Apparently culpabilidad is the Spanish word for “guilt.” I had to look it up on Google Translate so I have no idea if that’s accurate. But basically, it’s my first day in Mexico City and I’m feeling really guilty for not being able to speak the language here.

This isn’t a problem I had in Asia, probably because no one ever expected me to speak Vietnamese or Cantonese or Khmer. But here today, everyone I’ve interacted with has started speaking to me in Spanish and I have to sheepishly admit that yo hablo ingl├ęs only. I’ve been following that immediately with “But I’m going to learn in January!” I kind of wish I had just arrived after the holidays so I could jump right into classes and start learning. I also kind of wish I had studied Spanish in high school and college instead of French. I know it’s crazy, but French doesn’t come in too handy living in California. Who knew?

On the plus side, I didn’t have too much trouble figuring out the metro and finding my hostel in Colonia Roma. It seems like a nice area, but I only had a few hours of daylight to stroll around when I arrived. It will be nice to explore tomorrow. I also need to figure out a plan for how to kill time until the first week of January when I start school in Puebla. I’m thinking I will get to Puebla early to get to know the city on my own a bit. I already booked a hostel for two weeks before classes start just to make sure I’d have a bed for Christmas. I still have some time before then and I’m not sure I’ll want to stay in Mexico City for all of it. Time to research!

My main accomplishment today was finding a cute restaurant in my neighborhood, drinking a Corona and eating guacamole con queso fresco. I can’t speak Spanish (yet), but I already nailed consuming Mexican food.


The LAyover


I sort of lied by omission—I left Asia and am headed to Mexico but I slipped in a weeklong layover in Los Angeles. I had an LAyover! I wanted to surprise my best friend Jenna but that wound up being spoiled by a third party. No matter! We were still crazy excited to see each other.

I stayed with her husband Mikey’s family which was a lot of fun. If I couldn’t be with my own family, at least I could be with someone else’s. I realized I hadn’t been in a house where people live since I’d left home!

One Thing a Day in Singapore

I basically had four full days in Singapore. Since it’s such a small city-state, I figured I’d be able to do and see a lot in a short period of time. I didn’t count on being so exhausted and my hostel being in an area where you have to walk at least 15 minutes to get anywhere interesting. No lie: our next door neighbor was a casket store. I’m not complaining about the place, though. It’s called Little Red Dot and it has cozy capsule beds as well as the fastest WiFi I’ve had anywhere. Ever. It was so tempting to cocoon myself in my pod and watch YouTube all the livelong day.

As a compromise, I let myself spend plenty of quality time in bed with my laptop but I had to do one interesting thing outside the pod each day. Here’s what I did.


Thanksgiving on the Road

I’m not big on Thanksgiving in the sense that it’s celebrating an event in American history that’s not really worthy of the reverence. I also think turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are overrated. Pumpkin pie is gross THERE I SAID IT. I do, however, miss my family (and the fresh Dungeness crab we have as an appetizer every year). So today was a little strange. I had Thanksgiving dinner buffet-style at an infamous bar in Kuta called Skygarden. Lil John performed there last night! Yeah? Yeah.

At least I was able to meet up with the Alexes, those nice boys from Minnesota I met during my first stay at the Big Pineapple in Sanur. Our little American feast was rather pathetic but the company was good. And it never hurts to take a moment to remember all the things you’re thankful for. Here are a few travel-specific things…