When I told Seth I wanted to start a blog the first thing he said to me was “I get to write a post” I said ok, thinking it was joke…it wasn’t a joke. He came to me a few nights ago and said, “when can I put my post up?” He asked me to read it but I wasn’t allowed to revise it, I wouldn’t have revised it even if I was allowed because his depiction is on point and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….so without further ado I give you Seth’s blog post..
An old friend (Barty) once told me every great story must start with “So there I was…”
So there I was, 2:30am in my jammers staring at the mirror asking myself, “Is this really happening?” Yep, and we are late! Henry sure didn’t care. He was out cold given the fact he just went to bed at midnight. We arrived at the airport just after 4am and BOOM, the place was packed like they were giving free flights away. It was an unusual feeling having three carts filled with the remnants of all your belongings, two children both screaming, and a dog scared shitless. It’s like a cross between sharting your pants on the first date and jumping out of an airplane, you puckered but ready. You might be asking yourself, why the hell would anyone choose a flight that early? Well, after three phone calls to the not so lovely United Airlines customer service agents, they had assured me everyone would be just fine. I had my doubts so I called just a few days before and they said, since you have a dog then you must be there 4 hours early. Thanks, Simon.
We finally make it to Queretaro and we’re the last in line to go through customs plus they had to dub Simon, which put us a grand total of 45 minutes late to get our rental car. Hertz kindly informed they gave our rental away. I asked them what their definition of “reservation” was, but they suddenly didn’t know English. So we paid double per day at the next window down and we were off.
We made it to our new home and there were bags everywhere, including under our eyes. Henry was a wild man, couldn’t blame him. He was hopped up on sugar and being reunited with all his toys we had shipped down the previous month. He was happy.
Our first real oh shit moment came about 24hrs in without even knowing the ropes. Henry observantly followed the queue of Simon and drank the bath water. Montezuma, you are real! Real as the puke and poop all over our new mattress. The worst part was Henry’s shrieks. It was an awful feeling and we didn’t know what to do. Urgent Care is not a thing in Mexico. Luckily, our landlord helped with a local doctor and we were back in business.
We spent the first month shopping. Buying anything we could to make our house feel “warm and homey”, as my wife would say. It was a very expensive month and I’m thankful it’s behind us. Especially, when the return policy is nonexistent. Our Columbian landlord had a few Columbian style remarks and suddenly they became more open minded. Thanks, Silvia!
Our next big event came from my kidney. I was graced with a kidney stone a few years back and I knew exactly what this feeling was. I had a colleague take me to the closest hospital and I was very thankful for his presence since no one spoke English and I’m a noob in this country. We quickly became friends as he watched me toss and turn in my moo-moo styled nightgown and puke on the floor. After three days in the hospital with a laser trigger-happy doctor, I was down one stone. Only 11 more to go they said, it will be fun the said. There is nothing fun about doctors staring at your junk with a laser and an anesthesiologist telling you he has tequila in the pipeline. Needless to say, the tequila was great and I still have 5 more to go. The culprit was excessive red meat and red wine. I disagreed with them and told them they needed to find another culprit, like too many vegetables in my diet.
Enough about the negatives, let’s talk about the positives in Mexico. I always had this idea of Mexico with kids selling chicklets on every corner and taco bells everywhere. I think I was confused with southern Texas. Mexico is definitely different than expected and much different than the USA and my time in Germany. It’s unique in it’s own way. The people are extremely friendly and giving. I felt like every time we found our self in a predicament there was always someone there to help us. There is one exception; if you’re in a vehicle then it’s a battle zone. People will smile and wave as they cut you off. Deep breaths are essential for getting from point A to point B. The taco stands and barbocoas are awesome. I trembled when I first saw them, terrified of how my body would react, but my body loved them. I ate at the roadside stands for almost two months while our cafeteria at work was still under construction. The city center is full of culture, people dancing, playing music, kids running around, and great food! Even though the place is packed, if you pull up a chair with a cold beer it’s very relaxing. Henry’s favorite things about the city are the ice cream shops and picking up every souvenir possible. Matilda likes to sleep on momma’s boobs. She’s just there for the ride.
There is so much adventure here! It reminds me of my escapades in Germany, trying to find a new place to see. Except this time, it’s even better because I can share it with my family. We’ve ventured to all sorts of places. We went to one of the biggest rocks in the world and climbed to the top (Stevie slipped and fell, a bit of scary moment but she brushed it off), we’ve traveled to the Pyramid of the Sun (Henry had to pee at the top, interesting parenting moment…), and as Stevie mentioned in her posts we have traveled to our mini paradise, Ixtapa. I’m not a beach person, but I love that place. Usually, beaches are not too kind to my semi-ginger qualities. The first time we went Stevie’s parents joined us, which made it easier for us to relax. The pina coladas were delightful and endless. On the way there, we had to stop for gas, but unfortunately we have high suspicion it included water. Our car does not like water in the gas tank and as we were climbing a mountain, sputter, sputter, sputter. We pushed forward, given it wasn’t the safest place to stop, and lucky the dealership had an open spot for us to help get us up and running. I really enjoyed that trip. On the way home, the pina coladas had caught up to me and I couldn’t wait to plop down on the couch and catch up on some Netflix. Queretaro had experienced a small earthquake during the time we were driving back. I couldn’t help to think about the new 75” TV I just hung on the wall so I was anxious to get home. As I walked up our stairs from the garage, I noticed dust on the floor so I literally took off running to see if my new baby was ok. To my surprise, it was, however I noticed the back door was open. Then I noticed the front door was unlocked. At first I though my landlord had forgotten to shut the house up as she had a few projects she was working on, but after scrambling around the house we found about $5,000 USD worth of cash and goods missing. Dang. It was a tough day. Plus, we had a bird in the house, which explained the dust on the stairs. It left a sour taste in our mouth and for a while we thought about closing up shop and moving home. Fortunately, we held strong and weren’t ready to give up on this place. One positive thing that came from it was the amount of support we received from our neighbors and colleagues. Everyone was ready to help and give us confidence. I’m thankful for all those people that helped us get through that indecisive time period.
A lot of people have asked us about our house and community. Well, we love it. We were lucky and found a great house on top of a mountain that looks over the city. It’s absolutely beautiful and I never thought I would have an opportunity to live in such a place. It’s extremely modern so I’m nervous when we go home with all this modern style furniture. I’m from Brookville, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to match those country vibes. Our community is gated, not totally secure (hence the break in), but there is a lot of construction going on. Queretaro is expanding rapidly as it’s one of the safest places in Mexico. We also have a small club with tennis and swimming pools. Henry loves the pools, but not the lessons. We try to spend a lot of time there on the weekends.
I think everyone knows why we came to Mexico, work. It’s not just work for me, but I’m truly fulfilling my career goals. We started a brand new plant from the ground up. From designing the offices, plant layout, and bringing in new machines. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m very grateful to be a part of it. It’s a lot of hard work; there are no procedures in place to fall back on. We are creating everything from scratch. We started with a team less than five and now have almost 100. We have a great leader that forces us to be imaginative and doesn’t focus on what things are, but what they can be. Mexico is great place to find the inspiration to go to the next level. These first years I have been responsible for the team that has been industrializing the new machines for our first value stream. Next year, I begin my new role as an Operations and Engineering Manager. In my past experience I have only been responsible for a handful of engineers, and now will be responsible for the shop floor associates in the production area. Within the next four months I will have 75 people working in my team and by the time I leave there will nearly 150. I’m excited for the new journey to say the least, it’s not going to be easy, but the lessons I will learn will be priceless. For everyone to know, just because we are in Mexico we are not taking jobs away from the USA! It’s complex and we can save the political jargon for another day.
What do I miss most about home? Outside of family and friends, hands down the raspberry sherbet from Dairy Cottage. Oh man, my buds are watering! Obviously, there is no place like home and the comfort factor that comes with it, but if you don’t test your limits then you’ll never know how far you can go. It’s a challenge here and I like it. It forces us to come up with alternative solutions that in most cases are better than what we have done in the past. The solidarity that comes from being away from family members allows us to create our own path and foundation for our beginning family giving us a greater sense of strength. It also reminds us how significant those micro family interactions are around the ones we love. At the end of the day, I’m thankful for WhatsApp and Facetime.
Stevie said no one will like my blog post because there are no pictures, but even though we are in Mexico, I still took advantage of Black Friday and I have a super cool drone waiting for my arrival. I’ll post a video when we return back to Queretaro after the holidays!
Before I end this novelish blog post, I’d like to thank everyone that supports my wife’s blog. If anyone has it the toughest, it’s her. Taking care of the kids, making new friends, and trying to find “her” time is not the easiest in a new country. So this blog is a great outlet that makes her happy and in-turn the whole family. Muchas gracias!