Book Review–How to Not Run Away to Mexico by Jennifer Robin Lee

If you haven’t guessed from the title, this book is chocked full of things that you SHOULDN’T do when you move to Mexico, as experienced by Jennifer who didn’t just move to Mexico once, but multiple times and with varying levels of success.not move to mexico

Her international adventures begin in 1994 when she moved from Canada to Monterrey to join the Mexican National Circus in Saltillo. Go ahead, roll your eyes, but we’ve all been young and foolish at least once in our lives. See, her cousin was dating a clown and well, it goes downhill from there.

On her second move to Mexico, she had a face-to-face encounter with the police in Guanajuato. In Spanglish negotiated her way out of a ticket with “No vas rapido. Yo tengo una plata. You tengo mi papeles. No problemo. Gracias. Adios Senor” and jumping back in her car leaving a perplexed representative of the law in the dust.

In some sort of karmic retribution, Jennifer’s Audi broke down outside of Leon and it took thousands of dollars and YEARS to get the vehicle fixed and returned to Canada.

On another occasion, Jennifer was saved by Jesus himself (well, his representative on earth Jesús anyway) from being hauled away to the slammer after a fender bender. In Cozumel, she met a hunky scuba diving instructor Raul which resulted in love and a near-drowning incident.

A Canadian custody issue meant she was detained at the U.S. border. Then years of legal travail in Canada ensued before she could return to Mexico, this time with a man from the Dominican Republic that she had met in Canada and their two toddlers. Of course, Interpol still had her name on the list and that caused some issues entering Mexico to retrieve her Audi.

When she tried to leave, well, there was a shake-down at the Mexican border and unnecessary delays at the Canadian border causing her to declare that it was the Worst. Road trip. Ever.

Then she moved to Mexico AGAIN! This time she was more prepared and the transition, while not exactly smooth, was successful.

I can honestly say that I am so glad to have not experienced even a quarter of the disasters that Jennifer experienced. But as they say, there’s a silver lining in every cloud.

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Jennifer has gone to develop a Move to Mexico eCourse to help the unwary, ignorant or just plain clueless make a better transition to life in Mexico. She’s made it her mission in life to provide up-to-date, step-by-step guidance so that no one ever need repeat her mistakes.

Right now, the introductory course Move to Mexico Now is on sale, so be sure to check it out! Not only do I recommend Jennifer’s hysterical book, How to Not Run Away to Mexico, but I strongly encourage you to enroll in the eCourse if you are even thinking about moving to Mexico. You won’t regret it!

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Medical Tourism in Mexico

Medical Tourism is big business these days in Mexico. In fact, the recently formed department ProMexico, the Medical Tourism Advisory Council, estimated that in 2013, medical tourism earned Mexico $2,847 million dollars, which was the equivalent of all tequila and beer exports combined for that year. In 2016, income generated from medical tourism reached $4.7 billion dollars.

Medical treatment in Mexico is often 36% and 89% cheaper than the same procedures done in the United States, making U.S. citizens Mexico’s number 1 client list.

The most common reasons people come to Mexico is to have bariatric surgery, stem cell, cancer, and fertility treatments and dental work. Bariatric surgery is about 70% cheaper than the U.S. and most dental work about 60% less costly. Rhinoplasty is about 56% cheaper and heart valve replacement is nearly 89% less expensive than the U.S. In 2012, Mexico treated more than a million foreigners ranking it number 2 worldwide providing such services.

Tijuana, Mexicali, Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta are among the top medical tourism destinations in Mexico.

There is a cost to Mexican citizens, however. Although most are covered under one of the three universal health care programs (Seguro Popular, IMSS and ISSTE) 66% of the hospitals are privately owned, ensuring that public hospitals that accept the national health care coverage are overcrowded, understaffed, and often lacking medications which necessitate out-of-pocket expenses. Although these are affordable to U.S. citizens paying with U.S. dollars, prices in the private sector have increased steadily to capitalize on medical tourism income, making it more difficult for the average Mexican to pay for services provided by private hospitals.

According to a 2015 report, 65% of those traveling to receive treatment do not have medical insurance. While the lower cost of the procedures allow for affordability even without insurance, there are some occasions when it would be in a patient’s best interest to have some sort of coverage. Mexico scores 9th out of 9 nations for destination environment factors due to public perception about pockets of extreme violence and civil unrest. Of course, it’s not all a matter of perception. There are areas that should be visited with extreme caution so best to do your homework before availing yourself of the medical tourism opportunities.

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Getting Beautified in Mexico

There are some challenges to a modern woman’s beauty regime here in rural Mexico. First, there’s where to go to find the services you may be in need of. Then there’s the communication issue between hair stylist and person in need of beautifying. Then there are the different concepts of beauty to contend with. So here’s some information that might make it easier.

Getting your hair cut isn’t as simple as it appears. The last haircut I got, I came out looking like I’d escaped from a mental hospital by climbing through the sewers. It was that bad. My husband and son just looked at me and shook their heads. My hair has grown out since then, but well, I decided I needed to learn a few more vocabulary words (and find a different stylist) before I tried again.

Hair Cut TermsSo you get your hair cut at a peluquería(coming from the word peluca which means wig) or Estética. Estética unisex establishments cut both men’s and women’s hair. However, a barbería (from the word barba which means beard) is a barber shop and caters to men only. As facial hair becomes more the mode, you can also get beard and mustache trims at most barberías these days. They don’t pull teeth though.

IMG_20180502_145701You need to be very specific in what you ask for. Most men in our area have el corte escolar which is the required haircut for school and is like a crew cut. So every stylist knows how to do this cut, making it the default cut for boys and men. Girls and I’d say 70% of the women here have the parece yegua (looks like a mare) haircut. That’s what my husband calls the pulled back from the forehead into a long, long ponytail or braid style. Older women tend to go with a short bob cut, again, not necessarily the most attractive style, but very popular among those that wear aprons to the store in these parts.

IMG_20180830_124030If you have extremely fine hair, your stylist may not be familiar with how to best cut your hair. You’ll know for sure after your hair has been cut, which is perhaps not the best time to find that information out.

IMG_20180507_092928.jpgThere are some strange hair beliefs as well. Girls who have long flowing hair but are anemic are sent for a much shorter haircut since all that hair is taking the nutrients from the body. Yep. And since everyone wants curly haired babies, those whose little girls are straight haired sometimes have their heads shaved so that it will grow back curly. Ok then.

There are more beauty options in addition to haircuts available at the salón de belleza. You should be able to find manicura and pedicura services at this sort of establishment or you could go to the specialty stores which do Aplicacion De Uñas (fingernail application). A salón de belleza will also style your hair and apply makeup for big events like quinceañeras and weddings. One salón de belleza in our town offers botox as well.

IMG_20180815_191503.jpgIf you are in need of hair removal, there are special places for that too. This one is called Depilación Frida, referring to Frida Kahlo who was indeed in need of a little upper lip and unibrow assistance. I’m not so sure that this location is ideal, however. It’s on a heavily trafficked road in front of a secondary school and there’s nothing but a curtain to keep you from flashing the passing pedestrians your nearly hairless lady parts.

If you’d like just your eyebrows done you can go to places that offer Delineación de Cejas. The optometrist where I bought my last pair of glasses offers this service I guess so that your eyebrows look nice with your glasses?

Depiliaction termsSo now you want to add a little pick me up scent either console or celebrate your new look? Head to the Perfumería. If you can’t quite afford what they have to offer, try perfumes similares where you can get casi, casi (almost) the same perfume at a fraction of the cost.

IMG_20180410_134835So a trip to the joyeria isn’t in the budget? Try the Bisturia for costume jewelry. Cosméticos (cosmetics) are pretty limited where I live. You might try places that supply the salones de belleza for a selection.

If you are in need of a little more pampering and the vibrating chairs at the shopping center aren’t enough, you can go to a sobador (literally a person who rubs or massager). Our area does offer a “spa” but I’m sure it’s not anything like you can get in the south of France.

IMG_20180221_155214How about some body art? Tattoos are done at places that offer tattoos. That one isn’t too hard to figure out. Sometimes the establishment also does body piercing. Although we live in a pretty conservative area, it’s not unheard of for regular men and women to have visible tattoos or a body piercing or two and all girl babies have their ears pierced before leaving the hospital. Of course the more adornment you have, the more suspicious looks you’ll get, and the more often you’ll be stopped by police for a frisk. Just saying. Maybe get those tats in a little less visible place and not across the bridge of your nose, eh?

Maybe this will helps take some of the angst out of your next beauty treatment.

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How to find a Midwife in Mexico

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In Mexico, there are three types of midwives, depending on their educational background. There are about 15,000 traditional midwives, who are empirical in their knowledge. Their knowledge varies from midwife to midwife. They have knowledge of the herbs and cultural birth customs. Many have been trained by the government, and use medical techniques that are outdated. There are nurse midwives who have a more updated medical knowledge, however, have trained in a deficient system. Many do not have a lot of practice for home births. Then there are technical midwives who have trained in the midwifery model of care. They are respectful of traditional practices and updated in medical techniques. Many are still young and just graduating. Also, there are foreign midwives living in Mexico and fighting for homebirth and humanized births.

To choose a midwife it would be really wise to ask her a lot of detailed questions, on how long she has been working, where she trained, who her network of health providers are. In case of emergency what would happen. How many clients she has approximately a month

Midwives have supported women through centuries in many states. Only 2 presidents ago, the government launched a campaign to institutionalize all births and many midwives were affected by this marginalization. However, today the government is realizing that this has not reduced maternal mortality significantly or does it satisfy the women. There is a lot of obstetric violence in the hospitals and the government is reopening a dialogue on how to reinstate their work.

For more information contact Sabrina Speich at Movimiento Osa Mayor or Osa Mayor Mexico.

 

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