What I’m Doing in Mexico

So now we’re settled in Sayulita, in our perfect treehouse apartment for the better half of the next six months. (Actually as I write this we’ve already been here a month, isn’t that bananas? If time could go ahead and stop moving that would be perfectly excellent thank you.)

Of course the first thing I did was whip out my guidebook and start planning imaginary trips. Maybe we should rent a car and drive around Tequila country? Or we could fly to Mexico City, then skip down to Pueblo and Oaxaca on an amazing food tour?

Every time I bring these things up Mike just looks at me like I’m crazy. “We just got here, why do you want to leave?” Ugh, he’s practical but deep down I know he’s right. I came to Mexico to live in Mexico. This trip is less like my big backpacking trips around Asia, Australia and South America; it’s more like the time I moved to London. Working, getting to know my neighbors, figuring out which produce market is best and wrapping myself in Mexican culture (later this week I’ll give you the lowdown on the Day of the Dead).

So, aside from those very simple things, here’s what I’m doing for most of the next few months:

Working on my Spanish

Town plaza

Yes this old song again. I tried so hard during our 8 months in South America, I swear I did. I did my Rosetta Stone classes, I paid attention, I even paid for private lessons from a very handsome Argentinean guy. Nonetheless I came back feeling like I’d made no progress whatsoever.

Turns out this isn’t true. Here in Mexico I can often understand what’s going on around me, I can order at a restaurant, I can recognize numbers and pay the correct amount. Maybe I did soak up some useful knowledge, and maybe the Mexican accent is just a million times easy to understand than the Argentinean one (sorry Mike).

This has inspired me to try once more to improve my skills. In addition to practicing out and about I’m using the free online program DuoLingo. My account name is StephanieYoder if you want to join me.

Teaching Myself About Mexican Food

Salsa and Guac!

I’m still debating how exactly I want to write about food on this blog, besides just torturing you guys with amazing pictures. I’ve been learning so much about authentic Mexican food and you can expect some in depth articles on the subject coming up soon.

Originally I had hoped to take some cooking classes while down here. Of course there are no cooking schools in Sayulita- my extensive searching has yielded just one place that even offers tourist cooking classes. So I’ve decided to teach myself as best I can. Tonight I’m making chiles relleno.

I’ve also made it a personal goal to improve my photography skills, in particular food photography, so I can full capture everything I eat and make you guys even more green with jealousy.


I don’t have a picture of me working, so here is a lizard in Mike’s shoe.

Always. With my new Answers.com gig and some other assignments I’m transitioning more and more to writing as my main source of income. Which is great because I enjoy it but hard because I’m not very good at turning things around in a timely manner. I hope to work on this so I have time to work in some more creative projects.

Achieving Work Life Balance?

Why am i not here everyday?

This one is always so hard for both Mike and I. Left unchecked we will work un-moving from morning to night, and that is pretty much what we did in DC. It was productive but it’s not a healthy way to live.

Now we’re newlyweds living literally two blocks from the beach in paradise so I’m making a concerted effort to do more than just sit at a desk. Work ends at 6 pm at the latest and then it’s time to relax. Cook, play games or movies, or go hang out in the plaza and watch kids play. I’d like to learn to paddle board and Mike is pricing out surfboards. We’re going to go to the beach more too, if it kills me.

I think that will be enough to keep me busy for awhile. Of course there will be some travel eventually. I’m not giving up on my Oaxaca culinary tour idea for anything, and we might hop down to Central America at some point too.

For now I’m just taking it as it comes and trying to appreciate every moment of where we are.

25 thoughts on “What I’m Doing in Mexico”

  1. This post feels a lot like my last few months! So many plans to get out and hike in the mountains and weekend to the lake and and…. and lots of time in between spent editing photos or sending out pitches.

    Tough to balance the two, but sounds like you two are doing all right with it!

  2. Josh and I have the same work/life balance problem. We are always connected and working … we are blessed we can work from anywhere and are our own boss… but sometimes that leads to 24/7 working if you aren’t careful! We need to make it down there to visit you two!

  3. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your journey learning cooking with Mexican ingredients! Central and South American food has always been my favorite and it’s something I Iong to learn about.

    When my husband and I finally get to a place in our lives when we can be location independent – even if only for a few months, I can’t wait to set up a base somewhere different for awhile.

  4. Mexico looks amazing! I’ve also just moved to a new country, Italy, and have also spent most of my last two months here trying to speak the language (a bit) and eating the food (a lot) – don’t think I would be getting any work done at all if I lived that close to a gorgeous beach though!

  5. Mexican Spanish is SO much easier to understand than Argentine Spanish! My favorite way to improve my Spanish language skills is to watch a Spanish-language movie with Spanish subtitles. It helps you learn the language in multiple formats, plus it can be a really interesting look at the culture.

    Good luck with adjusting to Mexican life!

  6. Wow, I love the idea of settling down in a country for a while. Tom and I will do that to some extent in South America, taking two or three months to get to know a country before moving on. I call it slow travel. It will allow us to get to know the place before moving on. There’s still time to take some day trips, but the goal is to just stay put and learn to live as the locals live. Great plan!

  7. Don’t worry – Mexican Spanish is wayyy easier to understand than Argentine Spanish! There are tons of Italians and Italian descendants in Argentina and they speak Spanish with Italian intonation and cadence, which is difficult for outsiders to understand. Enjoy your new location – I’m looking forward to being tortured with photos of Mexican food!!

  8. DuoLingo is an awesome resource! It’s helped me brush up on my Spanish (you’d think with about four years of it all through school I’d be better at it, but sadly no.. don’t use it, you lose it, I guess). When I visited Mexico last year I found I was able to understand a lot of it, especially written, I just froze up when I had to speak it! I think you’ll surprise yourself with how much you’ll pick up with a bit of time 🙂

  9. Cool. Looking forward to the in depth stuff about Mexican food. And that’s awesome your Spanish is improving. I’ve definitely heard it said many times here in South America that Mexican Spanish is one of the easier varieties to understand. Rock on!

  10. This all sounds so wonderful and perfect! I loved meeting the two of you a few times at tweetups before you left in DC, and I’m enjoying following along with your adventures living in Mexico. I’ve realized that I’ve reached the point in my traveling that I’m ready to LIVE somewhere again. I did it while studying in South Africa and again teaching in Japan, and that’s when I’m at my very best – not jumping around a city at warp speed, trying to see and do everything possible in the short time I have, but really digging in, my feet in the sand, nose to my computer screen writing, and just being and living in that new culture. On the other hand, I am totally with you on my second-nature being to look immediately to day trips and weekend trips and week long and longer trips. Can’t wait to see how your Spanish, cooking, and photography skills grow living in Sayulita!

  11. Sounds amazing! And delicious! I can’t wait to go to Mexixo (I have no plans or anything but I know I’ll be there one day because, well, it’s Mexixo!)

    A question: how did you find the Rossetta Stone course? Worth it? I’ve given myself the goal of learning Spanish and am trying to decide the best way to go about it… Money is a factor, or else I’d just go hang out in Barcelona for a year and try to learn it there 🙂

  12. Sounds like a wonderful list, and plus, where you’re living looks so beautiful, so soaking it in and enjoying it will be an adventure in and of itself!

    P.S. Si tu quieres, podemos practicar nuestro español! Me gusta hablar con mis amigos en otras linguas. Necesito practicar por que ahorita estoy hablando en “portuñol” siempre…jaja

  13. Sayulita is a beautiful place to live, I’m lucky enough to have called that magical beach my home for two months last year, fortunately I am Mexican so I had no problem with the language. Enjoy it as much as you can, it traps you under it’s magic and you will never want to leave! Say Hi to my beautiful beach will ya. Have fun!.

  14. As Johnny and I near our 2nd year teaching contracts in Korea, we’ve been making lists of places we want to go to next. I know immediately after we leave Korea, we’re going to do a S.E. Asia tour, but after that, I definitely want to move to Mexico. Sayulita was one of my top 3 places to go when I first started blogging. Plus, Mexican food is my ultimate weakness.

  15. I can’t wait to see more gratuitous photos of Mexican food posted here, Steph. Seriously. And I expect your blog to have a Spanish language option in the near future, too. Not that I’d use it because I only know a handful of words in Spanish, like ‘cerveza’, ‘frijole’, ‘guapo’ and ‘culo’, but I think it would reflect your progress. Or you could just post EVEN MORE photos of Mexican food. I’m not quite sure where this comment is going.

  16. That beach is looking pretty good now that the weather here in DC has turned chilly (and the stores have started playing Christmas music.) I may have to go to El Centro and pretend for an hour or two 🙂

  17. Sounds like a pretty amazing 6 months after the wedding. Enjoy it!

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of what you write. Longer projects? Fiction?

  18. Great that your visiting Mexico ! that´s my country! and you are in the rigth place to practice your Spanish its much more easier than South American Spanish Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende are also really nice places to visit Guadalajara and the tequila route amazing!

    Hope you have a good stay in my country ,BTW im 23 just graduated and trying to do both traveling and building a career Love your blog!

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