There are lots of things to love when visiting another country - and even more when you have the opportunity to live there. But there are also a lot of things that you don't love. In fact, there are some things that you downright loathe. A lot.
Love - Exposure
To another culture, another language. For our kids, for ourselves, even for our friends and family who are getting to hear about our experience here. There is no substitute for the amount of Spanish Rory and Jinora are learning and the friends from other cultures they are making and the sights that they are seeing - for us as well.
Don't - Accessibility
We are spoiled in the USA. We can pick up just about anything at any store within 50 miles - and even if you can't? Amazon will ship it to your house. Oh Prime, how I miss thee. We live in a big city with access to a lot of things, but it doesn't take a lot of looking for you to be reminded that access here in Mexico, especially in Oaxaca, looks a lot different (more on this later from Marko)...
Love - Time
Because of the way we have chosen to live/work, we get to spend a lot of time as a family. Sometimes this is really difficult because work and regular life get mixed up a lot and when we fall behind with work? That sometimes means a long day for the kiddos of having solo time. It also means that Marko and I sometimes don't get a lot of time together. But more often than not, when we are being productive and good about time management, it means that we have a lot of time to play with our kids, to snuggle down and watch movies, to go on adventures, to help Rory do school, to encourage Jinora to walk, etc.
Don't - Manifestaciones
Oaxaca is pretty famous for it's constant blockades and protests. And this, the year we have arrived, has been particularly terrible for those kinds of things. While we never feel unsafe, it is an annoyance. Blockades around the gasoline distrubution plant so that everyone has to drive 45 minutes outside of town and wait 2+ hours to get a single tank of gas, blockades across major roadways, blockades and protests around the city center... it's a little tiresome.
Love - Weather
It's sunny and warm almost every day. And the lightning is unbelievably beautiful. The rain comes in deluges. There are so many beautiful plants and fruit trees lining most of the streets. I love getting my freckles on.
Don't - Weather
But it's also Summer. In the desert. It is often hot. Very hot. And only your car and the mall have air conditioning. Maybe. And after it rains the humidity spikes unbelievably. With the smog, heat, and humidity? It is like living with an unkempt dragon for a roomie sometimes.
Love - the People
So much color and vibrancy! They are so full of life and kindness. The indigenous roots run deep in Oaxaca, which shows through in every little detail of the people here. There is such generosity and a hard working spirit. We are constantly impressed with their devotion to work and family. Hospitality is hugely important and you will want for almost nothing once invited into someone's home.
Don't - the Closed Off Culture
Almost nothing - except intimacy. Being an indigenous people group has it's drawbacks too. They don't mix much with people outside of their own families. Which definitely means us. Playdates with Oaxacan kiddos is not a thing. And while Rory sometimes has the opportunity to play chase with the other kids who live in our apartment complex, it is very brief.
This list could go on, but these are probably the biggest things for us at this point in time. Living anywhere has it's ups and downs. For us, we are just grateful to have the opportunity to be able to live in more than one location and experience more than one set of those ups and downs!