Adjusting to Mexico City as an Expat
Contributing Author: Soraya Cruz
Adjusting to Mexico City can mean everything from dealing with environmental changes to the images the media portrays of this bustling city. Soraya Cruz is a model who was able to move to Mexico City for a temporary expat life. Let’s get her story about arriving in and adjusting to this massive metropolis.
As a model, there is a sense of freedom where you can live almost anywhere around the world. I had the pleasure of being offered to live in Mexico City for six months.
When first arriving here I was afraid; I heard terrifying stories from everyone around me and, let’s be frank, everything we see in media is also not so positive. Don’t get me wrong - I also heard good things - but there was always a ‘but’.
So me and my suitcase went, willing to take that plunge as - after all - I am curious by nature. Plus, it is a good way to learn Spanish.
Moving Abroad to Mexico City
Adjusting to Mexico City Upon Arrival
The first few days of expat life are a bit hectic. I felt the pollution taking its toll on me - not to mention this city is built at high altitude, and little me being raised in a below sea level small country (The Netherlands), I was a target for it all. I was very tired, feeling nauseous, headaches or even woozy, at times I felt like fainting. I read a few articles about this and the best advice given was to listen to your body.
When you feel like sleeping, go sleep; drink enough water, eat healthy, extra vitamin C also helped me, to boost my immune system up.
It all depends on the person, of course, some are more sensitive than others but I wanted to share with you guys and not to panic if you feel a bit off.
Learning About Mexico City
After a few days, I started to feel myself again and started to explore this city. Let me tell you that I am that kind of person who walks everything, and when I mean I walk everything I mean between 15.000-30.000 steps a day (to give an idea).
Some find me crazy, but I can tell you this: In my opinion, walking is the best way to get to know a new place (plus a little workout never did anyone harm). You stop in between for coffee or nice food to re-energize and of course be knowledgeable and trust your intuition when something doesn’t feel right don’t do it; Walk that street or talk to that person etc.
Try to feel your gut! And exactly this, was the best test for me in Mexico City. After everything that I have heard, I wanted and needed to see by myself.
I have to say Mexico City is very big so I am talking about the main areas I was around by foot (Chapultepec Park, Condesa, Polanco, Roma, Napoles). All the rest I definitely recommend using an Uber.
Ubers are very cheap and trustworthy here and yes, of course, you have rough neighbourhoods around but, again, use your common sense and like everywhere around the world just don’t walk around like you are bait (look like you know where you are going, not flashing jewellery or fancy watches etc; the general stuff everyone knows).
Be mindful that this city has a very high population number so traffic is a mess, a short ride of 20 minutes can turn into 1.5 hours.
Trying to Understand Mexico City
Overall, I would like to point out that this city is beautiful with all its chaos and crazy not perfectly made or taken care of streets. Yes, you do feel the big difference in between poverty and high rollers but this is just something we need to accept, as it cannot change overnight.
There is a lot of corruption and unfairness. However, at the end of 2018, they just had a new president and hopefully, bit by bit things will change (at least what he says) so hopefully this magic gem will turn into that diamond that it deserves to shine.
Their culture is beautiful with a lot of soul; family has a high priority where you feel this bound around. The food is sooooo delicious… I was surprised how many nice food places there are (and I’m not just talking about tacos) but highly rated restaurants with the best presentations and amazing fusions. Especially around Roma (for inspo check out IG: @laroma.mx) Condesa, Polanco & Zocalo (historical Centre). If you are a foodie this is the place to be.
And last but not least: Nature. This country has a lot to offer from beautiful white beaches to lush green jungles
Mexico City is perfect as a hub as from there you can take affordable flights anywhere you feel like, whether relaxation in a tropical warm place or hiking up the mountains in the cold.
Saying Adios to Mexico City
As I am writing this now, this expat experience is about to end for me in a few days’ time and my new adventure in New York City is coming up next…
I can only look back with beautiful memories where I also learned how to deal with a world where rules are still to be made, which I am thankful for as it made me smarter in dealing with certain situations.
May you have the opportunity to explore this city/country. Be open, be savvy and enjoy it all! You are gonna love it :)