Note: Most of this was written about two and a half weeks ago, but I’m just now getting around to actually publishing it
They say it’s a timewarp
It’s been just over three weeks since we embarked on this venture called RemoteYear and I can confidently say that those six months flew by in what felt like one weekend. The friendships built here already feel stronger than most others that I’ve built over several years, and reflecting upon various activites induces simultaneous sensations of “that seems so long ago” and “how can our month here be nearly over?!”
From that though, I’ve come to learn and appreciate a few things:
- There’s no faster way to get to know someone (or 80 someones) than to do something intense, uncomfortable, and a bit crazy together.
- Time is spent, not invested. No matter what you do, each moment that passes demands to be paid, so far better to spend them intentionally now than to sit “planning” (read: anxiously obsessing) about how to spend later moments.
- When drinking from a firehose, some water will fall to the ground. When 80 people (not to mention the RY organization itself) are all creating events, spontaneously playing/exploring/dancing/etc, and generally out-activitying your previous five years by several orders of magnitude, there are a lot (read: 90%+) of events you simply cannot attend. So pick them intentionally, accept that you’re gonna miss some great ones, and remember it’s better to attend one good one than miss them all because you were trying to find the best one.
What’s happened so far
Everything. And really not much.
First off, Mexico City, also known as CDMX, is absolutely gorgeous. In many ways it feels like home (Denver, CO), as we’re at over 7,000ft elevation, have mountains on the horizon, and impressively clean streets. On the other hand, my Spanish is still very limited (though improving), so walking along the street feels remarkably isolated, and I’m quickly gaining the Canadian habit of apologizing to every person I meet (even before doing anything) simply because I know communication is gonna be difficult.
I came here with a wide-ranging list of recommendations and must-do’s during my stay for a month. I have checked off none of them. And I’m very ok with that. In part because Mexico is so close to the US (and thus easier to visit again later), and in part because this year for me is more about exploring people than exploring cities, I decided pretty early on in the month that I’d prefer to spend my time investing in this cohort of compatriots rather than seeing specific places or things.
Which is not to say we haven’t seen and explored a ton, but it’s come in the form of wandering the streets, eating (so many) street tacos, stopping at random bars and restaraunts, and having “family dinner” nights with the other remotes in my building.
Oh, and I also went to Cuba for a weekend, but that’s for a later post.
What we’ve done
So if I’m not checking off items, what have we been doing for the last three weeks?
- Doing birthdays right. So far we’ve passed around the decapitated head of a Mickey Mouse pinata like a party mask, had a flaming drink that was so tall we set off the bar’s fire alarm, danced to a mariachi band, and had cake and donuts on top of a volcano.
- Eating an unholy amount of tacos. Seriously, they’re so good here. And so cheap. $2 for a full meal? Yes please.
- Learning Spanish, both deliberately through lessons and on the fly through lots of hand gestures and pointing.
- Communing. Nevermind whatever unfortunate connotation that word brings to mind. In it’s truest sense, we’re actively forging community through late night conversations (and later night dancing), an incredible eagerness to assist anyone in need (from lacking a phone charger to medical care), and diving into a foreign (both literally and experientially) world as a group in ways far beyond what I could have imagined.
- Taking so many photos. Not me personally, of course, but I’m going to have to quickly get used to always being on camera. On the plus side, we have a ton of phenomenal photographers here, so they usually manage to find a way to make the whole scene look good, no matter what I’m doing.
- Hiking. Both in the literal sense (photos from the Volcano coming soon) and in just trekking everywhere around this city. I’ve always thought that one of the best ways to get to know a city is to simply walk it, preferably until you’re lost, and then keep going until you’re “unlost” (sans map if possible).
What I’ve not done
That’s all for now
More thoughts to come later, along with stories from Havana. Hasta luego.