north along Reforma to the office I had to get to. Along this strip of Reforma, hanging on the fence that borders the park, there is always a cool art series on display, in a line of a few dozen 3-foot by 3-foot posters with a common theme. The last one celebrated the 50th anniversary of Fidel taking power in Cuba (That’s gone well!). The current series celebrates a very influent political cartoonist that was very influential in the second half of the last century. I forgot his name right now, and didn’t have time to read but of few of the cartoons, but hopefully I’ll be back there before it’s gone. Reforma closes during the daytime on Sundays for bikers and pedestrians, and the city rents bikes for free during that time. For as chaotic as any largely poor city with 20 million people would be, the city does do a lot of little things to make life more enjoyable. I already wrote about bringing winter to the Zocalo. Last year, a Harvard environmental center gave DF a major award for creating the Metrobus, which is a step in the right direction, and its noteworthy that Mexico, and possibly Mexico City, will likely host this year’s global environmental summit (which was held in December of last year in Copenhagen). Today, I saw something pretty cool. Pino Suarez, a major “intersection” Metro stop, has a computer center where people can go in and access the Internet. In a country where internet access is extremely overpriced due to the virtual monopoly allowed by the government, allowing access for people at home is a small but meaningful step in a country with such inequality.

Not wanting to be late to the meeting at noon, I hopped in a taxi, and five minutes later, I was at the office, 10 minutes early for our meeting. The whole ride cost $2. It’s nice living in a city where a decent length taxi ride can cost cheaper than the taxi flag fee in Chicago.

My meeting was with a fellow gringo. He has lived here for twenty years and he played a major role in developing many of the city’s biggest office buildings. Two of my best friends have worked in commercial real estate for a few years, so I’ve heard a lot about the industry. This was the first time I had met him in person, and he was really friendly and told me lots of interesting stories about the changes in Mexico over the last twenty years. We talked about Denzel Washington’s “Man on Fire,” and he pointed out how it really was was an extremely realistic look at life in Mexico City. I also highly recommend “Y Tu Mama También” for its ability to show the panorama that is Mexican society.

After the meeting, I went over to a small mall near all these offices, mainly because I wanted to see Sports City, this fancy health club that has a few locations around the city. The place was nice, but apart from having a pool (and, since this is Mexico, several tubs of hair gel in the locker room), it wasn’t any nicer than the gym at my school, which I can use for the rest of my life for free. The Sports City I went to costs $2000 US to join, and $400 US a month. Wow! Definitely a bit more than the $40 a month I paid at X-Sport (and, from what I saw while I was there, the Old Town X-Sport has much better eye candy).

After the tour, around 1:45, I wanted to go to a part of town a bit north of where I was, Interlomas. I’ve only been there once, a week ago went I went to a friend’s apartment there, and I wanted to see it a bit more. The first taxi I got in wasn’t using its meter, and only quoted me a price, something that I refuse to do when I don’t know what the ride should cost. As it turned out, I should have gone with him. Woops. The next taxi used a meter, but told me he was going to double what the meter said at the end of the ride. Here’s why. Even though we were only going a bit further away, we were still going to Mexico State. Mexico City is exactly like Washington, D.C. It’s often called ‘DF’ because the city (Ciudad de Mexico) is also the Federal District (Federal District, DF). Additionally, many people, especially those that live in the provincia call this city simply “Mexico.” Like DC, this city is surrounded by states. Mexico (the country’s official name is the ‘Estados Unidos Mexicanos,’ or ‘United Mexican States’) has 31 states, plus the federal district, which is surrounded by the states of Mexico and Morelos. Wait a minute, a state with the same name as the country’s capital? That’s so dumb! I’m glad the U.S. doesn’t do … oh, wait … burned!

Well, I still wanted to get there, and even though it was only 10 minutes away, by leaving the District, the taxis wanted to double the fare. Having none of this, I finally found a driver that didn’t say anything about double the fair. I made it clear that I wanted to go to “Interlomas,” and, several times during the ride, I made sure we were still going there. His route didn’t seem right.

Sure enough, it wasn’t. At all.

We ended up in Santa Fe, fifteen minutes away from where I started, and not remotely close to Interlomas. Normally, one could blame the accent I hope is improving, but Interlomas and Santa Fe sound nothing alike, and he repeated the I-Word several times. By the time we got there, he said he had gotten the two confused. Taxi drivers here aren’t so good when it comes to knowing where things are, especially outside of the small neighborhoods each one likes to stay in. I got out of the taxi without paying, and he drove away without trying to fight me about it. Santa Fe is a very modern and upscale commercial and residential area on the far west side of town. It has Latin America’s largest mall, and lots of office buildings, but not much else. It’s dead on the weekends, kinda like like the Loop is on the weekends. I had only been to Santa Fe once before, and that was when Boston Consulting Group flew me down there for an interview in April of 2008 (got dinged on that one). I didn’t feel like walking around there, and it’s basically necessary to have a car in that part of town (no Metro stops there … think of the Woodfield Mall area in Schaumburg; though, sadly, Mexico has no IKEA yet (an IKEA that my roomies, Linda and Molly, and I once had a funny trip to). So, I hopped on a bus that I thought would take me back to where I wanted to go, so I hopped off and looked for another taxi. Fortunately, the driver was my age, and was really knowledgable about the city. By this time it was around 3:30pm,

(it’s 9pm and class let out an hour early (w0rd!), but I’m still on campus, trying to finish handwriting this blog. It’s pretty fun handwriting a blog. Often in class, paper tweets get passed back and forth between @alepalestino and @vikingdrewby)

and I just wanted to get back home. So, we quickly got on the Periferico (a highway that I live very close to and use a lot, it encircles Mexico City) and headed south for the 30 minute drive home (thankfully there wasn’t traffic at this point). In six months here, I've never seen things so clear. I was finally able to see the snow-capped volcanoes in the surrounding states. I didn’t feel like going over to Tec for lunch like I usually do, because I then would have to go back to my apartment before going back to Tec for class at 6:30. The dining options close to my house are rather limited, a few women run mini-restaurants from their kitchens but I can’t say I’m a fan of those.

So, facing limited options, I did what any good American would do: I went to McDonald’s. There is one a very short walk from my house. I don’t go there too often, yet somehow I have gone there twice in the last three days. My preceding visit occurred Tuesday after a really good workout. Corey Lambert was happy to hear that day that I ordered his all time favorite food, Chicken McNuggets. Today, since it was the McTrio Del Dia, I went with the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Combo. Solid choice. After that, I headed over to El Globo, a bakery chain around the city. I got some chocolate something or other and enjoyed it with a glass of milk when I got home. It was glorious. I rested for a bit and then headed over to Tec at 6:30 for class. I somehow got good grades last semester, and I like my 4 classes again. The other students in the program are all cool and nice. My program has a summer exchange with Georgetown and Harvard. I’m not sure if I’ll do those, but, having said that, 1) it’d be cool to spend a summer in Boston with my hermana Erin, 2) it’d be fun to be an exchange student in my own country, and 3)it’d be a fantastical ego boost to know that the Harvard stickers on my parents’ cars aren’t technically just for my sister anymore.

Well, that was my day. Time to take my $1.50 taxi home, call my parents, and finish the night watching the second to last episode of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.” I really like Conan and I hope he can find a new show.

DONE! If you made it this far, I sincerely thank you.

¡Que te vayas bien wey!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back in the EUM, Don't Know How Lucky I Am, Back in the EU, Back in the EU, Back in the EUM

I got back to Mexico City this afternoon after an amazing month at home. Cold today, but the weather forecast for the next two weeks is very nice, a while in the mid60s before regular highs in the 70s. Yo me gusta! Classes start onday, the semester ends in the middle of May. Like I mentioned, this is my 2nd of 3 semesters to get the master's. Certainly will be job searching some. I really hope to move to Roma/Condesa/Polanco very soon, hopefully something good will work out because I am so bored living by Tec!

Upon arriving at the Mexico City airport today, I had to push the stoplight to see if my bags would be searched. I got green, which meant they wouldn't be. I was so happy I won!

I really hope everyone's year is going well so far. I'm really gonna miss everyone back in Chicagoland.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Mexico City Blog - Heading back to DF soon

One of the girls in my program, Alejandra Palestino, has a new blog. She started last semester full-time like me, and she also works full-time at Profeco, the Mexican consumer protection organization.

Here's the link:

I'm heading back to Mexico City on Saturday. Assuming I stay full-time, I'll graduate from my master's in economics and public policy program in three semesters, so this is the start of my second semester (my final semester would be this fall). This semester starts Monday the 11th. I still hope to find something this semester to keep me busy during the daytimes.

I've had an amazing time in Naperville, lots of fun with friends and families, parties, meals, eating out, watching lots of sports, some shopping and going and playing lots of basketball with the old gang of idiots at Edward's. I've also been doing some volunteering Alexi Giannoulias. He is the treasurer for the State of Illinois, and is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he left for some other job (I can't remember what that job was). The primaries are on February 2nd, and as of now have a lead in the polls for the Democratic primary. If we win that primary, the general election is November 2nd against the winner of the Republican primary. The Republican candidate is very likely to be Mark Kirk, a U.S. Congressman from the northern suburbs with a very distinguished record in the Naval reserves; additionally, he is very popular in the conservative movement. The Democrats currently hold this seat, but Roland Burris, the man who was nominated to to temporarily replace Obama and currently holds that seat, is not seeking election. I expect this will be a very close race in the fall. Anyways, this is the first political campaign I've worked on, and it's been a good experience. I'll continue to help this week before I head back, and hope to be able to continue to help the campaign moving forward, even while I'm in Mexico.

Being home has made me really appreciate the great relationships I have here in Chicagoland. It's really cool to be somewhere new and experience new things and new cultures, and grow as a person and gain new skills. But I was really lonely at times in Mexico and definitely realized how long it takes in places to make new relationships, especially when moving somewhere entirely on your own. One of my good friends is teaching English in Korea and he's gone through a lot of the same things I have. I'm open to staying in Mexico for a while if I get a good job, and if I feel more comfortable in terms of friendships and my overall happiness. And, I truly love living in a warm weather place, and I hope to be able to do it for the rest of my life. But that also means being away from so many great people here in Chicago. Hopefully some balance can work out in Mexico, or anywhere warm, where I can be happy and have a good job. And if not, there's always home. I'm more than blessed with what I have in Chicago, -16 wind chills notwithstanding.
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