Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Katy, Memo, y Los Padres

My parents made the trip from Morgan City, La to Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico to visit us! The last time Billy and I had seen them was our trip home in September, so needless to say, I was excited. This has been our longest uninterrupted time in Mexico, and although I know it's only been a few months, I was starting to miss my family. I didn't quite realize how much I missed them until they left yesterday. Once they left I started to get a little sentimental. We had such a great four days, rushing around the Yucatan. I never had a second to stop and soak in the moment. I guess this all goes back to the post reminding everyone to be thankful for their loved ones and to, as cliche as it sounds, tell them you love them every day. 

Mom and Dad,
I had a wonderful trip. Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedules to come see our new home. We really had a wonderful time from Tortugueros to Merida to Uxmal. We made memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for always being supportive of this adventure that life has chosen for us. I'm happy that even if just for a few days, you could experience it with us. I'm glad that you're home safely, and we will see you before you know it! 

Now that we've gotten the mushy stuff out of the way, let me tell you about our adventures. Thursday was a low key day. Anyone that has flown from Louisiana to Carmen knows that you have to wake up at the crack of dawn and are basically out of commission for the rest of the day. Friday we started the morning with a walk to the school where I volunteer. It was fun to show all of them my classroom and where I spend my days. It was Billy's first time seeing it all as well. Next, we headed to the fish market where we buy fresh seafood every Saturday. It is located downtown near the square with the unique yellow church. We ended the day at our happy place, Tortugueros. We relaxed by the waves and enjoyed the sunshine. Billy did pelican impersonations which was rather comical, and of course posed like he was in a Corona commercial. Family, sunshine, and quality time. What more could a girl want? 

Saturday we packed up the car and headed to Merida. It's a really neat drive along the coast for the first few hours. Merida, or the White City as it is commonly called, is a beautiful colonial city on the Yucatan. It's our halfway point to Cancun. This was our 3rd trip to Merida, but we had yet to see a crucifix that Monsignor Torres who married us had insisted that we see. It was fun to see it for the first time with my parents. The backstory of the cross (let's see if I can get this right) is that it was being made for a much bigger cathedral in Rio de Janeiro, but the Pope for one reason or another got mad at the cathedral in Brazil and sent it to Merida. The cross is almost too large for the space in the cathedral in Merida but stunning to see. The outside of the church is gorgeous as well. I prefer it at night when special lighting gives it a unique accent. After seeing the crucifix and walking around the square, we returned to our hotel via horse and carriage. How fun!

While in Merida, we stayed at Rosas y Xocolate. Rosas y Xocolate is a charming boutique hotel located on the main avenue, Paseo de Montejo, in Merida. The property was transformed from two old haciendas that were remodeled into a hotel and restaurant. Most of the hotel is pink and brown to keep with the theme rosas y xocolate. We were able to buy some delicious Mexican chocolate from the gift store downstairs. The property also had a nice gym, a tequila display, and a wine library. One cool feature of the suites was an outdoor bathtub complete with chocolate soap. I wouldn't advise eating it. :p Saturday night we went to dinner at the on site restaurant which was phenomenal. We don't get such delectable meals in Carmen, so we definitely indulged. After dinner, it was a no brainer to head upstairs to hear some live jazz music at their rooftop bar. We finished the night relaxing on our terrace overlooking Paseo de Montejo. 

Entry way to Rosas y Xocolate.
Wine display in the wine library.
Some of the yummiest chocolate I've ever tasted.
Billy and I being silly while my mom tries to take a nice picture.

Sunday after a wonderful breakfast, we ventured to the Mayan ruins named Uxmal (oosh-mal).  This was exciting for Billy and me because we had never been there before. The first structure that you see, The House of the Magician, is gigantic. I wanted so badly to climb it, but in the last few years they have roped it off. It is breathtaking to see in person. I didn't have high expectations because the only other ruins we have seen were much smaller. We spent hours climbing around the rest of the structures at Uxmal. We even climbed up another one nearly as tall as The House of the Magician. We stopped 2/3 of the way up to take a breath and gain our composure. It's such a rush when you're that high. Climbing down the structure was even more intimidating because it's so steep. It's especially cool to me to see the Mayan ruins because I studied the Mayan culture in a lot of my Spanish classes. It's fun to imagine what their lives were like. We finished the day with a late lunch on the property. We got a late start heading home, but Billy was a trooper and navigated us all the way home. 
Billy and I climbing one of the tallest structures.
My parents in front of the Governor's Palace.
Some of my favorite people.

Wearing our Mexico hats.
As you can see, it was an action packed weekend. To anyone that has the chance, I highly recommend seeing Uxmal. I am very fortunate that I get to spend my days climbing buildings from 500 B.C. and experiencing new cities with the people that I love the most. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Time for Thanks

The recent tragedy of Miles Liner losing his life because of a drunk driver has reminded a lot of people what is truly important in life. I'm sure a lot of my friends have been hugging their families a little tighter, being a little less selfish, and hopefully a lot more thankful for what God gives us every day. I know that the past few days Miles and Taylor are in the back of my mind. I've been thanking God each morning that I woke up that day, that Billy is by my side, and that we don't want for anything. We have family that loves us and supports us, friends that are there at a moment's notice, and too many blessings to count. To my friends and family in Berwick, you make me proud to be from a community that pulls together in such a sad time. To those that were close to Miles, keep celebrating his life by sharing all of your wonderful memories of him with others. To my friends and family, each and every one of you are special to me, and I love you. Please pray for the Liner family and those that were close to him. From what I've heard, he was a pretty remarkable guy. No need to wait until Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for today?


Thursday, October 11, 2012


I almost titled this blog Mexico Problems or Mexico ish, and I apologize if the title of this post offends anyone. The truth is, nothing quite explains these daily occurrences in Carmen like "Mexico Sh*t." This post is in jest and for your own amusement. I hope a few of our experiences help you to appreciate the little things in life... like brushing your teeth with water from the faucet.

Mexico Sh*t is when...

-The furniture company says your furniture will take only three weeks, and 10 weeks later you still don't have your couches or anything that resembles what you picked out in the catalog.

-A family of four is riding on one moped, without helmets, with an infant sandwiched between two of them. That's safe...

-Opening weekend of the NFL and tennis is playing on ESPN, soccer on every other channel.

-Trucks carrying propane play children's music as they drive through the streets as if they are ice cream trucks.

-Taxis charge you whatever they feel like charging at the moment AND pick up multiple people until their car is full. Hey, new friends!

-Two guys are riding on a motorcycle, hugging each other, while wearing tight pink shirts... and they are just friends.

-It conveniently rains when you have clothes hanging on the line, even though there wasn't a cloud in the sky 10 minutes ago.

-Billy is considered tall.

-Bikes, buses, mopeds, taxis, and pedestrians cut you off while driving. You soon learn to drive like a bat out of hell, driving halfway into a lane hoping the other person stops before they hit you. These driving habits stay with you when you return to the US.

-You run out of water and/or gas so you can't cook or take a hot shower. Wait, you can run out of water? Yep.

-You can't fill your bath tub with more than 4 inches of water. *Refer to above statement.

-You stop at a red light and a guy washes your window even though you told him not to... and you have to pay him.

-Driving 90km/h and then slamming on the break every 100 yards for a speed bump. Tope!

-Mothers and grandmothers sporting stilettos and super tight jeans, even to the grocery store, always making me feel underdressed. Hey, I want to be that sexy!

-There are no stop signs, only arrows painted on buildings in either red or black to let you know who has the right away. Good luck finding the little arrow, in the middle of graffitti-like ads, going 100km/h, as you approach the intersection.

-You justify drinking a beer because you're scared of the water. Alcohol kills germs, right?

-You are five minutes early for appointments, and the person you're meeting is hours late... if he/she shows up at all. This includes set times for deliveries, services for the house, etc. All in the name of island time.

As you can see, life is far from dull in Ciudad del Carmen. Billy and I are really enjoying experiencing a new culture and meeting plenty of new friends. We currently don't have any trips planned back to the US until Christmas. The next few months will give us time to really dig into living abroad and settle down into our new life.  The most important thing is that regardless of all of the "Mexico Sh*t" we are having the time of our lives. I can safely say that we have a newfound appreciation for the little things. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a very shallow bubble bath. :p

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is… or is it where the dogs are?

Hanging out in the backyard.
Life as a housewife has commenced. So far, so good!  I haven’t caught the house on fire, and I’ve managed to have lunch/dinner ready when the moneymaker gets home. Those are the requirements, right? It also turns out that with all of the time in the day and not a lot of things to do, I can actually keep a clean house. Who would have thought? Billy has been enjoying his short commute from La Casa Roja (5-10 minutes) and two hour lunch breaks. Life is simple. Life is good.
Billy and I in Cancun
Last Monday-Friday we were in Cancun. It’s an eight hour drive from Ciudad del Carmen. Katy and Memo driving across the Yucatan= awesome! We stayed at the beautiful Fiesta Americana Condesa All-Inclusive Resort. We met some new friends at the pool and hung out with them most of our stay. As some of you probably know, the water in Cancun is beyond gorgeous. It may have been prettier than the water in Antigua; it glowed. We spent our days swimming in the ocean or drinking in the pool and going to dinner at night at the several restaurants on the resort. Billy was also sweet enough to plan a couple’s massage for us on the beach! It was a wonderful few days in paradise, but we were happy to return home with our pups.
The dogs in Cancun at our hotel.
We brought Jake and Mancha home last Friday from Cancun. My generous parents have been keeping them in the US until we settled into our home in Carmen. The dogs flew from Houston to Cancun, where we picked them up to bring them home. The moment we pulled up to La Casa Roja, the dogs LOVED it. It seemed like they knew that we were home. Jake and Mancha ran through every room in the house with what Billy and I swore were smiles on their faces and tails wagging.
My happy place.
Our landlord, Vicky, showed up Saturday morning to bring over some tools for us to use. She asked if Billy knew how to use them, and I giggled. Verdict is still out on that one, haha jk. She also surprised us with a beautiful hammock. I am in LOVE with this hammock. There is something about the bright colors and the character it adds to our backyard. My Mexican home is complete! She told me I could only use it on Saturdays and Sundays. Apparently she doesn’t know my agenda these days. :p

How could you not love this sweet pup?

Billy and I were apprehensive of how Vicky would feel about two pups in her precious backyard/house. With all of our apprehension, not 5 minutes into her visit and 12 hours after the dogs arrived, the owner stepped in DOG POO while hanging up our surprise hammock. DOG POO! I couldn’t believe my eyes. How in the world did she even manage to step in it when both she and the dogs had barely spent any time in the backyard? She was a good sport about it, while I watched, mortified, from the kitchen window. Billy and I had a good laugh about it once it was over. Needless to say, I guess I'll be trying to teach the dogs how to pick up their own mess in my spare time :p.
I’ve always enjoyed the saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I don’t think either of us planned on living in Ciudad del Carmen, but it has been a heck of a way to start our life together. We really love our house in Carmen and can’t wait for all of you to see it in person. We've been getting to know the city so that we can be great tour guides for all of you! We are coming back to Louisiana in September for a visit. We hope to see all of our friends and family… and maybe a little LSU football J. Geaux Tigers!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Real Casa de Landreneau

The interesting and challenging journey of finding our Mexican house began in early May, the week before our wedding. We flew down to Ciudad del Carmen to check out the city to see if we could see ourselves living there. We found a house on that trip and returned home to get married. When we returned from our honeymoon, we were greeted with disappointment. The house that we liked fell through after a few weeks of negotiating. We optimistically thought , “Oh well, we have time.”
On our second trip in the middle of June, we found La Casa Roja after we looked at 15-20 places. Defeated and frustrated, our eyes lit up when we saw its modern, fun exterior with the splash of red color. We immediately asked our realtor if he could show us the inside of “the red house” and that’s how it became La Casa Roja. We instantly fell in love with La Casa Roja and told the realtor, “We will take it!” Apparently that’s not how things work in Mexico. :P
After living in a hotel for a month during negotiations, (getting fat off of Chili’s) we were handed the keys to La Casa Roja on Thursday night. Through the pain and torture of trying to finalize the lease, we could not be more excited to say “We have our Mexican HOME!” It’s the real Casa de Landreneau.
I would venture to say we looked at at least 30 homes in our trips to Carmen. La Casa Roja is absolutely our favorite one, and this process has made me appreciate it so much. If someone just gave us this house, we would never know how special it is. We hope that you love our home as much as we do and that you come to visit soon!

Entry way once you enter the garage

The ride!

Front door inside the house

Our living room/guest bathroom/stairway

Dining room/entry way to kitchen

One of my faves, the dining room wall

Kitchen where I'll work my magic :)

Our bathtub, unheard of in Carmen.

Back patio where I foresee grilling and chilling

Backyard with our very own palm tree :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Life is what you make it!

This weekend was our first weekend staying in Carmen. We knew that we wanted to explore the beach and find a spot to go when people come to visit. We woke up Saturday morning and headed down the island to where a few people had told us were the best beaches. Apparently there was a miscommunication, because after going down a shady, dirt road and being the only people in this eerie place, we decided to get the hell out of dodge and continue our search. We tried one other place on the side of the highway. It was a beautiful beach, but a little too quiet. After an hour we were on the road again.

Our first thought was to get a margarita at a restaurant we had passed on the way called Los Tortugueros. When we pulled down the road for Los Tortugueros, we expected it to just be a restaurant. Boy, were we surprised! We found the perfect place to spend our weekends! Immediately, our waiter brought us the most delicious margaritas, and we sat in the shade admiring the view of the beach. It had some of the prettiest views we had seen all day. Music was playing and families were visiting. It was just a great place to relax. You could take your margaritas and stroll down the beach with no worry of if you’d pay your bill or bring the margarita glasses back. We went for a swim in the gulf and found some gorgeous seashells and even a few hermit crabs. They served us the BEST ceviche either of us has had... huge, fresh shrimp with the refreshing combination of lime, cilantro, and tomatoes that makes me wish I could eat it every day.

The fun didn’t end there. At around 2:30, I asked for the bill, and the waiter told me something about  sea turtles in Spanish. I thought he was saying that sea turtles come to nest or something. One thing was clear, he was very insistent that we should stay until 6pm for this event. We passed the time with swimming, walks on the beach, and more drinks. When it was near 7pm, a guy came out with a speaker phone and announced that we should all follow him to the edge of the beach. On the way, we overheard some people speaking English, and after a few margaritas, we didn’t hesitate to say hi. These new friends explained that we were actually going to release baby sea turtles into the wild. The turtles hatch from mid-July to August and once a week for a few weeks, Los Tortugueros hosts the release of the turtles into the wild. I immediately became a giddy child haha. They passed the turtles out to children first, and I silently hoped they’d mistake me for a kid, no dice. Next women got their turn to get a baby sea turtle. They were SO cute. One of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. For those of you who haven’t seen the video on facebook, the announcer counted to three, and the turtles raced to the water. Mine was almost the last turtle into the water, but it was so exhilarating to watch. Made. My. Day!
As soon as the turtles hit the water, the heavens opened up, and it began to pour down raining. We rushed with our new friends under a hut to take cover. After about 5 minutes of talking to them, we somehow found ourselves invited to ride on their boat with them on Sunday to see the blessing of the fleet for a Carmen festival. How LUCKY!!! We ended the day with a new place to take our friends and family when they visit, and more importantly, new Carmen friends!

Sunday we woke up early, bought/packed an ice chest for our adventure, and headed to the marina. It was our first time in the marina which doesn’t seem to belong in Carmen. The boats are huge and the area itself is beautiful. I even saw a peacock walking around. We met about 20 more expat friends who were so welcoming and almost all from the South. We spent the day riding up and down the bay. I seriously think every person in Carmen who owns a boat came out that day. They had festive balloons decorating their boats. The big crew boat with the Virgin of Carmen came out of the port, and the crowd cheered. Onlookers that didn’t have boats crowded the shore. It was really, really cool. I think we were in awe most of the time. Growing up in South Louisiana, being on a boat makes me feel at home. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face.

Some boats at the marina.

One of the boats with our new, expat friends

Virgen Carmen on the back of the crew boat.


The bigger birds in this picture are Brown Pelicans.

After the blessing of the fleet and boat parade, we headed to a “beach” which really reminded me of Lake Bash. Boats tied to each other and people crowded the water. The difference was we could see the bottom of this water. We hung out all day with our new expat friends and got a little too much sun. We all agreed that we love to cook/eat, and we have dinner parties in the works for when we move into our house. Overall, it was the perfect day and the perfect weekend.  

Billy and George

This weekend was a huge blessing. How wonderful to find a fun place that we can go on warm days in Carmen. It's also exciting that we made new friends.  I really wondered before we moved here how I’d feel about our first trip back to the States. With how much I missed home when I was in Spain, I figured I’d be itching to come home. I guess the difference is having my best friend here with me. Billy and I talked about how life is what you make it. We could have been miserable here, but we continue to venture out and try new things every day. The reward is living a very adventurous life in Carmen. We are having the best time and feel so blessed. I think we agree that it didn’t take long for us to make new friends, and we are fortunate for that. So, don’t worry about us. We are doing just fine J.

Happy birthday to my dad! Love you Daddy! See you soon :)