Relajando: Relaxing in Mexico City

I didn’t make a New Years Resolution so much as a life goal. Last year was great for my writing career, but it turned me into a workaholic.

My 2017 goal is Balance.

I plan to concentrate on different aspects of that in each city I visit. In January, which I’m spending here in the beautiful Ciudad de México, I decided to work on slowing down – taking time each day to appreciate where I am and live in the now.

That turned out to be a fitting choice.

From the cafe my new RY roomie and I wandered into on day 1 (a local hole-in-the-wall where we ate chilaquiles, fresh papaya and a mystery breakfast of the day) to the outdoor ping pong bar and food court (a trendy smorgasbord of acai bowls, sushi, tacos and chiles rellenos that would be right at home in Williamsburg), meals here are an experience.

Much like in Europe, table service is slow, unhurried. Nobody wants to rush you, and nobody is in a hurry themselves, either. The New Yorker in me got impatient at first – I have so much writing to do! So many neighborhoods to explore and museums to visit!

But then I reminded myself of this month’s focus: Slow Down. Sit back, relax. Enjoy the great food and the even better conversation. I have a whole month here. No need to run around like crazy trying to see it all today.

Yesterday, I went for a stroll through el Bosque de Chapultepec, a park near our workspace. I explored the botanical garden inside, then stared at a map, overwhelmed. Should I visit the Museum of Anthropology, located within the park? The Modern Art Museum is also here. Or I could go into Chapultepec Castle, which looms over the whole forest and houses the National Museum of History.

I wanted to see them all. But instead of trying to rush, I followed my instincts. I was craving greenery. Instead of museum-hopping, I settled near a stream, took off my shoes, and wrote freehand. Nothing for work, just notes for future stories. Random ideas. Snippets of memories from the week.

A local stopped to ask what I was writing. That turned into an hour-long conversation about my trip, the gas riots downtown, his military career and rebound from an accident that nearly paralyzed him.

My Spanish is still rusty. I forgot how to say “lucky” (suerte, by the way) and floundered, trying to describe it for an embarrassingly long time (just try to describe what luck means without using the word itself, I dare you). But like all of the locals I’ve met here so far, he was patient.

He taught me some slang (“padre” means cool – I guess dads are finally cool now!), and gave me trip advice (the Basilica of Guadalupe is a must see, but not on the 12th of the month, her day, because it’s a madhouse). All throughout our conversation, he kept using the word relajado. To describe life in Mexico City, his job, relationships, people here on the whole.

“We know how to enjoy life with what we have,” he said (in my approximate translation). “We throw a lot of parties, we don’t work too hard. We remember to live where we are.”

So I adopted that as my word of the week:

Relajado (adj.) – calm, tranquil, relaxed. e.g.: “Este bosque me parece muy relajado.” (This forest seems very relaxing to me.)

Judging by week 1, I picked the perfect place to start living a more balanced 2017.

(By the way, if you want to see more pictures from my trip so far, I’m posting more than you could ever want on Instagram, ha.)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>