Monday, March 31, 2008

Major Steps Forward

On March 24, 2008 it all became really real.

We had our meeting with Fancy Private School. We RELEASED our spots for boys for 2008-09 school year. (my stomach turns)

You may be thinking "So What?"

The application process is pretty intense and we feel fortunate the boys have the opportunity to be part of this Fancy Private School. Both boys have attended since PK. A major factor in our decision to go to Mexico is that Fancy Private School will allow both boys to return WITHOUT retesting for 2009-10. We just have to contact them by January 2009. I am not sure we would have decided to spend the year away without this flexibility.

Now once away, we may get a different perspective on how tied we are to this particular educational path. For now, I am sleeping much better knowing I have the Fancy Private School Email documenting the option to return.

I have a Crazy Granny - not really crazy - but definitely difficult! I have been putting off telling her. She is extremely partial to Youngest Son. I tell her. Not so bad. Maybe my expectations so low that any response was acceptable. She is worried, does not want us to go, etc. but she did not freak out. Whew - glad to be past that conversation.

We disclose our plans to extended family and lots of friends. Electronic communication is an amazing thing!

Most responses are encouraging and positive. A few do not seem to understand why would leave our nice life in America. Some are sad - being away from close ones for a year is hard. Lots of talk about visiting - hope we really do get lots of visitors.

Gotta get a place to live in Mexico!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Let's Get this Move Go'in!

The week of March 17th, 2008. We start trying figure out exactly how we are going to do this.

We create the dreaded Excel Action List/Project Plan. Oh yes, it is color coded, categorized and l-o-n-g. Husband is mostly in charge of getting it done while I continue to work full time.

Husband does several things: takes an inventory of the Spanish learning reference materials we already have, orders Rosetta Stone software and starts to finalize private tutoring schedule.

Mexican Rental Home
Most of Mexico is on holiday so getting anything done is just not going to happen.

American House Repair
Husband starts to gear up for much needed home repairs. We are trying to have everything ready by May 1, 2008. Wish us luck!

Telling People
We tell a few close friends - not really "public" yet as we let it all sink in to make sure this is right decision.

Kids are home for Spring Break so most time is spent hanging out with them. Oldest Son turns 8 and we have "real Birthday" celebration because the big party comes later.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day After Mexico

I am feeling a bit anxious about the kids and their Spanish.

I ask Oldest Son to read from 2nd Grade Spanish Reader. He reads it beautifully with correct pronunciation and proceeds to voluntarily educate me on several Spanish grammar rules as well as how vowels work. He does not actually comprehend all the words but clearly has an understanding of structure of Spanish language. Okay, he HAS had Spanish for 4 years, twice a week in Fancy Private School. I am feeling a bit better.

We have school conference scheduled for Youngest Son. We discuss plans with both Kindergarten Teacher and Director. Both, enthusiastically encourage us to take this opportunity. Both know Youngest Son very well. I am feeling better.

We talk with both kids' Spanish Teachers. They too are very encouraging and agree to tutor Oldest Son, Youngest Son and me. I am feeling mucho better.

We decide to tell the kids. Very anti-climatic. Youngest Son smiles and says "Thank you Mommy and Daddy." Oldest Son digests that he can come back to his same school, he can come back to same house and he will have a friend in Mexico (Other Oldest Son from Other American Family.) Oldest Son is good. Kids ask if they can go look for bugs.

It is March 14, 2008 and we have decided we are moving to Mexico for 1 year.

In Mexico

Other American Family in Mexico graciously offers to let us stay in their home while exploring Mexico. We continue our exploration. We arrive in Mexico March 10, 2008.

Can I really work here? We set up my computer with internet through phone service and hook up Vonage phone (about $25 US per month.) Wow. It is as though I am sitting at American Home Office. The time zone is reasonable for conference calls. CHECK.

How is school?
We visit school twice. First we tour it on Tuesday. It looks nice. It is preschool through 12th grade with about 300 students. It is local private school with mostly Mexican children. The school is 50% English and 50% Spanish. Facilities are clean and well kept. Kids look very happy. Administrator gives us a 2nd grade Spanish reader to bring home. Through the week we encounter people whose kids go there or went there. On Thursday, we leave a check for deposit (more on this check later) and we collect forms that need to be completed. CHECK.

Can we live here? We meet with realtors to look at property on both Tuesday and Thursday. Yes, we can live here. There seems to be two options. Live in Mexican Village near ocean or live in Marina Area in gated townhouse community. CHECK.

Do we like the area? On the beach. Surrounded by hills. Amazing March weather. Beautiful. (and on practical note - close to the airport.) CHECK.

Husband has decided it is a go. I am realizing this may really happen and get a little scared.

Back to American Home we go.

The Checklist

So we start down the checklist:

JOB - I talk to Boss who responds "Go for it." American Company will support me working remote out of Mexico. It is just a 2 1/2 hour flight. Initial research shows no tax issues.

SCHOOL - We check with Fancy Private School since we are in process of signing 2008-09 contracts. Fancy Private School says sign your contracts and no problem if you need out if you let us know by late March. And you can come back in 2009-10 without testing.

HOUSE - I talk to Best Friend from College. She is property manager and will handle renting out our house for us!

HUSBAND - Husband is interviewing for another Corporate Job. It is going well. Dilemma. If HUSBAND takes new job - we are stuck.

Husband and I decide it is time for the two of us to go to Mexico to check it out. We make airline reservations on March 5, 2008 to fly down March 10, 2008 . Next Door Neighbor's nanny will take care of our kids.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is it possible?

So on February 28, 2008 I call Other Mommy in Mexico (who is still in US as are we) and bombard her with questions:

Where are you going exactly?
Where are kids going to school?
What if Oldest Son and Youngest Son do not speak Spanish? and me too!
What about Fancy Private School currently attending?
Could we rent?
Is there DSL?
Is there a Synagogue?

All the answers are good except no Synagogue. Hmmmmm.

Email Other Husband and Other Mommy in Mexico (of Other American Family in Mexico) - "Send me your internet links! Do ya think we are crazy?"

Next Step. Google. Google. Google and more Google.

All looks promising. Hmmmmm. Diverge new information to Husband.

Few days pass and I see Husband Google. Google. Google and more Google. This is a sure sign Husband thinks maybe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How did this Mexican Adventure Begin?

Well I am about to embark on one of the more exciting adventures of my life. We have decided to move to Mexico for a year! This blog will chronicle that journey.

Where to begin - well why would we do this?

It all started in September 2006 - really. Husband grew very weary of Corporate Job. We decided he would leave Corporate Job in March 2007. He would try to start his own business. I would support family with my independent HR consulting business.

We said out loud "Let's explore other life options!" We applied for jobs in Hawaii. I signed up on International Teacher Jobs web site. I web surfed all over the world. Nothing stuck.

THEN. February 27, 2008. Really wonderful friends, Other American Family, revealed they were moving to Mexico with their 3 boys.

I said to Husband "Why don't we go too?"
Husband gives me that look and says "You do the initial leg work and I will talk about it."