Expat Life Archive

A gringa in Mexico City

This morning, at a coffee stand inside the Terminal del Norte bus station in Mexico City: Me: I'd like a cafe americano with milk, please. Young woman: We don't sell an americano with milk. You can get a black coffee or a cappuccino. Me: Can't I just get a small amount of milk in my

On leaving Mexico City

I have some pretty big news to share: after four years in Mexico City, we're moving to New York City. Crayton got a promotion, which is the reason for the move. We'll be there in mid-January. I'm not getting all nostalgic about eating my last taco and visiting my last market -- which would be

A couple of thoughts after the earthquake

Thanks to everyone for asking about us. We're fine. I'm sorry I didn't check in sooner, but I left for California for a few days to hang out with my family. (I already had the trip planned.) The quake was a doozy, though -- people here are still talking about it. I was just getting

How to safely ride a bike in Mexico City

“A red trickle flowed from the young victim’s nostrils, and when he stopped blinking the crowd started to thin, people walking away in a silence as yet unbroken by the wailing of an ambulance. At that moment, Araceli fully and finally comprehended the cruelty of her native city, the precariousness of life in the presence

The question of huevos

On my way home from the cleaners today, I saw a taxi driver cut off a pedestrian. The walker was an older gentleman, and he yelled "Huevón!" as the car drove past. I'm sure it was some sort of insult, but I don't know exactly what. In fact, the whole scenario reminded me just how

Rainy season has arrived

Warm breezes. Darkening skies. I've had a few "I hate Mexico" days lately, but the rainy season brings me back to why I love it here. These are the things that make up my neighborhood: A guy racing by on his bicycle, an orange basket strapped to the back. The pan dulce guy riding his

The long, drawn-out, telephone goodbye

Whenever I’m on the phone with a Mexican person and we’re about to hang up, they linger, as if they really don't want to say goodbye. Me: "Bueno, te dejo." Well, I'll let you go. Them: "Sale pues." Me: "Este... sí." Them: "Nos vemos." See you soon. Me: Silence. Them: "Un beso." A kiss. My

Sexism, crime and taxis in Mexico City

I've lived in Mexico City for two-plus years without a car. In that time, I've only had female cab drivers twice -- once coming back from the bus station in 2009, and once a few weeks ago, when I was returning from a doctor’s appointment in Polanco. Apparently more than 800 female drivers work in

Hug or handshake? The proper American goodbye

A weird thing kept happening to me in New York. Whenever I’d meet someone new, if we talked for more than five minutes, I took this to mean the person deserved a hug goodbye. In 90 percent of the cases, I was wrong. My new friend would stick out a hand for a goodbye handshake,