Ok, it’s a long one folks, but This is the first chance I’ve had to post everything I’ve written over the last week. Here goes:
We arrived in Df on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014. Our sponsor took us to our hotel, which was quite nice. It had a pool and that was all that mattered to E. It had a sofa bed, which was all that mattered to C.
About 3 hours after landing in Mexico, we arrived at our first FS social event. A gentleman who lived in our apartment building was moving on Sunday, so one of our neighbors/Todd’s co-works – M, was hosting a farewell party. She generously turned it into a farewell/welcome party when she heard we were coming. She was so gracious telling us she certainly understood if we were too tired to attend, but we were eager to start meeting people and get a look at our building. We were really pleased when we were able to actually take a quick walk through of our actual unit as the custodian was there finishing up some upgrades they were doing before we could move in.
We moved in our apartment on Monday, March 31, 2014 It was also the girls’ first day of school. The day went pretty well for us. Wait, except for getting in the car that the hotel had called for us to take us to school at 6:45 and discovering the driver, who spoke only Spanish, did not know where the school was. Aggh! Between Clair and I, we managed to understand that he was going to start driving, hoping he was going the right direction, and he wanted me to use his phone to call the school and get directions for him. Thankfully, I had a handful of paperwork to turn in (which is why I was going to school with the girls) and one of the pages had a phone number on it. I dialed the number and gave him the phone. He was able to get directions and in no time, we were headed to the school. We arrived just as the bell rang and headed to the office to get the girls situated.
I then headed back to the hotel via taxi to wait for the word from Todd on what time we could get the keys, move in etc. We got word about 10:30 that Todd would get the keys about 3:30. I had to check out of the hotel by 1 – just me and Macey the 4 pound poodle. The customer service at the hotel was fantastic, so the door man loaded up all of our luggage – 5 rolling duffels, 4 rolling carry-ons, one tote that had all of the contents of the girls’ backpacks they had packed with fun stuff to do while traveling, which had to be emptied in order to take to school that morning, the dog crate and one other random bag. I had no idea what to tip him so I gave him 50 pesos – about 4 bucks. Not nearly enough in hind sight.
Todd’s employer had sent a driver in a van to pick up me, Macey, and all of our luggage, and take us over to the apartment. Yay! It seemed like the timing would be perfect. I would get to the apartment about 15 minutes before the girls would get off the school bus! We arrived just in time and the driver started unloading all of our luggage. I tried to tell him that he was just to take it to the embassy and they would bring it all to the apartment when they brought Todd home. But the driver either just didn’t understand me, or didn’t want to do it that way. The glitch with unloading all the luggage was that I COULDN’T GET INTO THE APARTMENT! Todd had keys, but the powers that be would not/could not (I’m not really sure) let the driver deliver keys to me, and Todd could not leave work to bring me keys. SO, Macey and I had 15 minutes to kill until C got home. E was staying for Volleyball so she would be home about 4:45. Still no keys. C and I, and Macey had 1 ½ hours to kill. We walked around the neighborhood as we waited for E and Todd to arrive home. They got home about the same time. Finally we could get in the apartment! We ran on adreneline for about an hour and unpacked quite a bit, then we headed out for some dinner and food for the girls’ breakfast, lunch and dinner on Tuesday.
While C and I were walking around the park across from our apartment, we noticed a food vendor. Sitting on his stand, right by the cook top, was a huge squirrel. Now, in general, I like squirrels, but let’s face it. They are rats with furry tails! Sitting in the guy’s mobile kitchen! EWW! Gotta be real careful about the street food here.
Saturday April 5, 2014
We slept late this morning – 8:30ish. Todd headed to Starbucks to get on wifi and do some research on phones. E and I met him there about 10ish, but C is still nauseous so she opted to stay home. About 11 or so E and I came back home and found that the famous neighborhood market was up and running. On our way in the apartment, I saw our custodian, Alejandro, and told him we had a problem with a leak in our brand new kitchen sink. He stopped immediately what he was doing (cleaning the garage floor) and came right up stairs with us. In less than 30 minutes the leak was fixed. (One joint just needed to be tightened a bit.) Yay Alejandro!
The girls and I then walked across the street to the market. We had promised E a balloon and there were lots to choose from. She found one guy with a Minion balloon. He asked 100 pesos but we talked him down to 90! LOL! There were a whole slew of vendors. One could buy baskets, pottery, hosiery, lingerie, belts, personal hygiene products, jewelry, sunglasses, toys, fruits, veggies, tacos etc. We bought 12 handmade pine coasters to protect our brand new government issued furniture for 100 pesos – $8. C bought a little silver ring for 25 pesos. WE tried to get her to go down to 20, but she looked at us in disgust and said no.
After our little shopping spree we went back to the apartment to see if Todd was home. He had just gotten home and was ready to go get some lunch. We wandered back along the street with the market and found a little restaurant that was busy, clean and had an interesting menu with great prices. Lucky for all of our future visitors, we stopped and ate there. WE were greeted by Regina who speaks English! She was very kind to us and especially the girls. She asked us how our Mexican food experiences had been and made some great suggestions for us. She thought C should have the Chicken Soup with Avocado. She suggested a chicken dish for me. I can’t remember the name of it, and a chicken dish for Todd which was basically the best roasted chicken leg and thigh ever! E wanted waffles which was officially on the breakfast menu, but sweet Regina said she would have the chef make them for her special. Everyone absolutely LOVED their meals! It was the best meal we have had in DF yet. Oh! And let’s talk about the salsa! This salsa was phenomenal! I asked Regina if it was something they sold. She said no, but she would work something out for me! Less than 10 minutes later she returned with a 16 oz container of the salsa as “a welcome gift on the house”! I think Regina is my new BFF. And then came the dessert tray. Oh the dessert tray. The owner of the restaurant is from Austria. The menu has a lot of Austrian influences like Wiener Schnitzel and German Style Potatos. Let’s just say that the pastry chef knows his/he way around a dessert cart! We were going to get 2 to share, but just couldn’t resist all the choices. Todd had a puff pastry croissant thingy with some kind of fruit filling. Erin, Clair and I shared 2 different chocolate layer desserts. One had a dark chocolate ganash and the other was milk chocolate and had a chocolate crema filling. I no longer want the Costco Chocolate Cake for my birthday this month. Nor do I want Chilli’s chips and salsa. Good-bye American staples.
After lunch/dinner/supper, we went through the tail end of the market. We bought some grapefruit which Todd says was a nice sweet grapefruit, but it just tasted like bitter grapefruit to me. The oranges on the other hand were muy fabuloso! We bought some oranges too. And finally, we bought 2 LARGE avocados for 30 pesos (about 3 dollars).
So I’m going to call our first Saturday in our new home a success! We still have some challenges with getting our phone and internet services set up, but those are bumps in the road. We have started that process and have a pay as you go plan for our phones until we get the proper paperwork from the Mexican government in a couple weeks. Until then, we have our new Mexico phone numbers. It’s a start.
Todd and I are happy, the girls are happy. All is well.
Monday, April 7, 2014
The tricky thing about moving anywhere, a new neighborhood, new town, new state or new country, is simply figuring out how to live there. First you have to have a place to live – a home. You need to find your favorite grocery store, pharmacy, Wal-Mart type establishment where you can buy toilet paper, cleaning supplies etc. You need to find a church where you can minister and be ministered to. What are the major streets around you? Which neighborhoods are safe and which are not? You have got to set up some form of communication – phones (land line or cell or both) and internet and TV of some variety if you are interested.
On paper, these seem like relatively easy things to do, and sometimes they are. When we moved to Virginia, my biggest struggle was finding a grocery store that I loved. It took me 8 months to find that golden egg.
So here we are in Mexico City. From my perspective (as a retired, stay at home mom), it’s a pretty cushy post. I recognize that. Every day I live here, I’m thankful that I’m not in Mongolia, or India, or Ukraine (or a lot of other places frankly). Thanks to Uncle Sam, we have a nice apartment in a beautiful neighborhood. It is quite comfortable and due to it becoming a furnished post on March 1, 3 weeks before we arrived, it is fully furnished with brand new furniture! My guess is that will never happen again in the next 20 years. The neighborhood is as safe as I could hope for in the 2nd largest city in the world. We are very near a beautiful park (of which there are roughly a million).
We have found a couple grocery stores and Costco. Yes, Costco. I know. I’m spoiled. One store is very close to us and will be great for grabbing that forgotten loaf of bread or gallon of milk (except it is not really a gallon, it is a couple liters maybe. I don’t really know.) The other store is huge, like a Wal-Mart Super Center. It has pretty much everything. It is also in walking distance, maybe a couple miles, but it is not real practical to walk home with armloads of stuff. Thankfully, it should be relatively easy to drive to once our car arrives. The Costco is also walkable, but not remotely practical! It IS Costco after all. I’m very grateful to have these amenities so close to our home.
I have found a church online that looks like it might be a good fit for us, but we have not yet been able to visit. Our first Sunday here, we were able to “attend” or precious church in VA via Live Streaming, but this Sunday, we did not have internet. And today, one week after arriving in our apartment and 2 weeks after leaving VA, we still don’t have internet in our home. So it seems securing an internet connection, and a workable cell phone plan have proven to be the most challenging of logistical challenges on this move.
I must say, that on this day when I’m feeling a bit vulnerable, as a stay at home Mom, these challenges are REALLY getting on my nerves!!!!! Having settled the kiddos in school, and being confident that they are going to do well here, I really wish I could just pick up the phone and call whomever I want, sign on to Facebook, and check my email.
But that day is coming, hopefully sooner rather than later. Until then, I will write, listen to my iTunes library, pray and clean (and maybe make my way to Starbucks so I can actually post this baby on line).
All the while, chasing crazy.