From my friend Isaiah, who is from the US.
- How long were you in Puebla?
I was in Puebla from February 2006 to August 2006 and have returned to visit a couple of times (2007 and 2009, I believe).
- Why did you decide to move here?
A friend of mine—a certain blog proprietress—were hanging out at our alma mater while I was visiting and she mentioned she was moving to Mexico. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with my job at the time and basically figured “Why not?” I was young and inclined to foreign travel, wanted to improve my Spanish, and have always loved Latin America, so it just made sense to jump on this opportunity.
- What are you doing now?
I live and work in New York City, providing sustenance and lodging through job-related payments for my wife and child.
- What did you find difficult about living here?
There were a lot of things that were annoying or hard to adjust to, like public transportation’s nonexistence or general differences in cultural values (especially since Puebla is fairly conservative and I was—and am—fairly liberal), but it wasn’t particularly difficult. At least “difficult” isn’t the right word. As I mentioned, I was young and rather flexible. I didn’t have a significant other, didn’t have anyone but myself to provide for, and I was interested in seeing and learning about Mexico, so it was mainly easy to exist. Certainly being an adult in a foreign country is difficult from a social perspective unless you have a particular in with a variety of groups (this is true where ever your home country is as well, of course, but at least in that instance you are fully communicative in your native language and probably have some family or friends somewhere that are able to provide a level of support that may not be available abroad), but it was a pretty care-free time for me given my particular situation. If I were to narrow it down to one particular thing that annoyed me the most, I’d say that it was the constant lateness of nearly everyone for every occasion. That, I understand, is cultural and personal, but it definitely drove me batty!
- What do you really like about it?
Well, the food is pretty extraordinary, but I think I just liked it for being itself. It was different, it was new, it was constantly showing me things I didn’t understand or didn’t know about and that was fascinating. I’m assuming that would have worn off if I’d stayed for longer, but I was only there for 6 months, so it remained capable of surprising me throughout my stay.
- What advice would you give to someone wanting to move here?
If you’re fair-skinned, take a lot of sunscreen!
- Favorite food here?
Quesadillas con chorizo. Mmmm. They were good just about everywhere, but I particularly liked the ones from the woman near the craft stalls in the center of town. They were delicious, if never quite as big as the ones you found farther from the zocalo.
- Favorite drink?
Non-alcoholic: ice cold horchata on a burning hot day.
Alcoholic: Palomas (tequila and grapefruit soda)
- Favorite activity?
I’m not even sure. I was there during World Cup 2006, so I was pretty into that, but for regular occurrences, I guess going to see the variety of things around town, like the mini volcano or Chelula’s pyramid, was pretty fun. Traveling up to the forts was interesting, if somewhat overgrown and strange if no one else was around. [Note: The Fuertes have been rennovated since Isaiah was here, and are no longer overgrown or rundown. The area now features wooden walkways, scenic overlooks, an artificial lake, and even colored lights that pulse inside the fountains].
- Favorite place?
The Zocalo. Shade and people watching is an amazing thing. I spent a lot of time there given the whole “everyone is late” thing…
- Favorite holiday?
I visited for El Grito once and that was pretty fun given the downtown festival and the general party atmosphere. I’ll go with that, though the Cinco de Mayo festival was pretty neat too.