In Case I Ever Complain About Anything…

…just remind me of this post.

Last night was the whole “blood moon” thing, which I was too tired to see. However, lots of Cancun locals headed to the beach to see it. I just happened to be in the Hotel Zone with Joge’s family last night, and around 11pm we decided to buy some pizza and head to Playa Delfines, otherwise known as “El Mirador”. (Just picture this beach, but at night.)

We ate pizza and drank Coca Cola using one of those little palapa-table things, while everyone else around us set up their telescopes in preparation for the blood moon. We didn’t stick around nearly long enough to see it, but it was an amazing hour of family, ocean breezes, a full moon and lots of other Cancun locals enjoying it just like we were.

I have to remind myself that those are the moments I’ll always remember. Beach nights, full moons, pizza parties… not sitting around staring at my cell phone.

Before and After: Garden Gone Wild

So about 2 years ago we decided to spruce up the little backyard of our rental house, putting in a patio of sorts, planting palm trees and getting rid of a large tree that we just HATED. Here’s how it all began:

After some back-breaking work (not for me, but for Jorge haha), we had this:

It turns out the palm trees LOVE their home, because they have been growing like crazy… especially the California palm in the corner. Here’s what the yard looked like today:

At one point we even moved my orchid tree from the front to the backyard. For awhile there things weren’t looking so hot…

But now the orchid tree is growing strong!

When we put the palm trees and patio in, we were hoping to be able to use the backyard more for lunch, coffee, etc. Sadly, that hasn’t happened at all! As of right now, there is just way too much sun and way too little shade to be able to really enjoy the space. I’m hoping that as the palm trees start to give more shade, it will be a better spot. For now, it’s a nice place for the dogs to hang out, plus I have a view from my office.

The 4 Stages of a Tequila Shot

Woohoo! I made my first GIF!

Here, my buddy Mike and I demonstrate the stages of a tequila shot:

1. Cheers.

2. Drink.

3. Tequila face.

4. Lime face.

The 4 Stages of a Tequila Shot on Make A Gif

 

This was at the open tequila bar on last week’s press tour of Xoximilco… more on that later!

Fun fact: Mike used to be my boss! Until we both left our jobs to work in blogging and social media. If you speak Spanish (or even if you don’t), head on over to Mike’s new blog!

Lonely in Cancun

After spending the last 4 out of 5 weeks “on the road”, I finally get to spend most of June here at home in Cancun.  Everything has been pretty surreal since leaving my office job, with a week in my hometown of Richmond, two weeks at Playa del Carmen resorts for work (very cool, but pretty lonely) and another week back in the States surrounded by family.

This morning I woke up feeling sad and happy at the same time… happy to finally be able to settle in to my new everyday life of writing, Starbucks and hanging out with my dogs, but also sad to leave my family. My middle sister Sarah just got married over the weekend in Asheville, NC, and it was a pretty awesome mountain wedding. I spent the whole week shopping with my oldest sister in Charlotte, meeting Sarah’s friends at her bachelorette party and going out with (almost) all my cousins in downtown Asheville. (Side note: If you’re a fan of beer, mountains, hipsters and an overall great time, I recommend Asheville.)

Stealing a Facebook photo from my sister's beautiful wedding! There's me just to the left of the bride... not sure what I'm looking at.

Then suddenly, today I’m thrown back to my little makeshift office surrounded by the first downpour of Cancun’s rainy season, with Jorge working extra evening hours the next few days. After such a crazy week surrounded by my favorite people, now I just feel alone again.

I’ll get over it in a few days. This always happens when I get back from a trip back home. Every trip, I feel like I want to move back to the States to be around family, but then Jorge reminds me that everyone in my family lives in different cities and only gets together like that on holidays and special occasions. Living there wouldn’t be the same as visiting.

It’s probably time to call up some Cancun friends for dinner to get out of this slump… if the rain ever stops!

Where Has Gringation Been?

I know… I made a huge announcement a month ago then dropped off the face of the earth. Well, I’m still making frequent updates on my Facebook page so my followers know what’s been going on, but the blog has been lonely since mid-April!

April 25 was my last day at the travel agency, so I went back home to Virginia for a week to visit family. I even had my first official day “on the job” blogging from a Starbucks with my dad in my hometown of Richmond (tried to get a people-free picture, but as it turns out Starbucks is a popular place):

Ever since I got back to Cancun, I’ve been playing catch-up with my new jobs. I love every single one (there are 3… well, 1 big one and 2 small-ish ones) but I’ve had a hard time figuring out my new schedule with all the changes going on. Haven’t gotten into a groove yet, although I do love FINALLY being able to blog from my favorite Cancun Starbucks terrace:

Since Monday, I’ve been staying at Sandos Caracol resort in the Riviera Maya. My biggest job is the copywriter and blogger for Sandos resorts, so I get to stay at all their Mexico resorts over the next few months. I’ll be at Sandos Caracol through Friday, then at Sandos Playacar next week, then at Sandos Cancun in June. It’s kind of like a vacation, although I am mostly working. My “office” changes a little every day:

It’s been my dream for a long time to work from resorts and blog while on frequent vacations, but oh boy is it crazy. Even when I’m supposed to be relaxing, I keep feeling like I should be writing something. The brain needs an “off” switch!

We also cleared out the storage room at home to create a new office. I’ve only gotten to use it for 1 week (and won’t use it again until sometime in June), but that’s ok because right now it looks like this:

Not glamorous at all. Lawn furniture, recycling crates and a cheap tablecloth do not an office make.

It’s been a whirlwind and it will continue to be a whirlwind, but hopefully over time I’ll get used to having numerous projects going on at once. A big new day planner has been my lifesaver in scheduling when and where to write everything I need to!

There have also been a few beach days in there plus a trip to Akumal I never wrote about. Soon, amigos!

 

 

So I Quit My Job Today…

“Why are you quitting a job that thousands of people would kill for?”

That’s what a friend told me last week, and the very sentence that has been haunting me for the past few days.

Ever since I graduated university in Cancun over 3 years ago, I’ve had the same great job as a copywriter for a large local travel agency. The pay is good (for Mexico, anyway), the hours are normal (hard to find in a tourist city), the coworkers are awesome, and it has never once stressed me out. It has been the one job that I do not wake up dreading to go to.

But as nice as it has been to have a safe office job, it’s not the reason that I moved to Cancun 8 years ago.

Thanks to this blog, I have gotten some exciting freelance work over the past few years. It’s been so thrilling to get my name out there as a blogger in paradise, and I started to realize that I was passionate about sharing Cancun with the world. Now, my dream of being able to blog full time from home has finally come true! And by “home”, I mean a mix of my house, several Starbucks locations and maybe even the beach.

New office?

 

I’m fully aware that blogging will probably be a lot more work and a lot less predictability.

But ya know what? It will also be a lot more fun.

You can work from a laptop in the ocean, right?

 

Thanks to all of my readers for the unbelievable support in making this possible. Y’all are the best. 🙂 I will definitely keep everyone posted on the cool work that I’ll be doing.

It’s time for this gringa to work hard and play hard!

We Bought Land!!

Jorge and I have been considering buying land in the village of Chabihau for a few years. Our dream is to build a small vacation villa there so we can someday spend more time there relaxing, eating freshly caught fish and hanging out with Jorge’s extended family.

Two weekends ago, we went to Chabihau to check out a piece of land we heard was for sale. Turns out it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, so Jorge’s second cousin took us around town to see all the lots for sale. We weren’t overly impressed by any of them (lots of work to do!), but we came across one that we fell in love with at first sight.

This past weekend, Jorge traveled to Merida to sign all the paperwork, and now it’s ours, all ours!!

Chabihau is a beach town, but we’ve always preferred the view of the lagoon, so our main priority was a lagoonfront property. I think we got it right.

Looking at the picture below, it covers everything from the barbed wire fence on the left to the palm trees by the car on the right. (10 meters wide, 25 meters long)

 

Several friends have already mentioned that it looks perfect for camping. We hate camping, but anyone else is welcome! haha

Gringation Cancun Nominated as a Top 5 Mexico Blog

Despite the fact that I’m up against my boss and a good blogger friend (Hi Michele and Leslie!), I’m really excited to be nominated as a Top 5 Favorite Mexico Blog by About.com’s Readers’ Choice Awards! If you love reading this blog as much as I love writing it, please go in and vote for me. It’s so easy… just click on Gringation Cancun, write in your e-mail address and voila!

Click here to vote for your me as your Favorite Mexico Blog

Click here to vote for other Mexico travel categories (favorite resort, favorite beach destination, etc)

 

What We’ve Been Up To

I know I’ve been writing a ton about our little adventures over the past few months, but I haven’t talked much about the day-to-day lately. With Tulum vacations and hanging out on Cancun beaches, what have we been doing between our mini vacations?

This semester, Jorge got a teaching job at a Cancun high school. He’s teaching calculus, geometry and physics, and he seems to really love it. I’ve seen him tutor his cousins before, so I knew teaching was really his thing. It’s fun to hear him talk about his students (he has over 40 students in each class. Yikes!) and to see him grading papers and making lesson plans at home. So proud!

For a few years, my goal has been to get enough freelance writing work so I can quit my day job and work from home. As much as I like my office job, it’s my dream to be able to go on tours, on vacation, etc (and write about it!) without having to limit myself to my vacation days. In the past few months I’ve gotten a few new freelance jobs, and it looks like I might be very close to my goal. Unfortunately, right now this means that I’m working 4 jobs!! I get home from work and continue working on the computer every evening. It’s been tiring, but I still enjoy it. Writing about being on vacation isn’t so bad!

A few weeks ago I also got to meet a blogger who I’ve known online for 3 years! Ang (of Football, Sushi and the Pursuit of Happiness) was staying at a Cancun resort with her fiance Steve. We got lunch at Fish Fritanga, which I hadn’t tried before but it was amazing, then went to Plaza La Isla to walk around and have some drinks.

The dogs have been pretty good, too. My idea of relaxation is being able to hang out at home with these lovely ladies…

Konan caught sleeping in our bed

Dolly with the puppy dog eyes

Suki in her favorite sleeping spot... on my purse

We also went to Cozumel over the weekend for Carnaval, and we got to snorkel with starfish! Pics to come. 🙂