Life as an Expat in Mexico: June 2019

Nobody panic, but we are about to be halfway through 2019. We enter an entirely new decade in only 6 months time. YIPES.

I have to be totally honest. I’ve been counting down the days in June because I am SO excited to start my summer travels. However, a few really exciting things DID happen to make June a very exciting month.

What I Got Up To in June

This month I released my blogging course which I’ve been working on since the start of 2019. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for the past year or so and to finally get it out into the world was a really exciting moment. I was humbled by the response and am so excited to work with all of the new students to help them turn their blog into a full-time business.

You can read more about my blogging course here. 

I also went on a few fun tours with Journeys Beyond the Surface and explore totally new places that I’ve never been to before in the city. The weather has held out and we haven’t really had much rain over the course of the month, so I’ve been trying to get out as much as possible and just enjoy the city in all its sunny glory.

Best Mexico City Eats of the Month

  • Pujol: This has been on our Mexico City bucket list for so long. It’s a culinary experience that many talk about when visiting Mexico City and I’m so glad we finally got to check it out. We made a reservation two months in advance and on Saturday, June 15th, we sat down and dipped hoja santa tortillas into a seven-year-old mole. 
the mole madre at Pujol in mexico city
The decadent mole madre around the outside with the young mole on the inside. It was served with tortillas made with hoja santa, a native herb, and it was amazing.
  • La Polar: This cantina-style restaurant is SO much fun. I’ve had it on my list of restaurants to try (which is a very, very long list). It’s basically a 10-page menu with 9 pages of drinks and one page of food. It’s all about the birria here, a type of stewed meat that’s served in an outrageously delicious broth. They give you a huge stack of hot tortillas, onions, cilantro, chili, and avocado to make tacos with. The second best part after the food is that there is music everywhere. There are NorteƱa and Mariachi bands taking turns playing music and even taking requests. You could easily spend a few hours here getting soup and beer refills.
the bowls of birria at La Polar in MEexico ciyt
The birria from La Polar in Mexico City
  • Cafe el Popular: This is something of an institution in the Centro Historico. It’s open 24-hours a day and in my opinion, is best for breakfast or lunch. The menu del dia is a reasonable 99 Pesos and includes coffee or tea, and four courses plus a basket full of bread. The Chilaquiles are also fantastic.
  • El Habanerito: I have a weakness for cochinita pibil, a slow-cooked meat dish that comes from the Yucatan region of Mexico. I’ve raved in the past about El Turix in Polanco and I’m always on the hunt for another delicious cochinita pibil taco. Well, I’ve found it at El Habanerito. This is a nicer place to have a sit-down lunch than El Turix, but not really any more expensive. The meat is so tender and the sauce is super flavorful. What makes Habanerito stand out is its dedication to sauces. There are six to choose from on your table, all varying levels of spice, all with a bit of habanero chili in them. Add to that the pickled red onions and you have perhaps the most delicious cochinita pibil tacos outside of Merida.
the food we had at la habanerito in mexico city
The panuchos and tacos at el Habanerito in Mexico City!

Best Blog Posts This Month

My favorite blog posts this month have focused around Mexico City!

  • 9 Amazing Day Trips from Mexico City: If you are returning to Mexico City for a second or third time, if you live here and want some ideas, or you simply want to see more of this region, this post should help!
  • Soccer Games in Mexico City: What You Need to Know: It’s taken me a while to go to a soccer game in Mexico, but I actually really loved it! It’s such a fun atmosphere and I can’t wait to go to my next one. If you’re interested in checking out some games next season (starting in August), then check out this post!

Best YouTube Videos This Month

I’ve been really focusing on YouTube for the last few months. I’ve really enjoyed making more video content and hopefully it’s another way to offer advice and help people who are interested in moving to or visiting Mexico.

Best Mexico City Activities This Month

This month I went on a couple of tours with Journeys Beyond the Surface and they were both absolutely awesome.

On the first day, I headed into the Centro Historico, a part of the city I thought I knew pretty well. The guide took me to museums I’ve walked past a million times and yet never knew what was inside. I saw Diego Rivera’s first mural he painted in Mexico. I saw brightly colored murals in other older buildings. I learned about the Spanish Inquisition and the role it played here in Mexico City. I visited the first synagogue in Mexico City. I explored a new-to-me market, I ate delicious churros, and I learned SO much about the history of this city.

The next tour I took started in Coyoacan. I went into Leon Trotsky’s house. It’s a museum I always talk about visiting but have never actually been inside. I learned about his relationships with Diego and Frida, with his family, with Russia. It’s where he was assassinated and where he lived like a prisoner until his death.

After that, we explored the historical area of Coyoacan where I learned about its history first as the home to Hernan Cortes, Mexico City’s Spanish conquistador. I learned about the role of the Catholic church from those early days and about how Benito Juarez separated the church and state and what that meant for the church and for the people. 

We finished the day at the UNAM campus, Mexico’s enormous public university and indeed one of the oldest universities in the world. My guide, Alvaro (highly recommend asking for him), was so knowledgable. Beyond just knowing the facts, he told stories. He brought the history of his country, which he is clearly very passionate about, to life for me and I was an eager student.  

If you’re looking to get truly “beyond the surface” of the history and culture here in Mexico City, I can’t recommend taking a tour with Journeys Beyond the Surface enough. 

**I was gifted these tours, but I truly had such an incredible time on both and have never experienced such knowledgable, funny, and interesting guides in all of my time here in Mexico City.

what to do in mexico city

Best Reads of the Month

I’ve been doing my best to read more this month. Whenever I am done with work, instead of opting for another episode of Real Housewives of New York (nobodies perfect, you guys), I am taking out a book from my pile of unread books. These were some of my favorites this month.

  • A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle: This book has been on my list for such a long time because 1) I’m mildly obsessed with Provence even though I’ve never been there, and 2) this is the sort of writing I want to be doing more of. It was as detailed and funny as I thought it would be. I really connect to books that are written about those crazy moments you only experience when you move to a totally new place. Getting used to the strange new language (that you thought you knew beforehand) and learning about the culture mostly because of your own faux pas is really difficult and it’s well portrayed in this short book. I saw that he recently wrote a book reflecting back on 25 years of life in Provence which has now been added to my Kindle.
  • Travels in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile by Sara Wheeler: Another part of the world I’ve never been to, this book caught my eye when I was wandering the stacks of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland. In the book, Sara (one of the founders of Lonely Planet) travels Chile solo using mostly local buses and rentals cars. It’s a little bit fact-heavy, which is somewhat interesting, but I would have preferred to know more about her observations, the people she met, the things she saw. It was still an enjoyable read if you want to know more about Chile’s past and present.
  • 1Q84 Book 2 by Haruki Murakami: I kind of forgot that I’d read book one and when I was scanning my bookshelf, this one stood out (because it’s well over 1,000 pages). I have the complete trilogy in one book but have been taking my time getting through it. It’s such a powerful and interesting novel. I don’t usually read these sort of books, but the writing and the character development is so magical, it’s hard to put down. I just finished book two and will have to wait until summer’s over to get onto book 3 because I am not carrying that 10-pound book around Mexico for two months. 
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: Wow. This book was such a powerful read. It’s the true story of Trevor Noah’s life as the son of a white man and a black woman growing up in post-apartheid South Africa. He is funny, smart, and observant about not only his culture, but the other’s in which he has lived (primarily the US). 

What’s Up For July?

Tomorrow we get on a plane and won’t be back in Mexico City until mid-August!

The main priority of this summer is my Spanish course. I’ll be taking an intensive, two-hour a day, five-day a week course with Baselang. It’s all online, so Luke and I decided to hit the road and immerse ourselves in speaking Spanish as we travel around Mexico.

We fly to Huatulco where we’ll be spending two and a half weeks. I’ve never been before and I’m interested in checking out some coffee plantations, exploring the national park down there, and eating lots of seafood. Hopefully, the wet season weather doesn’t ruin it all!

After Huatulco, we’ll be heading east to the Yucatan. I’ve been twice before to this region of the country, but this time we’re going to try to explore a bit more deeply. We’ll be renting a car and visiting cenotes, Mayan ruins, small towns, and trying to find the best cochinita pibil in all of Mexico. Then we’ll finish with a week in Belize! 

All in all, not a bad summer. I’m looking forward to working less, enjoying time with Luke, learning more Spanish, swimming in the ocean as much as possible, and seeing plenty of new sights!

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