Holy hot damn. Week 52. It’s over. WHAT!? I will do a more extensive reflection on the year, but for now, here’s how the last week of Remote Year went down! Processing all sorts of emotions.
Interesting Mexico things:
- I wrote previously about the poor water situation in the city. Isla Urbana is the other one of our Positive Impact partners of the month. They provide homes with rain water harvesting systems that help reduce the need for external filtered water and take away from a home’s reliance on the citywide water system. We made a donation to them following this week’s taco challenge.
- Food of the week: esquites (street corn). Corn on the cob or shaved into a cup, covered in mayo, lime juice, chili, and queso fresco. The best one near us was found outside of the grocery store, Superama, in Condesa, after 6pm.
- Food of the week x2: flautas. They are most like the taquitos that you’d buy at BJs or Costco, but here they are fresh tortillas rolled with filling and fried to a crisp. Covered in queso fresco and sour cream. Tried one at El Hidalguense in Roma Norte (famous for their barbacoa). May have been my favorite meal of the month.
- Drink of the week: carajillo, made of coffee and liquor 43, an alcohol originating in Spain that is not found many other places
- Mexico City is known for a variety of street sounds. I’ve learned to embrace the early morning saxophone down the street, the dogs barking, the guys randomly screaming up to apartments from the road (little puzzled about this one, so consistent, and so random), the man looking to shine your shoes, the lady standing by a building cranking a music box.
- CDMX has the third most museums in a city in the world. The museums are closed on Monday and free to locals on Sunday so be aware of crowds. Did I go to any of them? No. But the anthropology museum got raving reviews!
- A national earthquake drill took place on Monday. We were on a bus, but those in town said the alarms faintly sounded, everyone stood in the street for a few minutes, and then resumed normal activity.
- Not sure if it’s the sinking or poor maintenance, but the sidewalks in the city are…well don’t be staring at your phone and not paying attention.
- Remote Year Final Farewell at Lake Tequesquitengo. The group rented out a beach club and spent the day hanging, drinking, eating, swimming, and doing water sports.
- Lake is about 50 miles from the city but our driver was HELLA slow so it took 2.5 hours. Good part about it being far was the weather was better! Warmer and not raining like the city.
- Took a turn driving the motor boat and went a little happy on the gas pedal, so much so that the driver’s hat blew off and we had to spin and get it…whoops
- Beautiful day to take in final moments as a group. Ended with a presentation of this year’s yearbook. My superlatives? Among others: win a Nobel Peace Prize, be a VP of a Fortune 500, and rule the world. Good thing they don’t expect much from me….geez.
- Brunch with Cobi and Emmi at Green Corner before they took off. Super good place, gluten free friendly, and lots of organic
- Happy hour with Remote Year staff in town followed by Bachelor night, honestly any excuse to spend time together
- Every month, the Remote Year group in Mexico City participates in a taco challenge at Tortas del Fuego. Groups compete to see who can eat the most tacos in the group and then the most against the previous groups.
- To be honest, I did not want to compete or participate, not a huge fan of eating competitions. BUT, I ordered 5 tacos in the beginning, thinking they were small, that’s a normal amount. Little did I know that each ‘taco’ was actually 3 tacos. Soooo, I ended up eating 16 tacos (the same number of times I had to use the bathroom the next day).
- Statistics from our challenge:
- 204 tacos eaten by 12 participants
- 29 tacos eaten by the new female record holder for RY! Parea represent!
- 17 tacos on avg per participant (18 avg for girls, 14 avg for guys)
- Honestly not sure whether to be proud or disgusted but yeah…that happened. The worst tacos for me were the mushroom ones, SOO many mushrooms, don’t think I can eat those for a while.
- Maybe the most Parea has participated in a RY Nation event this year. Better late than never.
- My house hosted a ‘Last Thursday’ get together in which we did a Post Remote Year workshop. Kind of freaky to think about the future but helpful to hear everyone was in the same boat.
- Sign ‘yearbook’ pages for everyone. Fun to reflect on your year with each person and again, see what others think of you. Guess people didn’t hate me…that’s a plus.
Friday- LAST FULL DAY!
- Lunch at El Hidalguense, like I said go for the barbacoa, in between work
- Yeah, it does get faster after a year, especially if you don’t have to be too weary of weight
- Sooo you’d think that we would go baller on our last night and throw a rave. But actually, we all stayed in and reminisced as a group in an apartment. Sure, we drank a bit, but mostly just soaked in final moments all together. Also said some goodbyes.
Saturday- FINISHING RY!
- Packed up and out by 10am.
- Brunch with whoever was left in town at Masala y Maiz, a Mexican/Indian fusion restaurant. Not the cheapest but delicious.
- Lots of tears from all parties. I know that I will see everyone again, but I think it was the idea that the year was over, that we’d never be together as a group again in this setting that got to me. And saying bye to Lindsay, Val, and Rhami (three people that I’d gotten super close with) all at the same time was intense too. I’m getting choked up writing about it.
- BUTTTT it wasn’t goodbye to everyone because 10 of us are spending the week together at the beach J
- Flight to Tulum that was more dramatic than it needed to be:
- We almost missed it because the gate changed and wasn’t showing on the boards
- We boarded and the pilot goes “*huge sigh* well we are delayed because 50 flight attendants just quit. *another huge ugh* this is worst case scenario…they should be sending us more soon.” ….definitely not worst case scenario btw.
- I’m not sure if this man was in a rush or what but takeoff was rough, felt like we gunned it straight up
- As we are getting ready to land, the pilot decided to point out the lake we were flying over, the cruise ship we could see on our right…then our left, and the runway in the distance. (P.S. it was pitch black out, couldn’t see shit.) All I was thinking is yes, I see the runway, you see it? Please land us there.
- Not a fun flight and only 2 hours.
- Settle in for the night at our AirBnb in Aldea Zama, the upscale neighborhood in Tulum
- Beach day!! Been a while since we did nothing but soak in the sun and sand. The group of us took over a cabana at Papaya Playa Beach club and stayed all day until sunset.
- Our place for the week is nice, three floors and in a condo complex with a pool, beach club access, and bikes.
- The bikes are great (beautiful ride from us to the beach) except they actually suck. Feels like your riding on the highest gear and if you’re lucky your seat or handlebars will move themselves up and down. But what can I complain? I’m in Tulum.
I woke up on Saturday morning sad and anxious but with a wave of pride and sense of accomplishment. I FUCKING DID IT. Finished Remote Year. For a girl that had never spent more than a week or two away from family, and who had never travelled outside the Americas and Europe, I’d say I did pretty well. I would be lying if I didn’t almost quit, especially in Vietnam, but now more than ever, I know I have the strength to get through anything. AND I am SOOO glad I made it to the end. This was a transformative year.
Stay tuned for proper closure, but in the meantime, here’s to 10 days in Parea-dise!
P.S. What’s next? When am I coming home? Don’t have it all planned out yet but beach another week, Colorado for a couple weeks, home for a couple weeks, then somewhere in the world!