Coming to Mexico

I get asked about living in Mexico now and again. It’s nice to know that, despite all the bad press, the country has been receiving, some people still have a big enough sense of adventure to see the appeal in moving to the Distrito Federal. It’s an adventure I couldn’t recommend highly enough. The latest enquiry asked the right sort of questions. The sort of answers you’d get from people familiar with Mexico City will differ according to experience. But here are mine..

Ready, Steady, Gone

I’m planning to go in mid-September, fly to Cancun and find work in DF. How likely am I to find something well-paying this time of year? I’m CELTA qualified with around 3 years experience.

It depends what sort of work you’re looking for. I think most schools usually have their positions filled by end of August. But you might well be able to pick something up. Teaching Business English is pretty easy to get into though, and is my personal preference. It’s something you can get into at any time of year. I suggest checking out Dave’s ESL Cafe and chatting to some people in there. Network with expats in the city when you arrive. There are often ‘Teacher Get Togethers’. Hand out flyers outside international companies to staff on their way in to work. Once you’ve got your first few classes, more tend to come along through word of mouth pretty quickly. You can also get hours, albeit at low pay, from language schools. It’s all good practise will you find something better. And you’re plenty qualified enough…

Is the country as dangerous as Western media makes out? I have reservations about simple things like taking my laptop due to the scaremongering of the British press and the stereotype that Mexico has cast upon my family – none of who understand why the hell I have to do this.

The western media should be sued by Mexico for libel! Although the really negative reports are mostly from northern areas of the country, not Mexico City, the media have been tending to portray the entire country as being in a state of virtual war. Of course DF has crime. All big cities do. But it’s really perfectly safe. I always felt safer there than I do in the UK. I took my laptop and had no problem, although I did have a home to go to. I also used to wander all over the city with nice cameras and my iPod touch without any problem.

What is a good amount to take out there? I expect to have around 4K in savings to fall back on should work be hard to find/organise. How long can I expect that to last?

Four thousand pounds is a lot. That’s about 80,000 pesos. I could survive comfortably, although not extravagantly, on 10,000 pesos a month. 15,000 is very comfortable. This includes rent, food, bills and beer money. I am assuming you’ll be looking to get a room in a shared apartment to start with. But even a nice departamento can be had for less than 5,000 pesos a month. Again, get chatting to people who are in Mexico. There’s often someone who knows someone who’s looking for someone for some place.

What drew you (and away from) Mexico? Did you manage to really hone your Spanish?

My turning up in Mexico was, originally, really random. I was fed up with my job in the UK and looking for a cheap place to take a TEFL course, and a link to a school in Mexico turned up in the Google results. I knew next to nothing about Mexico. A quick bit of research suggested it’d be a interesting experience. And seeing as I’d always turned left out of Heathrow on previous trips abroad, I thought I’d take a right turn for a change. I booked the course and the plane ticket. That was in 2003, and although I didn’t ever get around to taking the course and ended up back in the UK, I had the Mexico bug.
What made me come back to the UK?  I really can’t remember. I must have been mad. All I know is, I will be going back. Not this year. Maybe next year. If not, then surely the year after. And it will be for keeps. My bones will be buried in Mexican soil, and I won’t in all honesty be that upset if I never set foot on English soil again. I’m currently working on getting my Spanish up to scratch for the citizenship test. This really tells you all you need to know. Your folks might think you’re mad for going. I’ll think you’re a bit mad if you ever come back….

10 thoughts on “Coming to Mexico

  1. Gary, I figured you were a “lifer” and was surprised you went back to the UK. But now that you’ve made your decision you can enjoy your UK experience all the more.

    When you get back, we look forward to finally meeting you in person.

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    1. I don’t think I ever considered myself a lifer when I was in Mexico, although I’d long intended to at the very least retire (preferably early) in Mexico. I guess this was in large part down to the fact that I always knew that She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted to sample British life, so the plan to come here was always in place.

      I do intend to make the most of being in the UK. Although I find coping with the weather a serious grind. I didn’t like it much before I left. I like it less now. But we probably chose a good time to come back, if you can ignore the state of the economy for a moment. I got to see the Royal Wedding and the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee are next year. After they’re done, and once I’ve saved up enough…there’s not much to keep me here. Except SWIMBO, of course…

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    1. I had noticed you had one arranged. Would love to come. But….well. It’s a bit of a commute! I’ll be there for another one one day. Do say hello to the faces I know for me.

      And yeah, the blog lingers on. Bit more sporadic than it used to be though.

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  2. Maybe we’ll end up in DF at the same time.

    As much as I want to go there, I’m also having a tough time with the idea of leaving here forever. A few friends in particular have put up quite a bit of a stink.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Were we love signing comments, “DF, México.”

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    1. Sounds to me like some of your friends just need a little trip to ole DF to sample the good life! You could start a trend and bring friends with you – set yourself up a business in the real estate for foreigners market.

      Long distance relationships are hard to maintain though. I’ve found that back in the UK I’ve not got a whole lot in common with a lot of my old buddies. Times and people have moved on. This didn’t come as much of a surprise. I hadn’t kept in touch with them from Mexico much after the first couple of years…

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