How different is my life when I WFH in Mexico?

For the last month I have done WFH in two different places: Redmond, WA in the USA and Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico.
To start let me introduce my self
I am Jesus Alejandro de la Rosa Escobedo better known as Alex and I am a Devops/Site Reliablility/Operations/Infrastructure/Cloud/Security engineer (click on my Linkedin)
Originally from Mexico, I currently live in Redmond, WA with my 2 kids and wife and enjoy very much what I do at work as well my life out side of it.
Given the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic I had to work from home in Redmond for a couple of weeks Don’t get me wrong, I often work from home (sometimes too much) but this time is different.
Kids are at home and they have a lot of free time. Again, don’t get me wrong I love to be at home with them but sometimes I get to work long hours due the fact that I spend time with them while they are awake. So far so good, I still I get to do a lot of stuff.
We decided to travel to our home town in Chihuahua, Mexico (I know I am missing an accent), given the kids were out of school and it was still safe to travel. Is not an easy trip, but is not “impossible” like my friends that travel to India.
We have to get into El Paso, TX, then family pick us up and drive us to our Mexico home in a 4-5 hours long drive, which means it takes almost the whole day to get here.
In exchange of that only pay 1/4 the price of traveling directly to Mexico.

It was the logical move as we wanted to be early with the family for a Wedding happening in April which of course is now cancelled.
I started to realize how different my life was before moving to the US.
Corner store concept:This happens in the US in the shape of 7 elevens and some real old style markets, but in Mexico is very common to the point where you can walk almost from almost house in the city to a corner store or OXXO (Mexican 7eleven’s) . That line made me fat when I wrote it.

The corner store is really convenient but also it can be a problem:
I really relate both and I have been eating more than usual. I am up 3 kilos!
Here are the stores near my “suegros” (parents in law).
Corner stores:


Snacks and food at home:

In the office I get a lot of different stuff! Healthy food most of it and even at home, my wife gets a lot of healthy food. She still does in here, but the corner store gets me the munchies and I say goodbye to the healthy lifestyle.

Food is cheap in here, you can feed a full party of 80 with around $150 bucks including the tip to the waiters. Add another $50 for “las coquitas” (Coke).
Ordered 2 large pizzas for $10, a Torta which is a Sandwich in this case of Shawarma with Adobo is around $3.50, 10 tacos for $2.5 and so on. I can get fat and fatter real soon in here.
Office space:

We are 8 at a small 3 bedroom home and believe me, it is crowded.
I guess what I miss the most is my office space at Redmond:
-LG Ultrawide monitor
-Samsung 27 inches monitor
-Gaming chair
-Belkin laptop stand
-i7 Desktop with some home lab
-Gaming mouse and gaming mechanical keyboard.

All of this in a small room that was intended to be a walk in closet with a window where I can see the Sammamish River trail and even sharing the room with a full size mattress.
In Mexico…. Welp, is difficult. The bedroom is a good place to work, also the dinner room but they are not my office.
But then I found this:

I had forgotten how good was to work in the patio, specially in 90’s degrees!
My best performance this spring has been the work that I have been doing in the patio and I have enjoyed all kind of music on an old shortwave radio with music as far as Canada and some homemade stations.

Driving and walking around:

Everyone say that “X or Y where I live has the worst drivers. Chihuahua does not have those, but we are not perfect.

A interesting fact is that the infractions and collisions do not affect your driving record as well the insurance rates. Is great and bad because it does not discourage the people to not commit offenses.
The pedestrian crossings are not honored, sometimes neither the traffic lights.
Walking at night might feel like you are doing extreme sport considering all the challenges that it has like: Blocked walkways, cars that do not care about you and with the signs and traffic lights all messed up. It’s a complicated feeling and maybe is just me used to the life in the US, but I don’t feel safe to walk to the pharmacy after 9 pm. Even driving at night feels dangerous, but you can deal with that, specially in this “stay at home” times.
Road are undrivable. Cars become junk after 100000 km or 60000 miles, because of the amount of pot holes and roads in bad state.
Feeling home sick:

Not being able to predict the next steps on the Coronavirus, makes me feel home sick and wondering if its better here or there since my home town has only 2 cases and 6 in the state which is the biggest state in Mexico.
I miss also the neighbor friendliness and the green of Redmond, but what's the point if everything is closed?
Still enjoying it:

Even when I can’t see my relatives in here because of the virus, I still enjoy seeing the kids playing around with their grandparents and getting a bit of the so coveted sun in WA.
People might not be as friendly as in WA but is as good as it gets in Mexico and I am grateful for that.
Also I get time to work in my personal projects like this blog and the small labs I am doing in AWS since my grandparents want to take care of the kids, given the small amount of time they enjoy them every year.


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