I wandered downstairs one recent Saturday morning. The house smelled deliciously of coffee, which was normal for a weekend. My husband (almost) always brews coffee for both of us. He feels it’s in his best interest, but I’m not usually a cranky-ass mess before coffee anymore. I’m more of a zombie.
The day before, he’d told me, “There were some tiny cockroaches in the coffeemaker.” My face want from normal to full on eww in 0.001 seconds.
“There are cockroaches in the coffeepot???” I said incredulously. I’ve been drinking coffee! Everyday. Like always! Had I been unknowingly consuming cockroach poop or corpses?
“No, no, no!” he exclaimed. “They hang out underneath, where the motor is. No cockroaches are touching the coffee.”
His assurance did me some good and HELL YES, I drank the coffee anyway. People eat cockroaches in some parts of the world, after all.
And this particular Saturday, I got downstairs and noticed the coffeepot was empty. Bummer. Yes, bummer because that’s how eloquent I can be without my brew. I immediately start brewing enough for me. In the case where the coffeepot is empty, the husband has usually finished the first pot.
“Do you want more coffee?” I ask my husband, before flipping the on switch.
“No, thanks,” he replied. “There was a cockroach in my coffee this morning.”
*Gag.* “What? How?! You said they weren’t in the coffee pot!”
“Relax, it was in the cup before I poured the coffee. I didn’t notice it and then I had to dump the whole cup.”
Did we burn the coffeemaker? Why yes, yes we did*. Nobody messes with coffee around here.
*We did not, in fact, burn our coffeemaker. This line was added for dramatic effect.
Texts to my husband
“There were some cockroaches in the kitchen. They have all met their maker.”
“There were cockroaches in the kitchen again. There are no survivors.”
“I’ve left their bodies as a warning to the other cockroaches. It has had no effect.”*
Cockroaches live in the pipes here and come out of the drains. I’ve heard legends that they disappear in the winter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that both cockroaches and mosquitoes will be disappearing. We do also worry about dengue fever here.
*I do clean up cockroach bodies, because it would be absolutely disgusting if I didn’t. I also disinfect the kitchen often.
Delightful Anecdote #2 (it doesn’t involve cockroaches)
We were driving on the tollway, following friends to a remote restaurant. We’d only been here for 3 weeks, but it was still exciting to get out of town for an afternoon. At the tollbooth, we stopped and paid the attendant 10 pesos.
“Doce,” she said (doe-say).
“Si. Doce,” we responded.
“Doce,” she said again. She gave us our receipt and the gate opened.
Five minutes later, something was tingling in my brain. I’ve been able to count to ten in Spanish since I was five years old. Thirty plus years later and I just learned to count from eleven to twenty. Doce is not ten.
“She said doce, not diez. Doce is twelve,” I told him.
We laughed at ourselves, until tears were streaming down our faces. What else do you do? It is humbling to be in a country where you barely speak the language. You feel really dumb a lot.
Delightful anecdote #3
Our first weekend in Mexico led to us looking for a specific taco restaurant that some expats had recommended. It was evening, but not dark yet, since we were still heading into the summer solstice. We packed ourselves into the car and started driving with no address, but directions remembered by our brains.
We got to the main street and started looking for the restaurant. And kept looking. We kept driving. I started feeling nervous. My entire body tensed up. This city looks different than home and it’s busier. Plus, dusk was falling.
“Are you nervous? Stop being nervous,” my husband said.
“How do you know I’m nervous?” I asked, while holding my hands in my lap.
“You’re doing your tell, that thing you do with your hands,” he said. I released my hands. “Relax, we are fine.”
“You don’t know that. Is this a good area of town? You don’t know. I think we missed it. You should probably turn around.”
In a place where you can make a U-turn literally anywhere, we came across 3 no U-turn signs in a row.
“C’mon Nat, this is fun,” my husband said. “It’s an adventure. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” I muttered, though my hands were back to doing my nervous tell.
After turning around, we managed to find the restaurant easily and even ran into someone my husband knew! Now that we know the city better, I know we were in an area that was fine. Freshly arrived, we had limited time to explore. We know the city a lot better now and I can confidently go forth alone and buy tacos.
Delightful anecdote #4
My niece called my husband “Uncle Stand,” after we were married. My younger two nephews followed suit. I’d forgotten about it, since they call him Stan now.
The flights were uneventful the day we moved to Mexico. No one was sick and everything went quite smoothly. We were last off the plane when we landed in Mexico, mostly by design. Since we had two kids, two car seats, and four carry on bags, and three checked bags, we let everyone else go before us. Our arrival day was a holiday in Mexico, so while our plane was full with business travelers (and maybe some retirees), there was only one customs agent working. Getting through customs took forever that day.
After you are through and collect your baggage, there is a button to press. If you get a green light, you head to the right, where the agents open your baggage and glance through it. If you get the red light, you head left, get your baggage scanned by the scanner AND opened by the security agents. I watched everyone go through with their green light.
“We are going to get the red light,” I whispered to my husband. Inwardly, I groaned. We were arriving with 7 bags total, two cars eats, plus two hungry children. Yes, I ran out of snacks.
We collected our bags and hobbled over to press the button. It turned red. We loaded our bags and car seats onto the scanner. The agents opened some of the bags (and we all discovered a bottle of lotion exploded in one of them), then let us get all loaded up again, and sent us on our way.
“Our driver is out there,” my husband remarked as he was loading up bags on his shoulders. The doors slid open to the waiting area and there he was, waiting patiently. In his hand, a sign that said:
This misunderstanding was a lovely reminder of our family back home. It was also perfect and beautiful welcome to Mexico.
There you have it!
These are a few stories from our first few months in Mexico. The last 3 all happened in the first few weeks. We are having a lot of fun exploring our new city and our new country. The mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other bugs are driving me crazy, however the blue skies and amazing weather is keeping me bright and happy.
I’m also happy to report that we have eliminated all the cockroaches!
Do you have any funny stories from traveling or living abroad?