Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review — Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats compiled and edited by Janet Blaser

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Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats is a collection of 27 essays written by women who relocated to Mexico. Some of the women may be familiar names. Roxana Bangura from the Bangura Chronicles wrote about raising her daughter as a polyglot in Mexico. Holly Hunter, the better half of Dan Gair, wrote about her side of the Mexico Diaries adventures. Dianne Hofner Saphiere from VidaMaz wrote about not being in Kansas anymore.

The women were honest about the struggles they had to create the life they love in Mexico. All of the women told their stories from the “other side” after prevailing against discrimination, income loss, relationship challenges, and just plain ol’ culture shock. All in all, it’s an inspiring “happy expat” read.

My hope is that this book does two things_ That it inspires others who may be feeling an urge, an itch, something deep down that just won't go away, to live a different life, outside of the proverbial box, where happ.jpg

So why did these women leave their home countries? Some left because of the current political climate. Others left to provide life experiences for their children they would not otherwise have. Some women came for the culture, others for the cost of living. Some lost their marriages to Mexico, others found love and stayed.

What did these women find in Mexico? Purpose. Simplicity. Patience. Confidence. Seem like pretty good trade-offs to me.

I would have liked to have seen more stories from women who chose voluntary exile after their spouses were deported, but then perhaps they don’t fit the criteria of “expats”. Most of the women in this anthology were also living in areas full of gringos or small towns near those epicenters, San Miguel de Allende, Mazatlan, Lake Chapala, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel and so on. Perhaps that’s the book I need to write…

Regardless, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats is an interesting collection and I’m sure you’ll love reading about the process of crafting a life you love in Mexico as told by these 27 brave women.

four stars

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Read an E-Book Week March 3-9

March 3-9 is Read an ebook week! If this takes you totally by surprise, don’t worry, this is the first I’d heard of this too even though it started way back in 2007.

So the idea is to well, READ an E-book this week. That’s not a hardship in my case. I love books. And since moving to Mexico, I love e-books. I’ve even written a few myself, I’ve come to love them that much.

In honor of 2019 Read an Ebook Week, my ebook La Yacata Revolution: How Not to Buy a Piece of Heaven in Mexico is free from Amazon. Amazingly, it’s been a full year since I published it, hence the perfect time to feature it.

la yacata revolution cover

Now, I’m not the only author out there celebrating Read an E-Book Week, so keep your eyes peeled for other free ebooks available this week. Remember, as Corona advertises: todo en moderación. (Everything in moderation). Otherwise, you might suffer the dreaded book hangover!

book hangover

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A few words from Erma Note and the Giveaway Winner Announcement

Last week I told you about the signed book giveaway of Travels with Grace through rafflecopter. The winner is Cassandra Darensbourg! Congratulations Cassandra! Please contact me to make arrangements for your book delivery. A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated as well!

Erma Note is the author of our giveaway prize, Travels with Grace. Here’s what she has to say about her life in Mexico.

erma
I’m Erma Note. I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago, but I have been living in Mexico since 2003. I currently reside in Mexico due to job relocation.

I originally came to Mexico for a year to volunteer with an orphanage in Morelos State, Mexico. I ended up staying, getting married, and having my children in Mexico. My 23-year-old self never foresaw spending more than a year in Mexico, and I am often homesick for my family and friends. But I see that there is a lot of good in raising my children in Mexico. I have also met such a diverse array of interesting people in my years here, and my many friends and acquaintances have subsequently led to a variety of interesting connections.

I realized the other day while listening to the podcast “Curious City” (from WBEZ) that I am inherently a Chicagoan. While listening to the episode “To Chicago, With Love: What Do Transplants Love about the City?” I realized that I truly miss the environment I grew up in. I am still that person. But I have grown and evolved. So I don’t think my belief system has changed. I totally own who I am, and my family and friends from home helped shape me. But I have become worldlier since leaving the safe confines of the North Shore. Is that for better or for worse? That is a hard thing to determine. I know I would have always wondered “what if” had I not taken a leap of faith. I try not to be a “what if” kind of person if I can help it.

I miss fireflies in the summer and the Fourth of July. I miss seeing tulips popping up sporadically in my yard during the first days of spring, our magnolia tree in the front yard, and the view of Lake Michigan. I miss being able to go to family and friend events such as baptisms, weddings, first communions, graduations, and funerals. I miss having grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles nearby to watch my children grow (as was my experience with my extended family).

I think I am warier. I am always alert. I never rest on my laurels. I am constantly reinventing myself because so many dear friends leave every year. I think I am pretty good at keeping in touch thanks to social media. I am constantly meeting new, awesome friends that I would never have bumped into by staying in one corner of the world my whole life. I do NOT consider myself “an expat.” But I do consider myself a foreigner. I am a foreigner raising third culture children in Mexico. It’s complicated. But I know I am not the only one, and there are so many people bumping around the earth, trying to fit in. That is one reason I admin the Facebook group Mexico City Moms. Our goal is to help other people with families in Mexico adjust to the culture clash that often accompanies moving to a foreign culture.

I do not find it important to be a people-pleaser. I am honest and loyal, and I expect honesty and loyalty. I no longer have the capacity to deal with superficial people. I would rather have five close friends than twenty fake acquaintances. Fortunately, I think I have a lot of great friends. I hope they also think I am a good friend.

Due to job changes, we have lived in five cities over the last sixteen years. Nine of those years were in Mexico City, where all of my children were born. I got comfortable. Then we got moved again. Starting again is never easy. But I have managed to make friends everywhere I go, and I strive to make sure that my family is happy and functioning despite the upheaval.

It is a matter of when, not if, we move again. I am not great with transition. I am not a light packer or a minimalist. I live with a smidgen of dread and anxiety every day as such. I continuously research real estate prices while I peruse my emails. I am always hoping that somehow, somewhere, my kids will have a chance to grow up in one place, ideally the Midwest of the U.S. and near extended family. It is hard to be happy where you are when you’re wondering when you won’t be there anymore while wishing you were at home, wherever THAT IS at this point, and while at the same time feeling at home where you are.

My kids make me never give up. My children are my proudest accomplishment. I am also very proud of publishing my book and getting my message out to the world.

Certainly one of the most defining moments of my life was when I chose to come to Mexico. I felt that if I didn’t say “yes” right then and there, I would always wonder “what if.”

If I have free time, I enjoy shopping for handicrafts and visiting cultural sites such as pyramids and museums.

While I am not the main breadwinner of the family, I am an editor and publishing consultant. I also do author events for my book “Travels with Grace.” I would like to publish a Spanish edition of “Travels with Grace” sometime soon.travels with grace

You can find Travels with Grace by Erma Note at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

 

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Failing at your Own Business–Author

The end of January brought me my first 1099-MISC from Kindle Direct Publishing. Would you believe I made $12.91 in royalties from the sale of my books in 2018? Ok, well, that’s not a lot of moolah, but it’s a start, isn’t it? My goal is to double that income this year. Seems obtainable.

January itself was off to a rousing start. I had 107 downloads via Amazon. Unfortunately, they were all FREE downloads from my promotions. 117 pages were read via Kindle Unlimited. That netted me a total of $2.07 in royalties that I’ll get next month. Guess I can’t quit my day job just yet.

writing goingNo one ever said that being a writer was an easy road. Since I’ve decided not to be dismayed, I am continuing work on the 5 books I have planned for this year. I hope to have another ready for publication by the end of February, but with the internet being what it is, uploading the book to Amazon may be delayed a bit.

Additionally, I went ahead and set up a new web site as an official author just in time for National Entrepreneurship Week (February 16-23). Very apropos since I am “setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit” with this venture.

I’ll still be blogging my wild and wacky adventures in Mexico here at Surviving Mexico, so never fear. The new blog will be going in a completely different direction.

content creative heading.jpgContent Creative will be devoted to writing, blogging, and reading. You can expect interviews with authors, book reviews and inspirational articles and how-to guides for bloggers, writers, and reviewers.

So should any of those topics tickle your fancy, you can find me in my new position as a freelance writer/reviewer at:

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