Lessons Learned: January Edition

Keeping our monthly lessons learned blog has been very meaningful for us. We love looking back and seeing how much we’ve learned over the short time we have been in Mexico. It is also so fun to share these lessons with you to give you a realistic snapshot into our daily lives. An even better way to get a good understanding of our lives is to come visit! Just saying…

  1. If you don’t choose to wake up at 7am, you will be forced awake by other means. Now don’t get me wrong, our new place is very tranquilo and subdued but holy smokes, do not plan on sleeping in past 7am. I say this because people start driving by our house around 7am advertising via loudspeaker for basic needs such as gas or trash pick-up, and delicious goods such as tamales or fresh squeezed juice. See below for a taste of our mornings here in Cholula. 
  2. Internet installation requires a specific order and loads of patience. As many of you know, we were without home internet for basically the entire month of January because we were waiting on the installation process. Neal will go into more depth about this later, but we had to visit the company’s store four or five times before our internet was indeed installed.
  3. If tempting bread or tortilla chips are put on your table at a restaurant, assume that you pay for what you eat. Let’s just say this was a lesson learned the hard way. If you know anything about Neal’s hollow leg, then you might know why this tid bit of information landed in the lessons learned section.
  4. Green space does exist and

    Oh ya know, just hanging out in some green space!

    provides a breath of fresh air in more than one way. This month, I had the chance to visit a Jardín Etnobotánico in Cholula for a SEMARNAT site visit. I was so overwhelmed at the lush beauty that my face completely filled with pure joy. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and green everything was! I left with a heart happy, lungs filled with fresh air, and my belly filled with herbal tea.

  5. The bus routes are not set in stone. Since we don’t have a car (are aren’t even allowed to drive for the next two years!), we are extremely dependent on the bus system. Lucky for us, lots of other people are dependent on the bus system too which means that routes are plentiful and we rarely wait more than 15 minutes for the bus we need. Unfortunately for us, the bus routes are always changing and where they pick up passengers changes frequently as well.
  6. Mexico City is big, but not nearly as intimidating as we imagined. Perhaps this is the Spanish language confidence thing, but we had the chance to visit Mexico City this month with our friend, Jessica, and had the best time ever. We wandered, got lost, asked for directions, asked for restaurant recommendations, and even made several friends along the way!

    Here we are with some Mexican students that we met in front of the Diego Riveria murals!

  7. Having a plethora of stock in a back room is not Mexico’s strength. We have purchased a mattress, stove, couch, and even bike helmets off the display. Sometimes this means you can barter a discount, but plenty of time it doesn’t. This could also mean that one of your items might be slightly damaged. Before you leave, make sure to check your goods!
  8. Chivalry is not dead – at least it’s not in Mexico. I can’t count the number of times that someone has given up a seat for me on the bus. I have watched young men give seats to older men and of course the abuelitas. It was shocking at first, but then I began to understand the cultural level of respect for elders and women (extra respect if you’re carrying a baby in your arms!).


We are looking forward to some really fun adventures in February. I promise we actually do work hard and have projects and go to work and stuff. Promise! Hopefully see you soon!



Chelsea Beth


PS- If you seriously want to come to Mexico, let us know! We would love to host you or give you travel recommendations.


PPS- If you want to come to Mexico, but can’t carve out the time or money right now… that’s okay too! We’d love to hear an update from you via e-mail or snailmail


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