Over the last six and a half months I've swam in the aqua ocean, explored Mayan ruins, snorkeled through cenotes, hiked up through the clouds at the Monarch butterfly reserve, run down cool cobbled streets, sang karaoke with much needed encouragement, and ate some of the best tacos/mole/tostadas/helado ever. And it has been ah-mazing, for sure.
But regardless, sometimes it just creeps up and takes over. That thought "ugh, Mexico. I need a break from you." Sometimes I just want to drive to Whole Foods, pick out exactly what I want from the salad bar, go for a run on a well-maintained trail, spend three hours at Nordstrom Rack and buy nothing, then go see a movie and eat Swedish Fish in the dark.
Sometimes, being so far away from home, missing friends and the normal routine of a day, Mexico can feel like an island - and it's difficult to feel connected because well, I'm not. I'm here and going out means walking down a narrow sidewalk in a beautiful old town, passing the central plaza, saying "no gracias" to the ladies selling belts and bags and honey. It means sitting down at a cafe and ordering in Spanish, wondering what might show up. It's wonderful! But once in awhile, it's kind of tough. Because it's not effortless. It requires patience and attention.
This might be kind of a weird effect of home-sickness, yeah, it is weird, but needs explaining. Anyway, we shop for most of our groceries at Chedaraui (the large supermarket here). We go to the market when we run out of stuff or need a specific item, but the grocery store is easy and it's got everything. The grocery stores in Mexico are interesting. They are huge, but every aisle has just one or two options for every item. For example, if you want to buy pasta, you get to choose between two types. There will be an entire aisle full of those two types - no one is going to leave the store without their pasta, but it will either be the blue box or the red one. Compare this to our experiences in the US - walking down the pasta aisle there are so many choices! Do you want whole grained, do you want gluten free, rice pasta, organic, USDA-organic, local, etc?
For the most part this system in Mexico is totally fine. It's actually pretty easy, once you know exactly what you need. Now I don't spend 15 minutes deliberating what yogurt brand/flavor/size/packaging I like best. I just buy that one plain greek yogurt. But for some reason, I have a massively difficult time in the cracker section. There are three options for crackers at every Chedaraui in Mexico: Ritz, Crackets (imitation Ritz) and Integral (whole grained cardboard). When I look at the entire shelf stocked full of Ritz and Crackets, nothing can make me feel farther away from Boulder, Colorado...but once in awhile...there will be a huge victory hidden on a random shelf at Chedaraui.
And although I still can't find that ash-aged chevre in the cheese section, and I would love a patio happy hour with every person I am missing, life is a tiny bit brighter today.