Monday, June 10, 2013

And to sum it up...

The Zocalo in Mexico City.
We're in a hotel room about the size of a large closet in Mexico City (though it is cozy, and we do have a washroom). Brian is working his magic on Otis, who has had his roughest day yet. It's probably the two bottom teeth that are working their way in. And the shortage of naps taken. Or given. Naps are a mutual project - we make sure to lay the groundwork, and he takes advantage. We've passed so many families with children just sprawled on laps/benches/over shoulders. Man, they make it look so easy. Otis needs to either be in his bed, or be covered with the muslin cloth in order to nod off, otherwise he just gets swept up in watching the world as it passes. So far there hasn't been a 'so knackered that he just fell asleep like that' moment. I think it was Becca who noted that he probably comes by this FOMO honestly. (Fear of Missing Out). Yep, I'm a sufferer.

Anyways, we leave for home (or Vancouver at least) tomorrow morning early early early. It feels great to be going home - it's one of the highlights of going away for more than 2 weeks, I think. We get to miss 'the usual'. And once we get home, and get our fill of the usual, we'll have the gift of missing 'away'. There's no doubt about it, we are blessed many times over.

So on our bus ride into Mexico City from Cuernavaca, we came up with our top ten. And since I can never pick favourites, these are in no particular order. Except for number 1 :)

10. Food! The trio of moles that we tried; the fresh churros; the gorgeous, fragrant, fresh tropical fruit!; enchiladas verdes; guac-guac-guac-amole!; margaritas and mezcalinis; chocolate con leche; and that steak.

9. Becca coming to travel with us.

8. La familia. It was so wonderful spending time with the Verjovksy's, not only are they family, but they're our kind of people. We'll miss them and hope to see them again soon!

7. Ocean, beach, and sunshine! (and shade too - turns out that's important with the fair fellas in my life).

6. Oaxaca. I love that city. Already planning how to make it back.

5. Walk-by beauty. By this I mean stumbling upon marvelous places, and marvelous experiences. The courtyard outside of the renovated convent in Oaxaca, which was right beside the Calder circus art expo. We had fun. The matria garden. The open mic night that Becca and I stumbled on. The street art that's justaroundthecorner.

4. New red shoes! Heeee. I saw a shoe store in Mexico City from our cab, and Brian walked us past (I know! What a gem!). They're so fun, my new familymoon shoes.

3. How much everyone loves Otis. He now just stares and smiles at people until they smile back and give him his due.

2. Speaking Spanish. We both speak enough to be understood, and understand enough to nod as though we get it. And then we walk away and say 'did you just get that?'. But really, I have loved being surrounded by this language, and I just want to keep practicing and learning.

1. Familymoon! We did it! We traveled together, we adventured together and we truly enjoyed ourselves. Looking back, I find that I experienced plenty as an individual - through my own Leanna self (I don't think I expected that). And I found this new perspective, that of witnessing and enjoying how Otis and the world get along. And finally, Brian and I definitely rose to the occasion of parenting together 24/7 while abroad. We're a kickass team!

It has all been absolutely perfect. By perfect, I mean in its entirety. Nothing would have any meaning if everything was 'great' all the time. Real life has stomach aches, and surprises, and nastiness too. I've certainly felt challenged in the last month, my sense of safety went through a revolution, and my stamina took a hit by those free-loading amoebas. And you've also just read about how much I've loved this time away. I've gotten to witness Brian be a loving, hilarious, inventive and adventurous father (and husband, while he's at it), and I've watched Otis light up the world as it lights him. I told people before we left that I imagined that we'd just be doing life elsewhere, and I think I was right. It's been just beautiful.

So until next time, good people. Que les vayan bien.

Friday, June 07, 2013


Ahhh, back in Cuernavaca, long bus rides are history, and a long flight is imminent. It has been so nice to come back here to stay with the family before heading back home. An excellent transition station, we arrived with a sigh of relief and a cool garden yesterday afternoon after an uneventful bus ride from Puebla. I had been battling some ferocious stomach aches that were just coming and going without rhyme or reason, so an uneventful bus ride was precisely what we were hoping for.

Brian had sent word to aunt Janet that I hadn't been feeling well and I arrived to a doctor's appointment already scheduled - and the doc spoke English! How thoughtful - I probably wouldn't have booked myself in, hoping instead that the symptoms would just disappear once we got home. That was wishful thinking, since it turns out I've picked up some passengers! I don't know - is it gross to include this in the blog? Brian says that it's part and parcel of traveling to interesting places. So, folks, I've got amoebas. Well, I did have amoebas. Or I am in process of not having amoebas (how does one conjugate amoebas in transition?).

The view of Oaxaca from waaaay up a bunch of stairs
Anyways, amoebas aside, we had a lovely time wrapping up our Oaxacan experience. One fantastic piece of news was shared with us over skype on our last day there: Martin proposed to Becca when she got home, and she said yes! We feel like it must have been a good thing that we had Becca to ourselves for the week, cause Martin clearly had some planning to do :) We are just so happy for them.

The bus to Puebla was also uneventful, the scenery was worth the mode of travel (it also helps that the fancy buses here have legroom that even allows comfort for Brian's long legs). I think Puebla deserves another visit at some point, because we were only there two days and it's a big city. Kind of like going to Vancouver and hanging out in gastown/waterfront the whole time. So I didn't love it as much as Oaxaca, but I'll reserve judgment for another time.
One of the many remarkable churches in Puebla
Okay, I've just been told that we may be able to make margaritas from limes plucked from the tree outside. Apparently the fruit hanging on our side of the wall is fair game. Hah! Buenas tardes, folks!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Last days in Oaxaca

We have only 2 more days left here in Oaxaca, and Becca has already made her way back home. We have been so lucky to have such a great traveling partner! Becca and I even had a night out while B & the little one stayed in :)

We have had a STELLAR week here. Oaxaca city is so full of art, vibrancy, great food and really warm people - pretty much my ideal in a city. Do you ever feel a city as sympatico? Like, when you meet a new person and you just know that you could be friends? I've felt that way about a few cities here and there - definitely parts of Barcelona and Granada in Spain, Hornby Island, and equally so here. Something about the blend of culture, language and the intangible spirit of these places. From day one, I've been telling people we'll be back when they ask if we like it here.
View from a rooftop terrace
We have a few places where we're regulars. A coffee shop down the way, it's just a small room-sized place, opened only 2 months ago. We take cortados and sip in the handmade blue-brown pottery espresso cups with our freshly squeezed orange juice (bought from the guy on the corner). The next stop is a churreria 7 mins walk that-a-way for fresh churros and chocolate con leche. MMMMmmm. Fueled on caffeine, sugar and dough we just wander where we like and stop when we want. This way we've chanced on some beautiful scenes and experiences. Becca and I were walking down the street aimlessly and popped our head into a space that looked under construction, it was full of garden! We asked if we could enter and they said "claro". Turns out it's an art installation called Matria - jardin arterapeutico each room in the derelict roofless building offers a whimsical, earth bound garden scape. One quite literal 'garden bed' - a metal bedframe mounted on the wall with squash growing through it.
Matria - the garden you see from the entrance
Moments like these are the ones I hope for and can never really plan for. It was signless and isn't on the tourist map. This is why wandering is so beautiful.

And Otis? He's still a star. He just smiles his way through sidewalks and markets. He's getting bored at restaurants more and more quickly now, so we have to take turns eating and walking him around. We buy some time feeding him from our plates though - Otis LOVES black beans. We'll have to learn to make them like this at home.

On Tuesday we're taking the bus to Puebla for a two night stop. We figured it would be a good way to break up the trip back to Cuernavaca while checking out a new place. Seems we've still got some steam!