42: Days the entire family has been living in Mexico now.
300: the cost of learning, the hard way, of not shopping and shipping expensive items to ourselves online (item was stolen – we were warned).
2: number of pets I have (so far) successful talked hubby into agreeing to (dos gatitos: a beautiful Siamese and a tiny white kitty with bright blue eyes).
764: amount (in American dollars) of our first electric bill (I’m still trying to confirm that this bill is only for our house, and not the entire frigging street, but it’s not looking likely).
13: speaking of money, as an American adjusting to spending pesos instead of dollars, it’s a good thing to know that 13 pesos basically equals 1 American dollar (so shopping here takes a tad longer due to the fact that I’m constantly on my phone using the calculator to divide large numbers just to figure out how much I’m paying for things).
12: number of private Spanish lessons we’ve had so far, and I’m still confusing “tengo” and “tiene” and don’t even ask me to tell a Spanish speaking person that I am an “estadounidense” (you try and say it, it’s really hard, and so now besides sounding like a foreigner, I sound like an idiot).
35: the cost of an ultrasound, copies of the x-ray films AND a CD ROM with copies of those films on it – I kid you not. And the hospital didn’t recognize our insurance card when we offered it – so that was the cost even without insurance kicking in. Now add to this number 23, the cost of the doctor visit that accompanied the tests – and that leaves an amazingly low number for medical services here.
Infinity: apparently, the number of pills that I’m allowed here on my prescription. I was told that prescriptions here are not regulated like they are in the States. So I get to take my prescription slip, present it to any pharmacy, and get as much as I want. My prescription isn’t a narcotic or anything exciting like that, so I wonder if they at least regulate the serious meds here – but I don’t know.
5: blank stares we’ve gotten when we’ve asked where the “baño” is. That’s a pretty easy word to pronounce, and I honestly have no idea how I’m butchering it, but even with a 6-year old doing the pee-pee dance next to me, I’ve gotten blank stares while trying to ask for the location of the bathroom.
1,000: by my rough estimation, the amount of I.T. hours I’ve had to put in to try and get technology to work here: be it for the new VPN modem I got so we can access websites from home (Netflix, Pandora, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart [I love you Jon!], to fixing my daughter’s laptop that got slammed with the Blasteriods virus adware (I’ll take off a few hours here as I had awesome help from my nephew, Isaac), to setting up my new iPhone 5S (which uses my fingerprint to unlock my phone – how cool is that? but of course, iTunes wouldn’t recognize the new device – I hate iTunes). My point here is that there really isn’t anyone I can reach out to for problems like those – besides those friendly folks back home who are nice enough to respond to my emails begging assistance (thank you: Neil and Robyn Vickers!). There is no “Geek Squad” or Best Buy employee who can help me (not that I would recommend either of those). So, frankly, I think by the time we return to the States, I’ll be ready to go to work for the F.B.I. to set up global networks and help solve cyber crimes.
18: number of days the girls have had school here. So far, couldn’t be happier with the school, their teachers and the administration. Even with the language barrier – so many people at the school (staff or fellow parents) have been helpful, friendly and welcoming, and they’ve even offered me a job assisting children to read English. Unfortunately I can’t work here due to paperwork so will be volunteering in the library (and hope that those same children can then help me read Spanish).
2:00 – 4:00 and then 7:00 – 9:00: Almuerzo and Cena. Mealtimes are a lot different here than they are back home. Typically lunch here (almuerzo) is between 2 and 4 and is the day’s biggest meal. Many places of business will shut down during that time. Dinner (cena) is between 7 and 9, and typically is a lighter meal. Adjusting to this is hard, especially when you try and go to a restaurant at noon (our typical almuerzo time) and find that they aren’t even open yet.
16: Septiembre 16th is the Mexican Independence Day – and apparently, it’s a really big deal: “¡Viva México!”. From what we’ve heard and observed so far, Mexicans are are very proud of their country and very patriotic (or, these people just really love to party). Our school is having a big event this coming Friday to celebrate this holiday, and we’re really looking forward to it. Our youngest daughter is borrowing a traditional Mexican dress from a fellow classmate to wear, and I’m proud that she’s excited to participate in this cultural event. Our oldest daughter refuses to wear a dress for any reason or event, cultural or otherwise, but I got her some beads I’m hoping she might wear. We’ll see.
And, last, but not least:
0: the number of aliens we’ve seen so far at the beach (and if you don’t understand that reference why haven’t you been reading my earlier blogs?)
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And, in all seriousness:
September 11: although we’re happy to be in Mexico, we miss our own country very much, especially on a day like today. It’s hard to believe 2014 marks the 13th anniversary since the Twin Towers in New York City fell. Designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance by Congress in 2009, September 11 continues to hold a special place in Americans’ hearts – even those Americans who are not currently on American soil.