My time in Mexico is quickly passing by. However, the term ‘new’ still lingers in my mind through every moment of this trip. Prior to this trip, I would not describe myself as a person who openly welcomed the concept of ‘new.’ The word ‘new’ brings with it the idea of unknown territory. Newness is intimidating. Familiarity feels comfortable. I had historically chased down familiarity out of the abject fear of newness. So when all these new experiences that I would have otherwise avoided made me feel exhilarated, I wanted to know precisely why this was happening and how I could make this new feeling last. Therefore, I made an active effort throughout this trip to embrace the ‘new,’ and I have been pleasantly surprised with this new outlook. Even the most mundane new experiences make me feel genuinely elated. There’s something so psychedelic about seeing fresh tacos and warm churros being made at every street corner and something so pleasurably disorienting about seeing ‘pet’ Iguanas casually seated on people’s shoulders.
Even the mundane task of walking to the local Oxxo to grab snacks or to the local street vendor to explore their offerings is so exciting. I am always so fascinated by the new flavors, the wider selections, the packaging, and the price differences. Something I have noticed in the past weeks is the differences in the food options in different cities. There are specialty foods that are famous in their respective cities. For example, Enchiladas Queretanas were a popular dish in Querétaro. Many street vendors recommended it, and I commonly saw locals eating it. The tortillas were dipped in a tangy red salsa and lightly fried, further locking in the flavors of the sauces. It is often filled with chicken and accompanied by a potato and carrot stew. Streets vendors would smother them in cotija cheese, ensuring the perfect sauce-to-cheese ratio. They were delicious.
Leon was quite famous for its baked goods. Situated directly outside our hotel were rows and rows of local vendors selling the most beautifully decorated loaves of bread. Bakery women stand outside and offer it to all that pass by. As this trip has been about embracing the ‘new,’ I have made an active effort to try as many new things and experiences as possible, therefore, never turn away food testers. The bread has a sweet glaze and is much sweeter than what we would commonly find in New Zealand. I am a lover of sweet things; therefore, I enjoyed it.
The food here is one of the things I will miss most when I get back home.
The topic of embracing new things has not just been restricted to trying new foods. This week has also been filled with many new experiences that have now become unforgettable moments. The Leon fair was an example of this. From participating in dance circles at the fair to being called up on stage to dance salsa with performers to being invited to dinner with locals, this week has been full of new experiences. The dinner we shared with the local family was probably the highlight of my trip so far. An experience I only got to be a part of by putting away the fear of new and instead embracing it.