I'm quite sure I am not the only Mexican blogger to get emails asking what it's like to live here. Some of the emails have legitimate and logical questions, while others are just jam packed full of fantasies of days floating on the sea with cabana boys and piña coladas. The general questions are the hardest to answer, "What's it like? How does it feel? Is it hard to adjust?". Those kinds of questions would be answered differently by any ex-pat that lives here. Everyone's circumstances are different, the reason for living in Mexico, age, economic status, marital status, parental status and mental health status add up to a wide range of experiences. What might be great for me is hell on earth for someone else. Sometimes the things that my friends cannot tolerate don't bother me at all and the things that make me pull out my hair are just fine by my friends.
I find it amusing when people ask me what they should do to plan to come here. Me? You're asking me? I came on vacation with a back pack and just didn't catch my flight home, what do I know about planning? I'm not the most organized woman on the planet, I don't overthink things (heck, sometimes I don't think at all!) and if I had sat down and thought about moving here, it probably never would have happened. Don't ask me about financial planning, it's not part of my vocabulary. Big money purchases like a house or a business? Not my area of expertise. Ask me how to pack the car for a last minute road trip to a new beach, I'm your girl. Ask about immigration, I've got lots to say about that. But boy oh boy, ask me if you'll like it or how to micromanage the move and I'll redirect you to someone more qualified than I.
Some things to ask yourself before you decide to move to Mexico....
1. Am I running away from something or towards something?
2. Do I have the ability to erase all expectations and be happy with what comes?
3. Do I have the patience of a saint?
4. Do I have the ability to learn a new language? (I think this is essential to living in another country)
5. Will I ever be able to stop speaking with the words "us" and "them" in reference to the people of Mexico?
6. Am I picky about the products that I buy? Will I be happy to use the products and brands that are available and not cry over not being able to find my deodorant?
7. Will I be able to deal with the difficulties in getting seemingly simple tasks accomplished in a place where these simple tasks are done differently and in another language? Can I order a pizza/internet/prescription/haircut in Spanish?
Knowing that you want to reside "somewhere else" is one thing. It's easy to see the great things about living in Quintana Roo, it's a beautiful place, a paradise visited by millions every year. Recognizing that living here is a totally different thing than vacationing here is a whole other matter. It's not necessarily easy breezy all the day long. Ex-pats who have been here a long time have seen the bright eyed newbies come and go. These newbies usually last about six months, proclaiming they're here forever, saying they understand the differences and that things might be tough but that they've studied and read everything and have their lists so they're ready. They've got their plan and they're sticking to it. Most plans don't work out as well as intended, people are either too rigid to go with the flow of change or can't get past the frustration stage of expatriation. Those who last longer than six months may be very different in many ways, but it seems that common factors to success in living in Mexico are open minds, patience and the love of a challenge. Doesn't mean that we don't bitch and moan about some things, but at the end of the day we say "ni modo" and carry on.
So, you up for the challenge? Would you consider living in Mexico or another country? If you already live here, is there anything you'd like to add? Love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
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