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Monday, February 28, 2011


Since this blog is about the journey "from here to there", I'm going to start a little triptik, Lorraine-style.  Back in 1995, when, upon return from my last long stay in Mexico, I announced to my family that I would be moving to Washington State, my parents got on the horn with AAA and had a triptik made for me, which was a trip planner complete with an updated road map from Minnesota to Washington.  Never mind that the directions can be summed up in two words: Go West.  They felt I needed to be aware of all of the possible turns, bumps, and detours, as well as the highlights of all of the possible cities and tourist stops along the way.  It was not a bad idea, as it turned out, because we did get stranded with car trouble for a night in Montana, and the information on the triptik came in very handy.  Yay for worry-wart parents!

So, hey, why not start some planning for our big move and try to avoid some of the figurative potholes in our path?  For starters, we don't even want to start our engines until we have done a little housecleaning, so to speak.  When newly inspired Mr. Husband came back from Mexico last month and announced that yes, he does want us to move there, the wheels started turning.  Egad!  We would have to:

1)  Get the house problem figured out, once and for all.  Our loan is still in limbo due to hitting foreclosure proceedings last year. Filing for bankruptcy last fall bought us some more time to figure things out, but we don't know how much time.  We've actually been trying to reinstate the loan, but with plans to move to Mexico we are floundering around, considering our options.  Should we keep our house and rent it out to someone, sell it before we go, or just let it go and fly the coop the week of the sheriff sale, which could very well be sometime by the end of this year?

2)  We will need to have a big sale and get rid of the majority of our belongings.  That would best be done in warmer temps, so, once again, we need to decide when we're leaving.

3)  I want to pay off the rest of my school loans so that we are not burdened with that problem when we're trying to start fresh.

4)  We need to find a moving company!  Mr. Husband says he should just drive, and someone could ride with him.  My thoughts on that are "HELL NO" because I don't want him driving through bullet-dodging country, ie the northern border of Mexico.  This discussion has not gone very far because we are butting heads on the issue.

5)  Health topics, such as dental work, optometry appointments, and general physicals should be all taken care of before we go so that we can avoid any extra surprises during our first 6 months or so.

6)  Translation of documents such as college transcriptions and immunization records, etc.

7)  My visa for Mexico.  No, I don't need a visa to visit Mexico, but I DO need a visa to be there on a more permanent basis (6 months or more, I believe?) and work there.

8)  I want to get a TESL (teach English as a Second Language) certificate so that I may get work when we get there.

9)  Save, save, save.  Oh, and SAVE.  We'll want to have a few bucks in our pockets to fund the start of our new life.

10)  I feel like there should be a number 10 but I just can't think of anything at the moment.

So, there you have it.  I think the big question of the month is going to be "WHEN?".  I mean, we need to consider the housing issue (here) and the fact that our son is starting kindergarten in the fall and I really don't want to pull him from his school in the middle of the year.  I've been having lots of mixed feelings about the whole thing.  We'll talk about the "What If's" in my next post.  Until then, thanks for riding along as we begin this process............


  1. Hi and welcome to the mexpat world. I saw your post on Jackie's blog and thought I'd jump over and check out your blog and welcome you to the group :) Might I offer a few words of advice or insight?

    #4 It depends on how much stuff you are bringing with you. I drove from Oregon to Tlaxcala, Mexico with our Explorer loaded to the gills and had no issues. As long as you drive by day and stay on the cuotas (toll) roads, you'll be fine. You may encounter mordidas (bribes) but you'll learn how to handle those. You can read my blog for Oct/Nov 2010 to see how I handled the Mexican Road Trip with a 3 year old toddler and indocumentado tio by my side.

    #6 Most documents that you need translated can be done by yourself or an escrito publico when you get there.

    #7 There are two types of visas you can get. One is the FM2 as the spouse of a Mexican but he will need to be working to show that he can support you before you can get one of those. The FM3 can be gotten if you can show you have sufficient American income to support yourself but if you are planning on working, you have to first find the job and then they sponsor you for the visa and take care of it. So it's nothing you can proactively do besides get your birth certificate and marriage certificate apostilled now before you leave the states.

    #8 Most schools don't require a TESL, they just want you to be an American, sad but true. I only have a BA in English Lit and I was offered a position teaching elementary school in Puebla for 11,000 pesos/month with no experience at all.

    #9 We are moving south in Sept/Oct as my husband doesn't have the fortune to be able to move back and forth across the border. We have set up a CD ladder so we'll have money to keep us going the first year too.

    #10 Where are you guys planning on going?

    Once again, welcome aboard :)

  2. Thank you, Krystal! It's nice to be welcomed. Over the years I've glanced at some of the expat blogs from people living in Mexico, and I've always felt envious of their lives. Lately, with everything going on with us, I have been finding more and more blogs like this and I've realized that there is an even bigger expat community in Mexico than I imagined.

    I REALLY appreciate your insight into some of our concerns. The suggestions you've given us are extremely helpful and insightful, and very welcomed! A few comments in reply to what you wrote:
    **My husband has a LOT big stuff that he won't part with, and I am sure that if he drives it will be with a pickup and a trailer pulled behind. Makes me nervous. I'm thinking a moving company would be a better idea but I could be wrong.
    **Thanks for the tips on what to have documented and apostilled and for the Visa tips!
    **I've heard that the TESL is not required but I'm wondering if it would give me more of an edge? My BA is in Spanish and Communications. I definitely won't put a lot of money into whatever TESL program I choose. I'd probably do a 2-month online course for a couple of hundred dollars or something, just to sort of brush up on Grammar and get some teaching tips. I think it's really great that you got that teaching gig, and 11,000 pesos seems like really good money for Mexico! Especially if you have a two-income household!
    ***We have zero in savings.....I really want to remedy that before we leave the US!

    Again, thanks so much for your thoughts and for welcoming me into the fold! :)

  3. Hi Lorraine! What an exciting time in your life! What part of Mexico do you want to move to? Definetly get your documents apostilled before you come down. That was a real pain for me because I've been here for so long, but thank goodness, my parents were able to help me out with getting that taken care of.

    I have what they call a "non-working" FM3, meaning that I'm married to a Mexican and I don't work. At one point in time I had the FM2, but then we bought a car in California and you can't have a car with foreign plates with the FM2. Also with the FM2, you're limited to how many days you can leave Mexico. People always ask me why don't I become a resident or a citizen, and my answer is because I have no reason to.

    I taught English here for 12 years and I only have a BA in Communications. A lot of schools are now requiring a teaching certificate, so I think it's a good idea to get one if you can.

    I love living in Mexico. Sometimes I think it's harder to get ahead because it's difficult to find jobs that pay well. The holidays are also tough. But in general, life is good. :)

    I'm glad you found us and I look forward to reading your blog.

  4. Thank you, Jackie! We'd probably go to Morelia, Michoacan.

    I'm glad you guys are offering these tidbits of advice. I've got quite a bit of stuff to take care of before we would go. Still not sure when that will be. But it's good to get some insight from people who are down there now.

    I've got lots of mixed feelings on the whole thing that vary from day to day, but the good thing is that I've lived there before and the language and culture will be things I'm already familiar with. Still will take getting used to, however! :)

    Anyway, thanks for the kind thoughts.