I arrived in Mexico City a little over a week ago. Jess went off for some beach time with friends, so it was just me at first. It felt a little weird stepping into a new apartment in a strange city, not knowing anybody and not really speaking the language. I wasn’t stressing about the move or the change while I was still in DC. Once I was here, though, it really started to hit me how big this change was going to be. I started to get a little anxious at the thought of wandering out into the city alone. But I needed to get some things for the apartment and I was going to have to eat eventually. So I charged my phone, studied the local map, and stepped out into my new neighborhood.
I was still feeling a little nervous as I started to wander the tree-lined streets of La Condesa, but there was really nothing to worry about. Our new home is a trendy little neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants, parks, and young people walking their dogs. Finding a place to eat on my first night was no problem at all, since the sidewalks are full of little bistros. I sat down at the bar in a place that looked cozy and was able to place an order using mostly pointing and gestures. Pretty soon I was full of mezcal and braised rabbit.
The neighborhood feels perfectly safe, but there were a few things to get used to. Traffic signs are more like suggestions than hard rules, so knowing when it’s safe to cross the street is a skill that I’m still working on. And the air takes some getting used to. Mexico City is more than 7,000 feet above sea level (higher than Denver) and the air quality, although improving, can still be pretty smoggy. I found myself working to catch my breath just walking around.
After dinner and a stroll through Parque México I stopped at a bodega to pick up some essentials for the apartment (beer and cereal) and headed back to unpack my suitcase. And so I made it through the first evening without starving, getting hit by a truck, or being detained by customs officials. All in all a roaring success.