Worldschooling in Mexico City: Our First Week

Hola from Mexico City! It’s been about a week since we started our worldschooling adventure here in the Distrito Federal (which Mexicans just refer to as “the DF”), and I’m happy to report that we’re having a great time! Thanks for bearing with me as the blog has been a bit quiet these past few weeks--packing up and preparing for this trip required some serious leg work from me!

 Here's what it takes to get a family of four to Mexico City (for a month): three suitcases, one hiking backpack, two carry-on backpacks, one stroller, one car seat, one baby carrier, one booster seat, and one Pack-N-Play. Whew! 

Here's what it takes to get a family of four to Mexico City (for a month): three suitcases, one hiking backpack, two carry-on backpacks, one stroller, one car seat, one baby carrier, one booster seat, and one Pack-N-Play. Whew! 

The journey here went as well as could be expected when traveling with a preschooler and toddler. I had packed for our trip very intentionally, and had many activities and snacks to entertain the kids during our 14-hour travel day. Those were mostly a hit, though I will say that my painstakingly assembled busy bags were rejected by the toddler, who threw them over his seat at the passengers behind us. With the busy bags a flop, we had to scramble to find something else to entertain him. Luckily, he enjoyed using the camera app on my phone, and happily spent our flight time taking 1304 pictures of his own forehead (true story). 

The week since we’ve arrived has been a whirlwind of activity, and it has been so exciting to experience Mexico through my children’s eyes. We’ve visited the Castillo de Chapultepec—the only royal castle in the Americas—the Mexico City zoo, the colonial village of Coyoacán, the National Museum of Anthropology and have spent a lot of time enjoying various parks and bookstores in our neighborhood. 

 Here we are on the balcony of the Castillo de Chapultepec-- muchísimas gracias  to the woman who took many, many photos until we had one where everyone was looking at the camera (even if one is being a moose and the other is sucking his thumb). 

Here we are on the balcony of the Castillo de Chapultepec--muchísimas gracias to the woman who took many, many photos until we had one where everyone was looking at the camera (even if one is being a moose and the other is sucking his thumb). 

One of the best things about traveling with kids is that literally every experience—even the most mundane ones—is a learning opportunity, if you can ask the right questions. Even going to the bathroom (here, the toilet paper goes in a wastebasket instead of the toilet) can spark an interesting conversation about urban planning and economic resource distribution! And if you have a four-year-old boy traveling with you, you better believe that toilet habits are a topic of great interest! 

As I’ve also learned, sometimes kids latch onto things that you’re not expecting them to be interested in. My older son, for example, has been really taken with Mexico’s culture of street vendors, who hawk everything from food to souvenirs to household items. His fascination with them has led to a whole bunch of discussions, from food culture (why street vendors sell different foods at different times of day) to budgeting (why Daddy and I are not going to buy every balloon that is for sale) to marketing (why street vendors yell out their products and prices at passersby). On our third day here, Xavi even tried to start his own “business” selling seeds that he found on the ground—imitating the street vendors as best he could—but sadly, there were no takers. 

In case you need a video of that, here you go: 

He eventually dropped the price to zero pesos, but even then, nobody wanted the seeds. I guess he's in good company, I mean, after all, only 10 percent of start-ups are actually successful.

And of course, I’m learning—or re-learning, as the case may be—some things as well. One thing in particular that I have been reminded of on this trip is how truly convenient my life in America is. In the future, when I start to feel overwhelmed by housework, I’m just going to remember how much more work it is to care for a family here without access to the resources and conveniences that I have in the U.S. From the small things—like having to purify our drinking water every night—to the bigger things—like not having a freezer, car, or dishwasher—I have been struck by how easy my life in America is. I don’t even have to leave my house to get things we need delivered quickly and safely—thank you, Amazon Prime! While a more efficient life is not necessarily a better one, I do expect to return to the U.S. more grateful for those everyday blessings that I can sometimes be tempted to think of as a burden. Instead of grumbling about having to unload the dishwasher, I’ll get to say, “Hey! I love modern technology that washes and dries my dishes so that I don’t have to do it myself!” 

That, in a nutshell, has been our first week of worldschooling in Mexico. I’ll keep you updated as we continue this adventure!