It’s Official!

It’s Official!
My visa! Hate the photo.

Well, you might say it’s about time. I’m just glad the process is over.

What process, you say? The visa process. It’s official:

Lyn and I are officially permanent residents of Mexico.

After a very frustrating week, the good news came on Friday. We had been patiently waiting for notification via the INM (Mexican Immigration) website, but it never arrived. So, we did what most other impatient types might do — we went down there and asked about it. Lo, and behold! They had the cards there.

Of course, that was Friday. Earlier in the week was quite tumultuous.

Monday

My neighbor, Victor, has been more than kind to us. Besides being our personal driver most of the time, he and his wife are my students and, more importantly, my friends.

We had been talking for months now about how to get license plates for our car. Victor graciously took us down to the motor vehicles office to find out what we needed and acted as our interpreter and advocate. Turns out, for the license plates (here, “placas”) you need an official government ID, for which a Mexico driver’s license qualifies. In addition, you have to pay a tax and provide proof of residence through a recognized bill, like a utility bill.

Needless to say, our passports did not qualify us, so we decided to try getting a Mexico driver’s license.

Off we go to yet another location. After driving for 20 minutes to find a parking spot and walking about a mile back, we were told that, in order to get a Mexico driver’s license, we needed to have our permanent visa cards.

Dang.

So, in frustration, we walked back to the car. I offered to buy Victor lunch at an empanada stand that he told us was “muy rico” and near where we had parked the car. That done, we headed home, determined that we were going to get our visas!

Unfortunately, when we went to pay for the food, Lyn set his phone down. Someone else picked it up. Aargh!

The nice thing about Apple products

Find My Phone

Unfortunately, we did not notice it was missing for several hours. But, fortunately, our accounts are linked, and I was able to use the “Find My Phone” app to locate the phone. We chased it around Querétaro for about an hour, until it landed at a house not far from where we lived.

This housing development was in a lower socio-economic area behind some retail stores. Being the trusting soul that I am, I just started knocking on doors. Despite the fact that I could see the phone clearly in the app, no one admitted having it. Shortly afterward, they turned it off so I couldn’t track it anymore.

I have to say that this was the first negative experience we’ve had here. Thus far, everyone has been more than kind, honest and generous. However, losing that phone was a bit devastating. Here, you have to have a phone just to get around. And, since Lyn and I are frequently in different locations, it is important for us to have a way to stay in contact, you know, in case of emergencies.

That night, I was called to sub for an advanced English class at a company about 30 minutes from town, as the teacher was sick. Of course, I agreed, actually excited to work with an advanced class. The coursework in these classes is more conversational. The topic for the evening was Stem Cell Research.

What a disaster! There was one student in the class who just dominated everything, refused to engage on an intellectual level, and made it impossible for the other students to do so as well. I left feeling quite frustrated, which added to my building depression.

Tuesday

On the following day, still a bit depressed about the events of the prior one, Lyn and I went to the local iShop and bought a new phone. Of course, here, because of the tariffs on Chinese goods, the same phone (an iPhone 7) cost $15,000 pesos. That’s roughly $750 US. On the ride home, I programmed it for him, downloaded all of his information from the cloud, and that was that… for a while.

Both of us were still feeling down, but the worst was behind us. Tuesdays are busy days, with classes in the early morning and till about 9 at night. Once we had completed our shopping trip, we opted for a quick nap before heading back to work.

Wednesday

Once again, Wednesday, I was asked to go back to the advanced class. Despite having such a bad experience on Monday, I decided to do it. I figured that maybe, if I was better prepared, things would go more smoothly. So, I spent several hours researching the debate about stem cell research, the issues regarding embryonic stem cells versus adult stem cells, and even found a news article from that day about a couple fighting over their embryos as part of a divorce.

Surely, armed with videos, news articles and a variety of perspectives, the class would be better.

Not

At first, only two of the students showed up. They were watching the video when the third, difficult student arrived. Once again, he took over, refusing to cooperate and enter into a thoughtful discussion about the issues. Nothing I did could get him back on track. And, to make matters worse, he even admitted he was being difficult. I asked him if he was the same with his other teacher, to which he replied, “No, he knows how to control me.”

WTF?

I was so angry, that I told the HR person at Globoworld not to send me there again. I told him that the guy was a f*cking @sshole and didn’t deserve to be in the class. Never mind that he was preventing others from actually learning something.

Interestingly, Globoworld had a workshop on classroom management scheduled for Friday, which I planned to attend for the sole purpose of addressing this issue.

Thursday

After all of this, Thursday came as a relief. I was beginning to think we were being cosmically punished for something we had unknowingly done. But Thursday… ahhhh.

Lyn and I headed down to immigration immediately after my early class, and, to our delight, were given our visas! Yay!

Friday

Originally, I planned to do absolutely nothing on Friday. However, after the week I had had, I decided to go to the workshop. Excuse me for saying it, but it was a waste of time.

The course was really about the complaints that the Quality people get from the students and how to address them. I brought my issue up, and what was said really didn’t apply to me. First of all, I found out that this class had been through six (6) other teachers because of this same person! The current teacher said his strategy was to intimidate him. This was seconded by other teachers as well. Well, maybe they can do that. They are big, burly men. Me, not so much. Five feet tall and 120 pounds.

It also turns out that this guy is the manager of the department where the other students work. Ah. Well, they’re not going to go against him. That might endanger their jobs. While I understand this, it isn’t our role as English teachers to enable this type of behavior. Learning this made me even more angry.

I definitely pitched a b*tch about it,too, and directly asked that they address the problem.

Everyone seems to be aware of this particular person and his issues, but no one wants to address it. I feel that is a disservice to both the other students and to the teachers. We will see if anything happens.

Dinner at Hank’s.

The Weekend

Now that the week was behind us, Lyn and I decided to celebrate our new visa status. We had a lovely dinner downtown and a walk around the city. Let’s hope this coming week is better.

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go?

I can’t believe I haven’t written anything here for weeks! Of course, when I was sick, I didn’t have much to say. However, a lot has happened since then. Let’s see if I can remember it all.

First, I’m still not entirely better. Now I think it is just allergies. While I tested positive for cats, dogs and dust, I also know by experience that I am allergic to molds and mildew. I know this because every rainy season, my allergies go into overdrive. When I lived in Virginia, I was alway sick at Thanksgiving (November), because that was when all the leaves had fallen and were decomposing everywhere. In California, it was in the spring, when it rained the most. Here, I’m not exactly sure about the seasonal conditions, but I know it has been raining a lot, mostly at night, when it’s cooler. The mornings are lovely, but a bit damp, and I think this may be the cause of my continued snottiness and congestion. I still get that pain in my cheekbones and scratchy throat, although now it is probably due to postnasal drip. Nevertheless, it is quite annoying.

Just for fun!

For a little while, I was able to function quite well without having to take allergy meds. Now I’m back to it, every day. Sinus wash, allegra, nasal steroids. Life with allergies. I guess it is better than the constant feeling that I’m getting sick.

Rainy Season

We knew there was a rainy season here in Querétaro, although no one could really say exactly when that was. When it first started raining every night, we were told that it wasn’t rainy season, just storms from the Pacific. We had a few rainy days, but typically, the days are bright and sunny, just like back in Boise.

Querétaro reminds me so much of Boise. Just bigger. The main exception is that you don’t see as many people out riding bikes and running, and there are no paths through the hills for hikers and their dogs. I miss that. Still, people here are creative about how they exercise.

Yesterday, I saw some women in the park working out with soda bottles as weights. There was a group of them working out together. Cheaper than the gym, right? I am still hopeful that I will be able to join a tennis club at some point. I just need a little more money!

Back to rainy season.

A street in El Refugio during a rainstorm.

When it rains, it pours. Literally. I’ve never seen so much rain collect on the streets! Drainage here is problematic, although they have these enormous ditches everywhere, which I assume are to help. Still, the water comes so hard and fast, that the roads become rivers. The manhole covers can’t handle all the rain and turn into veritable fountains! If this isn’t rainy season, I’m a little worried…

Retirement/Pension

Speaking of which, I finally received the application I needed in order to receive my pension from Circuit City. This was the one thing I got out of my too many years of marriage to my first husband, and I’m determined to collect it. Of course, since Circuit City bellied-up years ago, the pension is being managed by the government. Can you say “red tape”?

The agency in charge — PBGC — Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp — actually contacted me in January, before we left for Mexico. They asked me to fill out a form online in order to determine my monthly benefit. After that, I never heard anything.

When I called, they told me I needed now to apply for the benefits, and that could be done online. So, I looked. I couldn’t find anything. Of course, during this time, I was leaving for Mexico to take the TEFL course, preparing our house for sale, and doing all of the things necessary for our upcoming adventure. Needless to say, I ran out of time.

In February, after we returned from the course and during the 10-days between that and closing and moving back to Mexico (yikes), I tried to call again and was told I had to go online. Still, I was unable to find anywhere where I could actually apply for the benefits.

Hence, we moved. Once again I went online, only to get no information. On the website it said that I could apply by phone, so I called again. We are in April at this point. The woman I spoke with told me that I could not apply on line because there were forms to sign and documents that needed to be provided. They would send me the application by mail.

If you’ve been following this saga along, you know that mail here is complicated. The last thing I had FedExed to me took two weeks, and the mail can take months. After this explanation, they suggested I change my address to a US address (a friend’s, etc.) and they could then fax or email me the documents. (However, the agency could not. Huh?) So that’s what I did.

My friend, Mary, back in Boise, did receive a notice of the change of address for me. She has been patiently waiting every since for the actual application, which, by the way, arrived here on Tuesday, July 10th. The letter inside was dated May 11, and the previous letter that had been returned to PBGC was dated March 10.

Holy cannolies Batman! Needless to say, Mary never received the application. Fortunately, we did. I still don’t understand what the issue was. All that needed to be attached was proof of my birthdate, via copy of my passport. There was one place that needed to be signed and dated. Other than that, which I could have done with my PDF app, there was nothing of real consequence. Just stupid bureaucracy!

I had the application completed and ready to mail back to them within 10 minutes. There is a FedEx office across the street from our neighborhood. So, in less than two days, the application was completed and returned. Will someone please tell me why this had to take more than six months? I just don’t get it.

That said, I should be getting a nice sum of money shortly (whatever that means), as they owe me retroactively to last April (2017).

Now I need to get my body back in tennis-playing shape, so once it arrives, I can join a club and get started! Gosh, I miss it!

Socialization

The other new thing for me is that I found someone to go out with. Laurie is a fellow teacher at Globoworld. She is a few years younger than I am, but a lot closer than the other teachers there. Last week, she and I went out on a Friday night to one of the plazas near where she lives in El Centro. We drank a bottle of wine and ate a local version of french fries. Delish!

We had so much fun we are doing it again tonight. I’m not sure how good an idea it is to go out on Friday the 13th, especially with a supermoon expected, but what the heck. A girl needs a little girl time and wine! I haven’t been drinking a lot of wine lately. It is too expensive on our budget to keep a bottle in the fridge. Now it is a special treat when I’m out with friends or for dinner with Lyn, not that that happens too often.

La Truckeria

Valet parking at La Truckeria!

Last Saturday night, our friends Tom and Tiffany (www.epicureanexpats.com) joined us for dinner at La Truckeria, a food truck place right near our house. We also invited our neighbors, Victor and Guiliana, to join us. It was a lot of fun.

These food truck places are very interesting. Both of the ones we’ve visited have been similar — they are largely outdoors although within a gated area closed off from the street. In the center, there is a bar, and around the outside of the courtyard, there are food trucks and small buildings where people prepare food. There is a waiter that brings the various menus and you select what you want to eat and drink, and they bring it to you.

The entrance to La Truckeria

The tables are set around the bar and everything is outside. At La Truckeria, there was a small swing set and slide for kids. This came in handy, as Victor and Guiliana brought their two children, one of whom is about 4 years old. The adults took turns taking him to “the park” and swinging him.

The food was good and plentiful. I ordered ribs, envisioning ribs like they serve at Applebees. I was mistaken, though. They were HUGE and quite meaty. We also had shrimp tacos with cheese, which we grew to love when we lived in Puerto Vallarta. We ate them everyday there! The kids had pizza and pasta, and Tom and Tiffany ordered something that currently wasn’t available, so I think Tiffany had a shrimp taco and Tom just had a margarita. Now that’s my kind of meal!

 

 

 

 

Out and about, and more…

Out and about, and more…

Lyn and I finally had a chance to go downtown and have dinner at a “local” restaurant. The restaurant — Marie y su bici — was recommended by some of my students. It is a very authentic Mexican restaurant that still serves some traditional dishes (one I call a “bowl of bugs”), along with some delicious tacos and barbecued meats.

Needless, we stayed with the more common dishes. I’m not one for exotic food, especially anything with the word “insects” in the title.

My drink at Marie y su bici

I did try one of their Mezcallina drinks, which are served in a ceramic bowl. The one I had included half of an orange, half of a grapefruit, and some lemon. It was okay. Not as juicy as I had hoped.

Lyn outside Marie y su bici Querétaro
Lyn outside Marie y su bici

Overall, we liked the restaurant, especially the decor and ambiance. Service was a bit slow — we had practically finished dinner before our drinks came — but otherwise, it was a very pleasant experience. I’m sure my foodie friends Tom and Tiffany will love it! They are a lot more adventurous than I am.

More Americans in Querétaro

After dinner, we wandered down to Hank’s for a nightcap and dessert. There, I overheard some people at a nearby table speaking English. I couldn’t help myself; I just had to go over and introduce myself. Turns out it was a young couple and their parents. The couple turned out to be fellow teachers who were about to embark on another country change. This time, they were relocating to Freeport, Bahamas. The woman, Julie, had been in Queretaro for almost 10 years, and her significant other, nearly as long. The two met at work. He teaches economics and she is an English teacher. They both have been teaching at the American school here.

I don’t know if you recall, but Lyn interviewed there not too long ago for a position teaching math. Turns out, the school will have some openings (at least one in English and one in economics). Julie encouraged me to apply and to say I had spoken with her.

The other position I interviewed for is still up in the air. I had two interviews last week. If they are interested, I will need one more interview, this time, locally. Fingers crossed!

I am feeling encouraged these days that something that pays more will be available in the not-too-distant future. We have been very frugal and still struggle to live within our current earnings. I have been freelancing a bit, which will help. I just started, though, so no income yet.

Retirement

Another update:  I did finally call about my Circuit City pension. Of course, they couldn’t take the application to receive benefits over the phone and insisted they had to mail it. Well, you know, mail here takes for-EVER! So, I asked them to send it to my friend, Mary, in Boise, who has been kind enough to be my forwarding address for these past few months.

I am still in the process of updating my address with various places. It takes quite a while, first to get through, then to explain, and then actually get the job done. I’ve been worried that it would impact our credit, which has slowed the process a bit. So far, though, all is well.

I’m just hoping it doesn’t take too long to get everything processed. Once Mary receives the application, she will scan and send it to me via email, after which I have to complete it and provide a number of documents, which, of course, means snail mail. (I will probably use DHL.) Hopefully, it won’t take months to complete the process.

Once I get that pension, things will be a little better. Apparently, they have to issue me money retroactively to April 2017, so the first chunk should be decent. And, because of the exchange rate, what may seem to be a drop in the bucket (about $250), is, for us, like getting a third pay check each month. My freelance income this month will add an entire month’s pay, too. Phew.

Things are definitely looking up.

The kids say “hello!”

Poodles (and Jack) lounging around
“Hello!”

 

Almost there!

Almost there!

This has been an exciting week for us. Both Lyn and I have gotten to the final step in our immigration process. We had our fingerprints taken in preparation for receiving our FM (resident ID) cards. Once we have those, we can get license plates for our car, which will enable us to do some touring around the area. I’ve been very envious of our friends Tom and Tiffany, as they frequently go away for weekends in San Miguel de Allende, or recently, Guadalajara.

It will be really nice when our lives no longer are tied to work and home. Having the ability to travel around will make a huge difference for us! I’m not sure how much more “Grimm” I can watch!

Other news

Shhh! Don’t tell, but I’ve had a job interview for a position teaching at another school. There are so many good things about the job — higher pay, housing and food allowances, insurance and vacation benefits, etc.  The only downside is that it is also a job with a split schedule. That said, however, the benefits far outweigh the downside, so, if I make it through the process and they want to hire me, I’m going for it! The pay alone will change our lives. We might actually get ahead!

Visitors

While no one has visited us yet, I am hopeful that my niece, Isabella (aka Bells), will be coming for a visit this summer. I can’t wait to take her around and show her the Mexico that you don’t see at the beaches. Not that I don’t love the beaches! But there is more to this country than just white sand and blue water.

At the winter holidays, our dear friends, Saadia and David, want to come down. They would prefer to meet at a beach location, so we will look into that. It may be possible if I get the new job, but with our current economic position, not too likely.

I still have my timeshare, which cuts down the expenses. It is the travel that adds up. You can’t really drive to the beach from here. It is too far. So flying is the only real option. If the hotel is paid for, it makes it a little easier. We’ll see.

It would be great if they would visit us here. I am certain they would love it. Alas, no white sand and crystal blue water!

A little free time

Jack, Izzy & Sophie Querétaro
Jack, Izzy and Sophie relaxing at home

I have had a little more time to spend with the dogs recently. For a while, they were as housebound as I have been. My schedule changes, and right now, I don’t work Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the morning. And, because my classes usually start at 8:00 a.m., I am waking up earlier. That means that the puppies actually get to go for a walk and a romp at the park.

Jack in Querétaro
Jack’s new favorite place!

Every time we go, there are always other dogs. Sophie and Izzy love playing chase games with them, and it gives me an opportunity to meet people here and practice my Spanish.

Jack seems to still enjoy the adventure as well. He is always up to something! Unfortunately, there isn’t much in our “yard” to entertain him. If I ever get some extra cash, I would like to buy some plants to put outside and give him something to explore.

Beautiful weather

Last week was so hot I thought I might melt. This week, it is absolutely lovely! It gets a little warm around 3:00, but cools down quickly starting around 5:00. Lordy, how I love Mexico! Of course, we haven’t had rainy season yet.

June sunset Querétaro
My evening commute.

We have been in Mexico for almost six months now. I can’t believe how time has flown! It has taken a while to settle in, but now we are finally seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel.” We have just about everything we need for daily living, although keeping glasses in the house has been a challenge. Lyn has broken five of them so far! Oh well. I will have to buy him some plastic ones!

Nuff said! Back later.

 

 

 

 

Easter in Querétaro

Easter in Querétaro

So much to say, today, but first, I want to focus on my Sophie Poodle.

It is Easter here. Ninety-plus percent of the people in Mexico are Catholic. That makes Easter one of the biggest holidays of the year, here. In Querétaro, most businesses shut down from Thursday to Sunday. People are everywhere! Strolling down the streets, hanging out in the plazas with their families, shopping — you name it. They are out there doing it.

In addition to the locals, there are a lot of tourists from around Mexico and beyond taking in the sites. Festivities range from street fairs and church events to concerts and frequent fireworks. This is where poor Sophie’s story begins.

Fireworks

Being downtown is a blessing and a curse. It is great to be within walking distance of all the colonial buildings, plazas and historic sites, but it also means that we can hear everything. While I love the sound of the cathedral bells, the street musicians, and the crowing of the local rooster, there are some sounds that are not as pleasant.

For example, they are always working on the streets, and every night you can hear music from the plazas and various arenas around the area, sometimes well past midnight. Since Wednesday night — the start of the Easter holiday week — they have been setting off fireworks. Sometimes during the day, the construction involves destruction. It frequently sounds like things exploding or guns being fired. These noises have Sophie absolutely terrified!

For a big dog, she’s quite a baby when it comes to things she doesn’t understand. She starts shaking uncontrollably, which leads to heavy panting, followed by attempting to hide in a corner, or more likely, my lap. We have tried giving her some Xanax the the veterinarian gave us, but it doesn’t do much good. So we just try to comfort her the best we can. Poor baby!

Izzy, meanwhile, could care less. I’m hoping today will be the end of it so Sophie can relax a little before we send her off to the boarder Monday night. Yep, another big stressor. She hates riding in the car. At least she doesn’t scream like her sister. I feel sorry for these people who will  be taking care of them while we are in Texas. We will only be gone two days, but the dogs will be at the boarders for three nights, due to the timing of our flights. I’m sure they will all be fine. I just worry about them.

San Miguel de Allende

Yesterday, we took a drive in our new car to San Miguel de Allende. We’ve heard so much about it. It is only about an hour’s drive from here, although newbies that we are, we missed the turn off and had to go a little farther (duh).

First view of the cathedral
First view of the cathedral

Easter weekend was not the best time to go there. There is a really big cathedral there where thousands of people flock for the holiday. The streets are very narrow and very steep. So much so, in fact, that the police stopped letting people drive into the town. We were pretty much forced to park our car on the outskirts of the area and walk. It didn’t help that we had no idea where we were going. Like sheep, we followed the herd into town, which led us down a VERY narrow and VERY steep street. The street was so steep, that a taxi trying to drive up it became stuck.

Poor Lyn has bad knees, and the walk down was not so much fun for him. We made it, though, and found the church. Of course, it was opposite a plaza, where there were food vendors and people selling charms, rosaries and what not. I bought a couple of things — a rosary made of paper beads and some key chains to send to friends for gifts.

It turned out that Tiffany and Tom were also in San Miguel for the weekend, so we arranged to meet them for lunch. We ate at a charming cafe called Correo. Of course, it was on the street named Correo as well. A small place, it held maybe 10 tables, all apparently filled by non-natives. Lots of Americans and, I assume Canadians.

The food was traditional Mexican and delicious. We had sopas to share — soft fluffy tortillas topped with chicken, cheese and tomatoes. Delicious! The hot sauces here are quite hot. Fortunately I had a large and tasty Sangria with vodka to wash it all down! For lunch, Lyn had steak and I had albondigas (meatballs) and rice.

San Miguel de Allende market
The market

Afterward, Tom and Tiffany took us to a local market. It was huge! Inside was everything from food to home decor. Lots of traditional Mexican ceramics, pewter and tile mirrors, and, of course, embroidered clothing and purses. I passed on the purchases, although I coveted many things. Our new house is fully decorated and I can’t imagine where I might put anything new!

Moving Progress

That said, we are almost completely moved in to our new house. We brought all but one box over the other day. Having a car is great! All of it fit in our new Fit. We will still have to get our clothes and other things over there this week.

We brought the car into town yesterday. It is parked in a secure lot, which, of course, isn’t open today. So, tomorrow I will try to get some other things moved over so that when we get back from Dallas on Wednesday, we will be able to bring the dogs and cats over there and start living.

 

 

 

Blessed with Good Fortune

Blessed with Good Fortune

It always amazes me when, somehow, all of our blessings become evident all at once. This has been one of those weeks. And, as I look back at this past month, I cannot believe just how much we have achieved.

Apostille

After two weeks of waiting, and several days of panic, our marriage certificate with Apostille arrived yesterday. Don’t think I just sat around waiting! (Don’t you know me by now?) I started calling FedEx last week to see what was going on. Then, this week, one of our colleagues at Globoworld joined in the effort. He is local and has contacts in FedEx and in the Aduana (customs). He called on my behalf, as well, and I also took the extreme actions of emailing the Mexican Consulate in Dallas and reaching out to the US embassy to explain the situation and solicit help.

Whether it was the frequent calls or attempting to add some pressure from above, something shook loose, and we finally got our package yesterday. Just in the nick of time, since today started the Holy Week holidays here when most everything is closed.

Bottom line — we have all the documentation we need to get our permanent residency visas.

Car

Another delay we experienced was in the purchasing of a car. They do not let “extranjeros” just buy a car. You have to prove residency. We provided the dealership with our lease and paid by wire transfer, thinking it would help ease the beaurocratic headaches.

Yes. And No. The idea was a good one, but actually making the wire transfer was quite complicated. The problem centered around the fact that we now have local phone numbers. Wells Fargo, where we have had accounts for 16 years, will not accept foreign phone numbers. But, here, you cannot open a bank account without a local number, which is why we changed them.

In addition, the cost of a one-year prepaid plan here for both of us was less than our typical monthly rate in the US. Seemed like a no-brainer to me! And, we still have international calling and plenty of data.

We had no idea that Wells Fargo — our bank — would now become a problem. I do almost all my banking online. It is so much easier. No checks, no postage, no problem. If I need cash, I go to an ATM. Of course, here, I get charged fees every time I use the ATM. For that reason, it seemed to make sense to open a bank account here.

You see where this is going.

To make this story a bit shorter, the answer to our problems involved calling our financial adviser and having her make the transfer, which she did. You might think that would be the end of it, right? No.

We still had to wait for four days for the money to arrive in the account of the dealership. Then, after signing my life away and paying even more money (the delay in the transfer resulted in a different currency rate), to pay the account in full, get temporary plates, and a year’s worth of insurance, we were told we could pick up our car… tomorrow (Thursday).

Phew.

Interesting note — we cannot drive the car in Mexico City because the laws there are different. Go figure. Thankfully, we have no plans to go to Mexico City.

Move

If I may digress back to the beginning of this post, I want to assure you that, while the process has been a little frustrating, everything we have wanted to or needed to do, we’ve done. Blessings!

Add to that the fact that we have also been renting a house in the suburbs, and you see how lucky we really are. We have stayed in our Airbnb mostly because of the car situation and not wanting to stress the animals any more than is necessary. We’ve planned to move most of our stuff into the house this weekend, although we probably won’t actually move in until after we return from Dallas on Wednesday.

Having the car will really help with the move. We can take multiple trips to get all of our stuff there, and then take the animals over when we are ready. We have paid for our Airbnb until 4/18, so we’ve got time.

While we are away, we have arranged for the dogs to go to Pension 3 Perros. They are so nice. They even offered to pick them up here in el Centro. Because of the timing of our flights, the dogs will stay with them for three nights, even though we will only be away for one.

When we get back and pick them up, we will take them directly to the new house.

TaDa!

So, to recap:

In the space of one month we have:

  • Sold our house in the US
  • Moved to Mexico
  • Opened a bank account
  • Rented a house
  • Bought a car
  • Found jobs
  • Arranged to become residents
  • Made new friends

I would say those are some amazing blessings!

Poodles!

View along Av Universidades A view from our walk this morning. I know the dogs will like our new location, as there are a lot more green spaces there. The community even has a dog park!

Sophie chilling at homeIzzy not wanting her picture takenFYI. It is going to be hot today!

Lessons to Learn

Lessons to Learn

I’m a bit impulsive. Sometimes that is good, and sometimes not so good. In this case, I’ve been learning a few lessons about how we should have approached moving to Mexico. Before I do that, however, I want to introduce you to two new friends, Tiffany and Tom.

Lyn and I met Tiffany and Tom at a car dealership. Tiffany walked in the door wearing an AdvoCare tee shirt. I immediately shrieked with joy and ran up and introduced myself. They, too, had recently relocated from the US to Querétaro, from Orlando, FL to be exact, and were looking to buy a car. Needless to say, we exchanged information and have been texting and talking for the last several days.

On Sunday, I invited them to join us at the Tribeca Bazar, a small event where local artisans sell their goods. Our Airbnb host, Andrea, was one of the event planners and we wanted to support her. The venue was interesting. The Glotonería is someone of a food truck place that surrounds an open air bar. There is a stage area where they also have live music. There weren’t many booths, but the food and drink were plentiful, and the Beatles cover band was decent.

Tiffany and Tom met us there and we swapped stories about our mutual moves. They had done it the right way. That is, they first secured residency status and arranged to have their household materials moved through the embassy. Hmm. I had no idea such a thing was even possible!

Tom went on to detail the process for permanent residency, which is actually quite simple. You only need to prove you have had more than $116,000 in the bank (cash, investments, 401K, etc.) for the last 12 months and have the requisite application and photos. If I had only known! Seems Tom and Tiffany did a lot of research before they made the leap, while Lyn and I just jumped on a plane.

Oh well! Not that it is a big deal. Lyn and I have all of the paperwork we need and just need to get an appointment at a Mexican Consúltate in the US so we can bring it all there and get the job done. Yesterday I emailed the consultate in Dallas to make an appointment. Now we wait.

Of course, the interesting part will be what to do with the dogs while we are gone. So far we don’t have anyone we could ask to watch them. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but, hey, this is Donna. It’s what I do.

The Job Search Continues

Looking for a job has become my full-time gig. I have been putting out proposals through UpWork (nothing yet), and sending out resumes through LinkedIn Jobs and Indeed.com. So far, nothing.

ISQ, where I interviewed, is apparently not interested in me due to my lack of teaching experience. Their loss. I know I will be a great teacher. I’m organized, thoughtful, creative and fun. Perhaps after I get some experience they will reconsider me. In the interim, I’ve sent them Lyn’s CV as well. His credentials are a lot more impressive than mine.

Speaking of Lyn’s job prospects, we have been working on his academic CV so he can start applying to universities. We are hoping that VIA will provide some contacts for him. It isn’t as easy down here to get contact information for faculty as it is at most US colleges.

In the interim, we are trying to enjoy being unemployed. It gets a little worrisome when all you do is spend money and send out resumes. We try to take the dogs out walking when we go exploring the city. Now that we don’t have a car, though, we are a little more limited in where we can go.

Other Issues

The past few days I have had some trouble with my Achilles’ tendon. It feels better today, but yesterday when I first got up, I couldn’t walk without limping. Then, this morning, my teeth were incredibly sensitive. I’m hoping that is just because I’m clenching them in my sleep. I will work on that! Unfortunately, I am going to miss my six-month dental check up and cleaning, which is scheduled for later this month.

The Apartment Hunt

We haven’t heard back from the real estate agent about the apartment. We put a deposit down on it and sent them three months of bank statements. I need to get back in touch with them to see what is going on.

In the meantime, I saw a lovely apartment around the corner from us that is for rent. Now, if I could just figure out how to call the number listed! Jeez!

I don’t mean to be negative, but I’m feeling the stress of this move. We are very much committed to it. I’m just a little tired and a bit bored. I did locate some tennis clubs, but that will have to wait until we have some sort of income.

Speaking of which, I’m also trying to get my Circuit City pension that I received in my divorce. Hard to believe that was almost 22 years ago! Anyway, if I can get that we will at least have a little bit coming in every month instead of just going out. Two more years and I can collect my Social Security, and then we will be pretty well set.

Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it, but patience is not my strong suit.