ExpatMexican FoodTravel

10 things you will miss about Mexico when you live abroad

My 4th year expat-anniversary is coming soon and although it sounds like a short amount of time, it feels like I’ve been here longer. Oddly enough, I guess you could say that the longer I’m here, the more Mexican I become.

Now I am able to experience what it means to be Mexican abroad and how much our culture and cuisine are appreciated outside of Mexico.

If you’re a Mexican living in a foreign country or planning to do so in a near future, here are the 10 things you will miss about Mexico when you live abroad.

10-thingsyouwillmissaboutmexico

1| The endless sunshine

Europe’s winter albeit magical, can get quite frustrating quickly. When I was living in Mexico, I used to avoid the sun and day-dream about the sight of clouds. Now, the whole opposite happens. I miss Mexico’s sunshine so much!

2| Warm and friendly people

I used to find small talk annoying, but every time I go back to Mexico now I realize how endearing it is. Now that I have a little baby to accompany me wherever I go, it is unavoidable to meet a couple of new friends every time we go out.

3| Spontaneous social gatherings

Most Europeans like to prepare for things ahead, that is why social gatherings are usually planned weeks in advance. This gets specially tricky when you’re newly acquainted because you can’t seem to match your calendars together at the beginning. In Mexico, the opposite is true.

Although you can plan things in advance for special events, most friendly get-together are more spontaneous as in one phone call away, “Hey, are you home? I’m headed there right now” is pretty much the norm every time I go home. Doing something like this in Europe might even be considered disrespectful in some cultures. I miss those spontaneous calls, even if I do understand why disrupting someone’s routine can be quite rude.

mexico-friends

Sunshine, friends & last minute trips: my favorite things!

4| The smell of fresh tortillas

This is going to sound weird but, I invite you to spend some time at a tortilleria next time you go to Mexico. It’s like something resembling the smell of fresh bread just a little bit more intense. You can thank me later.

5| Sugar in your lemonade

As far as I knew, lemonade always had sugar. You could order lemonade without sugar in a restaurant but that probably means you’re on a special diet that limits your sugar intake. Well apparently, all Europeans follow this diet. If you order a sugar in your lemonade here, you will get extra small sugar packets for you to add them by yourself. And that, ladies is gentlemen, is NOT how lemonade is made.

6| Ice in your drinks

And while we are on the subject of drinks, why is ice not a thing in Europe? Look, I get it that it is often cold but people still get ice cream during winter. And restaurants rarely have air conditioning during the summer, so how come you never get ice in your drink unless you ask for it?!

carne-asada

All the things I miss in one: ice & sugary Jamaica, fresh tuna & ceviche and ugly delicious street food!

7| Delicious and affordable street food

I will get controversial right now, but I think that for a country’s cuisine to be considered excellent the street food has to be good. I remember being deeply disappointing in France because most of the local street food were cold baguettes. So I never could got why French cuisine is so renowned and expensive when it’s …

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Travel

10 tips on what to pack for Europe in spring

Packing for a multi-country European vacation can get quite complicated really quickly. With diverse landscapes and weather types even during the same season, figuring out what to pack for Europe in spring can be quite tricky. And because I don’t want you to repeat the same mistakes I made, I compiled a list of the 10 tips on what to pack for Europe in Spring!

 

CLOTHES & BEAUTY

1| Breathable light layers

Do bring short and long sleeve cotton shirts, and only pack halter or sleeveless tops if you are going to the beach. But even if you do plan to visit some place warmer in Croatia you will still need at least a light jacket to keep you warm. Colder places still get tempertures around 10°C, so pack a warm jacket and some shirts that you will be able to layer as the weather during the day changes quite a lot. And a light comfy scarf as well!

2| Comfortable shoes

If you can be sure about something, is that any city you visit, will be filled with cobbled stone streets. And since you will probably walk everywhere, wearing shoes that will endure the tough roads is a must. For my first trip to Venice, I thought it was a good idea to bring my cute, cheap affordable booties. They lasted exactly 8 hours. By the time we arrived to the hostel, they were completely destroyed. Luckily, I had some ugly spare tennis shoes and one more lesson under my sleeve.

3| Appropriate outerwear

In one day you will likely experience sun, rain, wind and heat. A warm leather jacket paired up with some hoodies, or perhaps a think windbreaker will become your best friend. So if you are a fashionable girl like me, pick a cute one because unfortunately no one will get to see your cute tops in the pictures while you are here.

4| Travel size/tester beauty essentials

Don’t leave your hydrating cream at home, with so many weather changes your skin will thank you! And better yet, pack up their travel size versions. Reuse hotel shampoo bottles if you can’t find your specific brand. Makeup removers are also a must, and if you are environmentally conscious, how about trying this cleansing cloth? Little things can make a difference during your travels.

5| Day backpack/messenger bag for sightseeing

Remember that you will likely encounter rain, so stick to a leather or polyester material bag. Make sure your essentials are safely pack. You don’t want your camera or passport to get ruined. And if you are in the hunt for a cool leather bag that gives back, check out the made to order Mahi Leather goods, $1.50 from every product purchased goes to the charity FRANK water!

pack for Europe in spring

HEALTH & SAFETY

6| Travel insurance specifically for the type of activities you will do

Getting travel insurance might be an obvious for some of you. But before you buy just any insurance type, make sure it will cover the types of activities you will take part of. For example, most basic travel insurances don’t cover extreme sports and in some cases, skiing is considered as such. So if you are planning on doing something a little bit out of the ordinary make sure you buy the right travel package for you.

7| Water bottle

Bottled water in Europe is expensive. So don’t think that packing your own bottle water is silly, most tap water is safe to drink. Confirm with your hotel before you fill your bottle up though. Take advantage of city fountains, most European capital like …

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Travel

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Belarus

If they had told me before that one of the countries that I will visit while studying in Europe was going to be Belarus, I would’ve been like “you mean Russia, right?”.

KIDDING! I mean, sort of. I knew Belarussia was not exactly in Russia, and that it was located somewhere around Europe but I had no clue about its culture, language, heritage or history.

This trip certainly opened my eyes to the underrated gem that this country is. Their people are the nicest, most friendly and helpful I have ever met on any trip. Guys, when a stranger hops inside your bus to help you find your destination that happens to be in the other side of the city. You can be certain that you are in a nice place.

Aside from lots of problems with the visa procedure and crossing the border, that I will definitely share with you guys later, it was certainly a place full of things to explore and do. But first let me share with you some random facts I discovered in my trip to Belarus…

10-things-belarus

1| For starters, Belarus is located between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia and it has around 9.5 million inhabitants. The main language is Belorussian, and it is most similar to Polish language than Russian. Its capital is Minsk.

2| It is a super flat country, I didn’t even saw a small hill on the horizon. That is because its tallest mountain, Mount Dzyarzhynskaya, is only 346 meters high. It has a lot of dense forests though.

3| Belarus is like cheese heaven. And it’s know for its top quality dairy products. Some cheeses tasted like a combination of butter, mayonnaise and cheese, and when I inquired about them they seriously told me that it was just cheese. Mind-blowing delicious!

4| Minsk is like a Phoenix, it has been destroyed in 8 occasions. The last time it was rebuild was after WW2 with a Stalin Classical Style architecture.

5| The capital, Minsk, is older than Moscow. They have found historical references dated from 1067!

6| Their most important national holiday is Freedom Day on May 9. They celebrate the end of the German Occupation during WW2.

7| The first Nobel price winner in Democratic Belarussia is a woman. Her name is Svetlana Alexievich and she won it this year (2015) for her work in literature.

8| Belarus is known as “Potato Nation” because they have over 300 potato recipes. They even have potato pancakes, and they are amazing!

9| Belarus has develop a really competitive and productive IT sector. It has produced the world famours Viber Messenger app and the game World of Tanks.

10| Though this fact is still a little debatable, Isaac Asimov was born in what was Belorussian territory.

What did you guys liked the most about this country?

From the sunny side of this,
Isabel…

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Travel

What You Need to Know Before Dating a Slovenian Guy

They say you can only be lucky in love or in gambling, and I’m happy to report that I am lucky in love. Slovenia has only 2.06 million inhabitants. You can consider yourself lucky if you happen to be dating a Slovenian guy! wink-wink

I am writing this list for the girl currently having no luck googling “dating Slovenian men”. I was in the same place as you. And I couldn’t find much information either. So alas, let here give you… what you need to know before dating a Slovenian guy.

Please read with a pinch of salt and humor. Also, I am pretty sure this is applicable to any other culture or country 🙂

dating-slovenian

They are very active

They love organizing events, and attending any local cultural or sports activity. And can have many hobbies at a time. They are also fond of traveling, and they are the kind of guys who live say yes to any kind of plan. Slovenia is community oriented. So guys grow up with strong ties to their family, and friends. They are not extreme social butterflies. But they are the kind of people who will get creative when picking up what to do on a date. And the major benefit is that they always have something interesting to talk about. It never gets boring!

They love the outdoors

Somewhat kind of similar the last point, but this deserves an explanation on its own. If you are not used to hiking or camping, or anything related to nature, prepare to be thrown out of your comfort zone. Slovenians LOVE hiking, and they have been doing it for most of their lives. Some kids are already going on hikes even before they even know how to walk! So even if they haven’t been on a hike for awhile, their muscle memory is still impeccable. Which is something they might not take into consideration when taking you on your first hike 1000 meters uphill. You can read more about that incident here. Prepare yourself for spontaneous off-the road hikes ahead because there will be plenty!

They prefer their dinners early and “light”

In Slovenia, dinner is usually between 5-6, because lunch is usually between 11-12.Oh and they usually don’t have breakfast. I still haven’t get used to this, and I don’t know when I will. In Mexico dinner is usually a bowl of cereal, a salad or a quesadilla. But once in a while you love to treat ourselves with some kind of street food style dinner. Which is “too heavy” for Slovenian guys. Their version of light is half a baguette or loaf of bread with dozens slices of cheeses and hams (oh, and beer!). I laughed so much when a friend told me that her Slovenian boyfriend refuses to have potatoes, and chicken for dinner. But it’s totally okay with having half a kilo worth of sandwiches for himself. Maybe their version of “light” is something that doesn’t need to be cooked? Anyway, I’m giving you the heads up for when you encounter this inevitable cultural clash.

Their favorite meal is Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch is not a typical takeout food sort of day. Slovenian Sunday lunch is a 5 course meal. It involves a typical Slovenian beef or mushroom soup, a good portion of fried chicken or roasted pork (or both), green salad with pumpkin oil, and a bunch of roasted potatoes. Dessert is also included. And it’s usually something sweet like apple štruklji. Sunday lunch is sacred and they will never get enough of it, period.

It gets really serious, really

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