Never have I had such an appreciation for suburban living. The city of Plano — outside of Dallas — is ringed with 1970s planned neighborhoods, where the one-story houses look out at each other across sidewalks and huge, empty streets.

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Their backyards are enclosed in a series of tall, wooden fences that create a maze of alleys to connect driveways and garages. It’s like everyone has their very own miniature palace. Each yard could very easily hold all your livestock — chickens, rabbits, turkeys, a pig or two — and maybe even grow some corn to feed them all.

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Inside the house is another marvel. The living room is the size of an entire house in San Lucas, Guatemala, and there are more light bulbs than probably the entire pueblo of Patchitulul. But the best part is the kitchen. There’s an oven that isn’t wood-fired or solar powered, a microwave and a refrigerator! I’ve completely adopted the domestic, Texan-housewife role and have made baked goods every day since our arrival.

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While these were all things I was looking forward to, one unexpected perk of the ‘burbs is its absolute silence. There are no wild, barking dogs at night, no roosters who chime every quarter-hour, and when you go for walks, at most you’ll encounter three other pedestrians. In fact, walking is so rare that the one time I meandered through the neighborhood without Dave — for no more than 10 minutes — I was asked if I needed a ride by a southern gentleman in a red pick-up truck. Sean later explained to me that no one walks, anywhere, and if you happen upon a lady on-foot, it’s assumed that her car has broken down.

All these sudden changes have been slightly overwhelming, but because we chose Texas to be our entry-point back into the states, becoming an American again is actually quite easy. We’ve already hit up two Mexican supermarkets and talked to a butcher, a waitress and a cashier in Spanish. Plus, we’re back on our Mexico City diet of delicious, cheap tacos!

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With everything at your disposal, it’s easy to miss the rigors of homesteading. But thankfully, Fiesta the Latino supermarket, is bringing do-it-yourself back to suburbanites. Just like in Ecuador, you can even make your own rope out of sisal. Only this time, there’s no need to grow the actual plant, just pick up a large chunk of it at the store. Same deal for tortillas. Why make your own? There are nearly 20 brands of corn or flour ones piled high at Fiesta.

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May 8, 2014