I keep telling people, I don't really miss my home, and that I feel comfortable here. I think some people in Mexico and in the states don't believe me. But, two and a half months in and it feels like home, like I don’t feel out of place. Probably thanks to my nomadic childhood, that continued into my nomadic adulthood.
When I relocate to a new city, I like to walk everywhere, it’s the fastest way for me to get comfortable with a city and since I do not have a car (or license) public transportation is my good friend. I associate metro/subway stops with what’s there.
While I lived in New York, I rode on the dreadful L that went through everything I ever needed like Broadway Junction was the transfer point I was often stuck at when it was 3 o’clock in the morning, when I finished my dinner shift. I had a friend who lived at Dekalb Ave. and another friend at Lorimer Street. One of my jobs was at Bedford Ave. which if you don’t know is hipster central. The restaurant I worked at was at 1st Ave. which is also by alphabet city where Miss Lily lives which is a restaurant that has combined jerked meat with ramen. I could always find Grammercy kids at 14th and Union Square.
And that’s one line in the pick-up sticks that New York’s metra is.
In Chicago I knew the brown line and red line like the back of my hand knowing what coffee shops and friends lived near each stop. Like there’s a hidden coffee shop complete with cozy couches and real kind baristas near Grand. I knew I could always find my friend Michael near the Chicago stop as well as other Moody kids. I preferred to get off at Southport when going to church instead of Addison on the red line, because I could find cold brew by Stumptown and avoid the avid baseball fans. My aunt lived near the Bryn Mawr stop, my grandfather even further. If I was hungry in the middle of the night (restaurants man they make you hungry at weird hours of the day) and I wasn’t near Greektown, Chinatown would suffice. My home was near 69th on the red line, and I loved to explain to people that I lived on the Southside, not Bridgeport Southside not Rush hospital Southside – like the beaches were prettier there because there was no construction. South side like everyone knew each other because I lived in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Southside like if I timed it right, it would take me exactly 20 mins to get to work using public transit, driving took longer because of all the one-ways downtown.
I am beginning to know my side of town in Mexico City like this. I can’t tell you what happens in the north of the city but in my neighbourhood we live close to a metro station where I have begun to identify each stop as a different taco stand or why I have visited each station.
One of my offices is near Eje Central and this station is also close to a kitchen supply store. My mentor lives near Taxqueña and when I’m stubborn I walk around a bridge that takes me to her house. There’s an awesome comida corrida on the way to Taxqueña that you can get to by Microbús which are these green and white busses that get you everywhere the metro can’t. There’s a beautiful park that gets lots of sunshine at Higaldo. I have choir practice near Viveros which has a beautiful brick road I walk up while the sun is setting on Sundays. It's beautiful and quiet. The coffee shop I have so many of my meetings is near Coyoacan. Another office I go to is near Ermita, and one of the pastors I work with does ministry near Ermita, and there’s a movie theatre and 5 al pastor tacos for $0.75 USD all near this one metro stop. The students I get to do ministry with are at Copilco – it’s also where I can get dollar slices or two slices and a can for $1.25 USD. When tourists are visiting it’s necessary to take them to the Zocalo filled with beautiful historic buildings. My house is near Lomas Estrella where I walk through three different street markets almost every day to get to the metro.
The transition to Mexico has thankfully not been too difficult, and I am determined to talk to everyone therefore my Spanish is getting better day by day. Home to me is where I lay my head to rest at night, I can't wait to be fully knowledgeable of my new home.