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Being an expat in Mexico

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eks6426

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 19, 2004
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My husband and I have been thinking about changing our lives drastically. We''re considering moving to Mexico and opening a boutique hotel. This wouldn''t be immediately but more like the 5 year plan......we will have 1 school age kid...he''s currently 9. Are we crazy? I just have this strong desire to leave and do something really different. The slower paced lifestyles in Mexico appeal to us not to mention the warm beaches.....

Has anyone done this? Any advice, things to consider, tips about being an expat hugely appreciated.
 

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robbie3982

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 28, 2006
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Does your kid speak Spanish? I would think it would be really traumatic to move anywhere at the start of high school, but I can''t even imagine moving to another country where English wasn''t the primary language. Unless your kid is all for it, I''d suggest waiting until he graduates high school.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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how about considering moving somewhere in the US where it's warmer and cheaper with a similar lifestyle? florida?

i think that moving into another country, just to get warm beaches and a slower lifestyle is a little drastic...haha.

also you kinda gotta wonder....people are always trying to get OUT of Mexico, don't know that would make me think that i'd want to live there long-term. hmmm.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I lived in Colombia, South America for 6 months w/o my family (lived with a family there) when I was 13. That was very difficult. When I got home my parents told me we were moving states so I started high school in a new state. It worked out fine. Basically my point is as a family (plus 5 years of spanish classes) I think it could be a wonderful idea. I guess I am a risk taker though and like to try my dreams IRL rather than just dream them. I think you should do more research and more trips to Mexico to figure out if this is what you really want to do.
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 4, 2006
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A friend of my husband contemplated this. He was warned that purchasing any property there might be risky because you cannot be sure of any leans or if any other people already own it. The friend''s problem right now is that with the housing slump here, he can''t sell what he has in order to move. It is just he and his wife though, and they are retired. They want a condo.

If you got there, and business didn''t go as planned, you''d have to be prepared to take a loss and get back and get a place. You might want to see if there are any expats in the area you want to move to to give advice. Will you homeschool? There might be a good expat school there. Who knows. I know when I was in Africa, we had an excellent expat school (actually, the local schools were excellent-but not available to expats). School will be expensive.
 

clammer

Shiny_Rock
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Mar 3, 2005
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My husband and I are expats in China. There is definitely good and bad. JustJulia has made a very good point about the schools. Where we are living, there are no expat schools.

Another thing to consider is health-care. Before I could get my residence visa I had to get a physical which included blood tests. They pulled out the needle from a box with a bunch of other needles that weren''t wrapped. Who knows if they had been used before. In many countries, health care is at a whole different level than the U.S.

I have finally just gotten comfortable, after six months, going to the local market and telling them what meat I want and watch them cut it off the dead animal that is just sitting on the table not refrigerated. Of course, I did get two pork tenderloins, a whole chicken, and a weeks worth of veggies for less than $5.

There are only about 100 English speaking people in our city of 6 million so it has been difficult to find friends. It is even difficult to hang out with many of the locals that speak English because there is definite cultural differences.

On the positive side, it is a whole new experience. We are amazed by something everyday. We have become even closer since moving here. Everything is a challange, I spent and hour yesterday trying to find a set of shoe laces and when I finally found them I actually felt like I had accomplished something important.

Good luck with your decision.
 

coda72

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ID, I think my husband and I are the same way you and your husband are. We love the warmth, slower lifestyle, and the beach. We checked into Costa Rica, but the idea of buying outside the U.S. scared us a bit. One place you might want to look into is the Big Island of Hawaii. We just bought a property there, hoping to put our 5 year plan into place. It''s not very expensive, particularly on the east side of the island where we bought our house. It is a bit more primitive than many places on the mainland, and there''s really no hotel in the town that''s closest to where we live, so a hotel would be a great idea! There''s also quite a bit of land for sale, so if you don''t want to buy a house yet, you can buy a piece of land and build when you''re ready. I could go on about this forever, but let me know if you want more info.
 

eks6426

Ideal_Rock
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Thank you everyone for you advice.

Robbie & Tacori--I definitely would look for an expat school for my son, but if not I would home school. He currently does not speak Spanish, but if we decide to proceed forward with this idea, I will enroll him in Spanish classes. I also firmly believe that kids get fluent much faster than adults. I speak French fairly well and Spanish so-so, but I know I''d adapt so I''m not worried on the language front. Part of the reason I want to do this while my son is in school is because I want to open his eyes to the world and a different way of life.

Mara--We have looked at Florida, but the lifestyle there is basically the same US lifestyle only with better weather. Part of what we want to leave is the commercialism of the US culture.

Rebot--Yeah, you are definitely right about the meat experience and healthcare. I''ve been researching the healthcare issues too and insurance options for maintaining some sort of US based insurance so we could get back for major stuff if necessary.

Justjulia--the legal issues of owning land definitely do concern me. I''ve been working on looking into that part, but I do understand we could loose it all and have to come home with our tail tucked between our legs. Our hope would be to rent out our home in the states while we are getting acclimated.

Coda--I would like to hear more about Hawaii. I''ve not been there. We have looked into Costa Rica as well and the laws seem a bit friendlier in Mexico right now.

We are planning on taking another trip down there this year bringing our kids. We also have a 17 year old who will be getting out of college by the time we can do this. Ideally, I would like to quit my job or take a leave of absence and have us a rent a casa for a few months in the summer to try it out. My husband owns his own business and we are trying to make it so all the revenue does not depend on his personal selling. If it works, we''d be able to get incoming money while taking time off.

I guess I just feel like if we don''t at least completely explore the idea, I will be left with a "I should have" feeling. I don''t want to wait until retirement because I''m only 35. It''s really strange, but there is something inside of me that keeps nagging me to do this. I didn''t say a word to my husband for a long time..thinking that little voice would go away or get onto something else. But it hasn''t, so I''ve decided I at least need to listen to it enough to seriously consider it.
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 4, 2006
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Date: 12/21/2006 8:48:14 PM
Author: Rebot
My husband and I are expats in China. There is definitely good and bad. JustJulia has made a very good point about the schools. Where we are living, there are no expat schools.

Another thing to consider is health-care. Before I could get my residence visa I had to get a physical which included blood tests. They pulled out the needle from a box with a bunch of other needles that weren''t wrapped. Who knows if they had been used before. In many countries, health care is at a whole different level than the U.S.

I have finally just gotten comfortable, after six months, going to the local market and telling them what meat I want and watch them cut it off the dead animal that is just sitting on the table not refrigerated. Of course, I did get two pork tenderloins, a whole chicken, and a weeks worth of veggies for less than $5.

There are only about 100 English speaking people in our city of 6 million so it has been difficult to find friends. It is even difficult to hang out with many of the locals that speak English because there is definite cultural differences.

On the positive side, it is a whole new experience. We are amazed by something everyday. We have become even closer since moving here. Everything is a challange, I spent and hour yesterday trying to find a set of shoe laces and when I finally found them I actually felt like I had accomplished something important.

Good luck with your decision.
Oh Rebot, I have "so been there!" We were newly weds when we were strangers in a strange land. If we had a spat, I couldn''t run to my family or friends. Shopping in the open market was an experience--I remember one day looking at beef and the vendor pulls out this can of Raid and sprays the meat cause flies were all around. (OMG) We ate a lot of beans and rice. Chicken was way more expensive than meat, due to suppy and demand. There was a huge lake, so fish was fresh and plentiful--I learned to dehead and gut with the best of them. The people were wonderful- warm and friendly and really the slower lifestyle and customs of the area were endearing. The healthcare issue was huge (we carried around our own disposable needles in case of car accident, etc) and of course there was always the drinking water management.
I know that many people made friends through the American Embassy functions--are you anywhere close to that? (Sorry to hyjack this thread...)
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
Date: 12/22/2006 8:51:13 AM
Author: IslandDreams
Thank you everyone for you advice.

Robbie & Tacori--I definitely would look for an expat school for my son, but if not I would home school. He currently does not speak Spanish, but if we decide to proceed forward with this idea, I will enroll him in Spanish classes. I also firmly believe that kids get fluent much faster than adults. I speak French fairly well and Spanish so-so, but I know I''d adapt so I''m not worried on the language front. Part of the reason I want to do this while my son is in school is because I want to open his eyes to the world and a different way of life.

Mara--We have looked at Florida, but the lifestyle there is basically the same US lifestyle only with better weather. Part of what we want to leave is the commercialism of the US culture.

Rebot--Yeah, you are definitely right about the meat experience and healthcare. I''ve been researching the healthcare issues too and insurance options for maintaining some sort of US based insurance so we could get back for major stuff if necessary.

Justjulia--the legal issues of owning land definitely do concern me. I''ve been working on looking into that part, but I do understand we could loose it all and have to come home with our tail tucked between our legs. Our hope would be to rent out our home in the states while we are getting acclimated.

Coda--I would like to hear more about Hawaii. I''ve not been there. We have looked into Costa Rica as well and the laws seem a bit friendlier in Mexico right now.

We are planning on taking another trip down there this year bringing our kids. We also have a 17 year old who will be getting out of college by the time we can do this. Ideally, I would like to quit my job or take a leave of absence and have us a rent a casa for a few months in the summer to try it out. My husband owns his own business and we are trying to make it so all the revenue does not depend on his personal selling. If it works, we''d be able to get incoming money while taking time off.

I guess I just feel like if we don''t at least completely explore the idea, I will be left with a ''I should have'' feeling. I don''t want to wait until retirement because I''m only 35. It''s really strange, but there is something inside of me that keeps nagging me to do this. I didn''t say a word to my husband for a long time..thinking that little voice would go away or get onto something else. But it hasn''t, so I''ve decided I at least need to listen to it enough to seriously consider it.
ID, It sounds like you are giving this serious consideration and that is great! ANYTHING is possible!! We had some friends with organizations like The Seventh Day Adventists (although they were not that religion themselves), and the organization took care of medical, dental, emergency evacuations, transportation, etc etc-they loved it. Another couple we know is with a Catholic organization, and they love it. They both rented their homes back in the states while they did what they did. I love your idea of renting a casa for a while. As a speech pathologist, I will tell you that kids do learn languages fast-particularly if they begin before age 11. You are wise to expose them to another world. Ok, so you are homeschooling?
 

justjulia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
2,308
ID, Oh, sorry, I see you are looking into the schools. Hey, all this research sure is exciting! I think we do lament the things we did not try more than what we did and failed. Or so the saying goes. The best thing would be to go visit and find others in your shoes and get the skinny on how things are day to day. Contact the embassy and see who is registered as living there...
 

coda72

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2005
Messages
1,528
ID, you should definitely check out Hawaii if you''re not set on Mexico. The only problem I''ve heard about is the schools aren''t that great in Hawaii, and that will be an issue for you with one in school. Most of the properties for sale are on the MLS (multiple listing service) that is on realtor.com. Since the market is going down, now is a good time to buy. My husband and I bought when the market was more of a seller''s market, and we paid $200,000 for a 2 bedroom/1 bath cabin with an ocean view and walking distance to a black sand beach. I''m not sure what price range you''re looking at, but it can be somewhat affordable. I would definitely advise going there and using a realtor since there are so many developments and so much land for sale that a knowledgeable realtor is valuable to have. The one issue that the east side of the Big Island has is the active volcano, but somehow that didn''t bother us much. Our house is about 15 miles away from it, and I actually think it''s a pretty special place. You definitely should visit the Big Island. You may find that you will fall in love with it like my husband and I did.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
check out costa rica........have friends relocating there but they don''t have kids.

movie zombie
 

anacgarcia

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Messages
360
where in mexico are you considering? I am from Mexico, I live in the border with TX.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,009
Date: 12/22/2006 8:51:13 AM
Author: IslandDreams
Thank you everyone for you advice.


Robbie & Tacori--I definitely would look for an expat school for my son, but if not I would home school. He currently does not speak Spanish, but if we decide to proceed forward with this idea, I will enroll him in Spanish classes. I also firmly believe that kids get fluent much faster than adults. I speak French fairly well and Spanish so-so, but I know I''d adapt so I''m not worried on the language front. Part of the reason I want to do this while my son is in school is because I want to open his eyes to the world and a different way of life.
I went to a bilingual school while I lived in Colombia which many of the schools are (some french/spanish though). Half the classes were taught in english, half in spanish. I only had seventh grade spanish (the basics) when I lived there so I was tutored in spanish while the rest of the kids were in (spanish, religion class, and history). Honestly the schools there are so much more advance than in America it was not a problem when I came back home. It was a wonderful learning experince. Sure you can get a feel of a culture by visiting but you have to really live there to know. I realized not to take things for granted. The poverty there....it''s very difficult to see as a young girl. The only thing that was so hard was being seperated with my family (which is not an issue with your plan). I think your son would adjust better than the two of you
The theory is if a child learns a language before the age of 12 they will speak it without an accent. If you want to open his eyes this is a good way. If Mexico seems iffy there are some great area in South and Central America.
 

clammer

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
167
IslandDreams, if you aren''t set on Mexico you may also want to check out Bali. We went on vacation there a month ago and loved it. Foreigners can not buy land, but they have a system set up so a local will buy the land but a contract (which is enforcible by law) states that you paid for it and it is yours. We looked into buying a home there. I don''t remember the exact size, but a two bedroom, two bath with the amenities that we are used to for $65,000. The people were the nicest we have found anywhere.
 
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