Friday, December 28, 2007

apart again...

I'm guessing it's not normal for a newly married couple to spend nearly 2 months of their first 7 in separate countries, but such is our reality.

Anyway, it hasn't been terrible. I (Amy) have had the chance to see all the family and friends I've been missing over these past months. Carlos has been able to hang out with "just the guys" without anyone having to worry about leaving me out.

Christmas was an incredible adventure filled with food, food, and more food, along with the joy of being with family.

So far every time I drive, it's in typical Chicago winter weather involving high-velocity winds, freezing rain/ice/sleet/blowing snow, etc. For someone who hadn't driven in 4 months, that was initially a shock but after a few minutes you get back into Chicago Driving Mode. Carlos told me that driving here was going to seem like driving in a park after what happens on the roads in Monterrey. I thought he was exaggerating, but boy was he right. Even in extreme Chicago weather, it's so easy to drive here.

I had a great reunion dinner with Dennis, Tania, and Ashvin (the crew from the final week in Barcelona). Ironically, we went for tapas at a pretty great little place called 1492 Tapas near State and Superior downtown. We were not disappointed. Big fun, Ashvin was the first to notice that all of the prices ended in .92. Clever. Also, the food was good.

Carlos has been busy holding down the fort (or house) in MTY, paying the rent and bills and all that menial stuff. I think he's been happy to have the house all to himself, although he also claims to miss me. I definitely miss him.

A few more busy days of weddings, downtown adventures, and coffee with friends before I head back. I don't think I've ever appreciated a break as much as this one!

Maybe next year, with some divine intervention, we can be here together with everybody for Christmas.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Still getting adjusted...

So even after 2 months, there are things that still take getting used to...

1)Wearing short sleeves and sunglasses in December

2)Green GRASS in December! Pic taken during my leisurely walk home from work the other day...

3) Monterrey's fascination with soda (Exhibit A: best-selling cola, Big Cola, which tastes like Coke and sells for cheaper. And also comes in a 3.3 Liter bottle.)
4) The amount of meat and unhealthy agents they manage to pack into a single dish here. Take the innocent baked potato. Here we present a Monterrey variation that includes three cheeses, cream, steak, and I don't even remember what else. (Don't worry, this was the first and only time Carlos tried it) I'd say the tray weighs about 5 pounds.

5) The way that people from here are really FROM here. This city is a labrynth of unfamiliar streets, incomprehensible traffic, and hard-to-find services. Those from here find no trouble navigating all this. But even Carlos, born in this city, never experienced it as a grown-up, and finds it just as perplexing.

For me (Amy), it's been a little difficult being the outsider, especially at work, as they can't get over the fact that the lifestyle here just doesn't come naturally to me. My closest acquaintances at work are the other "outsiders" who understand this: Alexandra the French teacher, who really is from eastern France, and my teammate Marina the 4th grade Spanish teacher, who is freshly arrived from the nearby state of Sonora. In the case of Marina, I find it incredible how even SHE feels so out of place - she's from another northern Mexican state! It would be like moving to Chicago from South Dakota or something like that. Anyway, at least the kids understand. A large number of them have visited the US, love to ask me questions about Chicago, and they say they're lucky to have 3 teachers from such different places (and they're right!) :).

Today at work they literally laughed out loud at me and Marina when we mentioned we had not yet seen the Puente Atirantado (one of Monterrey's most famous landmarks). It's in a posh part of the city people like us only go through if we have high-end shopping or business to do. We've just been busy getting settled in our section of the city and haven't had time to get there yet.

Anyway, tomorrow we will see it on the way to the school Christmas concert which is in San Pedro, the section of the city that boasts the famous bridge. Maybe I'll feel less like an outsider then... :D

Monday, December 03, 2007

We have Mexican money now!

This post is just to celebrate that after a month of working in Mexico, our bank account is loaded with Mexican pesos. We are now buying groceries, paying bills, and living off money made right here in Mexico, so now our US savings can grow good interest and we don't have to keep paying international transaction fees to use it.

We find that very exciting. We are finally settled.

In other news, 19 days until Amy lands in Chicago for Christmas!!!!!