Anas Saba
Anas Saba
Mexico, 2022
Hi! My name is Anas Saba, I will be working with a social enterprise in Mexico City called Someone Somewhere. They are a lifestyle apparel brand that provides work for rural artisan women. Looking forward to sharing this experience with you all! Read More About Anas →

World Cup, Black Friday, and family visit!

The last couple weeks have been packed! Work was mostly comprised of preparing copy for our Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Winter Season sales. We have been releasing some exciting new products, like a waterproof rain jacket and crossbodies. It’s so cool to see the artisans use their skills and techniques to make the products we make together unique. We also had a work party to celebrate the end of the year and the upcoming holidays. In Mexico, these parties are works are called posadas. And no posada is complete without a piñata.


The World Cup has brought so much excitement to Mexico! While there are many soccer fans in the US, the atmosphere has been on a whole other level. Mexico’s first game ended in an uneventful tie against Poland, followed by a heartbreaking loss to Argentina. They had a chance to advance, but even in their win against Saudi Arabia, they couldn’t get enough points to advance. Even though Mexico had a disappointing showing in the World Cup, being here helped me see how soccer has such a connecting and inspiring effect around the world. I have found myself glued to the games, feeling the highs and lows through the screen as people cheer on their countries in the knockout rounds.


What makes soccer so exciting and equally as frustrating is how difficult it is to score, even if you are the dominant team. I gained a new appreciation for the sport, and even got to accompany a friend to the Brazilian embassy to see the Brazilian national team play (which also ended in a heartbreaking loss).


My sisters finally came to visit! My family had come to visit me last year while I was on my Fulbright, but we had gone to Oaxaca which was also a new city to me. It felt awesome to feel like a true local, taking them to all my favorite spots while also doing some of the touristy things I hadn’t done yet! We went to Teotihuacán to visit some of the largest pyramids in the world. That’s right, Mexico has more archeological sites than just Chichén-Itzá! This site is the most visited archeological site in the Americas, even more than Machu Pichu!


One activity I loved doing with my sisters is visiting the chinampas in Xochimilco, an area in the southern part of Mexico City. The Chinampas are pre-Hispanic man-made islands made by the indigenous people to cultivate using the rich soil found at the bottom of the lakebed (Mexico City was once a giant lake). We booked an Airbnb experience, and a local biologist took us to a conservation area in the chinampas by canoe! We canoed through the canals until we got to their chinampa, where they showed us all the vegetables they are growing! We even got to try some of their harvest, even thing tasted delicious!


Another special experience we had was watching a ballet in Bellas Artes, an iconic theater in the center of Mexico City. The dance tells the story of Mexico from pre-Hispanic times through the Mexican Revolution. We got front row tickets, and it made me so happy to see my sisters be in awe with the breadth and diversity of Mexican culture.


Going into my last month in Mexico, there is still so much I want to do and see! Hope to share more in the next post!

Día De Muertos, World Cup, and Preparing for my family to visit!

The weeks are flying by! It’s hard to believe I am going into my final month in Mexico. September through December is such a festive time in Mexico, even more so this year with the World Cup starting in a few days! The last couple weeks have been highlighted by Día De Muertos, helping Someone Somewhere launch new products, and getting ready for my sisters to come visit me!

Día de Muertos is typically observed between October 31st-November 2nd. The night of November 1st is typically considered the most observed day. Different communities and cultures in Mexico will observe this day differently. In Mexico City, there were so many events, parades, and celebrations around these dates. I went with friends to the historic center of Mexico City to watch the largest Día de Muertos Parade.

There were so many people! Even though we were packed like sardines, there was so much joy as people of all ages enjoyed watching the parade floats go by. I have mentioned this before, but one aspect of Mexican culture I respect the most is how people celebrate together and include the elderly. It brings me so much joy to see grandparents enjoying these events with their children and grandchildren. For most of my childhood, I grew up thousands of miles away from my grandparents, and I learned to cherish the moments that I did get to share with them. It is common that grandparents will live with their children and grandchildren as they get older, so grandparents play an important role in family life here.

Since coming to Mexico last year, I have wanted to go to Janitzio, a small island town in Michoacán, a state of Mexico north of Mexico City. This little town of only three thousand is one of the most iconic places to observe Día de Muertos celebrations. Since it is such a small town, it is hard to find places to stay nearby. I had just about given up on going this year when in a conversation with friends, I jokingly mentioned what if we just drove there and came back the same day? A few days later, we packed into the car and started our little day-trip!

Going to Janitzio has been one of the most special experiences I have had here in Mexico. The town is only accessible by boat, as it sits inside Lake Pátzcuaro, the third largest lake in Mexico. There was something magical about the slow boat ride to the town, the island slowly taking up more and more of the view, from a distant spec of light to seeing the iconic statue at the top of the island in full detail.

While this does not apply to all communities in Mexico, in Janitzio they believe that the souls of their loved ones return the night of November 1st. They adorn their graves with candles, flowers, and their favorite items. The community sees this day as a chance to be present with their late loved ones, and many people genuinely feel their presence during these days. For many, November 1st is dedicated to children who left the world of the living, and November 2nd is for those who passed away as adults.

I have attached photos below from our trip to Janitzio. I hope to go back some day and visit the other eight islands around the lake. There was such a unique energy to Janitzio, from the people, the food, and the environment.

With the World Cup coming up, the national pride and excitement is reaching a peak. At Someone Somewhere, we launched a special collection just for the World Cup! Mexico’s national team historically has a hard time making it past the first round of knockouts, so people are hoping this is the year they break through to the quarter finals. My sisters are arriving in the middle of the first week of group matches. I am excited they will get the experience of being in a country where soccer is the dominant sport during the World Cup! Hoping Mexico can win a few matches!

I am so excited for my family to visit! There have been a few museums and landmarks that I have not been to so I can experience it with my family! We have a full itinerary of museums, experiences, and of course, delicious food coming up for us. Can’t wait to update you all on how everything goes!

New Products, Weekend Trips, and Día de Muertos

Things have been moving along steadily here in Mexico City! At Someone Somewhere, we launched a new collection of products inspired by different ecosystems! It has been a fun challenge working with the team to find creative ways to market the new products. The brand has been making strides to become a carbon neutral organization, and our ecosystem collection reflects the direction we are going in. Recently we expanded our collaboration with Delta, and it’s been amazing to hear how these partnerships are changing the lives of the artisans and their communities.


We had a communications consultant come to the office to give us a week-long communications workshop. I learned a lot about my communication style and what I need to be successful in a work environment. My biggest takeaway is it’s important to communicate honestly, frequently, and early!


I had some opportunities to revisit two towns I absolutely love: Puebla and Guanajuato. My trips were partially work and partially to see friends, and as much as I love Mexico City it was great to see smaller cities and appreciate the beauty in them. Historically, Puebla has played an important role in Mexico. While many people believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, it’s actually the date of an important battle that happened in Puebla in 1862, commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French Empire. Hovering around Puebla is Popocatépetl, an active volcano that is Mexico’s second highest peak. The volcano creates breathtaking cloud formations, and I was privileged to see one of the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen.


Guanajuato might be my favorite city in Mexico (outside of Mexico City, of course!) It’s colorful, historic, and is a living labyrinth of alleyways, hills, and cobblestone streets. Guanajuato was once one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico due to the successful mining industry that brought wealth to the region. Every year in October, Guanajuato is host to the Cervantino, a globally renowned international festival of music, dance, art, and theater. The Cervantino coveres three weeks of October and is the signature event in Guanajuato. Due to the pandemic, the previous two years featured a virtual Cervantino. The city was filled with energy excited to finally be able to host the festival in its full glory. Every year, a country is invited to be the guest of honor and to play an important role in performances. This year, South Korea was invited. It was amazing to see collaborative performances from Korean and Mexican artists. There are many beautiful places in Mexico, but Guanajuato is one of the cities I can see myself going to every year.


Late October brings in one of the most special events in Mexico: Día De Muertos (Day of the Dead). While November 2nd is the day that is most observed, by late October the energy of Día De Muertos permeates through the whole country. Last year, Día De Muertos affected me deeply. What I admire so much about this holiday is it gives the chance to celebrate and grieve over the lives of late loved ones openly and in community. I reflected how in most places in the world, we are left to grieve on our own, privately. We all have days that mark the date where we lost someone important to us, and those days can be very hard, especially when no one around you knows and you are expected to go about your day, your work, your family responsibilities as if it was just a normal day. I am looking forward to being in Mexico City for Day of the Dead this year, and I can’t wait to share more about this special time of the year in the next post.

Mountain Villages, Independence Day, and the 19th Annual Enchilada Fair

The last few weeks have been amazing! I visited an indigenous community that Someone Somewhere collaborates with, attended a Mexico Independence Day party with my coworker’s family, and went an enchilada fair!

The visit to Naupan, the indigenous community in Puebla, Mexico, that Someone Somewhere works with is already one of my most cherished memories of my time in Mexico. On the trip were the new hires at Someone Somewhere, one of the founders, Fátima, and Victor, a longtime employee of SS. Victor drove the twelve of us to Naupan, positioned high in the mountains of Puebla. Victor does the trip to Naupan twice a week, evidenced by how he expertly maneuvered through the foggy, curvy mountain roads.

When we started getting close to Naupan, I realized it was like no other place I had been to in Mexico. Most of the locals are indigenous and speak Nahuátl as their native language. In the Northern Sierra of Puebla, different communities are dotted across this high-altitude zone. Transportation is limited in this region, and many locals are accustomed to walking long distances to get the different towns.

Many of my friends have heard me this before, but once again Mexico reminded me so much of my heritage country, Yemen. If Mexico City reminded me of similarly chaotic, sprawling, bustling capital city of Sana’a, Naupan was a parallel of my grandparents’ village nestled into the mountains in Yemen. Both situated around 7000 feet above sea-level, the scenery in Naupan was a lush green, similar to what you see in Yemen during the rain season. More than anything, the mannerisms of the locals is what most reminded me of Yemen.

Friendly and curious of outsiders, we got to know the locals in the workshop where SS works with the artisan women to teach them the designs used in our products. Naupan is the first community that SS collaborated with. It was encouraging to hear how working with SS has positively impacted their lives, while also hearing the challenges they are still facing. After lunch, we did a walking tour of the town with the daughter of one of the artisans. She could not have been older than eight years old, but the way her mom trusted that she would be safe walking with us reminds me of the trust that people have for each other in my grandparent’s village.

Naupan is Nahuátl for “over four rivers.” As we walked around the perimeter of Naupan, we were blessed with views of the rivers around the town, amidst run ins with horses, sheep, and cows. I have attached photos of the Naupan trip below!

I was very excited to celebrate the 15th of September this year (Mexico’s independence is celebrated the 15th and 16th), since last year the pandemic meant there were very few public celebrations. A coworker graciously invited me to spend the day with their family. With live mariachi, salsa, and cumbia, and plenty of food, it met all the expectations I had for this day. I also was able to go to the main plaza of Mexico City, where the president does the “grito” to a crowd of a couple hundred thousand. The “grito,” which in this context can be translated as a revolutionary shout or cry, is one of the most iconic parts of Mexico’s Independence Day. I ate plenty of pozole, a hominy stew traditionally made in large quantities in the month of September.

When a friend of mine told me about the 19th annual Enchilada Fair in Iztapalapa (one of the largest municipalities in Mexico City), I knew we had to go. Iztapalapa is known for being the hometown of Los Angeles Azules, one of the most popular bands of Mexico. The genre of music they play, cumbia, is one of the most popular in Mexico and especially in Iztapalapa. I had some of the most delicious enchiladas of my life, while seeing different traditional dances from regions of Mexico that I had never seen before.

Each week in Mexico City I learn more and more about different parts of Mexican culture. I have been fortunate to have found great people who love sharing their culture with me. Excited for what’s next as I approach the halfway point of my Lumos award!

September — Kick off of the holiday season!

Wow, the last two weeks have been filled with so many amazing experiences! From getting to speak on a panel with former Fulbright Scholars to the new cohort of Fulbright Scholars in Mexico, to work trips to one of Mexico’s most important natural landmarks and an artisan community in rural Mexico, to attending a wedding of one of my good friends from college! And that’s not even mentioning all the things that happened in between! September is the beginning of independence celebrations in Mexico, and it kicks off all the holidays that follow!


Let’s start with the Fulbright panel. Seeing the new cohort of Fulbright Scholars reminded me of how excited and nervous I was when I arrived in Mexico in August 2021. Due to the pandemic, my cohort year did not get to have an in-person orientation. The room had so much positive energy. In a few short days, each grantee would depart to their placement in different parts of Mexico. Ten months of adapting, contributing, and learning from a new community await them. The reality is they are going to face challenging moments where they will feel low, highs of immense joy, and at some point, adapt to their new lives and routines. On the panel with me were good friends from my cohort year, and we tried to answer the new cohort’s questions as honestly as possible.


One main difference between this year’s cohort and the previous year’s is that the new grantees were mostly directly out of graduating college. In my year, most of us received the grant in 2020, and deferred to 2021 due to the pandemic. Looking back, that year gap between graduating college and coming to Mexico helped me so much to mature as a person and learn about myself. I couldn’t help but think that even though only two years separated me and most of the new grantees, they seemed so much more youthful, green, and bright-eyed than my year, who had been put through a whirlwind of ups and downs due to the pandemic making us doubt if we would ever get to go to Mexico on the Fulbright grant.


Later that night, I attended a reception at a beautiful museum with speakers from the U.S. embassy and representatives from Mexico’s secretary of education. When they surprised us with a mariachi band, the music, environment, and excitement I felt for the new grantees made me reflective and emotional. I thought about how much Mexico has given me: a place to grow, form new friendships, experience beautiful landscapes, and learn from an ancient and rich culture.


The very next day, I had a 6 AM wake up call to go with Someone Somewhere to Iztaccíhuatl–Popocatépetl National Park, one of the most important national parks in Mexico and home to two of the country’s most important volcanoes. I was stunned by the natural beauty, and how relatively close the park is to one of the largest, most sprawling cities in the world. We chose this area for a photoshoot of a new line of products Someone Somewhere is launching. My work flattered me by choosing me to be one of the models for the new product line. We had an amazing time getting to know the landscapes, taking photos and videos, and of course, trying the amazing food that the region is known for.


As most people who know me know, I have a deep love and appreciation for food. I am not picky, and eat almost anything. But, it’s not every day I have a meal that triggers a strong emotional response. On the way back from the national park, we stopped at this small, open-air restaurant in the middle of the mountains. There are probably many reasons it triggered a strong emotional response in me. For one, we were all very hungry, having left the city early without a proper breakfast, and spending the whole day walking around the national park. Second, sitting at this long table with the whole team made it feel like a family meal. And last, the food and friendliness of the family cooking made it so much more special. Everything I ordered tasted so amazing. I had a cecina taco (cecina is a sort of dried and salted beef), mushroom soup, and a quesadilla with chicken.


After finishing the meal, I spoke with the family that runs the restaurant. They showed me the immense variety of mushrooms they have (I had never seen mushrooms that size before!) There is much biodiversity in Mexico, which is later reflected in the food. I don’t think I will ever be able to truly try everything this country has to offer, but the process of learning more and more each day has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my time here.


I hope to talk about the rest of this week’s experiences in a blog post later this week! Attaching some film photos I got developed below 🙂

Two months down!

The last few weeks have been great! I’ve tried to balance work, exploring the city on my own, and hanging out with coworkers and friends. Riding my bike has been a great way to get around and explore neighborhoods faster than I could on foot, but still getting details I would miss if I was driving.

At work, we are moving forward on a project to do content collaborations with content creators in the US. I am really excited to be helping on this project, as it is an area I have experience in. Also, it’s possible that one of the content creators we are going to work with is a friend of mine from high school, small world! On Tuesday I am finally going to get to go to one of the artisan communities that we work with, I can’t wait!

Do I have a backup career as a product model? Showing off our new hats!

Last Sunday, I went to Reforma, a main avenue that closes on Sundays for bike traffic. I decided to pick a direction and ride it out all the way to the end. Little did I know it led all the way to La Basilica de Santa María Guadalupe! This is one of the most important religious sites in Mexico, and in Christianity as a whole. It receives millions of visitors a year, especially on December 12th, Our Lady Guadalupe’s saint’s day. Although I am not Christian, it is still beautiful to watch people from all ages and backgrounds coming together to visit this site. As I got closer to the entrance, there were five people who were of old age, patiently making their way to the site. The five of them walked with their arms embraced around each other. I found the moment very beautiful and emotional.

I continue to be amazed by the everyday beauty here. Whether it’s sharing a moment through a small conversation with a señora at a food stand, a smile and well wishes from a stranger, or the beauty of the greenery and architecture here. On a walk the other day, I stopped to take a photo of a beautiful building as the soft evening light cast over it, surrounded by trees and plants.

I have been grateful for coworkers who are eager to show me around parts of the city I would not have gone to on my own! Last weekend I went with them to La Marquesa, a national park an hour outside of Mexico City that is known for having delicious food, tons of outdoor activities, and fresh air for when you need a break from the city life. Although it started raining on us and got quite cold, it was nice to be in a new environment. It is very easy to fall into the same routine, so I am thankful my coworkers decided to take me out!


The last couple weeks, I have tried to call home more often. One of the underrated aspects of being in Mexico City is we are in the same time zone as Nashville, which has made making facetime much easier. As much as I love living here, I do miss my family often. Hoping they get a chance to come visit me soon!

Tacos, trees, and Traveling with Humility

Wow, it’s hard to believe a whole month has passed since I have gotten to Mexico! Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the chance to connect with my coworkers, contribute to some awesome projects, and attend our annual reforestation. More on that later!

In life outside of work, I have continued to enjoy connecting with street vendors and small business owners. One of my favorite places is a plant based “seafood” taco stand, named Paxil. When I make a connection with small business owner, I love to offer a free photography session. Back in Nashville, it’s what I do for work, but in Mexico I like to use photography as a way to connect with the local community.

I met the sisters who run Paxil after being recommended to them from a vendor at a local market. They are super sweet and make such delicious food! They were curious about how I learned Spanish. As I shared with them a bit of my story, we got into the topic of the impact of foreigners from North America and Europe in Mexico City. It is a topic that has been getting a lot of attention lately. With many people working fully remote, they have been leaving large American cities where rent is expensive to go to trending areas in Mexico City where their dollar goes further. Subsequently, rent has gone up in these areas, as people from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York rent apartments here at a fraction of the cost of their previous places.

Prior to coming to Mexico City, I thought deeply about what my presence and impact as an American means here. The issue is much deeper than the cost of rent going up in these areas (areas that in general, were already expensive). The other, more insidious issue is an exploitative and entitled mindset that some of the people who come to live in Mexico City possess. In my short time here, I have personally witnessed foreigners being rude to locals in restaurant settings for not speaking English or not speaking English well enough. Many Mexicans have shared how these sorts of interactions are uncomfortable, belittling, and overall hurtful.

You certainly don’t have to travel outside the country to come across demanding and entitled people. However, I think it’s important when traveling to approach new communities with humility and a desire to learn from locals. Especially as Americans, when we travel to developing countries, we may be coming from a higher socio-economic position than locals we interact with, especially in the tourism and hospitality industries. It is important to be generous, polite, and understanding, especially if it has to do with people not speaking English. I am curious to hear any thoughts and opinions on this in the comments!

A week after meeting the owners at Paxil, I came back to take some photos of them and the food! Attached some of my favorites below.

At work, I have been helping the creative and marketing team with product shoots, copywriting, marketing for the U.S. channels. It brings me so much joy to see how Someone Somewhere helps lift artisans in rural communities out of poverty by working with them to create unique products and a stable work environment.  Last weekend, I joined the team on an annual reforestation day they do with a couple other organizations based in Mexico City. We were part of 300 volunteers who planted 3000 trees! The place was beautiful and I got to connect with my coworkers. It made waking up at 5 AM worth it. Attaching some photos below!

Planning a trip with my coworkers to one of the artisan communities we work this week, looking forward to sharing my next entry!


Settling in!

Two weeks in Mexico have flown by! On my flight here, I couldn’t believe how fast my time in Nashville went, and how soon I was going to be landing in Mexico. The pandemic caused me to cherish my time with my family more, so as I excited as I felt about starting this chapter in Mexico City that I have been dreaming about for years, I left wishing I had more time to share in Nashville.

I arrived in the Mexico City airport in a t-shirt and shorts—escaping one hundred degree humid summer days in Nashville and forgetting it would be cold and rainy this time of year in CDMX. For someone who was sad to leave home, it wasn’t the best weather to walk into. Feeling mopey, I knew I had to remind myself why I came to Mexico and reignite the spark I had for my time here.

Pozole is one of the most iconic dishes of Mexico. This traditional stew is often prepared for important celebrations, weekend family gatherings, and national holidays, especially September 15: the start of Mexican Independence Day celebrations. The three main varieties are pozole blanco, verde, and rojo, the color being determined by the chiles used (or lack of chiles in the case of pozole blanco). To get myself out of my funk, I went straight from the airport to La Casa de Toño to order my personal favorite: pozole rojo with chicken. La Casa de Toño is a popular chain where you can get pozole all year round. While it’s no homemade pozole made with love by someone’s abuelita, it hit the spot that day and nourished me in all the right ways. The next day, I felt so excited to get settled in and start my work with Someone Somewhere in a few days.

One of the key ingredients of Pozole is hominy, which gives it its hearty properties. It is typically garnished with shredded lettuce, radish, and oregano. Usually served with tostadas and crema as well.

After picking up my things from a friend who let me store my large items while I was back in Nashville (thanks Brian!), I spent my first couple days exploring the city, neighborhood, and meeting up with some friends. I reassembled my bike and have been using it as my primary means of transportation. Traffic is notoriously bad in Mexico City, even inside neighborhoods, so I am thankful to have my bike to move freely. It’s also a great way to wake me up on my commute to work, especially since the early mornings here get quite chilly.

While I had started my work with Someone Somewhere remotely a week before coming to Mexico, I was excited to finally go to the office and meet my coworkers in person. Someone Somewhere is a lifestyle apparel brand that works with artisans in rural areas of Mexico to create products such as t-shirts, travel bags, windbreakers, etc. You can learn more about them in this video.

On my first day in person, I was shown around the office, met some of my coworkers, and had an orientation session. Everything was going great! While I was between meetings, I saw I had a missed call and some messages from my sister. When I opened my messages, to my unfortunate surprise, I learned she had called to tell me she tested positive for COVID 🙁

I immediately left the office to get tested and texted my coworkers letting them know my situation. A few hours later, my test came back positive too. I went back to working remotely while I quarantined in my apartment. It wasn’t how I had planned to spend my first full week in Mexico City, but with some UberEats orders and some binge-watching, I was able to get through it. Thankfully I had very mild symptoms, and I fully recovered.

After I was able to leave my quarantine, it was nice to people watch at parks and see these dogs enjoying a dip in the fountain 🙂

After I was cleared to go back to the office, I started settling into a routine, signing up at a local gym, and finding my favorite street eats. At Someone Somewhere, I help a lot with their U.S. market communications, whether that’s their U.S. website, social media, or email campaigns. It’s been very fulfilling to feel that I am contributing meaningfully to an organization dedicated to making a positive social impact. My coworkers and managers have fully supported me to be creative, and I really appreciate that they value my work and encourage me to test out new ideas.

I look forward to sharing more about my work, how I am adjusting to life here, the local food scene and the relationships I have built with street vendors on my next post!

Three of many street tacos I have had in my short time here so far!

Getting ready for Mexico City!

I am starting my Lumos award in Mexico City on June 28th. I have just spent nine months in Mexico in the city of Querétaro, completing an English Teaching Assistantship grant. I arrived back in Nashville at the beginning of June, giving myself four weeks to spend time with family, get some rest, get some work done for my food tour business, and stare in amazement on how much Nashville has changed in the nine months I was gone.

Amongst the many things I have learned in the last two years, it’s that things don’t always go according to the we planned, for better or for worse. When I planned my trip back home, I had planned on having a whole month to spend with my parents and sister, who had been in Yemen visiting my grandparents since March. Due to complications with travel in and out of Yemen with the ongoing civil war, they were not able to come back to Tennessee until the third week of June.

While many of my siblings and extended family live in Nashville, those first three weeks in Nashville made me question: is Nashville still home for me if my parents aren’t here? Nashville is changing so fast, and not all the change has been for the better. As I spent more time in the city, saw my friends, family, and went back to my favorite spots, I remembered more of why Nashville will always be home to me. It’s not and likely never will be a cosmopolitan destination like a New York, Chicago, or LA, but it’s still a place where communities have formed to make a home. In the different neighborhoods of Nashville, you see different enclaves where immigrant groups have put their restaurants, grocery stores, houses of worship. From almost anywhere in Nashville, you can access a beautiful green space in fifteen minutes or less. And not to mention, the food scene is incredible, if you know where to look.

On the flip side, the pandemic also changed the sequence of my plans with Fulbright and Lumos. I had originally planned to do Lumos first immediately after graduating in May 2020, and then the Fulbright after. I am so glad that I was able to do the Fulbright first now. I don’t think I fully prepared to take on Mexico City and my project here prior to my Fulbright experience. I feel as prepared now as I ever could be going into a new program and a city with a metropolitan population over twenty million. My Fulbright placement, Querétaro, is only two hours away from Mexico City, so I was able to come to Mexico City often during my grant. As one would expect, in nine months in Mexico my Spanish improved immensely and I now have no issues communicating. That’s not to say that I am not constantly learning still of course! One aspect about Mexico I have come to appreciate so much is the regional differences and diversity. With that, each region has their own colloquialisms and slang that has added so much richness to my conversations with locals.

While I could use another four weeks in Nashville, I am going into this next project feeling prepared, grateful, and excited for a new experience in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world!