Hello. It's been longer than I had hoped. I've sat down at the laptop and blanked so many times, gone through the thought processes, decided against writing. There are many things to share. Most of all, over the last few months, it has been small things that have stood out to me, been noticed, and healed.
Like the egg man at the local market, who now knows me and asks if I want the usual.
The children have formed an extreme connection to the Angel of Independence - going mental with excitement every time they see the "Angel Bus" (the red Mexico City Turibus), dressing as an angel for halloween, proclaiming that next halloween's costume will also be The Angel.
Enjoying really good cookbooks that I have had on my shelf for a long time but have never read or cooked from. My cooking mojo is a bit lost here and I need to up my game.
Watching the little guys enjoy the onset of Christmas. Everyone's Christmas game here is strong. Serious trees, lights, public displays of nativity and Santa alike.
But I should probably also mention the big things.
The earthquakes happened, and our suburb is still recovering. We have been through many feelings, witnessed lots of devastation, been part of a force of dedication and resolve to keep on going. It has affected us and our experience here in Mexico in many ways.
We moved into our for real apartment (on the day of the earthquake). Starting a home from scratch is challenging on it's own; starting one - shopping for contents, deciding on colours - all seems extremely indulgent when a block away there's rubble in the place of homes. The feeling of settled-ness and routine that we assumed we would comfortably relax into - that didn't happen, but in place of it is a strange reawakening, a gratitude, and a sense of perspective. Some days this is frustrating, and not so easy to accept.
We were extremely lucky to be able to travel, right at the time when our mental capacity was most stretched. We were tired. We celebrated family milestones in Tijuana, where we got off the plane to welcome familiarity, and then San Fransisco and New York - different worlds, a welcome change of air, wide open spaces to break from the heaviness.
When we returned, it felt a little different. The sirens at night were quieter. Some of the restaurants were open. People were walking dogs in the park. And in the obligatory run of day to day life - walking to daycare, buying veggies, working out how to use washing machines, trying to find the best tacos in a 3 block radius - things started to feel a bit normal again.
We have discovered the fun of hosting guests and showing them the town. I knew I would be lonely here for at least a little while, but the drain of that loneliness isn't really made clear until you're shown the opposite. Come stay! One of our main factors of choosing a home here was to be able to share it with anyone who wanted to stay; and we look forward to showing people our city.
And the people. We have been welcomed into people's homes, given homemade meals, been invited on weekends, been made part of communities here. That has been the best part. Tomorrow, I am starting my Spanish classes and I am really banking on that improving my social interactions, which at this stage are still somewhat awkward and practical. "Do you have a highchair" and "Please leave it longer, I like my tea strong" only take you so far.
It would also be a mistake not to mention the food. Good Lord, the food. The food that I feel has played as strong a part as any in guiding us through our first months here. All my strongest memories are food related: the chicken milanesa with potato puree and tomato salad that the upstairs neighbour sent us the day after the earthquake, on learning we had no stove and no groceries. The chile en nogada that I ate after visiting Frida Kahlo's charming blue house. Finding our local taco place and ordering tres de pastor con todo, por favor.
So much more to see, to do, to eat. My time here so far in Mexico is certainly only a slow beginning.