Hello, internet! Sorry that it’s taken me so long to update. Here are five more items I’ve learned during my 14 months in Mexique.
#1: Never rely on the consistency of services like water, gas, electricity, or internet. I’ve experienced outages of all of these at one point or another, sometimes simultaneously. Once before a job interview, the water went out (due to the lack of know-how of our new building supervisor), and I ended up showering at our gym! It must have been good luck, though, since I landed the position and have been happily working since August.
The silver lining here is the constant excuse to try out new coffee places and restaurants when I need wifi for my freelance work. At this very moment, I’m sitting in the lovely MexCafé across the street from my apartment.
#2: “Me dueles, México.” I love this phrase but try to employ it sparingly because I’m not actually from here and don’t want to overstep. Literally, it means “you hurt me, Mexico,” and it’s used when something goes wrong in a Murphy’s Law kind of way. Whether it’s an especially inopportune robbery, failure of utilities (see #1), or a glaring example of corruption, this sentence works and evokes empathy. An equivalent might be saying “third-world problems.”
#3: 95% of the time, baristas automatically ask what kind of milk you’d like in your drink. Many Mexicans prefer to drink lactose-free milk (the shelf-stable kind…) because it’s easier on the stomach and stays fresher for longer, so long as it’s still sealed. I always go for leche entera (whole milk) because life is short.
#4: When the rain stops, the smog begins. The temperature here in CDMX generally stays within the 45-80*F range all year; what varies is the precipitation. From about May through September, we get rain at least every other day, typically around 6:00 pm. This cleansing rain keeps the smog down– something to do with the droplets clinging to the nasty little particles. Once it disappears in the late fall, the smog returns with a vengeance.
#5: On a more positive note, many medications are incredibly cheap. To combat my smog-induced (and pollen-induced) respiratory issues, 10 tablets of Loratadine cost about $1.50 US, or under $5 a month to keep me sneeze-free. Antibiotics are also marvelously inexpensive and usually available without a prescription.
This wasn’t a shock to me, of course: expat blogs, TV shows, and news coverage (even my snowbird grandma!) all discuss the priciness of US drugs compared to Mexico. But to experience such cheapness in real life is a joy.