There is no other country like Mexico!

FB_IMG_1588435083148Como México no hay dos!

I grew up listening this, and Mexicans really buy it. However for me it was a different story as my father always said: and there is no other like France, Greece, Russia, etc.(with a sarcastic humor).

WHAT are you doing with Mexican toys displayed at your Japanese cultural station? I asked my Japanese coworkers. They looked at me and reply: What are you talking about, these toys are Japanese!! I googled Mexican toys and show them the pictures (spinning top, cup & ball, etc.), they were shocked. And we debated of who was the creator haha.

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Mexicans believe that many things exist only in Mexico like Flor de Xempazuchitl that is a “traditional” flower used for our DAY OF DEAD. And how amazed I was when I arrived in Bali, Indonesia and this flower was everywhere (literally since the toilet at the airport before crossing immigration LOL). In Bali it is called gumitir flower and it is use for the “offerings” to the spirits & gods , which is very interesting for the “similarity” of use we give to it.

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On my last dinner before leaving Bali, after spending 2 years there. My team took me to eat “tamales” but they call them “buras” (sort of salty or sweety cake)once again my jaw dropped. And yes if you look for it, it’s wrapped in banana leaf, it look exactly the same like in Mexico and it says it is originally from Indonesia if you google buras. By the way they also eat this in India and Philippines, etc.

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At this point my Mexican world was falling apart, it felts like someone was shaving my mustache and stealing my horse, just kidding. I was fascinated to find the “same flowers, food, toys” in other countries on the other side of the world, and not only that, but it was also considered part of their culture. WOW!

What about “aguas mexicanas” (Mexican flavored water) all my life I thought that to drink a delicious “Agua de Jamaica” (Rosella ice tea) was only possible in Mexico and probably USA because of the migration to that country. However,in 2016, after living 2 years in Thailand on my last day with my Thai team, we went to eat in a local restaurant some delicious Thai food and guess what…YES, Agua de Jamaica, with a name in Thai that I cannot remember. Now when  I actually google about it, the plant is natural from Africa, how AMAZING is that!

And vocabulary is another amazing thing, I just find so many similarities or even same words in languages as Japanese, Bahasa, Filipino, Sinhala, etc. and of course French, Italian, Portuguese as they have the same roots.

I love to teach people around the globe how similar we are and also how unique we are. My idea is to demonstrate how many things that we believe to be the owners of, or the “original” ones, in fact might exist somewhere else with slight variations or being exactly the same, and that my friends is WONDERFUL!

Knowing some History will of course help you to make the connection so when you discover that the word BREAD in Spanish it’s pronounced PAN and in Japanese as well, and in Portuguese, French, Sinhala and so on, and you do some research, you will find out that Portugal had their first affiliation with Japan in 1543 and Spain in 1549, for example and of course there will be words, traditions and food that are imposed or adapted.

Let’s get out of our shell thinking we have the best food, the most beautiful language or the original whatever. At the end “We are the world”, we are colors, food, languages,traditions that are linked to each other more than we realize.

What are your thoughts?

A Mercedes Benz & A Maid

The Mercedes Benz was at the entrance of my house. Your godparents are here!! my mum said.

Once per year I visit my parent´s home in Mexico. My godparents would come during this time or I would go to visit them as part of my holidays ritual.

We were all sitting at the living room, including Cristi “their maid” (horrible description I KNOW!) because she was part of the family and always go everywhere with them. But is she really part of the family or is it a nice way to say it? (Well, she has been living in the same house for about 15 years but she will never get an Alfa Romeo or BMW like my cousins). Suddenly the conversation end up being about I don’t know which family and their “cleaning lady” and how expensive it was becoming and that finally they will get health care by law, etc. I was sitting in the corner of the room thinking: This is just so…ridiculous? ironic? Or normal conversation? Which could be the word? Am I the only one thinking that while they talk, complain, compared rates and details about our cleaning saviors, one of them is sitting in the middle of us without a voice(because she will never say a word) and even if she say something, I doubt that my godfather will really listen. In my mind I was watching the scene in black & white like if it was a movie and everyone around Cristi was quite blurred.

I grew up in a flexible middle class family, I say flexible because sometimes we had no money and my mother will create dishes out of nowhere, and sometimes we were all on holidays renting a boat and private instructor for me to learn water ski, also I was taking lessons of everything: French, swimming, chess, rolling skating, classical guitar, electrical guitar, etc. We also had a “sirvienta” (maid); sometimes a permanent one living on the third floor of my house, sometimes when they missed their village, go on holidays there and never came back, we will get another one that will come twice per week to clean, sometimes we even had 2 so they also cook and do the washing, etc.

The one that we loved the most (as was coming to my house for about 12 years) was Rosa, we call her “señora Rosa” (Madame Rosa) as the word “sirvienta” sounds quite classist like “maid” . She was always very kind, and never forgot anyone´s birthday. We were always giving her the furniture we were changing in the house like, sofas, dinning sets, washing machine, stove, etc. Also I will always bring her something from my trips.

Laughing, singing and joking is part of my dad´s daily life (besides reading tons of books and newspapers) so he enjoyed Madame Rosa´s company and always practice the new jokes he learned on the tv or newspaper with her before using them on the weekend family gatherings, sometimes also he will explain her what was happening around the world.  He has a magical power when he speaks either by phone or in person, and will get things done for his convenience; he get discontinued books, special prices, etc. so he helped Rosas´s kids to get scholarships and special price in the English school as he convinced her of how important was this nowadays, and also encouraged her to force her kids to study until university. It was neither easy nor cheap but they made it.

When both kids got graduated and got good jobs I think we were as happy or more than our lovely señora Rosa. We felt like part of the accomplishment, If I remember well my father sent to the daughter flowers or extra money and also for the boy.

Doña Rosa was getting older and tired and our house was not shrinking so one day she announced she was not going to come anymore, my sister cried her a river! It was like losing her aunty. She continued to call us from time to time and in our birthdays, I believe that we didn’t return the calls.

Was she part of the family? I think so, perhaps in certain way. She had the keys of the house, ate the same food, we laughed together and felt part of her family successes, but when she left…she left.

 

A Mexican pirate & the floating mountains

10325575_10152834613080888_483446532607690834_nThis was like a scene from a pirate movie!, our wood boat approaching these floating mountains, raising it´s red sails through the fog, feeling the salty breeze on our faces and feeling small like ants in the middle of the ocean in Thailand, it was just stunning.

I was seriously expecting in any moment Jack Sparrow appearing from anywhere with his funny boots. The surface of the ocean was changing color and looked like sparkling water, soon the boat stopped and some people in kayaks appeared from nowhere inviting us to go in so we could continue our adventure.

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Let´s go!! my Korean friend and I jumped in and followed the instructions given. There is a particular way to get into a “secret bay”. The corrosion by the ocean created some spaces between the water and the rock and while in the kayak we needed to lay ours bodies to the right and left side or completely down to avoid being hit when passing under the floating mountains. Then after few seconds of darkness BOOM we were there, on the other side of the mountain in a secret bay of incredible beauty, with a blue sky and jade water and… with another  50 people in different kayaks, so… haha not very secret right?

 

Phuket has so many incredible spots but mostly crowded, we need to assimilate that while we get mad at the touristic spots being packed, we are part of the crowd so let’s enjoy our humanity.

We headed to James Bond island, called that way because of the movie filmed there, and guess what, it was also packed, mostly with Chinese tourist as Thailand is a popular destination for them. However this didn’t diminished the beauty of the place and the particularity of this big rock standing in the middle of the water as if god put it there strategically likes a tower on a chess mat.

Nature create beautiful things all around the planet, some discovered tons of years ago, some still awaiting or perhaps hiding, trying to remain untouched and magical.

I left this amazing place feeling like a pirate, adventuring myself in a land thousands of miles away from home, with strange languages that I cannot understand, trying exotic dishes and fulfilling my soul with adventure but always wanting to conquer more!

 

 

A killer, a dinosaur and a magic land

20181029_185437I knew he could kill me in a blink of an eye! But, I stayed there staring at him from behind a tree, I could see him moving slowly and I could also hear the noise coming out of his nose or mouth, I wasn’t sure…then I realized there were another 2 even closer to me. So dangerous!

The guide explained to us that the Komodo dragon can weigh up to 150 pounds and eat up to 80% of their own body weight in one sitting. Well, I guess this didn’t make me feel very safe, especially as our protection walking around the reserve was only one long stick with a Y shape.

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Some people believe they are “dragons” and some that they descend from dinosaurs but in fact they are biiiiig lizards “varanus komodoensis”. There was a theory saying that these islands had some effects in the bodies of animals and humans as this lizard is extremely big and they also found in Flores what they called the “hobbit cave” where bones, smaller than usual, from primitive humans were waiting to be revealed.

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Indonesia is a very interesting country with more than 17 000 Islands, and I booked a trip for 2 days and 1 night in a wooden boat that brought me to see the dragons in Rinca and Komodo Island. I need to say that it’s quite pricey, about 1 million rupees for the boat plus another 500k to enter the islands and snorkel that national park with no luxe except … Bingo! You have the luxury of feeling the wind on your face and see the tide and the funny shapes created by the current, you sleep under the stars floating in the middle of the ocean and the moon caress your skin, and yes next morning you see the sunrise from the boat while you navigate to reach Padar Island.

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What a dream, this country has it all! I also swam with mantas and I saw their dance under the water like giving us a private show, then we headed to the pink beach, which is not that pink but with some filters hit tons of likes on Instagram.

 

One of the good presents of this trip was to meet Lusia (yes, with S), a bubblish lady from Surabaya. She was doing her 1st solo trip at 34years old and as we had the same age and both studied the same plus she was very funny, we immediately clicked. She helped me to relax after being upset for the lack of punctuality of the company we were using for the trip. And she was trying to not be obvious taking me videos and photos in the boat as many Indonesians do to foreigners to post them on social media and get likes from other Indonesians…weird thing yes, but I got used to it after 2 years of living here. So when I saw her taking me a video, I posed for it and she laughed and said: how do you know? I laugh as well and replied: well, the camera is right in front of me!. She ended up telling me the story of her life with a couple of tears that made me feel like she was not that happy about her job and having some pressure to fit into the Indonesian society but she has quite a free soul which I loved.

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I’ll keep as well in my memory the moment when I was walking behind the komodo dragon (2m away) to pose for a picture – encouraged by the ranger – and the animal didn’t stop watching me for a second, also I will not forget how after “posing” for all my pictures he just slept and the next tourist that arrived after me couldn’t take any, perhaps he liked me (as a potential snack). Their skin looks like a snake one and the movement of their tongue as well, I cannot define the noise they do and I definitely don’t want to see them running towards me ever! (20km per hour)

What an adventure, Thank you life, Thank you Indonesia!

 

Amsterdam and my tiny socks

16422607_10154400095055888_8758513939919827222_oSnow?? – I exclaimed – and look down at my tiny socks and olive converse.

Of course! It is -3 but it seems that there is no snow today, still is going to be cold – The KLM flight attendant gave me a quick look and probably felt bad about my unprepared outfit.

In fact, I was prepared…at least my body’s upper part haha. I was traveling to Mexico for my yearly holidays after being 1 year between Thailand, Japan Malaysia and Bali working and my company bought me the longest trip ever, crossing the world.  I remember checking the weather online but probably I got confused between the 13°C In Mexico and the -3°C in Amsterdam.16003165_10154346023340888_5225664511900000040_n

Anyway, I had 7 hours of an stopover in Amsterdam and I was ready to discover the city, I put on my long sleeves shirt, my hoodie from Paris and a scarf from India, took the metro that makes 17 minutes to the central and wrongly or luckily came out from the backside that looks to the river. It was 8 in the morning and the pale sun started to come out behind the buildings and my happiness was rising together with it, feeling the cold wind in my face and smiling to life.

8:30am and this marihuana smell was everywhere, OMG really? At least you should eat some corn flakes with milk for breakfast. I remember that smoke marihuana is like buy a Coca Cola in this country but I am not interested in this type of souvenir…at least not now.

Amsterdam Is as beautiful as all the postcards you can find, the architecture and its reflections on the channels give to the city a “movie touch” where everything is perfect. I imagine me and my boyfriend riding our bicycles with the pale winter sunrays on our faces, laughing and singing…but first I need to find a boyfriend haha.15994887_10154347778460888_8135025271190524704_o

My legs and feet were freezing and my nose was as red as Rudolph the ranger so I did a quick stop for breakfast which was delicious and help me to warm myself up before continue my tour. I end up in front of the famous letters that says I love Amsterdam where of course I took many selfies. And there I was, standing in front of the museum that is dedicated to my favorite painter when I was a kid, I knew his life since I was about 5 years old, Vincent Van Gogh, always the geniuses are misunderstood.  Didn’t have enough time to get in but I did it on my way back from Mexico to Bali and I was the happiest girl on earth.

I forgot to tell you that I was traveling to Mexico to visit my parents and friends but without telling them so it was a surprise, I supposed to be there for Christmas but I couldn’t, therefore I was full of excitement and buying souvenirs everywhere.

I choose to be happy always and that makes every moment perfect!

Japan: Snowflakes, nudity and red foxes

FB_IMG_1508813372484A red fox!!!! I couldn’t believe it. We were driving on the roads covered by snow on our way to an onsen that was in the middle of the forest and Lydia was yelling: red fox, where are you? Come red fox!. I was in the back, in the darkness and in silence appreciating the nature’s shapes and shadows, last time I saw snow, it was in Canada 9 years before and just in the city. Suddenly it happened, a red fox jump into the road and we all got excited like kids in our car, whoever was driving diminished the speed as it seems it wanted to cross the road, but in fact the red fox was playing with us…or at least that’s what we assumed as it was running on the side of the car and then kind of in front guiding us until it finally left.

The onsen was still closed as it was end of November, so we came back few days later and we succeed, I stick my nose to the glass on the window on our way to this place as it was snowing and I also enjoy to see the naked trees covered by this white powder.

20171024_110808We pay in the onsen by putting a coin inside a machine, got in, got naked and proceed to take a shower sitting in a little plastic chair in front of a long mirror, side by side with other ladies taking shower, fortunately or unfortunately it was separated for boys and girls, so while washing properly all your body with the soap and shampoo provided I was trying to don’t look in the mirror the other ladies around me and also avoid to see my fat reflecting all those hamburgers and beers that I should not eat and the lack of gym hours. We entered to the suuuper hot water where another 2 Japanese old ladies were already there, in other situation I would be making jokes and laughing loud but it was Japan. I need to admit that was little bit embarrassing to be naked with some coworkers but I was trying to focus in the cultural experience, that was very quiet by the way.

We went to the outside area for what you need to do few steps in the snow and jump in the hot water as the temperature was about 10 and my only cover was my own skin. It was not snowing anymore but if I stand I could see the forest and all the trees covered by the snow as long as the light allowed me to see, it was purely amazing. I felt so alive and grateful to be there, sharing it with a girl from France and a girl from Japan, across the bamboos that separate us from the male onsen we can hear the boys voices so 1 guy from Morocco and another from France where enjoying this as well.

Few days later I was taking pictures outside of the resort when I started to hear some bustle in the back and when I look there was a red fox standing very close to the entrance surrounded by some people taking pictures, suddenly the red fox started walking towards me and I got super excited ready with my smartphone to take some pictures, and then for a second I got little bit scared as it was a wild animal, What if it attacks me? Then this beautiful animal just accelerated the pace and got lost among the trees not before I took few pictures to remember this forever.

Japan was welcoming me with so many treasures to make me wanting to stay there between snowflakes, nudity and red foxes.

Malaysia: rich life style

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Living like a rich girl without being one is fun of course! My job gives me some good advantages and also sometimes I just get lucky or maybe is because I try to have good relationships with everyone.

To wake up early is not one of my skills, all my friends know this, so when my boss and friend told me: I arrange to get the sail cruise for our day off to go to a little island and then we are invited by the General Manager of other resort to spend the day there sounded like an awesome idea until she said; let’s meet at 8am. WHAT?? 8 in the morning this means I need to wake up at… 7:40 haha because the boat was leaving almost in front of our rooms but still so early to wake up in a day that we suppose to rest.

“Let’s take advantage of the day and wake up early she said” Then I reply: well, why not we take the boat to see the sunrise then. HER EYES LIT UP– off course she said, that is such a great idea!! In my mind I was dying. Why did I say that? Anyway it was too late to back off…

Next morning a security guard was knocking in my room as I didn’t wake up on time and my friends were waiting for me at the beach, I grab my stuff and run (wearing my t-shirt inside out), it was super cloudy so there was no chance to see the sunrise at all but we had a private cruise and a funny Indonesian captain riding a boat in Malaysia with 4 girls: 1 French, 1 Chinese, 1 Malaysian and 1 Mexican…just amazing.

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WE had our breakfast with the wind blowing our hairs, big smiles, sleepy eyes and suddenly the sun hands caressed our bodies. The captain open the sails, play some music and we were enjoying life, being surprise by some big jelly fish in the ocean and taking pictures to save the memories that maybe one day our brain will forget.

To get to Snake Island we cross a small boat were a kid was fishing with his father and one thought crossed my mind; we were both early in our boats in the ocean with such a different purposes and realities…maybe if they didn’t catch anything they will have nothing to sell in the market to make money or maybe to feed their families while I was being pampered and feed without actually spending a penny.

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I love the shapes of this desert island, with a sand made of thousands of tiny shells and coral, massive rocks to climb and rest on top of them and snakes everywhere (just kidding). We had some time to relax before the captain dropped us in the other hotel were the staff was waiting for us at the beach, I felt like a Paris Hilton arriving in our private boat to the hotel. The GM and his staff give us a tour in the hotel in the buggy cars, had a drink with us with a wonderful view, we had lunch and he actually book a room for us but we couldn’t stay as next we were back to reality and need to work.

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To end up our day we went to the supermarket to buy some veggies and cheese to have dinner. Naomi the Chinese girl and Dee the Malaysian, cooked for us some typical food while my French friend offered us some cheese and champagne, of course, unfortunately I didn’t have Tequila or Guacamole to contribute with my Mexican heritage but I put some humor haha for our multicultural day off.

I went to bed feeling so blessed to be in contact with the nature, to be able to be in a boat for ourselves and enjoy the ocean, to see the beautiful scene with the fisherman, to stay in this island where I also feed the fish that came around me doing snorkel, visit the other wonderful hotel with very a kind staff and end up having this delicious homemade dinner with these people that I am glad to meet.

 

 

Sahoro; snow trekking, snowflake & happy ending

Another day, another adventure! We took the gondola and went all the way up to the mountain to go down by doing snow trekking. It was quite confusing for the security guys at the entrance as normally people will do either ski or snowboard but they let us go.. the problem was when we keep going up and up and I started to feel vertigo and once we came out of the gondola and I look down to the mountain I was full of fear.

Here I am, a Mexican girl without experience in snow trekking, on the top of the mountain and with vertigo what a great combination!…suddenly a snowflake settled on my arm, I was absolutely astonished as it looked exactly like in cartoons and I took a picture of it to never ever forget how perfect it was and that it might be a sign of nature saying that everything will be fine so I made my mind and started to walk all the way down from the mountain feeling its ethereal consistency and capturing the beauty of the snow with my poor 5mp smartphone.

I do need to say that I had a short rehearsal for my snow trekking experience couple of weeks before with a funny ending.

Let’s go out to walk on the snow and verify the area as we will open the resort soon! I was not exactly fit so she was in the front opening up the path for the virgin snow. Me, well…trying to manage to get her same pace, don’t fall down and take pictures at the same time. Believe it or not I perfectly managed all of this and before getting back to the hotel as it was lunch time I wanted to take the last picture because the wind was making the powder snow fly and with the sunlight was just magical, but right after I took the picture and try to walk the last steps down leading to the entrance next to the restaurant, my snowshoes got stocked one into another and like in a slow-motion shoot I was going down, first on my knees and then for a fraction of second standing like a crucified person as my hands were into the poles straps and …puff in a blink of an eye my face was in the snow!! Then with some help to remove my equipment I managed to get up and realize the full restaurant with the entire ski and snowboard instructors were stuck to the big glass wall looking at me, laughing hysterically and taking pictures. That night was the first training I need to deliver for all of them at the packed conference room… well, at least all of them know me by now, I said to myself.

That night my introduction for the training was: Good evening everyone, my name is Abi, I am from Mexico and YES it was me today the one that fell down in front of the restaurant, the whole room exploded into laughter including myself. We need to laugh about ourselves sometimes, it’s healthy.

I can say that this day I came face to face with the snow haha and I like it.

Snowtrekking- There is always a first time

Coming down from the mountain

Need a break

Bloody scary

Vertigo time

The picture I took before falling down

Landscapes with my guide

In love with the shadows

Japan; a dangerous Mexican landed!

12313970_10153324932600888_3130647259952545521_nI was stopped by customs at the airport! Of course I was the quota of the day; a Mexican girl (dangerous) living in Thailand (double dangerous) and coming for the 1st time to Japan, it must be something suspicious! Even if my passport was full of stamps from all over the world.

In fact I was going there to train the staff of one of the resorts from the company I work with, but well, there is always a 1st time to be stopped and I found it quite funny, one more story to keep. NO marihuana, NO tacos, NO… porn (well… not sure about my phone). Officers were super nice but with their poor English they didn’t arrive to understand everything that easily, anyway I didn’t stay there more than 10 or 15 minutes. An apology from the officers and then I came out to meet my Japanese friend that was waiting for me with an ironic smile knowing something went wrong.

Walking through the colorful ails full of what looked like hieroglyphics (Japanese Kanjis) I was feeling like a little girl in a candyland; food, drinks, bread, candies, basically the airport in Hokkaido Island was looking more like a supermarket for me. We stop to buy a “food box”, such a cute and smart way to bring some food into the train that we need to take to our destination. My friend put her phone (old one) in a little machine and in a blink of an eye she paid electronically…such a normal thing for her and super cool for me, especially as her phone was not a smart phone, but still smart LOL.

I was carrying quite a big luggage as temperatures were expected to be below 0°C and that would be a huge change for my body as I was living in Phuket, Thailand (around 30°C). The train was very proper and of course I was the only foreigner at that moment taking the train in Hokkaido Island and going to the ski resorts that were still closed, such an adventure for me. My eyes were trying to record everything as well as my ears, I was super excited… such a lucky girl…and I didn’t need to pay anything!!Well… I did with all my extra hours and no days off later on but that was nothing compare to what is one of these experiences in your life.

A lady with a little food cart was walking along the train selling food and beer, and of course as a Mexican girl who loves beer and knowing my Japanese friend also does, we bought our can to enjoy our 2 hours trip. When finally arrived to Shintoku station another 2 girls were waiting for us, we pass to the mini supermarket to get…of course, more beer! And snacks, OMG I was absolutely happy – a Japanese supermarket, and it’s me, I am here!! Hey parents look at this – I wished they were with me but they were at 10,616 km in Mexico.

It was getting dark when we arrive to our location in the mountains and the General Manager came out to welcome me together with the few staff working at the resort before the reopening that would be couple of weeks later, it was fantastic to see and feel a resort that is closed, no heating, just basic lights, reception and bar cover in blankets, empty vitrines at the boutique…WOW a perfect scene for a horror movie!

They took me to my room and OMG it was a traditional style one with a TATAMI! This particular smell was floating in my room, it was the tatami material, I wanted to lied down and roll over like a panda, and it has this small table with chairs that had no legs and slide doors covered by white kind of paper…of course I am giving you my description as a western that didn’t know anything about it…if some of you are reading this thinking how ignorant I am giving the descriptions, please forgive me.

I came down and walk to the small restaurant where we were meeting, walking through the dark and cold corridors with no more sound that my own steps and breathing was interesting still not scary. I was privileged to have the opportunity to see how does it looks a well-known resort when it is still closed and I was ready to rock my time in there. Be careful everyone, a dangerous Mexican is in Japan!

 

 

 

 

A crazy Mexican decides to write

I am a funnylicious girl who loves to travel the world so I am not sure I am Mexican anymore LOL. I am currently working and living in Asia and I love it; my heart already tastes like curry and my skin smells like Japanese Umeshu.

Photography, people, nature, details, laugh…I am thankful to be surrounded by all of this and I love to share my stories so even there is tons and tons of Blogs, finally I decided to listen to some of the people that asked me to write my stories, and here I am…let’s see how it goes.

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