Tag Archives: parenting

First world parenting in a third world country –What to pack?

When we made the decision to relocate to central México, our son was only 4 years old. He had been in a preschool, but since we left in January, he didn’t finish out the year. I wasn’t too concerned with his education at that age since he did Mommy school every day. However, I realized that down the line there would be things that he would need to learn, and I wasn’t sure that I would have the resources in México to teach them.

So the first step in ensuring his future educational needs were met, was to decide what to pack. We had limited space. What didn’t fit into the back of the truck or trailer, did not get packed. So that meant, some darling school supplies, like a mini-desk, did not make the cut. He would grow out of it before we could say, Jack Robinson. But a full-size desk and chair set did get packed. He would grow into it.

Then for books and activities. That was easy. Everything I had. I would be able to use it for our son and then again for any classes I might teach in México. I also scoured Goodwill and yard sales, looking for any books that might be useful. One day while shopping I can across How To Juggle: 25 Fantastic Juggling Tricks and Techniques to Try! and happily added it to my cart. My little guy said to me, ‘But mom, I don’t know how to juggle. Why are you buying me this book?’ To which I replied, ‘One day you may want to learn how to juggle and then we will already have the book.’ Well, 6 years later, he still hasn’t mastered juggling, but it does provide him with hours of entertainment.

To make more room, I left most of my college textbooks behind, a fact I regret now as some of my students are advanced level and could have used those books. Then, before you know it, my son will also be able to read at that level, and here I am without the books.

I also brought quite some VHS tapes I had. As I haven’t been able to find a VHS player, I finally disposed of them this past year. Wasted space.

And then there were his toys and future toys. We were planning on remaining in México permanently, and I wasn’t sure how many times I would be able to return to the US to purchase new things, so this was it. Most of the stuffed animals were left behind. A full tote of action figures and animals was in. Another tote full of blocks. Some more advanced creativity enhancers like Building Cards: How to Build Castles found a space. I also bought him a Medieval Castle. However, it remained in its packaging until we had our own place.  Once we had moved to La Yacata, the castle was an incredible toy.  My son spent hours planning battles in imaginative play.

Of course, his Spidey lovey Marvel The Ultimate Spiderman Pillowtime Pal
also came along, complete with his own blanket and chupon (pacifier) (the lovey’s blanket and pacifier that is). Taking care of a doll would be a good educational experience for daddyhood down the line.

I also brought a suitcase full of preschool and elementary educational software which I used at the learning and teaching in as well, until Windows 7 made them obsolete. Now I can only use them on my own antiquated computer, but that works for us.

As a last minute purchase, we bought a portable DVD player and some cartoons for the 5-day road trip. We still use that player, connected to the cigarette lighter in the truck, because no electricity in La Yacata means no electricity. So 2 thumbs up on that buy. Anytime we come across National Geographic piratas (pirated movies are the only type available here) we snatch them up for an excellent family evening of learning.

You can find other suggestions for what to pack on my Resources for a life well-lived in Mexico page under Useful Items and many useful links to educational sites on the Schooling page.




Filed under Education, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms