If I had a *single* Mexican peso for every time I have been asked if I voted for Trump, I would probably be able to afford a penthouse in La Condesa. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the truth tbh. It would be an understatement to say that I may not have chosen the most ideal time to move to Mexico, given the current political situation between Mexico & ‘Murica. But, here I am and unfortunately often find myself discussing Donald Trump’s actions with a room full of people bombarding me with a million and one questions. They expect me to give them answers which is obvi a difficult task. Navigating some of these situations has been tough to say the least, but I am getting better “each day, by day… day by day, by day“– if you do not know where I am quoting this from, I invite you to click on the link and enjoy a short clip.
Anyways, I like to think that I don’t complain that much and I want to state that I truly absolutely love living in Mexico City. However, being the person that I am, I must admit that there have been some minor inconveniences associated with this move besides having to defend the United States against everything that Trump says and does. There is nothing here that you have not heard before, but I feel compelled to share because this is part of the Aventures of Yuli.
Punctuality is practically nonexistent with Latin Americans.
I can honestly say that the lack of punctuality in Mexico has probably been the most trying aspect of this move. I have lived my entire life by the standard that 5 minutes early is on time, and on time is late. But, Latin Americans are much more relaxed and easy going when it comes to schedules, and that is not a bad thing – it has just been an adjustment for me. It’s pretty comical actually, during my first week here, I was usually the first one to arrive to everything and typically waited at least an hour. Now I have learned that the protocol is to leave 30 minutes after I am supposed to arrive somewhere, and even after sitting in traffic for 45 minutes, I will probably still be the first one there. It’s casual.
Altitude sickness and air pollution is a real thing.
Everyone warned me that this would be an issue and I blissfully ignored the fact that Mexico City sits about 7,382 ft above sea level and is one of the most polluted cities on the Western Hemisphere. It was definitely a struggle coming from a Seattle suburb which sits 82 ft above sea level and basically has some of the cleanest air that can be enjoyed in the United States. My first two weeks in Mexico City consisted of extreme headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia, a lot of coughing, and fatigue. But, all is well now and I think my body has acclimated. T god.
I have always believed that speed limits are not a real thing.
But, now I really wish that speed limits were a real thing. It is every Uber driver for himself out there. I have literally feared for my life about 94% of the time that I have been in a car here in Mexico City. There is a lot of swerving, abrupt stops, near crashes, illegal maneuvers, honking, yelling, etc. Also, the traffic here is horrible. I thought the Bay Area was bad, little did I know what awaited me in Mexico City.
I am currently riding the struggle bus of apartment hunting.
The housing situation in Mexico City is complicated. Everything is either astronomically expensive and super nice or super cheap and rubbish and anything in between gets rented before you even get a chance to start to dial the first couple digits of the contact number on the For Rent sign. Most housing websites are catered towards over charging or scamming foreigners. A word to the wise: if a “landlord” tells you they are in Dublin right now and need you to wire the deposit and first months rent to them before you see the apartment – do not believe them. If you are a particularly unlucky person such as myself, once you find a wonderful apartment, that is in an amazing location, and at a great price, the owner of the property will have ridiculous requirements to sign the lease and then someone will beat you to winning the apartment. It is January 29th and my Airbnb rental ends on the 31st and I have yet to find an apartment to move into. So, that’s fun. Say a prayer for me please.
If I had a dollar for every awkward greeting I have had…
Americans greet strangers with a handshake. It’s as simple as that. Most Mexicans greet with a kiss on the cheek. Some add a handshake in there. Others don’t. Is a kiss on the cheek the protocol in a business setting? Who knows, because, I definitely don’t. Is a handshake along with a kiss on the cheek expected as part of a business greeting? I would assume yes. But, I’ve learned that the answer to that is no because when I extend my hand people awkwardly lean in and pull me in for a hug and then no one really knows how to proceed from there. Then, you would think that at the end of a meeting, it is acceptable to just give a handshake and show a person to the door. But, no. Of course not. That would be too easy. A meeting usually ends with a kiss on the cheek and this is where I have found that handshakes are sometimes acceptable. So, yeah. There you have it. A Greetings Guide by Yuli.
Lastly, I truly miss easy access to FAGE Greek Yogurt and Trader Joe’s Almond Butter.
I don’t think this really needs much of an explanation.
Ok, that is all. As I mentioned before beginning this list, there is nothing out of the ordinary here. These minor inconveniences are just part of the culture shock that I am currently experiencing. Just like any foreigner who moves to a new country and has to adjust to a new culture and new way of life that is different from their home country. Now that I am done complaining about the bad and the ugly, let me just express the good, which is the fact that I heart Mexico City! To name a few reasons: My Airbnb hosts have welcomed me with open arms and are truly wonderful people, I am reunited with my study abroad friends that I had not seen in years, to quote Trump, the friends I have made this month are “good people, really good people,” it is inspiring to be constantly surrounded by entrepreneurs and business professionals who have made it their mission in life to make a positive impact in the world, the restaurants and bars here are amazing, and I have only been to 2 out of over 150 museums in Mexico City but they were pretty great.
Despite my complaints, there’s so many great things about Mexico City that it is easy to look past the minor inconveniences and remember to just enjoy life here!