The Coolest People I Know

For years I’d always felt a little guilty for leaving the family behind and moving to Mexico. I have always missed them terribly, and I know they’ve missed me, too.

Then my parents did something that really took my by surprise.

About 5 years ago, my dad quit his 20-some year career in the mortgage business, and my parents moved to Charlotte, North Carolina so he could study at seminary. We were very proud of him when he graduated with some pretty impressive grades!

In 2011, my parents moved back to our hometown of Richmond, Virginia to find out what God wanted them to do with their lives. Both my parents began working while looking into opportunities all over the country, then they started looking even further.

During a phone call a few weeks ago, my parents told me that soon they will be moving to Bogota.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA.

South America.

Whoa.

Starting hopefully sometime next year, my parents will be in Bogota for 8 months taking intensive Spanish courses, then they’ll look at missionary opportunities in different Latin American countries to see where they’re most needed. They’re doing all this with the help of the Mission to the World organization… the same organization that first brought me to Mexico 8 years ago!

Well, at least now I don’t have to feel guilty about moving so far away 🙂

I’m so incredibly proud of these people, and I can’t think of better role models.

If you want to read more about my parents, my dad just started his own blog called On Finishing Well, talking about their plans, challenges, etc. It’s an interesting read… at least for me, because my dad and I are pretty much the exact same person. 🙂

Why My House Smells Like Pot

So I love my quiet neighborhood here in Cancun. Lots of families, very clean, everyone says hello, etc etc etc.

And then there’s my next door neighbor. A pretty normal-looking, average guy who isn’t at all friendly, but doesn’t really bother anyone either.

Yesterday I came home from work and I saw his dogs tied up to the window in the front yard. I figured, “Oh, they must be doing some work in the backyard.” I walked into my kitchen and was overwhelmed by the smell of pot in the air. I whined about it on Twitter, then went about my day since this is a pretty frequent occurence. (Our houses share a wall, so smells and noises frequently make their way over to our place.)

I sat on the couch and noticed some of my neighbor’s friends enter his house. Minutes later, I heard chanting in some unknown language coming from his backyard. I was about to go peek into his backyard from my upstairs window when the chanting was suddenly accompanied by what sounded like hammering. Confused and more than a little weirded out, I decided to stay put.

The chanting and banging eventually stopped and the men all came back out into the front yard. Jorge got home just then, and I heard them ask him a question and he responded cheerily.

When Jorge came into the living room, I said “What did they ask you?”

“They wanted me to check if their pigeon had flown into our backyard.”

I really hope that pigeon made it to safety.

How to Speak Like a Mexican: Blah, blah, blah

In English, when we fast forward part of a story, we use “Blah blah blah” (and a few other fun phrases).

However, I kinda like the Mexican version: Sha la la, Sha la la

Example:

  • English: I went to the store to buy eggs, then blah blah blah I ended up buying an entire cart of food!
  • Mexican: Fui a la tienda para comprar huevos, sha la la, sha la la Terminé comprando un carrito lleno de comida!

Much more sing-songy, doncha think?

I Famosi Italian Restaurant

Some friends of ours had recommended an Italian place near Plaza Las Americas way back in early February, and last weekend Jorge and I decided to try it out.

I Famosi is a small restaurant on Acanceh Street (behind Sports City, for all my Cancun friends). Their menu is pretty extensive, with lots of unique pastas and a wide variety of pizzas.

To start, they brought out a bread basket with a tomato dipping sauce. I could only have 1 bite because of the diet (had to save room for pizza), but it was delicious!

Jorge ordered an eggplant pasta and I had the Riccotini pizza, which was amazing. With my diet I’m only allowed thin-crust pizzas, and this one fit the bill.

When they brought the check out, the waiter mentioned that they weren’t charging us for Jorge’s meal since they gave him the wrong pasta, even though Jorge liked it so much he ate it anyway. I thought that was a really nice gesture.

We couldn’t finish a lot of it, and we ended up taking enough home for lunch the next day. (2 meals for the price of 1!)

Out total was around $120 pesos (my pizza, a water and Jorge’s Sprite). With Jorge’s discounted pasta added in, it would have been a little over $200 pesos. Not bad for a romantic evening!

Mexican Oranges are… Green?

I’ve been making fresh-squeezed orange juice in the mornings for the last few weeks. In March, I tried the more expensive “orange” oranges that look more like what I saw in the US. Since they looked more familiar to me, I assumed they would be the best choice. This week I tried the more common “green” oranges that Jorge loves so much. Turns out, Jorge’s “green” oranges are far superior in flavor and juiciness. (Win for Jorge.)

They may look like limes from the outside… but they sure are delicious.

Love the color contrast.

Trash the Dress Photos Part 3

Monica send us more photos of our Trash the Dress shoot at Garrafon Park today! There should be 1 more batch of photos after this. I’m thrilled we got so many good shots!

Part 1

Part 2

Credits and thanks:

Location: Garrafon Park, Isla Mujeres

Photography: Monica Lopez

Makeup: Vanessa Dominguez Alvarez

Dress: MOM!

Loud Americans

During yet another trip to The Surfin Burrito in the Cancun Hotel Zone this past Saturday, I was listening in on the conversation of the 2 tables next to us. Why was I listening in, you ask? Because they were speaking so loudly I had no choice. Of course, they had to be gringos.

In Cancun, American tourists have a reputation for being loud. I’m here to tell you that this stereotype is pretty much dead on, to an extent.

When I hop on the bus to go into the Hotel Zone, it’s filled with mostly Mexicans for awhile… and the bus is silent. Once the bus leaves downtown Cancun and enters the Hotel Zone, tourists start to get on. And the volume level goes way up. I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty amusing to see dozens of Mexicans sitting quietly in their seats on their way to work while my fellow gringos scream things like “WALMART??”, “DUDE! STEVE WAS SO WASTED LAST NIGHT!”  or “HILTON? HIL-TON? YES? SI? YOU LET ME KNOW! OK! GRACIAS!”

I even heard one guy shout aloud on the bus, asking in all seriousness where the bus stop for “COKER BONGER” was. Jorge and I assume he meant to say Coco Bongo.

What I’ve noticed after 7 years here is that most American tourists are low-key when in public, so the stereotype isn’t 100% true. However, I’ve also never seen anyone from another country act that loudly unless they’re at a party or a sporting event.

In a nutshell: Not all American tourists are loud, but all loud tourists are American.

It’s not a bad thing or an offensive thing to be loud in public. (Especially not in Cancun!) It is pretty funny to watch, though.

What kind of tourist are you?

**Edit: After posting this, I’ve been told by a few friends that it’s not just Americans. Turns out Canadians can get quite rowdy as well. 😉 Party on, Canada. Party on.