Iced Tea

Since I started working from home, and especially since some somewhat extensive recent travel to the U.S., my diet has come full-circle to American traditional foods. For the first time since I can remember, possibly for the first time ever in my life, I bought deli meats, for the purpose of making sandwiches, not European cold-cuts for a smorgasboard, and I have been making all kinds of salads– garden salads, caesar salads, kale salads, egg salads, potato salads, pasta salads, even chicken salads.

A lot of this is practicality. It’s stuff I can prepare in advance and have sitting in the fridge that doesn’t need to be heated up, and it’s fresh and healthy. But today, I realized I’ve also gotten into the habit of boiling water for tea in the morning, and then letting it sit and cool, so that I have a pitcher of iced tea with me all day. That there is not just about convenience.

I tie it to something I blurted out when I was in a stupid spat with my little sister, on a recent family vacation in Monterey, California. She was asking me if I know about some Mexican folklorical figure or another (she lived in Guadalajara briefly, studying medical Spanish at UDG, and also visited Morelos on a college trip about ten years ago). I don’t, but my response then and there crystalized some kind of nebulous thought that had been floating around my head since I moved to Mexico nearly five years ago: “Look, I immigrated as an adult. I’m as assimilated as I’ll get. I have more important things to do, like work.”

I was kind of surprised to hear myself say it, but I think it’s pretty much true. Aside from the old thing about people never losing their home country, I’m also of the mind that the US and Mexico are already really similar culturally, and we share so much history. As a gringa here I already feel like I have a place in Mexican society, without becoming more Mexican.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate that folklore is interesting, and probably one day I will run across some knowledge of it, but I’m not about to make a discipline out of taking in stuff like that. Not when there are so many other Mexican things in my alrededores like señoras and baptisms and tamales and high-interest rate credit cards that already have a practical effect on my life.

Water Bill

I have been working a lot with a company in the water sector in Mexico, and I have attended several conferences on the subject. Throughout last year the buzz was they’re going to start charging by water usage rather than flat rates. Everything agrees that water should be paid for, considering it’s not only valuable to have but also it costs a lot to deliver in potable form.

Here in Mexico City we pay for water by the bimestre, or two-month period. Typically my apartment paid what everyone else in my building, and perhaps my zone, paid, 290 pesos per billing period. That’s like 12 dollars per month. The bill always broke down what actual usage was and then applied a subsidy to it, amounting to the 290.

Now I’ve just seen a bill reflecting the new pricing scheme (which, as far as I can tell, has been either relatively or absolutely unannounced…) For a home that is smaller than mine with fewer people and less daytime occupancy, the Secretaría del Agua de la Ciudad de México wants 790 pesos for a bimestre. Mathing that: 35-40 dollars per month, or a jump of 300 percent over my own bills. Meaning when my apartment’s bill comes we may even expect a higher amount due.

Another determiner in the previous scheme had been that different neighborhoods receive different subsidies, so while the bill I saw no longer had any subsidy applied, perhaps mine will?

Not sure. At any rate, this is the way things go down here. If you want to begin to understand stuff like why interest rates are so high, it’s because instability increases risk.

I’m not saying that I think it’s bad for Mexico to pay first world prices for water if that means in a reasonable span of time water will also be first world-ish. I am mainly surprised that the government can just jack up water tariffs like this with no warning.