We’re home!! Start to finish we were gone two weeks to the day. It felt both like a long time, and a short time, all at once.
I’m currently in the “drowning but trying to catch up on life” phase right now (as I so nicely put it to someone yesterday who was asking me for something). lol.
Will try to keep this brief-ish (HA), but I can’t possibly omit the home stretch of our trip. I’m SO PROUD of myself for keeping my travel log up as well as I did, mostly in real time! 🙂
Friday, August 19
* We stayed overnight Thursday in Mexico City, after the birthday party. Friday was mostly a chill day there at Ivan’s cousin’s house.
* Spent a large portion of the day sitting at their breakfast bar, sipping tea and eating snacks, talking with Ivan and his cousin. The boys had a LOT of fun playing with their similarly aged son.
* Hit the road to head back to Toluca around 3 pm. There was an accident which caused a big traffic jam, so it took double the time. Not that big of a deal to me, because I fell asleep in the car. 😆
* Back in Toluca, Ivan had about 5 minutes to change clothes and then he left for the night to go to a different cousin’s house (a younger, single, guy cousin- more of the “friend” variety). Every time we go to Mexico Ivan always carves out one night to go see this cousin. I felt exhausted by this time, despite having slept in the car, and I was greatly looking forward to a “free night” to myself. (I mean, my in-laws would be there, but we had no plans, and I was excited to mostly just veg out by myself for a while. The boys were looking forward to a FIFA fest on the Playstation.) Ivan seemed to have unlimited energy during the trip, and when I asked him once if he was tired, he said, “I’ll feel tired once I’m back at work. hahaha.”
* It was a good night. I caught up on a blog post, but did end up sitting in the kitchen and talking to my in-laws for a long time. I felt a little funny just holing up in my room like some kind of recluse… you know. (Even though that’s what I felt like doing.) I do love talking with them! But I was getting a little weary from SO much chit-chatting. The end portion of our trip was heavy on just sitting and “socializing”, and while it’s great, the reality is, it can get boring to me after a while.
Saturday, August 20
* Slept in, had a pretty slow morning. No big plans for Saturday, either. We had chilaquiles and eggs at home- made by my in-laws, which were delicious.
* Highlight of the day was going to the movies! We took his mom and dad (and brother) to see Top Gun at the mall. (We’d already seen it, but we all loved it and were willing to see it again.) Spent a little time walking around the very nice (and busy/ thriving!) mall. It made me a little sad, because it reminded me of our mall… 15 years ago. Buzzing with people, tons of nice stores, a place people went to socialize on the weekends…. 😦
* Oh, on the way home I snapped a pic of one of the tires in a pothole that I mentioned. (I saw this many times, in a variety of potholes. lol.)
Sunday, August 21
* On Sunday we had plans to go back to Mexico City, yet again- this time to get together with Ivan’s Dad’s side of the family, who we hadn’t really seen yet. We left to drive there a little after noon.
* Ivan’s dad is one of…. gosh, I don’t even know. I think there are at least like 14? A few are deceased now, and a few live far away, but at least 5 of the brothers and 3 of the sisters were there. Plus Ivan’s 90-something grandma.
* We were there from ~2 pm- 10 pm or so. Read: a LOT of sitting around and talking!! ha. It was all good. Got a bit long for me by the end, and I had a few passing thoughts occasionally of sneaking off to the car to “get something” and just sitting and reading my book for a little while… hehe. But, in my opinion, I was an excellent sport the entire time (and on the entire trip, actually. *pats self on back*.)
* The food was excellent, so that’s always a plus. I ate SIX tostadas. omg. I couldn’t stop. The salsa de arbol (extremely spicy, homemade by one of Ivan’s uncles) was soooooooooo good.
* Finally, the little fiesta wrapped up, and we went back over to Ivan’s cousin’s house (his godparent’s house, very nearby, where we stayed the other night). Toluca was too far to drive back at that time, especially since Ivan had had a few cervezas.
* There, we ended up sitting and talking some more with his cousin’s family (again)… the kids and my mother-in-law played cards until after 1 am!! I didn’t even fight it at this point- the trip was almost over. I figured, we’d have over a week til school starts. I could “fix them” later. lol. (The boys are definitely needing a bedtime + diet reset after the trip now.)
Monday, August 22
* Our last full day! I find that whenever I travel, no matter how long or short the trip is, I start to have a little mental “shift” on that last day or two. It’s like my brain starts transitioning to home mode…. I start thinking about things I have to do at home again, after ignoring them for days. And I often start to suddenly feel ready to get back to normal life and regular routines.
* We were still in Mexico City for the first half of the day.
*Then we stopped for tlacoyos at a local shop that is well known and ate outside.
* From there, we had a couple more stops…. to see one of Ivan’s aunts on his mom’s side (whose husband died from covid in early 2021…. 😦 ). And, we stopped to see another cousin, briefly. (People tend to live in the same neighborhood as lots of extended family here! At least makes it easy.)
* We were back in Toluca by late afternoon. The rest of the evening was spent starting to pack up, had some dinner, etc. Pretty low key. The boys made a few final trips to “their store”. (This lady’s revenues probably plummeted once we left, haha.)
* You can see the Nevado of Toluca (an active volcano) from their house:
Tuesday, August 23
TRAVEL DAY! We made it to our last day, in one piece, and really with a crazily small number of hiccups. I feel really, really good about how this trip went. Every minute was not perfect, of course, but on the whole, it went really smoothly. Key elements I think involved just generally maintaining a pretty easygoing, relaxed attitude and going with the flow.
We left by ~10 am to head to the airport.
Of all the days, this was probably by far my least favorite. The traffic to the Mexico City airport is always a mess, the airport is a ZOO and it just feels crowded and hectic and annoying. I was exhausted after being there for 5 minutes.
On top of it, the security people took away this wooden painting of Cristiano Ronaldo that Asher bought (with his own money, for ~$17 USD) in Tepotzlan, because apparently it could be considered a weapon?? (It was literally just a solid wooden plank, painted.) We hadn’t put it in our checked bag in fear of them damaging it, so we wrapped it in newspaper and figured he could just carry it on. NOPE.
I was so angry about this… I mean, I get it. Rules are rules, fine. But it still just really made me mad, because by this point our checked bags were long gone. I argued (probably a little too forcefully 😬) with the Mexican TSA agent until I realized I might be pushing my luck and finally handed it over. No need to end up in Mexican jail over a painting…. but UGH. Poor Asher. He was pretty disappointed. (I tried pointing out that the lady next to me in line had a bigger, heavier LAPTOP that could do more damage than this painting, but I got nowhere.)
Some goodbye pics from the airport:
The rest of our travels went smoothly, generally speaking. We had a layover in Dallas, where we waited in the longest immigration line OF MY LIFE! Not even exaggerating, I think there were over 2,000 people waiting in the line. It wrapped down this insanely long hallway, and then just keep going and going…. it was unreal. I stayed entertained during the wait by watching people’s reactions to the line as they walked past me to get to the end. hahaha. (Due to the fancy “facial recognition” technology they have, the line actually moved exceptionally quick, all things considered.)
Had dinner at a TGIFriday’s across from our gate. After two weeks of Mexican food, this American was ready for a BURGER. haha. (Ethan agreed and got one, too.)
Finally made it home a little before midnight.
The end! What a trip. Clearly, the main focus of this one was visiting family and friends, but we did so many other cool things, too. I’m really happy with the balance we struck. It felt both adventurous and exciting, while still allowing for a lot of connection time.
TWO QUESTIONS for you! If you’ve ever been to Mexico, tell me what part(s) you’ve visited! And, do you like Mexican food? If so, what’s your favorite thing?