Tag Archives: blogs about mexico

Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading–Karen Moves to Mexico

Karen Swanson writes at Karen Moves to Mexico, a blog I’ve been following for quite some time now. Her stories about the children at the shelter she and her husband volunteer at are inspiring!

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Like many expats, our dream of living here in Mexico started soon after we started vacationing here.   In addition to the regular tourist activities, we found ourselves repeatedly visiting a Children’s shelter in Bucerias, Nayarit and our growing love of the children drew us here permanently. Now we are daily volunteers at this orphanage, teaching English classes, fostering children and giving lots of hugs.

Well, I called my blog Karen Moves to Mexico because I really wanted to share the whole moving process with those closest to me.  I guess I didn’t foresee that I would keep writing long after the move was over.

This blog focuses on the daily life of my husband and me in Bucerias, Nayarit which is just north of Puerto Vallarta.  It covers our personal experiences, stories from our community and many stories are about the children we care for at Manos de Amor, Casa Hogar.

I started blogging to keep my family and friends from panicking about this crazy move.  I wanted them to know what was happening with us and to be okay with it. But I began to realize that writing was helping me process my own feelings about it all.  As we got more involved in the orphanage and started working with many families in surrounding villages, I began to realize that my heart was full of both pain and joy.  So much poverty, so many problems in the lives of these little ones. But also, so much joy as we connected deeper with each child. This blog became more of my personal journal than a how-to guide on moving to Mexico.  And people began to respond to the stories – offering encouragement and support that was good for me and for my husband.

This was hard – I have so many blog posts about the children we work with and my heart is touched every time I reread one of those posts.  But the post entitled “What I’ve Learned…So Far” is a good overview of my feelings here. That was written last year on the anniversary of our move.  This year’s anniversary post was just written last week “Are We Happy?” and it also is a reflection of my current heart thoughts.

The most difficult has been blogging about some of the crappy things I have seen in the homes of the children we work with.  I want to tell the stories of these moms and dads without judgment – I think mostly they are doing the best they can – but sometimes that is difficult.  I get mad and I get frustrated and that is hard to write about.

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Our best experience has absolutely been working with the children of Manos de Amor.  To give up our fast-paced work lives to invest in the lives of broken children has been heartbreaking but so satisfying.  Having children live in our home on weekends, a little one with an STD live with us for 5 weeks – it has been one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done but so very meaningful.  A lot of my blog talks about what we’ve learned and how we’ve changed because of that so you must read the blog to learn the lessons!

Just a few months ago we were on our way to Canada pulling a long trailer when a motorcycle driver hit us in Guadalajara.  As happens here after an accident, the insurance agents tried to negotiate a deal but when the injured motorcycle driver refused to accept any deal (he was fully at fault in the accident but wanted to get some $$$ from it) we were told that our vehicle was being impounded and my husband would have to go to jail for 48 hours until court convened.  That was a pretty scary day. After 8 hours, we were let go but the idea of Mexican jail made that our worst day here. Thank goodness we had great friends who were helping us negotiate with the police. That is our biggest takeaway from that day (besides don’t pull a trailer through Guadalajara!) – it’s okay to lean on friends. We’re used to being pretty independent but it’s good to have people in your corner.  Also, we really need to improve our Spanish!

I would tell someone planning on moving to Mexico to give up all your expectations of how things ‘should’ be and go with the flow.  You will be so frustrated if you don’t accept waiting in lines, bureaucratic nonsense and things never start on time. So what? That’s part of the charm and if you accept the fluidity of it all, you will be okay.

I think there will be a time when I will share more of the details of what to do and how to do it here.  Things we’ve figured out the hard way. For now, I’m happy sharing from my heart about what it is actually like to live here.  I hope others are inspired by my stories. not just to move to a new country, but to step out wherever they live and take risks.  Try scary things. Find deeper meaning in their lives. Make a difference in the lives of others. Keep stretching and growing.

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I can be found at:

Karen Moves to Mexico

Twitter

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Filed under Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading, Charities and Non-Profits in Mexico

Surviving Mexico is a Top 30 Mexico Blog!

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Much to my surprise, last month I was included in the Top 30 Mexico blogs list compiled by Feedspot along with other more deserving blogs. According to the author, these blogs were selected because “they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.”  Boy, I like the sound of that!

So the top 30 (actually there are only 28) were culled on the basis of Google search ranking, presence on social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and the opinion of Feedspot’s reviewers. Some of these blogs I follow.  Some I have listed in my blogroll or on my expat resource page. Some are entirely new.  So here’s the list. Quite a number are geared towards expats and foodies!  And then there’s me. HA!

  1. Expats in Mexico – The Expat Guide to Living in Mexico
  2. Mexperience | Experience Mexico Living Lifestyle Travel Leisure
  3. Two Expats Mexico – A Blog for Retiring in Mexico  Read about this blog here.
  4. Mexico In My Kitchen | Traditional Homestyle Mexican Food Recipes
  5. Journey Mexico | Mexico Travel Blog
  6. Top Mexico Real Estate Blog
  7. Mexicocity.com Blog | Interesting facts about Mexico City
  8. Mexico News Daily — The latest news from Mexico  This is a great one!
  9. Reddit | Mexico
  10. Mexican Food Journal – Recipes, Stories & People
  11. Mexican Please | Mexican Food Blog
  12. Muy Bueno Cookbook | Three-Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor
  13. Puerto-Penasco.com Blog | Puerto Penasco Mexico Travel News
  14. Mexican Genealogy Blog | Helps You Find Your Ancestors!
  15. Eat Mexico Culinary Tours Blog
  16. Mexican Food Memories
  17. Mexico Cassie Blog | Deliciously, irresponsibly exploring Mexico
  18. Own Mexico Blog | How to Buy, Move-To, Invest, Retire and Live in Mexico
  19. My Heart of Mexico – Life, food, and family Mexican style  One of my favorites!  Read about it here.
  20. Surviving Mexico | Adventures and Disasters  THIS IS ME!
  21. The Mexico Report – Mexico Travel News & Blog
  22. Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide I follow this one too.
  23. 23. Jim & Carole’s Mexico Adventure
  24. Mexinsurance Blog
  25. Two Hungry Mexicans | Mexican Food blog
  26. Mexico Daily Living
  27. The Curious Mexican | Great Eats and Food from Mexico
  28. Reddit | Mexico City

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Filed under Blogging, Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading

Blog About Mexico Worth Reading–Saltillo Expats

Today’s feature blogger has been a supportive part of my SOTB Bloggers experience.  I’m pleased to introduce you to Jill, blogger at Saltillo Expats, Loving the Land of the Flour Tortilla (Meximamma) and Jill Michelle Douglas.  I don’t know how she does it!

What brought you to Mexico?

I came 19 years ago for a study abroad semester.  Then I met my husband.  I came back 15 years ago to see if he was a keeper.  He was.  Finally, I came back for good 10 years ago after we got married.

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What was the inspiration for your blog name?

I started my blog on a whim almost 9 years ago.  I didn’t plan much out, and all the names I could think of were already taken.  Finally, I stumbled on meximamma (because meximama was taken).  After all, I was planning to write about what it is I like about Mexico and about being a mom (I started this when my oldest daughter was 5 months old, partly to keep my mom and friends up-to-date).

Then, after a few years, I decided that I hated that name.  It seemed a little flip.  It made me cringe.  So now I write at jillmichelledouglas.com because that URL will never make me cringe.

It was still my second choice name because Jill Douglas is apparently a famous rugby commentator in the UK.  My own name was already taken!

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What area of Mexico and topics does your blog primarily focus on?

When I started my first blog, we had recently moved to northern Mexico.  (My husband is from Mexico City.)  It’s a whole different Mexico out here, and the blog was my attempt to nail down and explain some of those differences.

I started writing about Mexico and my kids.  For the Mexico posts, I’d try to paint a picture about those elusive things that I find charming here, things that are different from the US.  And as a new mom, I had a lot of new-mom reflections that needed an outlet.

Now I don’t really notice those difference between the US and Mexico anymore.  At least I don’t notice them here because I’m so used to living here and the oddities I encounter here are normal now (so they’re not really oddities anymore).  That’s why on my new site, I have very little about Mexico at the moment.

But we have traveled extensively, and I’m hoping to write about destinations in Mexico, share photos, and explore great places to go here.  Less sociology, more tour guide.

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Why do you blog? 

I now have two blogs:  my personal blog and one for foreigners moving to Saltillo, Coahuila, Saltillo Expats

A few years into my blog, I found that I really enjoyed exploring my city and writing about what Saltillo has to offer.  Saltillo is home to a huge GM plant, Chrysler, John Deere, Freightliner, and numerous automotive suppliers.  Thanks to my blog, a number of women who were about to move to Saltillo contacted me, wanting to know more information about Saltillo.  They had mostly the same questions, so it seemed clear to me that SaltilloExpats was a necessity.

This has freed me up on my personal site to focus more on parenting, exploring faith and Christian beliefs, and anything else I find helpful.  If I’ve learned something that turned out to be particularly helpful, I write it down and share it on my personal blog, so 1) I don’t forget what I learned and 2) just in case others would be interested in learning from those experiences (just as I enjoy other blogs that explore those topics).  I’m hoping that Mexico will flavor the site, but it’s no longer the central focus.

What is your favorite blog post?  

One of the last posts on my old blog was a story about taking a chance and seizing the moment while I was on vacation two years ago.  I like it for the memories I was reliving, and for the reminder that we need to take advantage of opportunities when they’re presented, not waiting for some undefined time in the future that may be more ideal. That time might never come.  (And I tend to be a waiter.)

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What has been the most difficult for you to blog about? 

Refraining from disclosing too much personal information.  I’m an open book from the Midwest, where we trust most people.  My husband is from Mexico City, where they believe everyone is out to get them. (That’s only a slight exaggeration, for all those chilangos who are going to protest that description!)    He does not yet know that I have a blog named jillmichelledouglas.com, and it might just be better if he continues to be oblivious about that.  😉  After all, my whole name is out there (which is probably too much personal information).

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico?

Assimilating.  Specifically, how do I describe that?

I read once that it’s suspicious if expats spend all their time with other expats or go to the other extreme and refuse to associate with the other foreigners.  Now that I have a number of friends, both Mexican and foreign, people I can have over for dinner, people who will watch my kids when I’m supposed to be in three places at once, I feel like I’m home.

A more specific best experience?  (One that kind of crowned the assimilation process for me.)  Almost three years ago, the orchestra for the state of Coahuila held auditions for a vocal section.  I auditioned (which was a great experience in itself) and much to my surprise (given those who I also heard audition and the size they wanted for the choir) I was asked to join.  We’ve done a zarzuela (Spanish opera), sung Queen (in an orchestra setting), sang for the Nutcracker, sang for the last minute of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, among other things.  It had been growing in me for some time that I really missed making music with others, and this has been a phenomenal opportunity.  (Not to mention a great chance to learn musical terminology in Spanish!)

What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico?

Without a doubt, the years 2011-2012.  The narcos were running amok around here and, more often than not, it felt like we were living under house arrest.  And, back to the hardest part about blogging, I couldn’t write much about it, as we were afraid that they’d somehow find my blog an target us.  (Highly unlikely, of course.  But crazy times and crazy people call for a lot of extra caution.  Laying low was the name of the game.)

I learned that if they come back, we’re getting the hell out of here.

I also learned that times like that draws people closer.  When there were alerts, people were better about calling their friends to make sure they stayed at home or avoided certain areas of town.

What advice do you have for those planning to move or travel to Mexico?

Learn Spanish.  As much as you can before you come.  But, keep in mind, no matter how much you learn, it will never feel like enough.  Then get a Spanish teacher here and keep learning.  Even though you may sound dumb, use the Spanish you’ve been learning. Slowly but surely, it will get better.  Unless you don’t try.  Then it will never get better.  So learn Spanish.

How long do you plan on remaining in Mexico?

Forever.  Unless we get an opportunity we can’t refuse.  Even then, we’ll probably come back.

Where do you see your blog going?

Wherever the wind may take me.

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Where can you be found? 

Facebook

Pinterest

SaltilloExpats

Jill Michelle Douglas

Land of the Flour Tortilla

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Blog About Mexico Worth Reading–Ventanas Mexico

Kerry Baker is a blogger and author. She blogs at Ventanas Mexico: Resources for Full- or Part-time Life in Mexico.  Her published works include Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online and If Only I Had a Place: The Aspiring Expat’s Guide to Renting Luxuriously in Mexico for Less.
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What brought you to Mexico? The U.S. has become so much a “gig economy.” After moving to Denver in 2014, I struggled finding anything other than contract work every now and then. I moved to Mexico to save money while I figured out what my next step would be.

After I made friends here, learned Spanish and realized how much better life was in Mexico for a person of average means, I began to see that Mexico could be an answer for many people like me, people with some resources but who are scared to death by what they see in the U.S today, both in terms of the healthcare crisis and the demoralizing political climate.

I truly believe for some people, Mexico could make the difference between a healthy, happy retirement and one where you are just surviving day to day. With my blog, I wanted to address some common, even silly misconceptions. For example, I spoke with a person yesterday that couldn’t believe Mexico had Uber!

What was the inspiration for your blog name?  What a mistake that was!  Ventanas means “Windows” in Spanish, and I liked the thought of the website being a window to see how life really was in Mexico. Big mistake. I didn’t know anything about SEO.  

I used to be a professional fundraiser and in a fundraising campaign, you have to make some of your most important decision when you have the least knowledge, at the beginning. Having a business is like that too.

What area of Mexico and topics does your blog primarily focus on? Comparisons. Comparisons between the U.S. and Mexico in housing, cost of living, safety, healthcare, language, and relationships, especially friendships with Mexicans because I find the dynamics very different from my friendships at home.

Why do you blog? At times, I write for me, as my SEO for those blogs clearly shows! I also write for my intended audience, things I wanted to know before coming here that had nothing to do with getting a visa temporal or the water. I wanted to know my life would be good here, that I’d be able to duplicate aspects of my life that were important to me in the U.S

What is your favorite blog post?   Just like being a filmmaker, your favorite is never the most commercially successful. The Best Date Night Songs in Spanish.” I love Spanish language music. I love to tell stories. Being able to actually share songs via links in the post and get a little personal by telling a relationship story made it my favorite.

What has been the most difficult for you to blog about?  I don’t think I’d feel pressured to write about anything that I felt was difficult to blog about. People have strong beliefs about safety in Mexico that I feel I need to debunk, although it’s like talking in the wind most times. Both countries are safe. Both countries are dangerous, just in different ways.

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico?  My best experience was making my first Mexican friend. What I learned is that when you want to make new friends, wherever you are, you should pick one or two “targets” and focus your entire being on them.

That means showing up wherever and whenever you think they might be (even when they’re not).  Ultimately, particularly in Mexico where social circles and families run so deep, 1-2 good friends and those they know can keep you pretty busy.

What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico?  I had emergency surgery in Mexico. It’s too much to go into here, but I fully relate it in a blog of mine.

What advice do you have for those planning to move or travel to Mexico? That’s very broad!  “Learn the language,” is a pretty safe bet. I started learning at 55 and am fairly fluent. It can be done. Without it, your experience will be half as fulfilling as it could be. Still good, maybe even great, but half.

If you are no longer in Mexico, do you plan on returning?  I spend the majority of my year there.

If you are currently in Mexico how long do you plan on remaining? I will most likely retire in Mexico.

Where do you see your blog going? My site has become more of a book promotion site for my two books, If Only I Had a Place: The Aspiring Expat’s Guide to Renting Luxuriously in Mexico for Less a book on renting luxuriously for less in Mexico, and  Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online which I use every day myself to improve my language skills.

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Anyone considering Mexico will need to live in their target town at least for six months. Renting in Mexico is very different. On top of that, those relationships you make the first six months can set the tone of your whole experience.

I had the good fortune that my first roommate in Mexico was a Canadian property manager with 12 years experience in Mexico. She taught me dangers, as well as sharing the more delicate culturally-based differences in renting in Mexico. My experiences over the following four years added to what she shared with me.

I would never rent for six months in Mexico without having someone I trust looking it over first (I’m not talking about Airbnb rentals and the like. Those are probably trustworthy but too expensive for a six-month period).

The book has a listing of rental concierges I’ve recruited. Almost all have an online presence. People “on the ground” like I had with Elise was key to my sanity in the first few years.

When I finished the book, I was concerned about information not applying all over Mexico. The rental concierges were able to confirm certain information before it went to print.  

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My book on learning Spanish is my real first love though.  Most people give up learning Spanish because they get bogged down with one program, like Rosetta Stone, and get bored.

If you use different tools every day, that doesn’t happen. The book’s interactive links take you to the best sites and features on the web. Lots of different sites and tools, most of which you’d never find without doing what I did, which was spend six months researching over 300 language learning sites.

A student can translate music, do flashcards, a little reading, a podcast, in a single one hour period. That’s what my sessions are like.

Where can you be found?  Ventanas Mexico has a Facebook page with a little more serious content, like articles related to the U.S. Healthcare crisis. I’m also on Pinterest with a “Recipes That Translate” board, language tips and photos from the most popular expat areas.

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Filed under Blogs about Mexico Worth Reading, Inspirational Writers in Mexico