Welcome, Anne-Marie from An American Girl’s Adventures! I want to thank her for taking the time to respond to my questions so I can highlight her in the 2019 A to Z Challenge.
Anne-Marie, what brought you to Mexico?
I am an expat wife, I pretty much go wherever my husband works (he is a manager for a German automotive company). When we learned that moving to Queretaro was a possibility, we jumped on the opportunity. I am a teacher, so I can pretty much teach English anywhere around the world. It’s a pretty sweet life.
I was wondering why you named your blog An American Girl’s Adventures?
It is a funny story. Our first expat experience was in Shanghai, China in 2012. When we first learned we were going to move, I searched for blogs that would help ease our transition. While there were a couple of sites that helped the move, all of my questions weren’t answered. So, I created my first site, www.anamericangirlinshanghai.com. Blogging the entire time we lived in China was the best souvenir I could have possibly earned from the experience. Fast forward 3 ½ years, we were presented with our second expat assignment in Queretaro, Mexico. I knew I wanted to continue to blog, but I needed to create a site that would be compatible with our adventures around the world. Hence, www.anamericangirlsadventures.com was born.
What area of Mexico and topics does your blog primarily focus on?
Ideally, I would like to address relocating in Mexico, traveling around the world, photography, and cooking around the world. The blog is a snapshot of my life and the adventures of your ordinary expat experience.
Why do you blog?
At first, I started blogging for incredibly selfish reasons; I didn’t want to have to tell the same stories repeatedly to my family and friends back home. I also wanted to help others (like me) who are overwhelmed with the international living experience. Now the blog is an online scrapbook with resources for others who are wanting to live the expat life.
What is your favorite blog post?
I think it was Flying Time with Leia, where I shared our moving flight and first day in Queretaro. I like this post because it captured the hassle, laughs, and overwhelming emotion of relocating to a new country for a second time. It also provided a lot of good information as to how to relocate with a pet.
What has been the most difficult for you to blog about?
My professional life in Mexico. I am incredibly fortunate to work for an International School in Queretaro. In an effort to protect the security of our kids, I can’t blog about anything I do professionally as there are many very good reasons not to discuss my professional life. I want my students to feel comfortable learning without the fear that their teacher will be talking about classroom life online. They also deserve to have their identities protected. The downside is I can’t share the books they write, the blogs they publish or the plays they create online. Teaching takes up so much of my time, but out of respect for my kids and my peers, I can’t really mention much.
What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico?
Every day I am incredibly lucky to teach in a school where creativity, technology, and charity is valued. I learn something new every day from my students and peers. I have learned it is okay to be creative, and it is important to inspire others to be the same.
What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico?
Getting settled in our new home was really tough at times.
We had a bit of bad luck with our sea freight. Instead of floating from the US to Mexico, our goods took a bit of a Jamaican vacation so we lived in an empty house for about a month. We slept on an inflatable air mattress and sat in anti-gravity chairs from Sam’s for about two weeks.
Simple things like internet and cable installation took weeks to accomplish. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was after harassing Home Depot about outdoor furniture delivery for 48 hours or so, they finally delivered our goods at 9:30 pm. At this point, I was so frustrated I started laughing so hard until tears emerged. Fortunately, our relocation agent and landlord were both incredibly supportive, they played a huge role in getting settled.
What advice do you have for those planning to move or travel to Mexico?
Have an open mind, and be patient. Anytime you move to a new country, there is going to be a learning curve and a huge culture shock. Fortunately, I have found that wherever we move, there are so many others who are willing to help us get settled and enjoy all that the home country has to offer! Mexico is no exception.
As far as practical advice for anyone wanting to be an expat:
- Get at least three copies of all of your important documentation such as passport, birth certificates, permits, medical records, professional licenses, resumes, marriage licenses, pet records, banking information, copies of bills, insurance information, etc. and store them in page protectors in a binder. Also, carry around extra passport and tamaño
infantilsized photos. It is amazing how often you will need copies of everything, and it is SO much easier to have everything in one location. Also, make digital copies. Then make sure you store this paperwork in a secure location.
- Take inventory of foods and/or medicines you can’t live without. Then before moving, check out an online grocery store app to see if these items are available in the local grocery stores. I know that every time we return to the US for a home trip, we stock up on grits and ranch dressing mix. Not all spices are available here but the good news is there is a world of new spices to try down here.
Do you plan on returning to Mexico?
We’re still here!
If you are currently in Mexico, how long do you plan on remaining?
Officially we are here for one more year, however, we have learned that it is 99% certain we will extend my husband’s contract for two additional years. So it is looking like three years!
Where do you see your blog going?
We have had so many adventures that haven’t been shared so my first step is going to catch up about my adventures around Mexico and Europe.
Information on your Social Media and Website?
Also the website is located at An American Girl’s Adventures.