Tag Archives: Mexico

SMA, week 2, recap

We went to a birthday party! A local friend invited us to his daughter’s birthday party. She turned two, and is crazy about Minnie Mouse.

It was so much fun. Most of the attendees were family — lots of siblings on both sides — but there was another ex-pat couple there that helped take some of the language pressure off. There was another couple and their son who spoke some English, as well, and they sat and chatted with us.

We had so much wonderful food! A woman prepared gorditas, and then we had homemade ice cream and, of course, cake. The hit of the party, though, was the piñata, which apparently was as much fun to fill as to hit.

The children were so polite (all day). When it came time to hit the piñata, they started with the youngest — the birthday girl — and then went upwards in age. Stefoni, the little birthday girl, just tapped it very lightly with the bat.

The next girl, who was just a year or two older, whacked the heck out of it!

I loved the house and the neighborhood. (If we’re ever invited back, I would love to walk up and photograph the church.) I’m very much afraid, though, that the area is becoming popular with ex-pats. You could clearly see big, expensive houses and upscale hotels and restaurants being built. This will force the locals out. I say this with guilt, because my kind — ex-pats — are the cause of this problem.

 

So what else did we accomplish this week?

  • 90% of the boxes are unpacked, and the stuff is put away. This happened because our maid came on Thursday. Good motivation!
  • Jay had his first routine doctor appointment. It was a house call, and she was here about two hours, I think, to do his complete intake. It cost $1000MX… about $55US.
  • Jay, I, and the dogs ventured out one evening. We drove south because we hadn’t been that way, then went back toward town, and drove to the mall and back. I was reminded of how I felt as a teen when I learned to drive. Baby steps, each new thing feeling big and scary.
  • Both Jay and I have run errands in the car individually. Neither of us has gone far, but we’ve each explored a bit.
  • I got my “real” camera out this week!

I haven’t ventured out and taken lots of cool pictures, because I was mostly focused on getting a picture of this bee. I mostly failed. I don’t have a macro lens, nor much of a zoom.

Even if I had those things, I don’t think I could have really captured the SIZE of this bee, which was what impressed me. It’s at LEAST 2.5 inches long. A regular honeybee is about the size of one of those little white petals.

This photo doesn’t really capture the vibrance of its colors either. Its orange and black are just stunning.

Oh well. I started (restarted, actually) a free online photo class, so that’s a win for the week. Now I just have to get out and take some photos of this gorgeous neighborhood.

The Good

We’re settling in a bit. We’re learning our way around the supermarket, and we’re comfortable buying food and cooking it. LOL — well, sort of. We have a gas stove, which made Jay so happy, but we’re not experienced cooking on it. Pair the unfamiliar stove with unfamiliar cuts of meat, and some of our meals are… experimental.

We’ve noticed something interesting here. When we buy meat, we need to use it that day or maybe the next day. It just doesn’t keep, even though it’s wrapped in plastic. I wonder what they do to meat in the US to make it last so long?

The doctor recommended that we shop at the organic market. Jay taxi’d up there today and looked around. He didn’t find any veggies he wanted, but he did talk to a guy who procures local meat.

Other good:

  • We went out to eat twice. The first place is essentially a McDonalds. The second place was a Thai restaurant! The food was yummy, and we were both thrilled to find it.
  • In addition to pulling out my camera, I also pulled out my novel. Oh, I don’t think I’ll make much progress, but it’s nice to do something creative.
  • I started working on my Spanish in Rosetta Stone again. There are some free resources that I use that are wonderful too. I’m starting to remember some of what I had learned (and then lost do to non-use and competing priorities).
  • We’re loving the weather here. It’s mostly sunny and moderately warm during the day, and then there are thunderstorms at night. Of course, this is the rainy season, so those storms won’t happen much longer. But they’re super fun while they last.

The Bad

There’s not too much bad, thank goodness. The worst, though: the Internet.

As I’ve mentioned before, the residential internet doesn’t have a fast enough upload speed to work for work. So we had Live! Telecom install their fiber optic + microwave internet. We purchased a business plan, so we would get the biggest upload pipe.

And it’s great… when it works. So far it has been down three days this week. They have gotten it back up within a few hours, but when they do, it takes HOURS to get back up to speed. Right after it comes back, the speeds are as slow as dial up! Unusable.

We have cable internet to use as a backup, so we’re able to connect, but it doesn’t handle both of us well. Jay had to have someone else on his team be his “hands” on a system one day — and that’s absolutely not acceptable.

For the record: I do NOT recommend Live! Telecom in San Miguel de Allende.

So what’s the solution? I don’t know. Live! Telecom supposedly has a dedicated solution that can be installed. I have no idea how much it costs, nor what they have to do to the HOUSE to install it. (Remember, these are the guys who punctured the water pipe last week.)

Still, this is the only fiber optic game in town, so we might have to ask a bilingual friend to go with us to talk to them.

My Thoughts…

Jay and I need to get out more. If we want to learn Spanish, we’re going to have to leave our home. (This is tougher for a pair of introverts than it sounds.)

We chatted with the other ex-pat couple at the party, and they own a house here and have been splitting their time between the US and Mexico for about five years. They have each taken several different classes in Spanish, some quite immersive, but they’re not fluent.

Jay and I are going to have to work very hard if we want to be even reasonably conversant before we leave SMA next year. Our task is made much harder because we work — in English — all week. Immersing ourselves just isn’t easy.

Share
Posted in Mexico | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SMA, Week 1 Recap

Morning view from my office

Our first week in San Miguel de Allende has drawn to a close. I thought I would tell you what happened this week, good and bad, and share my thoughts about this week and the weeks to come.

We got an incredible amount done this week:

  • We unloaded the trailer, and got probably half of the boxes unpacked.
  • We got Mexican SIMs for our phones, so we have a local number. I’m honestly not sure we need to keep our T-Mobile plan. We’ll see.
  • We got our money figured out — how we get it, how we pay bills, where our direct deposit is going, and so forth.
  • We had fiber optic internet installed. (This has been only partially successful.)
  • We met our gardener and maids, and worked out their schedule.
  • We figured out the grocery, so we can feed ourselves and our dogs. 🙂
  • We got immigration photos taken, and took care of several steps necessary to finalize our temporary residence visa. This included a trip to Queretero for Jay.
  • Jay bought and put together new desks and office chairs for each of us, and he assembled our monitors and computers. And he got the network running smoothly.

The Good

We couldn’t have done the above — truly — without the help of Adriane (the property manager) and a local friend, Luis. (Part of the reason we chose SMA as our first stop is that we already knew some people here.)

Luis went with us on several of our errands and served as translator. For a couple of them, I honestly don’t know how I’d have managed with my currently limited Spanish. I really need to buckle down on my studies!

Luis and Adriana have been so incredibly helpful, so very responsive when we’ve had questions or needed something. They’ve made it so easy to get settled. Almost too easy, LOL, but definitely less stressful.

Other good:

  • We love the house, and equally importantly, the DOGS love the house. They’re so relaxed!
  • We met a bilingual taxi driver who gave us his card so we can call him directly. He has made it easy to run errands when we don’t want to drive.
  • We met our neighbor, Martine. He studied medicine in California, so he’s fluent in English as well. He is the one who used to have a horse across the street. He still has horses — many of them — at a ranch a few minutes away. I hope to be invited out to see the ranch sometime in the future. Very nice man.
  • The weather has been wonderful, and we’re able to keep the house comfortable. We had a couple of fun thunderstorms, and we’re supposed to have more this coming week.

The Bad

There’s not too much bad, but there were a few things.

  • The internet installers stapled into a water pipe on the roof. Rather than telling us, they just turned off the water to the house and tried to patch the hole. Didn’t work. We first had to figure out why there was no water in the house, and then figure out why water was pouring off the roof. This resulted in a plumber at the house at 8:30 at night. It cost us $500…pesos. About $28.
  • Jay had a cold when we arrived. I fought it, but eventually succumbed. I was simply exhausted. Thursday was the worst day, and by yesterday I felt human again. It made it hard to DO much though, and I definitely didn’t want to go out and explore.
  • I had to work this week. Okay, I’m not complaining about my job — I am grateful to have one, and I love my manager and coworkers — but I really needed to take this week off. Thank goodness Jay took this week off to get things done. Next week will be tougher, because we’ll both be back at work.
  • The altitude, LOL. We moved from sea level to 6200ft. Dude, the air is thin up here! We will adjust, but right now, it’s an effort to walk upstairs to the kitchen, much less to carry boxes and do physical work. Jay is a champ! (Have I mentioned that he’s the best husband in the world? Because he is. Truly.)
  • There’s cable TV, but there’s no guide and no DVR. I know, first world problem, right? I flipped through every channel and pressed every button on the remote, and there’s no guide to tell me what shows are on when. Without a DVR, it’s pretty irrelevant anyway, since the chances that I would make time to watch a show when it airs is nil. So unless we get a VPN in place and work out a different solution, TV won’t be happening for us this year. There are worse things that could happen.

My Thoughts…

As I was thinking about this past week, I was first and foremost grateful for good friends. We are sliding into this far more easily and gradually than I every dreamed, and it’s all because of our wonderful friends here.

I am disappointed that we didn’t get out more. We haven’t walked around the neighborhood or driven around or gone into town. We certainly didn’t go out to an event! We are both introverts, and we know our default behavior is to stay home in front of our computers.

But I am going to cut myself some slack about that. We just got here, and neither of us was 100% this week. We really were busy the whole time either working or moving in or sleeping. (Okay, so we made time for a lot of siesta. We were tired!) And we don’t have a pet sitter, yet, though we’re working on it. It’s okay that we didn’t accomplish anything outside of the house this past week. We just can’t let that become our introvert habit and miss out on this gorgeous city.

Yesterday was a good day. Incredibly peaceful, even though we still got a fair amount done. I was finally able to think about the OTHER things I want to be doing, the things that I put on hold during the last eight months. I want to get out my camera and learn to take GOOD pictures. I want to write. I want to train my dog. I want to learn Spanish! It’s time to relax and do some fun things.

I’m looking forward to what’s to come!

Share
Posted in Mexico | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Before we move: Researching the options

Our hope is to move to Mexico — specifically to San Miguel de Allende. (More on that choice in a separate post.) The current US government administration *cough* seems determined to screw that up, though, so we’re creating a back-up plan. The goal isn’t just “Mexico.” It’s to move somewhere different and immerse ourselves in a different culture (for a few months at a time).

Moving to a new country requires a LOT of research and preparation. My first step was to create a spreadsheet where I could collect the information I was gathering. The high-level subjects I’m researching are:

  • Visa
  • Moving
  • Vehicles
  • Finance (banking)
  • Health
  • Pets
  • Housing
  • Phones
  • Internet
  • Taxes
  • Receiving packages/mail after moving
  • Miscellaneous

We have TONS of subcategories under each of those. I have great resources, though, so I’m actually pretty relaxed about the whole thing. There are several groups on FaceBook devoted to moving to Mexico, and the people have been really helpful.

Interestingly, my husband has been super chill about the whole thing. He’s… change averse… and so I thought this process would freak him out. However he has turned it over to me, and as long as I can answer his questions, he is happy.

We are, of course, doing more than amassing research. We have gotten our passports up-to-date. We have started the visa process for Canada (Nova Scotia — our back-up location), and we have a trip planned to San Miguel de Allende in March. Oh, and we’re studying Spanish.

We’re also working on a plan for getting rid of all our STUFF. We purchased a new car, got rid of Jay’s Prius, and will rehome my Outback next month. *sob* We’re going to buy a small trailer and whatever we can fit in it is ALL we’re taking with us!

Share
Posted in Moving Abroad | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ending 2016 and looking forward

[Note to readers: I got very, very behind on updating this blog. I missed some very important events that I am going back and documenting now — and setting the dates back as well. I’m actually writing this post at the end of March, 2017. ]

This has been a long year, and I will not be sad to see it end. If I could figure out how to kick it in the ass on the way out, I’d be standing at the ready. Of course, I think I’d be in a long line. This hasn’t been a good year for very many people, I don’t think.

In January of this year, I had three dogs and three horses. Now I have two dogs — one new — and one horse. Sort of.

We lost Miss Guin back in January. My darling mare. She had an incredible retirement, and it was her time, so although it was sad, it was understandable.

I didn’t lose Mr. Blue — not in the permanent sense. Instead I gifted him to Heidi, the young woman who has adored him for many, many years. He’s in a good place with someone who loves him.

Rosa is our “sort of” horse. She’s an interesting story. We got her a couple of years ago with the plan to let her grow up, and then get her trained and rehomed. Unfortunately, she got hurt just a day or so after we got her. Turns out that injury is going to prevent her from being ridden.

We sent her for training back in April. By the end of June, he trainer had to throw in the towel. The lasting pain in that injury made Rosa potentially explosive and unsafe to ride. We are paying her board and looking for a permanent companion home for her.

We lost my curly boys, Pax and River, back in July and March respectively. The pain of that loss still hits me, still brings me to tears. Pax was an old man, yes, but River was not. River was lost much, much too soon.

Miss Pflouff, I’m happy to say, is still with us. She turned 8 this year. She has some issues with her shoulders, but she’s still trucking right along. We adore her.

And of course, there’s our newest boy, Mr. Polo. He has settled in and become a much loved member of our family. We missed having a curly boy.

I started a new job back in June, and it has gone incredibly well! I honestly couldn’t have asked for better. It turned out to be a blessing not to get the management position. I’ve excelled in the position they gave me, and I have terrific (new) leadership.

I’ve spent the last couple of months heads down on a big project that rolled out at the beginning of December. It went FABULOUSLY, and I’ve gotten nothing but congratulations since then. I really, really love working for this company!

The big news is what’s coming in 2017. Jay and I have decided to move… to Mexico.

Okay, sort of. We realized that he and I are BOTH working remotely, and that we’re tied only to US time zones. So we’ve decided to sell our house here, and “snowbird” outside of the country. We’re not moving permanently (or even officially, really). We’re going to keep an address here — just not a big house and 10 acres — and we’re going to pop back and forth, living in different places south of the border for 6 months or maybe up to a year at a time.

We want to travel and explore the world, but we don’t want to be TOURISTS. We want to immerse ourselves in other cultures. I’ve been planning to quit work in a few years and explore by boat, but we realized that since we’re both remote workers, we don’t have to wait.

We can’t do the boat thing right now because we need fast, reliable internet for our jobs. So we have to move and live on land, but that’s okay. This will be a good opportunity for up to get a jump start on what we want to do in retirement — and hopefully by selling the house, we can even save some money!

Share
Posted in General News, Menagerie | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment