Work life balance takes on a whole new meaning when your eyes burn for more than a computer screen.
What awaits for me once I power down my laptop is a county with much to offer, be it the delicious tacos de adobada down the street from my apartment, the downtown plazas where you can experience a Worldcup game on a big screen (with beer in hand) and post your frustrations on Facebook using the free WiFi provided by the city, or the numerous cultural towns that are famous for the commodities they provide (wine, cheese, clothing, candy, liquor, minerals) and the legendary “healing powers” and historical relevance of their attributes.
As I approach the end of my 5th week in México I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to successfully balance my time providing finance and strategy consulting with travels that range from local bars to neighboring states (pictures provided).
One of my recent trips was to the enchanting city of Guanajuato, GTO. Guanajuato’s impressive tunnels run throughout the mountainous city and give life to the commerce that’s brought about by national and international patrons. It’s home to the world famous Momias that are said to be well preserved due to Guanajuato’s unique chemical properties; I think they’re still gross to look at, especially just before lunch. Just as impressive is the mining industry that dates back to before the Spanish conquest of México.
One exciting, but sad, memory of my time in Guanajuato was experiencing México’s lose to Holland in a plaza full of patriotic soccer fans.
On my second adventure out of state I was fortunate enough to have some family accompany me. México City is an impressive megalopolis with over 24 million residents inhabiting it and the surrounding areas. My brief 1.5 day stay allowed for only short visits to the historic parts of town where we stopped by El Palacio de Bellas Artes, El Palacio Nacional (the Mexican equivalent to the US Capital Building in D.C.), the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, and the Azetc Pyramids of Teotihuacan located just 45 minutes from México City.
Roaming around the halls of the Palacio Nacional and standing before the great murals that depict the history of México, which were painted by Diego Rivera in the 1920s and 1930s, made me feel a deeper connection to my Mexican heritage; especially after having visited the Aztec Temple of the Sun.
I was proud to see what how far México has come, yet sadden by all the lives that have been claimed by the numerous economic, religious, and cultural crusades embarked upon by Spanish Conquistadors, other Europeans, mestizos, and indígenas.
In my last few days I intend on continuing my travels and exploring new frontiers (well at least new to me). Thus far I have enjoyed my time in México and I’m seriously considering spending a few years working here post my graduate studies at Duke.
Aside from the impressive history, delicious food, and festive traditions is the immensely unavoidable poverty that one encounters at almost every turn. The needs for dignified, assessable, affordable, environmentally sustainable, and good quality healthcare will play a critical part for the quality of life Mexican will, and continue, to lead.
The numerous environmental exposures and epidemiological risk factors threaten the very way of life for many Mexicans and place an enormous stress on an already inefficient and inaccessible public healthcare system.
Stay tuned as my last few days in México are sure to be exciting!
Jose Magaña Paredes
Master of Business Administration
Master of Environmental Management
Candidate 2016, Duke University
Fuqua School of Business
Nicholas School of the Environment