travel

Wrap up: Friday- Tuesday! Home from Mexico

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.”

Before bed. 🙂 Ethan sat on their bed with them at watched a little bit of the TV news.

* 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.

🙂
mug quote: “disfruta de las pequenas cosas” = “enjoy the small things”

* 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.)

uh, I think there’s a little something in the road there…. I guess it’s better than falling into a giant hole.

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.

Hanging out outside waiting for others to arrive. Ivan talking with one of his younger tios (in the white shirt). Ivan’s dad is the oldest! And with so many siblings, Ivan has several uncles that are more like brothers to him in age, who he has been particularly close to over the years.
I just like this picture a lot of Ethan. ❤️

* 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*.)

With my mother-in-law!

* 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.

This is a great one of Ivan, his little brother, his Dad and several uncles!

* 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.)

Hey, this is the stuff memories are made of. 🙂

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.

Outside his cousin’s house. Can’t really imagine living on one of these tiny streets! It is VERY different…

*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.)

outside his favorite “corner store”

* You can see the Nevado of Toluca (an active volcano) from their house:

You can actually visit the top, though we’ve never done this yet. Next time!

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.

First, goodbye to all the doggies!
Parker didn’t want us to go….

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.)

Finally free from the LINES! We also then had the pleasure of needing to go through yet another enormous security line before our next flight… SO GLAD we had a really long layover!! I can’t tell you how many people in the lines were sweating and saying, “We’re going to miss our flight. We’re going to miss our flight.”

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.

somewhere over Dallas

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?

9 thoughts on “Wrap up: Friday- Tuesday! Home from Mexico”

  1. Gold star to you for how you handled this trip! That is a lot of socializing and late nights! I am not great at ‘choosing the bigger life’ when it comes to staying up late. When we were at my parents, I made us stop playing cards at 9pm so I could go to bed. My dad teased me about it and my mom said, ‘ok, Paul, we can re-start the game at 6am tomorrow when we are up.’ hee hee. Now that my dad is retired, he loves to sleep in, and I let Phil sleep in on lake trips since my mom is up to help. I just can’t handle late nights. I think I must have different sleep needs than others and maybe my RA has something to do with it, too. Who knows. But it is great that you went out of your comfort zone and stayed up later/socialized more than you’d want to. Phil has a hard time being around my big family for long stretches of time so I will tell him to feel free to take a break and sit in a quiet room. One of my brother’s wives was the same way – she got so overwhelmed so would find a place to hide out in the early days of their relationship. Now she is used to the craziness so never escapes, so maybe Phil will get used to it, too.

    I have only been to the resort area of Mexico and that might be the only area we ever see which is too bad the areas you visited look so great! We are going back to the same resort in the Riviera Maya region in December. We just booked it this past weekend and I’m excited but also a little nervous about leaving the boys. But I am sure I will adapt.

    And I LOVE Mexican food. It is hands down my favorite cuisine. It’s also an easy cuisine for someone who is gluten intolerant since much of it is naturally GF. Our favorite taco place makes their own corn tortillas so that is our favorite place to go but it’s not close by so we haven’t been in years. But I think my fave food is probably just a really good taco with salsa, onions, cilantro and lime. But I’ll eat anything that doesn’t have gluten. There is an upscale restaurant by us that makes food from the Oaxacan region of Mexico and it’s my favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities. Phil has gone and he liked it but he prefers cheap Mexican food, like the taco place we go to. I do not have the tolerance/love of spice like you do, though! I am more like a medium hot salsa kind of girl.

    BTW, my Spanish is coming along a bit. When Will’s teacher was washing his hands, I was able to mention in Spanish that he loves to wash his hands (odd thing to love, but I think it’s like playing in water for him and he likes climbing the stool to reach the sink). She responded back to me and the only word I caught was “tambien” so I just smiled and nodded. Anyways, I thought this phrase (disfruta de las pequenas cosas) would be end in cosas pequenas! But I would have been able to figure out/guess what it said since I knew all the words except cosas! So that is kind of cool. I’ve been using duolingo for about 70 days now.

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    1. I’m so excited that you booked your couples trip!! I heard your question on BOBW…I suspected it was you!! Then I saw you post on LVK’s blog and that confirmed it. 😉

      That’s great that you’re improving your Spanish! Any little bit helps. It is so hard to fully learn a language unless you really get immersed in it. I’m a little sad now that the boys won’t have the same opportunity to keep practicing. It’s amazing how much they improved in the short time we were there. Obviously they can speak to Ivan, but it’s not the same… they tend to always just speak English to him! Grr.. But like in Mexico, especially when they were at Ivan’s cousin’s house and playing with their son, who doesn’t speak English, they had no choice but to speak in Spanish. And same with Ivan’s parents, brother, etc.

      *And you are right about the phrase above, that if you were literally describing something, like ” a small house”/ “una casa pequena” that you would be the adjective AFTER the noun. But in the phrase, it’s sort of an exception case, because it’s like… hmm.. how to explain…. it’s like a different meaning of “pequena”. It means small, but not in a literal sense, if that makes sense?

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      1. Now I get email notifications when you respond to a comment! Very cool!!

        Your explanation of the adjective placement does make sense. Even though Phil was fluent and has a good grasp of the Spanish language, he is not great at answering my questions about different grammar rules. So this is helpful insight! I am enjoying learning some Spanish and maybe someday I’ll get an immersion opportunity, like when we are retired!

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  2. I would have DIED with that much togetherness for son long. Kudos for you for not “going to the car” and just curling up in the backseat! These will be great memories for everyone in your family!

    I have to echo Lisa. We eat a lot of Mexican food because if you use corn tortillas, it’s generally gluten-free. We make bean enchiladas quite frequently, but I’m pretty much onboard with any food made with delicious spices, beans, and tortillas.

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  3. sorry about the painting… sometimes the rules are stupid but I agree with you that there’s no point to argue for such thing.
    I’ve only visited cancun in 2014 for a friend’s wedding and really liked it. I haven’t tried authentic mexican food much but anything that has guacamole, chips, rice, beans would be good with local seasoning.

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  4. So frustrating about the painting.
    I agree – you seemed to really go with the flow. I’d have been a wreck with that much stimulation. I’m an introvert at heart and can’t sustain that level of engagement with big groups for very long.
    I’m sure you’re both relieved and sad the trip is over. Hope the reintegration at home goes smoothly for everyone! Great memories on an awesome trip.

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    1. I know, I really am rather introverted too!! So it can be tough. It’s hard sometimes for my husband to really get it, since he just isn’t that way. He was understanding though and never pushed me to “be around” constantly, but it felt like the right thing to do, in this case. We only go to Mexico as a whole family usually every other year, so we don’t see these people a lot. I felt like it was the right thing to push myself a little bit and go outside of my comfort zone, in the name of living life and spending time with family! I think the fact that my husband DIDN’T push me to constantly be social actually made me WANT to be more social, for him, out of appreciation that he wasn’t forcing it on me? If that makes sense? haha!

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