Friday, May 11, 2007

Arriving in Mexico

I first arrived in Mexico two weeks ago to settle the house and generally get things organized, leaving Asha behind with our parents for a week. On the flight over I was diligently reading “The Expat Survival Guide” which I had obtained from the Newcomers Club of Mexico City. Filled with everything you need to know about moving to Mexico City – from hiring a maid to their version of 911, and even a lowdown on the metric system for those of us who shamefully can’t figure it out – it has been a godsend. However, it suddenly occurred to me that despite my lame attempts at learning Spanish, I really can’t communicate with anyone. I don’t even know how to write a check because I can’t count high enough to write the numbers. By the time I landed, excitement was quickly waning and full blown panic had set in.

What the hell were we thinking? We had a perfectly nice life in New Jersey, and we decided to leave it all for what – a little excitement, something different? And even if wanted a change from life in NJ, we could have moved to the west coast, or Canada, or even London, where at the very least we could speak the language. Somehow that wasn’t glamorous enough for us when we were making the decision – we wanted to live where we could speak another language (though truth be told, I had thought I would be brushing up on French or learning Italian).

So here I was in Mexico, coordinating the movers, hiring the maid and communicating with our driver to get me to the nearest Walmart by using the few words I knew and inventive gestures through Charades, and of course with Sonny’s and Consuelo’s help as well. Things were going surprisingly smoothly – the movers actually came when they said they would, got all our furniture and boxes into the apartment and started unpacking all on my first day in Mexico. The remainder of the week was dedicated to unpacking (efforts are still ongoing), trying to open up a bank account, maneuvering through a Spanish speaking grocery store (Superama), visiting a couple of schools for Asha and learning the lay of the land.

Over the past couple of weeks I have found much to love about our current location – great city views from our apartment (while NYC was always my dream but not in my destiny, I am happy to have these views as substitute), a Starbucks around the corner (the most basic necessity of life), a Blockbuster next door to the Starbucks (while there is no substitute for Grey’s, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, I’ll become a movie junkie at rentals for only $2.50), a few bakeries within blocks where we have been going daily to get fresh bread, numerous cafes on every block, and a park just across the street from our apartment where Asha can get her fill of watching “doggies” and ride in her wagon. Yes, I can certainly get used to city life – something I have always craved.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am just a bit lonely or that I miss our parents terribly, or that I feel horribly guilty for snatching Asha away from them when they are all so attached to each other. I wish that I could be around on Mother’s Day when both my and Sonny’s family gets together with our moms and our brothers and my grandmother. And I wish that every time Asha asks for one of her grandparents, or uncles or cousins, I could say “We’ll see them tomorrow” like I would in NJ instead of saying “We’ll call them tomorrow.” But the one thing that I am trying to keep in mind is that this experience is for two years, and we will be back home after that if that is what we want. So now is the time to have new experiences instead of dwelling on what I am missing back home. I have a feeling, though, that I will have to keep reminding myself of this, at least for the next several weeks.

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