Of course, I've been getting nostalgic and thinking over all the things I'll miss/won't miss about Mexico City, and some of things I've missed/really haven't missed about my hometown of Toronto, Canada.
Mexico City Miss List
- Street food. Toronto has no idea what street food is. My waist line will thank me, though.
- Laissez-faire rules. Drinking in cars? Okay. Sitting in the back of a pickup truck? Okay. Jaywalking? Okay. Overstaying your tourist visa? Okay. Flagging down a bus where ever you darn well want? Fine.
- Affordable and accessible public transport. The city has an incredibly safe and well-connected transit system that's decently maintained and costs pennies. Just don't use it at rush hour.
- Year round spring weather. I am not prepared for Canadian winter again.
- The ease of finding part-time work. If I need cash, I can always find another English class to fill the gap. And the per hour rate is better than minimum wage in Canada (about $12/hr).
- La Comer grocery store. The best grocery store in human history. Maybe even better than Superstore.
- Easy day/weekend trips. Mexico City has a major bus depot at every cardinal point and bus fare is affordable. Plus there are tons of getaways super close--mountains, forest, lakes, colonial towns, you name it.
- Spanish. I love the constant opportunity to practice.
- Tamales oaxaquenos. Every chilango knows the "tamales oaxaqueno" cart that trolls the streets with its distinct call.
- Outdoor cafe culture year round.
- Starbucks. Mexican Starbucks are palatial spaces perfect for freelancers. They have swagger, these Starbucks. And valet parking. ALSO CHURROS FRAPPS.
- Public spaces. There are fewer restrictions on public space, meaning people can congregate in squares, parks, etc. without getting permits.
- All the bookstores. They're fairly unaffordable, but nice to browse.
- History. Thousand year old pyramid? Check. Frida Kahlo's house? Check. Giant stone cathedral? Check. Toronto is such a new city compared to DF.
- Uber. Affordable. Everywhere. Excellent service.
- Cheap cabs. And relatively safe.
- Not paying taxes.
- Grocery baggers. In DF, retired folks pack your bags for you for tips at grocery stores. And yes, they will pack your cloth bags too. They always seem to be having a good time meeting other people and chatting with the cashier. Better than sitting at home by far.
- The manners. People always say "good morning" or "good afternoon" to you when you enter a shop. Nobody freaks out if you accidentally bump into them on the subway or even if you have to full-on body check them to get out of a packed car. People kiss you hello and goodbye. Mexicans have impeccable manners and, interestingly enough, people from bad neighborhoods have extra good manners.
- The humor. Mexicans, generally, are a good-humored, light-hearted bunch. In a city of 23+ million, that type of temperment isn't just a nice-to-have, it's essential.
Mexico City Will Not Miss List
- Cat callers. STFU.
- The pollution. Actually, I barely notice it but other people are more sensitive to it than I am and complain of getting sick.
- Trying to make friends with Mexicans who are too busy and have their own lives.
- The organ guys on street corners. I HATE IT.
- Mexican parties that last 12 hours. My introvert self cannot handle it.
- Bills. If you don't pay, utilities companies will shut off your service the day after or even the day of.
- Over-helpful sales people. There is no shopping in peace. This is one Canadian thing I can't get over: I want to be left alone when I shop. I don't want help. I don't want to talk to anyone. Please stop trying to help me.
- Cops demanding bribes ... by stopping cars with outlandish excuses. I don't drive much but for people who actually has cars this must be a constant headache.
- People calling me "brownie." No one can pronounce my name here.
- The constant reports of corruption and murder.
- People calling me "cold." I love the Mexican warm-heartedness, but that's not the only way to be.
Toronto Miss List
- Free health care. Never had I contemplated before the luxury of having a family doctor who knows your medical history and actually calls you to check up on you AND YOU PAY NOTHING. Not to mention free mental health counseling. Never ever will I take this for granted again.
- Shopper's Drug Mart. Translate this to Walgreens or Ulta or whatever for you Americans. In Mexico, there are either beauty stores or pharmacies. There is no wonderland that mixes both things, and sales are few. SDM is a paradise of vitamins and hair products and makeup and snacks and there are CRAZY ASS sales. I miss my 2 for $5 conditioner deals.
- Health food stores. My inner hipster needs quinoa.
- A waterfront. Mexico City has Lake Chapultapec. Not the same.
- People who are not Mexicans. Mexico City is diversifying, but it is still very Mexican.
- Brunch. But not the long line-ups.
- The library system. Oh lordy. The book selection, the working space, the generous holds allowance, the proliferation of locations.
- Having legal status that gives me tax benefits, ability to work anywhere, health care, etc.
- The gay community.
- The variety of peanut and almond butter you can buy. Mexico is not a nut-butter-eating culture. You're losing out, Mexico.
Toronto Have NOT Missed List
- People who think evil condo developments/sushi-burrito-waffle-ice-cream-tacos/and other irrelevant stuff is the be all and end all of existence.
- That people can't stand PDA. Mexicans are all about PDA. Babies are being made on the streets daily. I love it. Honestly, what's wrong with people liking each other in public? The world's a cold enough place.
- The high cost of rent
- The high cost of living
- The high cost of transport
- The high cost of breathing
- The surly service. Get over yourselves, hipster baristas.
- Men kidnapping women in vans at night (no joke). Sexual violence is more of an issue in Toronto than Mexico City.
- White people who don't have non-white friends in the most multicultural city on earth (I need to be better at this too).
- Compared to Mexico City, Toronto is ugly. Sorry Toronto. Spanish colonialism, while really bad for the Aztecs and other native populations, did leave some very nice architecture.
What are your favorite things about Mexico City? What do you miss about home (wherever you are)?