How Mexico City Made Me Happy

There are places that make you want to come back. The Grand Canyon. Savannah. South Dakota. They say, “You could spend hours getting lost here. You’ll have to come back, but that’s OK, we aren’t going anywhere.”

And then there are places that make you want to become a part of them. New York. San Francisco. They say whatever they want; they’ve got things to do, but you’re welcome to jump into the stream and come along – if you can keep up.

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Into the subway

Mexico City is not waiting for you.

It is too busy thriving and pumping. It is dancing and eating and celebrating. It’s evolving and reinventing itself. It doesn’t notice when you arrive or leave; it’s you who notices.

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Newsstand

The part of me that plugs into New York City the minute I step off the plane surged in Mexico City when I visited two weeks ago. It was as if I’d discovered another portal to the life force that beats beneath the Earth, and every cell in my body yearned to soak up the power.

To try to tell you about Mexico City is to try to explain humanity. There’s too much to say; it would take a lifetime to comprehend.

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Performing art center

Skulls

I can tell you what it’s not, how I was mistaken. It is not Americanized or watered down. It is not begging for the USD (in fact, most places only take pesos). It is not underdeveloped or primitive. It is not quaint. It is not dangerous – at least no more so than any other major city.

It is bursting with life.

It is loud.

It is old and modern.

It is beautiful, trendy, chic, and delicious.

When I arrived in Mexico City the day after leaving South Dakota, I was overwhelmed to discover that almost no one in the airport spoke English. For a moment, I was afraid that I would get lost in this big city of Spanish speakers, and I was embarrassed that I’d expected to be catered to. But by the end of my three-day trip, I was thinking in Spanish – albeit very slowly. I was living proof that travel makes us happy because of the way it challenges and surprises us.

I had been invited to Mexico City so that I could write about it as a family vacation destination for Parentables. I was skeptical, because I’d heard about the how dangerous the country had become in recent years. But I learned that Mexico City is not only safe, but a place I really want to share with my children someday.

I want them to have to learn how to think in Spanish.

I want them to see that queso and sour cream are not necessary elements of Mexican cuisine.

I want them to meet Mexicans who are proud of where they come from and have no need or desire to flee for a better life.

I want them to experience the ways that we are different, and the ways that we are the same.

And I want an excuse to go back myself.

Have you ever been to Mexico City? Have you considered going?

I visited Mexico City as a guest of their tourism board. My airfare, lodging, admission to attractions, and food was paid for. Yes, that’s two press trips in one month – and I’m on my way to a third this week. I’m a lucky girl (and it’s press trip season)!

You can see all my photos from Mexico City here.

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  1. Nanna says:

    I LOVE Mexico City, fir everything you’ve said. It’s vibrant and there’s an ancient pulse beating under the modern urban exterior. It’s city-busy but with a distinctive Mexican reference of time. The colors, the flavors, the people watching – Yayyyyy! I’m so glad you loved it!
    Nanna’s most recent post: Beauty From Ashes

    • Miss Britt says:

      City-busy with a Mexican reference – exactly! I was trying to figure out how to explain that to Jared.

  2. sounds like a tremendous trip for you! so glad you loved it. personally i would be hesitant to visit a country that was not english speaking simply because i am horrible with foreign languages and wouldn’t feel comfortable not being able to converse with the folks i would meet. i’m weird, i know, but often it is the people i meet along the way that make trips special for me. mexico city certainly is gorgeous, though. thanks for sharing these great photos!
    hello haha harf’s most recent post: Adventure in Tahn

    • Miss Britt says:

      Oh it is absolutely the people I meet that make a trip special for me. I suppose that’s why my Spanish improved so much while I was there! :-)

  3. Carly says:

    I will go back with you! That sounds (and looks) AWESOME!!! I’ll even learn a little Spanish for it. :)

  4. el-e-e says:

    Never been there. Went to Mexico (other cities) a couple of times when I was very small and we lived in Texas, but not since. Seems like it would be a perfect first “foreign” vacation for families. So colorful! Gorgeous photos!
    el-e-e’s most recent post: Shoulder massage and school Masses

    • Miss Britt says:

      That’s what I thought, too. It actually felt like a foreign country, unlike most other places in Mexico I’ve visited!

  5. martymankins says:

    Great write up on your 3 days in Mexico City. Being a part of the country while visiting is one of the greatest things about traveling to new places.

    P.S. I thought it was cool that you and I were in the same country at the same time (when I was in Cabo two weeks ago).
    martymankins’s most recent post: Vacation: Cabo San Lucas

  6. Actually, we are going to Mexico City in October for a one week vacation. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and enjoy your writing but your post today REALLY got my attention! My husband has been to MC but I have not and he has been pleading with me to go. I finally agreed and we are very much looking forward to it. Any more tips you write about will be great appreciated! Will you be writing a piece for a magazine? Do tell! Susan
    SuddenlySusan’s most recent post: Dirty Birds

  7. I would love to go there…you make it look very beautiful and fun!

    Military members aren’t allowed to go to Mexico right now, because of fears of violence, though.
    Father Muskrat’s most recent post: the rise and fall of lola the muskrat

  8. Sharon H. says:

    Yes! YES…! I have been to Cozumel, to Cancun, to tiny Sabinas (in northern Mexico), to touristy Matamoros…I have wanted and wanted to go to Mexico City. When I watch Rick Bayless in los barrios…in la ciudad historica…I need to be there! I need an adventure! I need to use my rudimentary espanol!

    It was for this very reason that I took my two 20-something daughters to Buenos Aires four years ago. We used up the remaining airmiles (leftovers from a sad divorce) and went – just the three of us, and we had ourselves a week of adventures, stories, and memories to look back on for a lifetime.

    If you need a farther-flung adventure, and want to go to BsAs, pick me, pick me; I’ll guide you :-)
    Because of the civil war several years back, Argentina is still getting back to “normal” and prices are very affordable.

    I just found your blog – I love your challenges to live outside the box and be bold and brave…I’m still trying to get there :-)

  9. I had a great time in Mexico City! It was great meeting you. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Shannon (The Mommy-Files)’s most recent post: Getting Ready to Travel with Family? Check Out MiniTime + Twitter Party 6/6

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