DAY 1Mar 03 2018
Our last transition day was sloppy and wonderful, and consisted of drinking the lounge dry of liquor and landing just in time for taco dinner.
DAY 5Mar 07 2018
Mexico City (CDMX) feels like Remote Year was saving a little secret for last.
It is absolutely not at all what I was expecting. For one, it’s cooler, low 80s in the day and mid 60s at night. It’s green with parks and doesn’t have any bugs or humidity. The produce is incredibly fresh and bountiful, and the people are lovely. I feel safer here walking the streets at night than almost any other place besides Japan, and the sidewalks are exploding with restaurants, music, bars, bookshops, and cafes.
And the tacos. Where to even begin with the tacos. Every one I have had has been the best of my life. My mouth is constantly on fire and I love it. I love it all.
On Sunday there was a huge line at the park and we asked what it was for. it was a MATH FAIR where parents and neighbors bring their kids and they do family math challenges for extra credit for the kids. I mean, come on. Could you possibly be more wholesome and lovely?
It’s also much wealthier than I thought it would be. I went to the mall and was shocked to find an Apple Store, a Saks Fifth Avenue, a Chanel, a Prada. Sears, Forever 21, Express, Sephora, Tommy Bahama. Kiehls. Urban Decay. Victoria’s Secret. Chilies. It was a bit of a weird experience, actually. I haven’t seen that kind of wealth in so long that I felt a bit uncomfortable and left as soon as I had run my errands. The transition back to the consumerism of the states (and apparently all of North America) will probably take some getting used to.
Not for nothing my two bedroom, three bathroom apartment overlooking a tree lined street in Condesa is the best of the year. I know I’ve said that before, but RY really must have been saving the best for last. Every Kaizen is raving about their place, and having visited a few I can see why. I have a 60 inch tv in my bedroom, a separate washer/DRYER room, an entire knife block full of knives, a blender and coffee maker, and every size pot and pan you could imagine.
Our workspace, Público, is a bit meh. It’s basically a concrete block, but given the 30 minute earthquake training we went through concrete is probably for the best. But, the coffee is strong, the WiFi is stronger, and there’s a rooftop.
Probably because it’s month 12 the calendar is a bit overwhelming, in the best way possible. I’m writing this on my way to a taco, mole, and salsa making class. Tomorrow mariachi dinner. Thursday a movie at the vip theater with waiters. Friday going to one of those crazy Nacho libre shows. Saturday to the Frida museum. Sunday hot air ballooning over the Mayan pyramids. Monday a tasting meal at a Michelin star restaurant.
This life is ridiculous, and I’m thankful for this city and this year for opening my eyes to the existence of this kind of full life everywhere in the world. Even in my hometown. Even in yours. You just have to be willing to turn off Netflix and look.
DAY 9Mar 11 2018
While every day of this journey has been special in its own way, some days are pure magic. Our morning hot air ballooning over the pyramids of Teotichilian was nothing short. We woke up before dawn and lifted off in time for the sunrise. It was both peaceful and terrifying at the same time, and the vistas were unlike anything I’d ever seen.
DAY 10Mar 12 2018
Before all the tearful goodbyes I was lucky to have Sami and Hari come down for a five-day visit from DC. We samples Mezcal every day, did museums upon museums, walked all around town, and caught up. It was great to see a familiar face after so long, and to have my old life integrate with my new.
DAY 15Mar 17 2018
The art and culture in Mexico City are incredible. Ever since doing a report on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in high school Spanish I’ve been fascinated by their art and their story. I was lucky enough to see, over the month, all of their homes, both of their museums, and some of their public works. I also unexpectedly learned that our beloved city team member, Sofia’s family is tied into their story. Her grandfather was Diego’s architect, confident, and friend, and hearing the stories I’d learned about in school through her eyes was priceless and the type of experience that separates Remote Year from your typical backpacker excursion or tour.
DAY 20Mar 22 2018
Each remote year group that passes through CDMX competes with the previous groups in a taco eating competition. Unlimited RY participants, one hour. The previous record set by Balboa was around 400 tacos. We whooped them with the same number of participants at 639 tacos. I personally ate 15. No veggie options were available so Iris and I filled our tortillas with condiments and avocado that we bought from a street vendor across the street. None of us wanted to eat for days after, but victory tastes sweet.
DAY 23Mar 25 2018
In Xeochilian you can rent a few seats on boats, bring on board buckets of beers and mango micheladas, and ride the canals being serenaded by mariachi bands and served tacos and elites from floating vendors. We rented not a few seats but three boats, tied them all together, and laughed for 5 hours straight.
DAY 26Mar 28 2018
The amount of goodbye hugs, goodbye events, letter writing, and heart to hearts in the palsy two weeks is crazy, so will summarize with photos of these beautiful humans.
DAY 27Mar 29 2018
Today was one of the happiest days of the year. Not because of our family time story slam (where I wrote and delivered a rap), but for the happy hour before, when Dan surprised Matt (and the few of us he’d gathered at a biergarten) by proposing marriage. Seeing one of the best people you know full of happy emotions was the best. We celebrated all night with bear hugs and sparking rosé. So much love.
DAY 29Mar 31 2018
And just like that a year is over. The adjectives for what that means haven’t come to me yet.
To celebrate we checked out of our apartments early and rented a house a few hours south of CDMX.
It was beautiful. It was silly and emotional and fun. We cried so hard we laughed and we laughed so hard we cried. No eyes were dry when it came time for groups to depart few by few to the airport, not out of sadness, but out of nostalgia. We’ve shared so much with each other, seen so much, experienced so much, that it feels like a little part of who we are will always belong with Kaizen.
DAY 30Apr 01 2018
Before returning to New York I felt I needed a few days of R+R between the goodbye hugs and the hello hugs. A few days to just sleep and talk to nobody and describe nothing. Conveniently Mexico is pretty damn beautiful and flights from CDMX to Cancun are $70.
If you look closely you’ll see that I even managed to find a few Kaizens at Chichén Itzá. See? It’s not really over. And it never will be.