After leaving my beloved San Miguel de Allende, I spent a quick night in D.F. (it was like I was hardly there), and went to Puebla the next day. The bus ride there was gorgeous but I was a little worried–I’d have one week to spend here before taking at least three weeks of classes. That’s a full month in one city. What if I hated it? Good news, though: although I didn’t fall immediately head over heels with the place like I did with SMA, my first impression was positive. I like it here!
This morning, I say hasta luego to San Miguel de Allende, the pink and yellow oasis that calmed me down considerably after a stressful entry into Mexico. I met some very generous people and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. I made sure to spend yesterday revisiting all my favorite places here: I got a bagel at Juan’s Café, lavender tea at Markoffe, and tacos from Don Taco Tequila.
I spent two consecutive weeks in SMA and that’s longer than I’ve spent in any one place in the last four months. I really hope I make it back here someday. If not during this trip, definitely in the future. Basically, I should start brainstorming ways to work remotely or saving for early retirement. It’s a special place and I’ll miss it.
I’m heading back to Mexico City for one night only and then I’m off to Puebla. School starts in just over a week!
This was my first Christmas away from home and it was a memorable one. I started out with a special morning walking tour organized by Patronado Pro Niños, a non-profit that raises money to provide medical and dental care to local children in need. The tours cost 150 pesos (which go directly toward the charity) and are run by English-speaking volunteers and seem to be well-attended by visiting gringos. The Christmas Day tour was so well-attended, we had to break off into four big groups!
It’s Christmas week in San Miguel de Allende and it is obvious. The decorations are extra festive, the centro is extra full of people, and the churches are extra churchy. I’m kind of sad not to be back in California, though. What stock does a secular Jewish girl have in Christmas? Not much. But like Thanksgiving, I just miss my family and comforts of home. Rather than wallow in self-pity over missing matzoh ball soup (it’s Hanukkah, too! Someone here notified me of that—it was completely off my radar), or my cousin’s Brussels sprouts, I indulged in local goodness and treated myself to a “me” day. I tried to do whatever I’d do at home to fully enjoy myself from morning to night.
If you couldn’t tell from my last post, Mexico City really frazzled me. Some friends and family noticed. Not one but two aunts, my mom’s sister Sue and my dad’s sister Holly, emailed to check on me. So did one of my best friend’s moms. I wrote to my own mom in a panic telling her I wanted to come home. She encouraged me to stick it out at least a little bit longer and try changing cities. Holly had previously recommended a town called San Miguel de Allende as a change of pace. I’d read about it before–it was described as “Mexican Disneyland.” It’s clean, safe, quiet, small, and very gringo-friendly. There are a lot of expats here. Maybe it wasn’t the heart of Mexico, but it sounded like what I needed at the time.
Even though nothing terrible happened in Mexico City, it really undid me. I was miserable. In fact, even though I bought a bus ticket to San Miguel de Allende, I looked up flights home that morning for later in the day. I told myself if there was an issue at the bus terminal or anything remotely bad happened on the way there, I could turn around, go to the airport, and book a last minute flight to San Francisco. After all, I was already packed. Fortunately, the bus terminal was easy to navigate and after an early lunch of barbacoa tacos (and a 7-Up which I ordered by smiling pathetically, pointing, and saying “Siete?”), I was on a surprisingly comfy bus out of the capital city. I finally started to relax.