Weight Loss Before and After Part 1

*Warning: Yet another annoying diet post! Whatever, it’s my blog.

This month I’ve been pretty lame about my diet, and haven’t lost any more pounds.  After my last weigh-in was unsuccessful, I’ve now caught my second wind and decided to put together some before and after photos to keep me inspired.

Before – 160 pounds (not including snake)

After - 145 pounds

I have another 15 pounds to go! I know you’re thinking, “But Laura, you already look so trim!” Well, let’s just say I’ve gotten pretty good about hiding my arm fat in photos. Plus those yoga pants are incredibly flattering.

A tan and good posture also help, apparently.

More Yucatan Cuisine: San Simon and Caballero Pobre

Last Saturday, we went to a birthday party for my suegro.

Jorge’s grandmother had traveled from Yucatan to celebrate, and a visit from Abuela Elsy wouldn’t be complete without some fabulous Yucatan cuisine.

First we had San Simon. This dish is basically turkey with broth, covered in lots of toppings. The toppings can vary depending on the recipe, but our San Simon was covered in fried plantains, onion and homemade french fries.

It sounds like the most random combination of ingredients ever… but it was DELICIOUS.

For dessert, I got to try Caballero Pobre (“Poor Gentleman”) for the first time. I feel like this dish is basically the “french toast” of the Yucatan. It’s a baguette soaked in egg, fried in a bit of oil, then covered in a syrupy-cinnamony sauce.

Jorge’s been going over to his parent’s house every day this week to get some more of Abuela Elsy’s food.

What dishes are popular in your area?

What I've Been Up To

So the past few weekends I’ve taken tons of pictures to share with you guys! Things have been pretty busy at work, but I figure I’ll keep ya’ll updated. Here goes…

Last Weekend:

Went to my friend Dama's birthday party at Black Pub Friday night

Saturday: Went to another friend's birthday party, complete with palapa and a taco stand

My "gringas"... flour tortilla, pastor, onion, cilantro and pineapple

Saturday night: Burgers in a friend's backyard (it had very cool design, but I only managed to get a shot of this light-covered palm tree)

 

This Weekend:

On Saturday I bought this... I'll tell you why later!

Sunday afternoon: Puerto Morelos

Saturday night: Carnaval parade in Playa del Carmen (all pictures were either blurry or blocked by pedestrians, but the costumes were great!)

What did you do this weekend?

The Geography Lesson that Brought Me to Shame

Did I ever tell you how I broke my culture shock? The defining moment when I went from “I hate it here, why don’t they do things my way?” to “Well, this might be ok after all!”

I was in my second year of university here in Cancun. I had a world geography class that totally blew my mind. As I looked up at the world map for several weeks, I thought to myself, “This is wrong. Why is the professor teaching wrongness? Why are my classmates not correcting him? Does nobody care or even notice that the map is wrong?” (Gosh, I’m such a typical American.)

In the US, we’re taught early on that the world has 7 continents: North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and Antarctica.

In Mexico, they’re taught that the world has 5 continents: America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Under this model, what we Americans consider to be North and South America is actually one large continent of America, and Antarctica doesn’t factor in at all!

MIND. BLOWN.

But wait! It doesn’t stop there! North America is everything north of the Panama Canal, right? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Get this: Mexicans don’t consider Central America to be part of North America.  Here, the large continent of America is sub-divided into 3 regions: North America (Canada, the US and Mexico), Central America and South America. In this model, Central America is no longer part of North America, it just borders North America.

North America in blue, Central America in yellow, South America in green... 3 regions making up the continent of America

After a few months of fuming to myself, I decided to look it up on Wikipedia to prove that I was right. Instead, what I got was this:

Number of Continents

And that’s when it hit me. My way isn’t the only way.

Even though I was taught something as fact, there still might be millions of other kids in other parts of the world learning it differently.

It was a huge step for me as an expat to realize that I can believe there are 7 continents, and my friends can believe there are 5 continents, and people on the other side of the world can believe there are 6 continents, and we are all correct.

This led me to realize that just because Mexicans don’t do things the way I might want them to, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Sometimes their way is even better than my way! (Except when they put ketchup on their pizza. After 7 years, I still find that unacceptable.)

I spent my first year in Mexico trying to make everyone more like… me. Then I spent the following 6 years trying to become more like them. All thanks to one geography course.

5 Year Anniversary Surprise

Can you still celebrate dating anniversaries once you’re married?

Well, we did it anyway.

On Friday we had our 5 year dating anniversary, and Jorge wanted to take me on a dinner date to a surprise location. I wore my favorite yellow dress because I don’t get many fancy occasions for it.

I was really excited when we got there and I found out we were going to Elefanta, an upscale Indian restaurant at Plaza La Isla. We had a table under a palapa by the lagoon, which was lovely. About halfway through the meal, we felt water misting our feet. The waiter explained it’s their bug repellant spray to protect the legs. Pretty cool.

We’d never had Indian food before, but it was DELICIOUS. We started with potato and cheese naan bread, then had saffron and cheese shrimp and some kind of amazing spiced chicken for the main course.

I didn’t take many pictures because who wants to take pictures on a date? Plus “romantic lighting” isn’t very photo-friendly. You can check out Elefanta’s photo gallery, though. It’s a really, really beautiful restaurant.

All I have for you is a shot of my view of the lagoon:

I love upscale restaurants, hotels, etc, but for some reason I always feel out of place in fancy venues. What if the waiters find out that I’m not rich like the rest of the customers? That we had to save up for months for this dinner? That this is my only (sort of) expensive dress? That we took the city bus to get here? Totally irrational. But I love going anyway 🙂

 

**Update: By “popular” demand, here’s a picture of my favorite yellow dress:

Saturdays at the "Tianguis"

The last 2 Saturdays, Jorge and I have gone to his aunt’s house to sell our used stuff at the local tianguis (pronounced “Tee-AHN-geese”), a kind of Mexican flea market. In his aunt’s neighborhood, people set up stands along the street to sell snacks, books, used clothing, video games, makeup, and the list goes on and on. In previous years I’ve sold my used clothes to earn up to $500 pesos in a day (about $50 dollars for my US readers). We haven’t been so lucky the last 2 weekends because we keep getting rained out, but we’ll keep trying until there’s sunshine. At any rate the afternoon is never a total loss since Jorge’s aunts always have tamales, brazo de reina, and fried fish on-hand for lunch!

Here are some photos from Cancun’s Saturday tianguis

This last photo is my makeshift used clothes stand. I love so many of the clothes I’m selling, but many no longer fit me since I’ve lost weight. And some of those shoes have amazing memories! I haven’t had the chance to wear them in years (I wear a work uniform 6 days a week), but haven’t been willing to let them go for a very long time. I also have 2 bridesmaids dresses from my wedding, but I doubt I’ll be able to sell them at the tianguis since they’re more expensive items.

What kind of local markets do you have in your city?

Splash! Restaurant in Cancun’s Hotel Zone

Right after our afternoon at the beach last Sunday, Jorge and I took the Hotel Zone bus to a restaurant we’d been wanting to try called Splash. It’s located right on the lagoon (by where Basic nightclub used to be, for all you partiers) and has some pretty decent prices!

My lettuce tacos (shrimp, salmon/caviar, and tuna)

Jorge with his michelada

We spent $260 pesos total (several tacos each, drinks and tip).

Jorge says we have to return because this place has “The 3 B’s… Bueno, Bonito y Barato“!