<![CDATA[Irish I Were Mexican - At Post]]>Thu, 07 May 2020 23:42:37 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[A Quarantine Fiesta]]>Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:50:52 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/a-quarantine-fiesta
Well we have been stuck inside for three weeks now. #Quarantine2020...yay! And many of us still have at least a month to go.

I thought it could be fun to create a little cultural exchange for your kids so you can organize a Mexican Culture and Fiesta Day at your house using items you can order from Amazon.com. A great way to pass time using creativity, movement, cooking and literature while learning about another culture. Like a trip to Mexico without leaving  your house!

Here are my suggestions for the day and all the materials needed are linked below.

1. Make a piñata using a kit found on Amazon (linked below). Learn the song that Mexican's actually sing in the video below, fill it with whatever you want (candy, coins you have around the house, confetti, small toys) and break it.

2. Before lunch make flan in a mug to have for dessert at lunch or dinner. Video with recipe below.

3. Afternoon physical activity - lay out cushions and pillows in a room, put on your Lucha Libre masks and have a  wrestling match. If your kids are a bit older a Lucha video is linked below.

4. Read a book before bed
"Too Many Tamales" a sweet book with nothing controversial
or
"Niño Wrestles the World" about a child luchador fighting bad guys with fun illustrations. WARNING the kid fights some scary traditional Mexican characters like a mummy, la llorona whose child died and she became a ghost, and the devil. So read the reviews and make a choice based on your kid.

Piñata Song
Mug Flan Recipe
Lucha Libre Video
Shopping List
1. Piñata Options (choose from options below) PLEASE pay attention to delivery dates and availability
Alex Brand Piñata Party
DIY Unicorn Piñata
Klutz Make Mini Piñatas Craft Kit

Small Rainbow Star DIY Pinata Craft Kit

​2. Amazon Pantry Flan Ingredients (or just get them on your next store run)
Condensed Milk
Vanilla (if you don't have it)
I am assuming you have sugar, eggs, and milk

3. Lucha Libre Masks (not cheap but I promise they will be worn more than once)
Quality adult size (there is a drop down list of 18 masks to choose from)
or
Kids size 5 pack (These are lower quality but you get 5)

4. Book
Too Many Tamales Kindle or Paperback
​or
Niño Wrestles the World Kindle or Paperback

​Diviertense! Have Fun!

If you decide to play along, and you are on Instagram, please share pics with me @kristineklick

In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[Top 5 MUST TRY Mexican Foods]]>Fri, 28 Feb 2020 06:00:00 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/top-5-must-try-mexican-foodsBefore I talk about what this post is, Mexican foods you must try, I want to start with what it is not. Not included in this list is Tex-mex which is a different food category entirely from "real" Mexican food. I am also going with the basic assumption that most of you have had tortillas, guacamole, salsa and probably (what you think are) enchiladas. So I will not include these items.

In addition, whenever someone endeavors to write what are the best foods, there will always be differences of opinion. I have looked at some other lists of top foods and here are my thoughts on some frequently listed items. Birria, pozole, and menudo...in other words soup. Many of these soups are included on people's top Mexican food lists, but my honest opinion is, yes, they are good but every county in the world has their local version of soup...broth, meat, veggies, etc. Although good, this is not life changing food that you MUST try. Same goes for elote and esquites. Elote is corn in spanish and esquites are corn on a stick with sauce, spices, and cheese. Again I love eating these things from time to time but corn is corn! In my humble opinion dressed up corn is not as noteworthy as some other foods.

And let's talk about tamales for a second and just get it out of the way. I can respect the idea that this should be included. There are strong arguments in its favor...the tradition, the leaf packaging, the variety of flavors, etc. BUT if I am owning my truth, I have eaten so many bad tamales over the years. Dried out, flavorless, mouthfuls of pure masa (dough) that require a drink to aid its journey down my throat to my stomach or it might get stuck and require first aid to remove. When they are good, they are good, I can give you that. But they just don't make the cut into the top 5 for the above mentioned reasons.

So without further ado, the top 5 Mexican foods you MUST try (and where).

5. Chapulines and Escamole (BUGS)
​Bugs, bugs, and more bugs. Yes bugs made my top 5 list and let me tell you why. I am in no way advocating that this is the most delicious food you will ever eat. This list is entitled "Top 5 Must Try Mexican Foods". The reason I include these items is because they can help you open your mind to foods and food groups that are not "normal" according to your upbringing. I can remember turning up my nose to chapulines (grasshoppers) in my first years visiting Mexico. Just the thought of a little leg stuck in my teeth made my stomach flip. But eventually I broke down and tried it and it was not nearly as disgusting as I thought. In fact now if they are served to me or ordered by others in a restaurant I will have a couple of my own volition. Because traditional Mexican food relied heavily on insects for a protein source, chapulines are a traditional food staple. Trying them will give you a more authentic Mexican experience in one handful then a lifetime of eating at Chevy's or Taco Bell. You become that cool, cultured traveler you always aspired to be and it will open you up to trying other exotic foods.

​The other Mexican "bug" not pictured above but definitely worth mentioning is Escamoles (a
nt pupae and larvae). This description by Alex Tepper hits the nail on the head. "Escamoles, or ant eggs, is a traditional Mexican ingredient that tastes like nothing you’ve ever eaten. If you can imagine seeing a new color for the first time, escamoles do the same thing for your taste buds. Often served in omelets, tacos, or on their own, escamoles are hard to describe and totally delicious." They really are delicious and they were once served only to the highest members of society. It is also true that it is a taste like you have never tasted before. People often describe them as nutty and buttery and while true, it does not fully describe the ingredient. Just hush your thoughts about what they are and try them.

​The chapulines pictured are from Diana Restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel but were likely sourced from Mercado de San Juan Pugibet. Pick either one depending on your style of travel. For escamoles please try this Mexico City institution, El Cardenal.

4. Chile En Nogada
​Chile en Nogada might be the prettiest little dish in Mexico. The colors of the green chile, white sauce, and red pomegranates represent "la Bandera" the flag of Mexico. You cannot always find these bad boys, but if you visit Mexico in late summer or early fall you will likely run across these delicious creations on the menu. This is one of those dishes that is a season marker in Mexico like pumpkin spice in the US. People look forward to Chile en Nogada season to the point that the dish has its own internet memes to mark the occasion.

A dish with history. This patriotic plate was created by nuns in the mid 1800's in the city of Puebla when an army general came by for a visit. It consists of a chile stuffed with a sweet mix of meat, nuts, and fruit and topped with the white walnut sauce. Usually served chilled or room temperature, the combination of flavors makes a unique main dish and tastebud experience.

When in season I recommend El Balcon del Zocalo.


3. Chilaquiles
​Not going to lie. I probably eat these bad boys once a week! This is the closest thing you can get to nachos here in Mexico, but they are served for breakfast and arguably better than nachos. I say better because instead of concentrating on cheese as the main ingredient over tortilla chips, they focus on the salsa. Since salsa is mashed up veggies it just feels healthier to me (read less guilt haha). Also these are considered breakfast food and can be ordered with eggs, chicken, or any other protein you desire. This is the singular dish that changed my idea of breakfast. Growing up I was used to the typical American idea of sweet breakfast. Cereals, toast with jam, donuts, pancakes, fruit, etc. When I came to my first Mexican breakfast buffets I was surprised by all the meat, salsa and savory dishes served as breakfast food. But a few bites into this heavenly combination and I was hooked. I am much more open to what "breakfast" can consist of now and I often opt for savory over sweet.

Warning: Chilaquiles are everywhere and they will taste different at every single restaurant you go it. After 18 years as an unofficial taste tester, I can say some are better than others, but I still have yet to meet a plate of chilaquiles I did not like. Adios nachos...a plate of tortilla chips covered in orange cheese just doesn't do it for me anymore.

​My favorite version can be found at​ Ojo de Agua which has several locations.


2. Mole
When you eat mole you are eating complexity and tradition.​ Mole comes from the Aztec word for sauce and is considered the national dish of Mexico. The origin of mole is disputed and as Jeff Gordinier wrote, "Studying mole is like studying the universe: The quest goes on and on." Recipes in Mexican kitchens were never written down before the 1800s, but the origins of mole are hundreds of years old. The mole dish featured in the photo above includes three types of mole. Mole pipian, mole verde, and mole poblano. Most people picture the dark mole poblano made with chilies and cholcolate, but there are many many types.

​Mole is one of the most complex sauces in existence, sometimes made up of more than 30 ingredients. It is incredibly time consuming, but thank goodness you can buy the pre-made paste and whip some up in a jiffy. The flavors are layered and rich and usually paired with a protein and rice. It is nothing like you have ever tasted before. An absolute cannot miss when visiting Mexico, like eating a spoonful of history and culture.

​The dish above can be found at Corazon de Maguey in the center of Coyoacan.

 
​1. Tacos al Pastor
Tacos. I mean tacos are the symbol of Mexican food around the world and no list is complete without these. But I am not just including any taco in my top 5, it has to be specifically Tacos al Pastor on my must try list. Tacos Al Pastor was voted #1 of 100 best foods in the world by Taste Atlas. The best food in the world!!! Need I say more? That is a big title for such a small little street food item.

Tacos al Pastor was a result of Lebanese immigrants to Mexico and their spit fired shawarma. Mexicans made it their own using pork instead of lamb and marinating it with spices. Then someone had the brilliant idea of adding pineapple (who invented this is still a culinary mystery). Just a dash of onion and cilantro and there you have it. This simple combination of flavors is...put simply...magic!

I will shamefully admit I did not try the famous tacos for many years. Here's why. Touring around Mexico City you often see the "trompo" or stack of meat being cooked right on the street at various food stalls and sidewalk restaurants. Mexico City is a gritty and sometimes grimy place, and the meat just looked like it was being cooked right there with all the street dust and car fumes. It was not appealing. But lucky for you and me, you can find delicious drippy trompos of pastor being cooked off the street and inside restaurant kitchens. No joke, I eat tacos al pastor once a week now that I am living in Mexico and know where to go. It is definitely a staple amongst my family and friends and most Mexico City inhabitants.

I mean really, how can you not try the world's #1 food dish?

Found everywhere, but El Tizoncito is a steady go to in Condesa.



Just in case your are curious, if I had to pick one more dish to try, my #6 if you will, it would have to be Cochinita Pibil. Man that stuff is delicious!

​In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[When You F*** Up While Raising A Third Culture Kid]]>Sat, 11 Jan 2020 01:54:59 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/when-you-f-up-while-raising-a-third-culture-kid
Don't judge me. I may have mentally scarred my child. Hopefully not permanently. As background the holidays have come and gone. Here in Mexico I made my best effort to keep all of our Christmas traditions alive...tree, elf, letter to Santa, cookies, milk, the whole thing. As any good parent of a third culture kid, I also tried to incorporate some Mexican traditions...piñatas, ponche, and posadas. We did a big dinner on the 24th like good Mexicans and Christmas morning craziness like good Americans.  

My kids are borderline spoiled everyday, so the holidays are overkill. Stockings are filled and plenty of gifts from Santa as well as family members are under the tree. Christmas was followed by a New Year's trip to Vancouver, Canada, to play in the snow and a trip to San Francisco to visit family. Sounds good so far, right? A pretty spoiled, I mean magical childhood with everything they could need and want. Killing this parenting thing.

Then came Los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings). This is a tradition celebrated here in Mexico where kids put out shoes and a letter on January 5th and receive presents from The Three Kings the morning of the 6th. Santa is a more recent tradition here and while some kids may get something on Christmas, The Three Kings are the real holiday gift bearers and have been for a long, long time. It is The Three Kings Day that Mexican kids really look forward to and talk about when they go back to school. "Que te trajeron los Reyes Magos?" ("What did the Three Kings bring you?")

I am not uneducated on Mexican culture, I just HIGHLY underestimated what it might mean to my oldest child. I thought I was in the clear. The kids got everything they wanted for Christmas and they absolutely do not need a single new toy. We went away on vacation and were in San Francisco on the Three Kings Day. As my son still doesn't really pay attention to what date it is, he had no idea when the 5th and 6th came and went. Plus he was to return to school on the 8th a couple days after Three Kings Day. We never celebrated this day or tradition when living in the US and we have only been living in Mexico for a year and a half. I knew my son knew what it was. He had brought it up in December and I responded, "O yes, that is something Mexican families celebrate here."

We took an overnight flight home from vacation arriving back to Mexico on the 7th at 5 in the morning. We walked into the house still fully decorated from Christmas. My son went straight to the tree and stated in perfect Spanglish, "Los Reyes Magos didn't come. Probably because I didn't leave a shoe." He shrugged and walked away. He was pretty nonchalant about it, so I didn't say anything or bring it up.

The morning that followed came the heartbreaking moment. My son wakes up, walks straight over to the tree, stomps his foot and pouts, now really upset The Three Kings didn't come. You see, he had put out a shoe! The night before he placed a shoe under the tree and didn't mention it to anyone. We didn't notice with all the toys and Christmas decor scattered about the tree.

OMG, my husband and I nearly died as we shot each other panicked glances. We have just crushed our baby's belief system. He believes in Santa and unbeknownst to us, The Three Kings as well. His little heart broken that he did not receive anything even after putting out a shoe, and it is all our fault.  How could we not know? How could we let him down? Well, I guess there is no way I could have understood how deeply my child was taking in and absorbing the culture around him. I am not him, and I see everything through a different lens because my background growing up is very different from his experience. Put plainly, I have no idea how Mexican he feels. How American does he feel for that matter? I will probably never know.

Luckily, my husband is quick on his feet. He immediately suggested, "Maybe they went to your grandparent's because we were not here." He called his Mexican mother on the spot and asked if the Kings had arrived to their house on our behalf.  Thank God my mother-in-law knew immediately what was going on and responded with a cheery "Si, aqui llegaron y dejaron los regalos." ("Yes, they came and left your gifts.") My son's face lit up and all was right in our world again. My husband explained to the kids he'd pick up the gifts from his parent's house during his lunch break and bring them home that night.  The magic of The Three Kings was saved as was my dignity. I hope my son is not scarred for life. 

I cannot possibly be the first parent who significantly underestimated how important something was to their kid who was being raised in a culture different from their own. To all of my diplomatic and expat readers, if you have examples of your own, feel free to share in the comments (and make me feel better about my mistake).

In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[Reflections on Raising Children Abroad]]>Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:48:57 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/reflections-on-raising-children-abroad
Mom guilt. It’s real. Constantly questioning if you are doing the right thing. I have found myself recently questioning the experiences my children might miss out on being raised abroad. I often scroll through my friends’ social media feeds of their children’s soccer and baseball games, and  gymnastics and swim meets. Seasonally I see trips to the pumpkin patch and hayrides, pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny, and birthday parties full of friends they have grown up with. These are all things I grew up with. Memories built over years of team sports, holiday traditions, and parties with lifelong friends; these moments made me the person I am today. Scrolling through social media while living abroad I find myself wondering, “Will my children learn those important lessons of teamwork and overcoming losses with grace without the team sports? Will they have strong memories of holiday traditions that they will want to pass down to their kids? The sort of memories where the smell of baked goods and pine needles remind them of warm happy holidays surrounded by family. Will they build long lasting friendships growing up without lifelong childhood friends?” Some of my closest friends at age 40 are the people I met in 1st grade. Am I robbing my kids of basic life lessons and experiences? Am I robbing them of traditions that give children a sense of time and place and treasured memories?

There is only one way to overcome this questioning, this  sense of guilt. I have to sit quietly and specifically call to mind all the things my children are gaining. 

  1. The development of a second and possibly more languages. May these serve to help them connect to more and a wider variety of people in the future.
  2. A tangible connection to different traditions and cultures that help them to appreciate more than just what is comfortable and familiar. May this serve to help them be comfortable even in unfamiliar situations and to allow those unfamiliar experiences to help them grow and learn about themselves and others.
  3. Friends all over the globe. My son might not have contact at age 40 with anyone in his 1st grade class. Yet we have made friends in our last three locations that I know would welcome my children with open arms years from now. People who live all over the world. May this serve to provide my children the opportunity to travel worldwide to reconnect with people from their past and know they will be warmly welcomed in any corner of the globe.
  4. A larger view of what is possible for their future. I feel like a lot of people get stuck these days. Things might not be going well and yet they are paralyzed to change their circumstances and what is familiar. I hope my children realize they have the possibility to move anywhere opportunity calls. They do not need to go into debt for college when they can attend institutions in Canada, Mexico, Europe and elsewhere. If they can’t find a job in their area of interest at home, they will be open to the idea of seeking and finding that job abroad. If laws and requirements make it difficult to start a business in one place, they will understand that it might work in another country. They will have a wider view than most about what is possible and realize that there is opportunity everywhere. May this serve to open their minds and look further and wider as they pursue future interests and dreams.

At ages 4 and 7 they already have the experience and confidence to know that they are capable of uprooting themselves, leaving what is comfortable, and adjusting to a new location and way of life. I am convinced, and will continue to reassure myself, that this lifestyle will serve them well and somewhere along the way they will learn teamwork, build memories, and make lasting friendships even if their journey looks different than mine.

In Love & Tacos

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<![CDATA[My Experience Filming House Hunters International]]>Tue, 15 Oct 2019 13:58:29 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/my-experience-filming-house-hunters-international
The road to House Hunters International began a decade ago...hahaha!
Well not exactly, but I became a fan of the show about that long ago, and being married to a diplomat I knew one day I would move abroad. I told myself, "When that day comes, I will apply." So a decade and two kids later word came that our family was off to Mexico. Now for those of you who don't know, moving internationally is incredibly stressful and your plate is already full, so throw in filming a show and it is like...a lot. Plus the diplo-hubby was starting his new job at the new post, so it took some careful, gentle convincing that we could handle all this.

In February 2018, I sent an email to casting with our little story and some pictures letting them know we would be moving later in the year. Weeks and months went by and I didn't hear anything. Figured heaps of people apply to this show and it wasn't going to happen, but at least I had tried. Then on June 5th, in the middle of full court press on our move, I got an email. They wanted to know if we were still moving and still interested. Within two days I had a Skype call I think just to make sure I was real, could speak, and wasn't a psychopath. After the face to face call they sent me a questionnaire. NO JOKE the document was 5 pages full of questions...like 100 questions! They wanted basic information, details of our house hunt and who wanted what, budgets, neighborhoods, etc., etc. It took me 3 days to finish filling it out!

Two days later I had an email to set up a 45 minute Skype interview, with my husband this time, and the Casting Director. That went well and then came all the legal stuff. Location releases, image releases, legal documents, financial documents...O My! And we needed to create a casting video introducing our family, giving a house tour to see how we handled being in front of a camera, and doing an interview with the two of us about our history and our house hunt. Here are some clips from our videos...it is nothing fancy.
With some good old sticktoitiveness we made it through all these hoops. Our package and casting video was then presented to HGTV and we sat back crossing our fingers. Then...
Woohoo! Ready for filming. We got a some direction on what to wear on TV, no logos, no black or white, small patterns, or stripes. And no loud jewelry that would interfere with sound. Here are some pics of me testing outfits which I sent to friends and family for opinions. "Can I wear the hoops with the beads or is it too much?" "Are these earrings too big with this necklace?" You know how it is ladies...
Picture
They flew a director, a cameraman, and a sound engineer from the east coast and we used a realtor who lives here in Mexico. There was also a local fixer who was responsible for public filming permits, grabbing food and drinks, and making sure no one got towed.

There was no make up person, no hair person and plus they were all guys. I had read some blog posts from other people who had filmed HHI about directors wanting the contributors to show them different clothes, but my director was like "looks good." I promise you no one but me was concerned about how I looked. It was not their first priority. No one was going to tell me I needed to refresh my lipstick, my hair was sticking out, I needed to powder my nose, or my shirt had come untucked. So who knows what I will look like in the final edit.

I knew I liked the soundman right away when I asked him if my necklace was going to be a problem for the sound. I had read blog posts about sound engineers telling people to take off their jewelry, but I bought this colorful necklace in Oaxaca, Mexico, and I really wanted to wear it because it made my chambray shirt way more exciting. Like MacGyver he whipped out some clear Toupée tape and told me it wouldn't be a problem.
 
​Below is a clip I filmed right before we met the crew and began tapping.

We began filming at a gorgeous castle right here in the middle of Mexico City called Chapultepec Castle. It was AWESOME having it to ourselves before the hoards of tourists came through the gates. We spend 5 days filming at 3 apartments as well as at parks, restaurants, and downtown at the Zocalo. Having a film crew follow you around a really crowded city was fun. People think you are famous and wonder what you are up to. It was really cool (for a few days).
5 days of filming for about 22 minutes! I have no idea what I look like, what I sound like, or if it will be edited to make one of us seem crazy. I got sick before filming and my voice was really hoarse (ate more cough drops in three days then in my previous 38 years.) We also have no idea what the realtor said about us on the side. With just one cameraman, we basically refilmed walking through the apartments multiple times at multiple angles saying the same things over and over. But the cameraman was super professional and efficient so the repetitiveness didn't drive us totally nuts. We tried to be as flexible and easygoing as possible because nothing happens on schedule or goes as planned.

Our director was very sweet and constantly complimented us saying "You guys are doing great." I am not really sure if it was true or just part of his job to keep spirits up during the long filming days. I suspect the latter. He asked us questions from behind the camera about our thoughts on the houses we saw, but he said he wasn't really into the fake made up drama and did not make us throw our spouse under the bus. Although we might have done that on our own! He did not make us sit in tubs, put on sombreros to show we were in Mexico, or really do anything we were not comfortable with. He said our story was interesting enough and he didn't feel the need to create some drama between us. I am so thankful we got a good director who didn't try to make us into people we weren't. Fingers crossed the editing people are just as great as the crew they sent us.

The filming experience was fun and I learned new and interesting things. During a break I overheard the cameraman say "Let's put a bra on the Diva!" What! I looked at him and started laughing. He explained it is like a filter for a certain light. I also became very familiar with the concept of room tone (basic room background noise) the sound man needs for editing. So we all had to stand perfectly still at each place we filmed for a minutes so they could record room tone.  Who knew? You never think about all these things when you watch tv.

Trying to film and get clear uninterrupted sound in Mexico City is a task! Between airplanes, loud trucks, and construction the sound man was consistently stopping filming for some sound to die down, and then we had to start over and repeat ourselves. Had to stop a few times for this sound as well...a sound anyone who has spent time in Mexico City is familiar with. While filming our 1st apartment we heard this loud and clear making its way through the neighborhood. And we had to suspend all tapping.
Hahahahaha. This is so classic Mexico City that I tried to convince them to let the sound play for authenticity, but they rejected that idea.

Anyways...that was that. And now we wait. Lucky for us, while we were filming, the stipend they paid to contributors on House Hunters International increased. Our family was paid $2,000 for our time filming. They also paid for babysitters, and meals. So nice! All in all it was a fantastic once in a lifetime experience. It was also an affirmation of "Just Do It." Just give it a shot and try although it seems unlikely you will get it, you'll never know if you don't try. I sent and email one cold February day and here we are. It all culminates tonight when it airs.  We are nervous but looking forward to watching. And we will be able to hold onto this little slice of a time in our life forever.  Who knows? Maybe we will do it again for our next post! Hope you all enjoy it. Feel free to leave your comments on the episode below. Did you guess the house right?

In Love & Tacos 
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<![CDATA[House Hunters International Drinking Game]]>Tue, 15 Oct 2019 05:00:00 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/house-hunters-international-drinking-game
Here is the drinking game I created if you want to spice up your evening while viewing our episode of House Hunters International. Although parts of this can be used for any episode of HH. Cheers!
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<![CDATA[Interviews with the Crew from House Hunters International (Part 2)]]>Tue, 08 Oct 2019 15:25:04 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/interviews-with-the-crew-from-house-hunters-international-part-2
This is part two of my interviews with the crew who worked on our House Hunters International episode. My last post includes interviews with the Director and Producer (link here). As I explained before, House Hunters International is an incredibly popular show worldwide, but we often don't stop to think about the folks behind the scenes who make it all happen. Our crew was great! Friendly, professional, and fascinating people who have a ton of travel experience and have been to some really cool places on the job. Keep reading to learn a bit about them.
Anthony Smith, Sound Engineer
Website anthonygreysmith.com

How did you, get into film?
When I was 13 or 14 a friend showed me a VHS movie he made, and I was just inspired by the ability to edit and tell a story, so I worked all summer at the Oregon coast aquarium in Newport Oregon and saved my pennies and bought a camera.

What is the craziest place, circumstance, or story you experienced while working in film?
Working with special ops covering the war with ISIS in the Middle East. Antarctica was crazy too, but beautiful.

One place you have always wanted to go for work?
The Galapagos, and I missed out on Mike's Easter Island trip. (See below)

One piece of travel advice? Or one thing you always bring when traveling?
Don’t stay at an all inclusive.

Dream project?
Make a movie or documentary 

How many House Hunters/House Hunters International episodes have you done?
Maybe a dozen or more at this point

Is there one contributor (episode subject) you will never forget? Good or bad. No need to name names.
We worked with an Elvis impersonator.

​Worst thing about Mexico?
Mexico is awesome.

Best thing about Mexico?
Fresh fruit. Plantains and mangos!
MF Cormier, Cameraman
Website mfcormier.com

How did you, get into film?
I bought a Super 8 film camera to take with me to South America in the 80’s and ended up filming 3 pilot whales 🐳 being rescued in the Magellan Straights. I was hooked and wanted to become an international cameraman, so I made that my inspiration. It happened!

What is the craziest place, circumstance, or story you experienced while working in film?
Easter Island 🗿 was by far the most exotic location I shot. The closest habitable island 🌴 is Pitcairn Island where Mutiny on the Bounty occurred. 

One place you have always wanted to go for work?
Mongolia 🇲🇳 

One piece of travel advice? Or one thing you always bring when traveling?
Don’t take a tour, guide yourself and see the country you’re visiting through unfiltered lenses. And don’t forget your camera!

Dream project?
My dream project would be filming around the world at different exotic locations that show we are all one on this planet. Everyone is a mother, brother, sister, son, aunt, uncle, etc. and when you travel and meet these people it breaks the barriers that separate us at borders. More US citizens need to get a passport and see the world, and personally, it shouldn’t be on a cruise. 

How many House Hunters/House Hunters International episodes have you done?
Around 60. 

Is there one contributor (episode subject) you will never forget? Good or bad. No need to name names.
I’ll always be forever jealous of the contributor got a house in Costa Rica near the beach for $79g. The original asking price was $239g but there were no takers for over a year and it wasn’t in the greatest condition. But, after a little elbow grease and minor repairs it was in great shape!

​Worst thing about Mexico?
There is no “worst thing” about Mexico. It’s a great country and I’d love to retire there. 

Best thing about Mexico?
The best thing about Mexico is the people!
Show these guys some love in the comments and let them know what you think of the show and tune in on October 15th on HGTV.

In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[Interviews with the Crew from House Hunters International (Part 1)]]>Mon, 07 Oct 2019 21:32:15 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/interviews-with-the-crew-from-house-hunters-international-part-1I'd like to bring you behind the scenes with House Hunters International. While filming our episode in Mexico City, we ate a couple meals with the crew and had the pleasure of getting to know them. The show flew three people to Mexico for our story. The director, the cameraman, and the sound engineer. That was it, the three of them and us.
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Left to Right: Sound Engineer, Cameraman, Director
​We also had a producer who worked on the episode from New York and a local Mexican fixer. I quickly realized that these were fascinating people with fascinating lives and jobs. It occurred to me, for the immense popularity of this show, not many people know who makes it all happen. Who are the folks behind he scenes? I decided it would be fun to conduct a little interview with them. I have made it a two part series so the posts aren't too long. I begin here with my director and producer.

​Justin Herman, Director
Instagram @Justin_Herman

How did you, get into directing?
After film school I was lost in terms of how to start my career, so I did what seemed the most fun; I shot my own comedy travel show pilot. I directed, hosted, produced, wrote, edited, etc. It helped me get my first job producing travel shows and it's a genre I’ve specialized in ever since.

What is the craziest place, circumstance, or story you experienced while working in film?
Carnival in Salvador, Brazil. Carnival further north is not the flashy runway work of Rio; it's a street party of 2 million people dancing in the streets, while these double decker trucks called Trio Electricos drive 4km an hour through the streets with famous musicians and bands and DJ’s blasting music from the top, while people dance around it. Our Trio Electrico got tear gassed while the host was doing a final lines to camera. It was nuts.

One place you have always wanted to go for work?
Antarctica.

One piece of travel advice? Or one thing you always bring when traveling?
​Travel foam roller. The old bones ain’t what they used to be, and a good foam roll can be a saving grace after the physically taxing days.

Dream project?
I still think I nailed it when I was 22 with a comedy travel show!

How many House Hunters/House Hunters International episodes have you done?
I’ve worked on dozens of episodes of this show in various producing and directing capacities.

Is there one contributor (episode subject) you will never forget? Good or bad. No need to name names.
I think a lot about the Namibian and South African couple who moved to Galway. They were young, excited to see the world and came from a very different point of view compared to the more common western or American perspectives we more commonly showcase.

Worst thing about Mexico?
It’s hard to hate anything about a beautiful, rich, diverse country with such kind people.  

Best thing about Mexico?
See above.

Justin moonlights as an international stand up comic. So I asked him if he had any good Mexico jokes...
Most of my cultural comparison jokes are usually vehicles to point out the flaws in America compared to how the rest of the world lives. I love touring internationally, but because I predominantly perform in the US, its more important to me to expand the minds of that audience to see the rest of the world as better than perhaps stereotypes suggest, and show that we have as much to learn from them as they do from us.

No joke there, but a terrific mission in my opinion. I do remember Justin joking around about how fantastic his bank account looked in pesos! I second that feeling.
Ines Pierce, Producer
Instagram @tuddaloo

How did you, get into production?
The road to me becoming a producer had lots of twist and turns. I’ve been in this business for 14 years and started producing 7 years ago. I started as an intern at Entertainment Tonight which in turn got me my first full-time gig out of college working for a production house. I was a PA/Production Coordinator and eventually they let me produce a few red carpet events. When the recession hit, I started freelancing (which was terrifying) and started working on commercials and music videos still as a coordinator/manager. Somehow I landed in the reality TV end of things and after a few gigs I knew I wanted to get into creative. I had a friend set me up on a food network show and things spring boarded from there. I worked on a few big name reality shows (Apprentice, Chopped, Project Runway) and eventually landed my current gig at HHI. My current position is considered perma-lance which is a unicorn in this industry. I’m pretty happy and get to really enjoy a great work/life balance which is also very rare when working in TV!

What is the craziest place, circumstance, or story you experienced while working in film?
I one time had to drive three hours in the wee hours of the night in rural Louisiana to find an armadillo for a nature show I was working on. Looking back it was a pretty dumb move to go with one other person to some random guy’s house, but when I saw him literally watering an armadillo out of a tree (ala Looney Tunes) I knew he was legit.

One place you have always wanted to go for work?
The show does a lot of traveling and I am fortunate enough to get to go on a shoot here and there. One place I would love to go to is Iceland and see the northern lights.

One piece of travel advice? Or one thing you always bring when traveling?
Always bring a pair of plug-in headphones with you and an eye mask. You never know if you are going to be stuck in a bright hotel room after traveling for 15+ hours and desperate for sleep!

Dream project?
I would have killed to work on Game of Thrones. #teamdaenerys

How many House Hunters/House Hunters International episodes have you done?
I’ve been here for two years and produced about 40 episodes, which is nuts to think I have done almost two a month in order to make that happen.

Is there one contributor (episode subject) you will never forget? Good or bad. No need to name names.
I’ve had a lot of unique contributors and have been pretty fortunate to keep in touch with a lot of them. I don’t have any favorites but the stories that have stuck with me are the ones where the person is in a second chapter of their life. Something about their passion and fearlessness to change course and live their life to the fullest really connects with me.

Worst thing about Mexico?
The mosquitos. The end. Period.

Best thing about Mexico?
The people. The colors. The FOOD. I really love the warmth of the culture and how vibrant life is there. Every time I have left I really start appreciating the little things more and more and realize what is most important in the every day. 
It has been fun to shed a little light on the people who create House Hunters International. Feel free to tell them what you think of the show in the comments! Part 2 will be posted tomorrow with my interviews of the cameraman and sound engineer.

Don't forget to tune into our episode Tuesday Oct. 15th!

In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[Breaking: Irish I Were Mexican is on House Hunters International]]>Wed, 25 Sep 2019 04:43:47 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/breaking-irish-i-were-mexican-is-on-house-hunters-international
Breaking News…I officially got word that HGTV is getting ready to air our episode of House Hunters International!!! We are so excited to share this with you and I am also totally terrified. We filmed many months back and have been waiting to see if they deem us “suitable for TV.” We filmed for 5 days and they only really use like 22 minutes, so I have no idea how I will come across or what I look like. Do I say the stereotypical stuff about a deeply rooted need for double sinks and closet space just for me? I also remember getting sick before they filmed and my voice was super hoarse. It is terrifying to have your face blasted across national TV for all to see. And the folks on twitter using #househuntersinternational are a passionate bunch, but aren’t that kind. Our episode is called “Getting Diplomatic in Mexico City”. The description reads…

”After 16 years abroad, a Mexican diplomat based in Washington, DC, returns home to Mexico City with his American wife and two young kids. Having moved frequently for his government work, the couple has grown accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle, but moving out of the US with the kids may require more than just old-school diplomacy.“ 

Are you gripped?!?!

I am planning to write two more posts about this. One about our experience on the show and another with interviews of the crew who work on the show and travelled to Mexico to film us. I think it is fun to get to know the professionals behind the scenes.

We will be season 144 episode 8! Yes, there have been that many seasons of HHI (as they call it for short). Our air date is Tuesday, October 15th at 10:30PM EST/9:30 CT. You all might get to see it before me, unless I can find someone here in Mexico who is pirating American TV.

If any one doesn’t know, HHI is a show that features people who move from one country to another and follows them on their house hunt at their new location. It is fun to see what houses look like around the world and you get to try to guess which one they pick. For years I was a big fan and avid watcher. House Hunters has been described as television “comfort food.” The format is simple, familiar and repetitive to those who watch it. It is also family friendly and non political.  TV you can veg out and relax with. Tune in!

In Love & Tacos
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<![CDATA[Limitless: The Story Of A 21 Year Old Girl Who Traveled To All 196 Countries]]>Thu, 05 Sep 2019 00:36:50 GMThttp://irishiweremexican.com/at-post/limitless-the-story-of-a-21-year-old-girl-who-traveled-to-all-196-countriesHave you heard of Lexielimitless? Lexie Alford is the youngest person to travel to all 196 sovereign nations in the world. This inspiring young women accomplished this feat at the age of 21. A short background: She is from Nevada City, has a travel agent mom, and had been to 70 countries by the age of 18. As she reached the end of school and that age where everyone asks "what are you going to do next," it came to her. She decided to take her love of travel one step further and try to see every country and beat the current world record. Did you know more people have been to space than have seen every country on earth? It is an exclusive club and the number of women who have done it is even smaller.
Impressed by her accomplishments, I decided to watch her TEDx talk and at the end I felt rather inspired by her tenacity. Then, as any good citizen of the internet, I read the comments! 🤦🏼‍♀️ I couldn’t believe what I was reading. So much negativity aimed at this 21 year old girl. Things I never even thought of because I don’t spend my life trolling other people online. Things to the effect of...
"Why is this even a record wtf, this just requires having a lot of money and country which has a good passport and can get you visas."
"This brat needs to work a night shift at Taco Bell on the line so she can actually truly appreciate her privilege."
"Accomplishments that come from money and privilege are not impressive."
“So a child treated world travel experience like Pokemon. I don't see why this is being celebrated. It's actually really sad that world travel has been reduced to a checklist."
"You are just looking for fame and to beat a record.” And...
”Yeah, easy for a white girl.”

EASY? These people think this was easy? Having been to a mere 33 countries in my life, I knew intrinsically this feat was not easy, even if she started with a position of privilege we can all respectfully acknowledge. In my travels there have been plenty of moments when I thought to myself, "This is not good. How am I going to get myself out of this?" And I haven’t even travelled anywhere particularly crazy. EASY? Even if you ignore the amount of planning, and saving, and visa applications, and logistics. Most of us spend hours to weeks planning trips to Disney or a beach vacation. Imagine doing that for 120 some countries. Even if you ignore the malaria and food poisoning she faced alone in strange places far from home.

EASY? Any 18 year old girl in her own town in most parts of the world takes a risk just walking down the street at night alone. Nevermind walking down the street in Somalia, Congo, Venezuela (in its current situation) Syria or Yemen. Young women don’t get the freedom to walk on this earth without being alert and taking safety precautions. EASY? An Immigration official in West Africa told Lexie “I’d like to keep you in my closet.”
​​She traveled to 50 or so countries alone as she became less able to convince family and friends to go with her to some parts of the world. Most people don’t like going to the movies or to a restaurant alone. We yearn to share the experience with someone. To turn to another face and nod with acknowledgement about how crazy or amazing any particular moment is. And she faced anxiety. 30% of the population does. She suffered anxiety attacks in public, yet alone in a foreign country. She also experienced true panic and fear as 50 men gathered outside her hotel in Yemen and began firing guns. She hit the floor and could literally do nothing but sit there alone with her fear. She cried herself to sleep after they left only to find out the next day it had been a part of a wedding celebration. A cultural misunderstanding, but still, can you imagine? By the age of 21, Lexie learned how to be alone without being lonely and how to cope with anxiety, two problems full grown adults still struggle with.

What can we learn from Lexie? She arrived at the other side of her adventure with two great pieces of advice.

1. Never take "no" for an answer.
Through visa denials, closed borders, travel logistics and naysayers, she pushed through. Never taking her eye off the goal. If you have a dream or a goal you really want to accomplish, don't take no for an answer. Just because one door closes, it doesn't mean there isn't another way. Persevere.

2. Live your life by asking one question...“Will I regret this if i don’t do it?”
If the answer is, yes, you have a moral obligation to yourself to do it, according to Lexie. This is  something I actually do and try to instill in my children. At the zoo recently I said exactly this when my 6 year old was contemplating whether or not to hold a hissing cockroach. I said, "You might not get this chance again, and you don't want to regret not doing it." I am always open to being pulled onstage at some cultural event to embarrass myself, to touch exotic animals, or to swim in a strange body of water where you can't see the bottom. I apply to odd things like decorating the White House or to be on TV (both of which I got) simply because I think "I'll regret it if I don't try." I agree with Lexie this is an important piece of advice. Advice more people should take. It is a question you should be asking yourself regularly.
​Lexie set off with the goal to break the world record, but she discovered a new goal along the way that resonates with me. As she got further into her journey, she went to harder and less traveled places. She found that regardless of a country’s political situation, the people themselves were always welcoming. The best part of her journey was "finding the light in places that have been painted with a dark reputation." “The countries that have such a bad reputation that people don’t dare to go are the places that spark my curiosity,” says Lexie. “I experienced so much more kindness and natural beauty in places like Pakistan and Venezuela than I ever found in typical tourist destinations.”

"I couldn’t give up when things got tough. I was determined to show everyone that the world isn’t as scary as the media portrays it to be and that there’s kindness everywhere.”
​-Lexie Alford

All photos are from Lexie's instagram account
If you want more of Lexie Alford you can follow her at @lexielimitless on Instagram
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