S3E3 - What's it Like Parenting as an Expat

Episode 3 May 15, 2024 01:08:53
S3E3 - What's it Like Parenting as an Expat
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S3E3 - What's it Like Parenting as an Expat

May 15 2024 | 01:08:53

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Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

Join Aisha in this super sized and enlightening episode which delves into the vibrant lives of expat single mothers. Through an engaging panel discussion, they explore the unique challenges and joys of parenting abroad, from the decision to move for a fresh start to the day-to-day experiences that shape their new lives in Mexico. Our panelists, including Key, Johna, and Pam, share their heartfelt stories and practical advice on navigating life away from the U.S., touching on topics like racism, community building, and the pursuit of a peaceful, fulfilling life for their children. Tune in to be inspired by these brave women who took the leap into expat motherhood, seeking a better quality of life and a community outside the US.

 

Path to Freedom: The Path to Freedom | Doing Life Afraid

Exudus Summit: ExodUS Summit 2023 by ExodUS Summit (heysummit.com)

Hermana a Hermana Female Entreprenur Collective FB Group

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to start to finish motherhood, a podcast for those thinking or already single mothers by choice. Just looking for practical advice for navigating life's relationships. When you decide to have children on your own, it doesn't mean that you're completely alone. I'm Aisha Jenkins, and I'm partnering with you every step of your journey. Hi, everybody. I'm here today with the panel discussion on parenting as an expat, a person who's living outside of the US. And this has been an episode that's been long and coming. Last year in season one, I had a conversation with black expat mom talking about my plans to do a sabbatical this year, and life has changed and took a different turn. And so with that in mind, as I start preparing for each season, I'll throw questions out to the start to finish motherhood community. One of the topics that came up was living life as an expat. A lot of the moms in the group, we bat around this idea, especially with the current political situations, if the US is actually a welcoming place for black people and black families. And so, a little bit more to add to the backstory, I was dropping my daughter off at school one morning, and we got to talking about the different places that I traveled before she was born. And it was funny because as I was telling her the story and she was asking me questions, her tone was like, the nerve that you had a life before I was born. And so I chuckled. And so to prove to her and to me that I had a life before her and her sister were born, I pulled up the different pictures of the places that I had traveled. Bali, Sydney, Australia, Fiji, Qatar, just the different places I travel for vacation. I traveled for work, I traveled as girlfriend trips. And she asked me, did you ever live in any of these places? And I said, no. But it has always been a desire of mine to either travel extensively to one place or, or live one place outside of the US before my life on earth ends. So I'd like to. So I've reached out to some folks in the different communities that I'm in with expat parents. And so one person, Lisa, who leads a WhatsApp group that's called Hermana collective, she was just instrumental in helping me pull together this episode. And actually, there are a few people who have influenced, inspired me to even consider expat life. There's Stephanie Perry, there's Rashida Dow. As we go through the episodes, some of the panelists will talk about their different influencers as well. I wanted to also make this important statement that there were a number of ways that I could have gone about this episode. I could have pulled in smcs who are non black, because black people are not the only people who are parenting as expats. And a lot of SMCs do, but those SMCs are non black. And I think that our experience that is making us even consider expat life and our experiences traveling globally, we deal with different things as black people than as someone who. Who's living an expat life as a non black person. And so I had options. Do I go with the full SMC panel and it was race agnostic, or do I go with a panel of black single moms, black parents who can tell this story from the perspective of a black parent? And so I chose to put race first and hear about expat life from the perspective of black women. And so I have three panelists here with me today. I have Pam, I have Jonna and Keith, who were gracious enough to spend some time with me. So let's dive into this episode, and I hope you enjoy it. So, Key, we'll start with you, and then we'll go to Jonna, and then we'll go to Pam. [00:04:26] Speaker B: Hello. [00:04:26] Speaker C: My name is Ki. I moved here in July 2020. I have a six year old son, and then I also have a adult daughter. I moved to Mexico from Texas because of racism. [00:04:41] Speaker A: All right, short and simple. So we'll get into your story a little bit more, because I think that that's driving a lot of people to rethink life here in the United States. And, Jonna, can you tell us a little bit about your story and how long you've been in Mexico and how many kids you have? [00:05:02] Speaker D: Yes. My name is Jama, and I have been living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for about two and a half years. We officially moved here May of 2022, and we enjoy it. My husband and I, we knew that we wanted to live outside of the United States, so we took a year sabbatical and did a one year honeymoon and traveled around to different countries. And Mexico wasn't a place we had intended to be. However, Mexico had all of the intentions to have us here. We have been living here for two and a half years. [00:05:44] Speaker A: Okay, nice. Nice. Pam, tell us a little bit about what brought you to Mexico. [00:05:51] Speaker B: So, my name is Pam. I'm originally from Miami, and I moved from Atlanta. I watched a YouTube video of a lady who, she was married, she got divorced, and she decided to move to Mexico. And that intrigued me, and I went down the rabbit hole and watched the videos and I got divorced and I wanted a fresh start, so I started researching, started listening to podcasts and just getting information. I went to the Exodus summit to learn more about it, and I made the decision that I was going to do it. I came to Playa to visit for a little bit just to see if I can really do it. And I liked it. So when I came back, I made the decision. I put my house up for sale. I started selling all my things and we packed up. I didn't pick Playa because I didn't feel like it had like a lot of stuff for kids. So I wasn't sure about Playa. And I was like, well, where's the next place to have beaches? Like, ocean was a, a thing for me and they said Puerto Vallarta. So I was like, okay, they got ocean, mountains. Like, I'm there. So we moved sight unseen, and we've been here ever since. [00:07:00] Speaker A: Nice. And then, how old is your daughter, your kids? [00:07:04] Speaker B: I have a six year old and an eleven year old here with me. [00:07:08] Speaker A: Nice. And so key, when you and I talked, I was really intrigued because your perspective was expect the unexpected. And so you were like, before you leave the US, here are some things that you should do. So can you tell us what are some of the key things you found were necessary before you left the United States in terms of planning your exit from the US? [00:07:30] Speaker C: So for me, I'm previous military, so I look at things a little different. I looked online. One of the reasons why I left is because I plan to move to the Netherlands before. But with us having the previous administration, it stopped us from moving there. So I had a dream. I woke up the next day and said, mexico. So what I did was sent the email to the consulate. We had one in Houston. You have a couple usually wherever you stay. Sent the email and they were really quick about reaching out and telling me what I needed and everything, all the paperwork that needed to be done, so you have to. They were complete with that. Also, I put my house on the market. It sold. I really was on a crunchy. So selling your item was really important. It's funny because everyone do a storage unit, and the guy who owned the storage unit said, anything you keep here over six months, you can buy again. And he was like, if you're keeping it for a year, it's a waste. And I was like, are you trying that? Like, you trying to get my money? He was like, no, I'm just telling you people keep these for years. It's not worth it. So I looked at that and you have to start the process where you live. No matter what started the process, I went, brought all the paperwork they needed, sign and everything, and moved forward. They accepted us on the visa and came over. And then when you're here in country, you only have 60 days to complete the process. So you have to be here. If you leave before then, you have to start the process again or get an exit letter. [00:09:07] Speaker A: How many months in advance did you do your paperwork in Houston? [00:09:14] Speaker C: I did my paperwork as soon as my house sold. I was like, oh, okay, I'm for real leaving. And then I did that. Sometimes they don't do it all the same day, so if you're flying in to do it, make sure you have some days in advance because they get busy. Also, at the consulate, you might not have all the paperwork. And several times you hear people sitting right there talking about, I leave today or I have to leave. And they were like, you weren't guaranteed to be mexican, so you have to be on top of that. [00:09:44] Speaker A: So you start the process in your home state. [00:09:49] Speaker C: Well, after you get the requirements and they give you the visa, they're going to stamp it on your passport and they're going to tell you have 60 days to complete the process. You have to complete the process in Mexico. So you have to come over to Mexico and you're here. You're not going to get the appointment on the same day either. So when you come for those 60 days, trust you're going to be here 45, 60 days before you can get the appointment, before they see you. Nothing happens really fast. [00:10:21] Speaker A: Okay. All right. So you knew that you wanted to leave, you put your house on the market, your house sold really fast, and then you started your paperwork here at the consulate in the US, and then from that point, you get your stamp. You have 60 days to go to Mexico and complete the process. On the Mexico side. [00:10:39] Speaker C: Yes. I didn't do Airbnb. I didn't really trust them. So they have several different companies, just like in the states. You have realtor. Did you have company? I rented a place on the beach for like three months. I knew in that three months I needed to get here and I met some amazing people when I got here. So I didn't negotiate anything. I purchased my vehicle in the first two months because taxis just get ready. [00:11:06] Speaker D: Okay. [00:11:07] Speaker C: When you don't have the car and you have to make these appointments. I did not negotiate that price. My local friend did, which was amazing. [00:11:15] Speaker A: So I'm going to pause you right there, and I'm going to pop over to Jonah. You are currently in Mexico. Remind me if you are temporary or a visitor visa. And then what was it like navigating the healthcare system? [00:11:31] Speaker D: Great question. We are permanent residents here in Mexico, and our process was a little different because we birthed both of our children here when we were with child. In deciding on where we wanted to go initially, Mexico wasn't the number one place, but it ended up being where we landed. We initially thought we would be in Columbia. However, during that time, their entry into the country requirements changed. So we decided to start our family in Mexico. And I want to backtrack a little bit. It wasn't an easy decision, and I say that because my care, in terms of my Ob GyN and my care has been my entire time living in Houston, Texas. And so my ob Gyn knew me, knew what I wanted. She was going to birth my first child. But all the pieces just so happened to fall in place in a interesting way. When we were deciding whether or not we would birth our child in the United States or continue to live abroad and select the country at the same time, my Ob Gyn, who I had for over ten years, decided to leave the practice about a month and a half before my child was going to be due. So I had a decision to make. I attempted to get another doctor, and they kept dropping the ball. And I had already started prenatal care during one of my visits to Mexico with the Ob Gyn, who I developed a pretty good rapport with. So at this point, do I want to start an entire relationship with another staff of people with another oBGyn, or just go with what I felt comfortable with and intuitively knew? Okay, this is not an option anymore. As much as I had painted this picture, it's not an option. I have somewhat of a support system in Mexico with my healthcare, and that's how we ended up going that route. That did not end up being the person who I chose for my care because I wanted a natural birth. And I did get connected. We had a natural birthing team that birthed both of our daughters here in Mexico. And through that, because our daughters were born here and are native to this land, they have dual citizenship. And because of their dual citizenship, that allowed us to expedite the process to become permanent residents of Mexico. [00:14:21] Speaker A: All right, so I'm going to pause you right there. So Jonas story was giving birth in Mexico. You had the option. Things didn't pan out in the US. You ended up in Mexico, had an established relationship with the practice there. Now, we know that just recently in the US, they started adding doula care because of maternal fetal health issues that we have in this country. Was that something that you added onto your birth plan? Was it something that came with your birth plan? Did you have to convince people that you wanted to have the support of a doula or midwife? [00:14:57] Speaker D: That is a wonderful question in the process. In the United States, when everything happened with my Ob GYN, there was the conversation of, can I have a natural birth? Do you offer doula? Do you offer midwife care here in this facility? And with my insurance, and it wasn't readily available to me, it was something that I would have had to pay out of pocket for if I wanted to have that type of care with the facility I had developed a relationship with, whereas in Mexico, it was completely different. If this is something that you want, sure. Let us know how you want to have your birth, and we're here to support you in every way that we can. I wanted to create the environment that I wanted. I wanted nice music, soothing music. I wanted it to be dim and dark. I wanted to have green nature around me, and I wanted to be able to move around. I did not want to be confined to a bedroom, and I was able to have all of that. Anwar, here in Mexico, they are all about the mom, the birth, the parents, the child. What is it that you want, and how can we support you? It wasn't we need to take the child immediately to go pick and pry and poke and test. It was none of that. I got to have my golden hour with both of my girls, where after you give birth, they leave you alone. And that was an amazing experience. [00:16:34] Speaker A: So it sounds amazing. So let's talk a little bit about the healthcare system itself. So, key, when you came to Mexico, you had a young child already, and when we last spoke, you talked about having certain mexican based documentation. Can you take us through that just a little bit? [00:16:58] Speaker C: Okay. So it's a couple things. I think one of the main things that is overlooked is insurance. So whenever you come to another country besides the United States, you know how healthcare in the United States is so expensive? We got hospitals everywhere, clinics everywhere. [00:17:17] Speaker A: You can be seen. [00:17:18] Speaker C: It's not a problem. That's not the deal in most countries. I've lived in several. So here, if you don't have the money, you don't get treated. That's just what it is. It's not even a question. So, for me, I have a son, and my son is a little adventurous. He liked to jump off of things. And so just think of a six year old boy. So I have friends that live here and they said, make sure you get some insurance. And I didn't think about it at first. I was like, insurance. But in Mexico and most other countries, if you don't have the money, you don't get care. So I looked into it, I got the insurance, which was great, because when my son was really small, he had a really high fever, which caused seizures. And I don't know if you've ever seen your child has a seizure, but it. And I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know why or how, but I was able to go to the hospital and they saw him and treated him and we were fine. So that was important, making sure you have insurance also, like renters insurance. So many people come here and you wouldn't stay somewhere without homeowners insurance or renters insurance. Most likely something's gonna happen, right? It's gonna be a pipe bust or something like that. It's always nice to have a little bit of security, and it's not expensive. [00:18:46] Speaker A: Okay, so before we. Jonna, did you, did you pay out of pocket for your maternity coverage or was that covered by insurance or cash? [00:18:57] Speaker D: That was part that I meant, I forgot to mention. So here, we did pay for both of our births out of pocket. We did not pay using traditional insurance. We paid out of pocket. And the reason is because what we pay out of pocket for healthcare here is literally sometimes co pays in the United States. [00:19:20] Speaker A: You were saying, what we pay for healthcare here in Mexico is sometimes the. [00:19:27] Speaker D: Copay that you would pay in the United States. I'll give you an example. Right before we gave birth to our first daughter, we were, of course, the algorithms and social media pulling up birthday birthing things, because that's the season we're in. And I remember seeing a reel about a young couple who had their second child. And so they kind of knew the ropes of what they needed to do to labor. They labored as much as they could at home. They go to the hospital. I believe she may have been 8 cm dilated. Within 15 minutes of being at the hospital, the baby was born. They technically did all of the work, their bill, for 15 minutes being in the hospital, I will add, they opted to stay prolonged in the hospital. They stayed one night because they wanted to get home to their older child, the oldest child. So they only stayed one night. And that bill in a California hospital, which is my home state cost them around $36,000 to birth that child 15 minutes. They didn't really do any work. I mean, the aftercare for that day, but that was a $36,000 day, if they even stayed 24 hours. Whereas here, the cost for us to deliver both of our children out of pocket was a couple thousand dollars, a little shy of $3,000 for both of our births each. [00:21:10] Speaker C: Wow, that was out of pocket. Yeah. I just want you, like the emergency room visit for my son might have been dollar 500 for them to see him with the seizure. Seizure there and everything else was about dollar 500 for me to see a specialist here, I pay about 500 pesos, sometimes 1000 pesos. So it depends. It shifts. It's never over $100 to see an endocrinologist like anybody you want to see. It's not over 100 for the entire. [00:21:42] Speaker D: Care, not the copay, for the. It's the whole business, usually the whole visit. I will add, though, as a foreigner living in another country, it is extremely important that rules regulations, because what I did find was when we were in our second trimester visiting here, before we moved here, I did have a hospital visit. And in that hospital visit, I went to the general hospital, which is the public government hospital. And I needed to get a second opinion because they wanted to operate on me while I was pregnant. They wanted to take out my appendix, and I needed a second opinion. And I'm thankful for my intuition to get a second opinion because that wasn't the case. I went to a really nice hospital that took really good care of me, however, because I was a foreigner and not a resident and not a citizen. And they knew that the cost of that care was robbery. It was robbery because the cost of that care was the cost of my birthday for that visit, which was a few thousand dollars. So it's important when you go to places outside of the country to get your ducks in a roll and the legal things taken care of so they will treat you as such. And that's the difference with those stories of being a permanent resident as opposed to a foreigner visiting here and getting the treatment. The treatment was phenomenal. It was good. We got that bill and they told us, we asked, what would this normally cost somebody who lived here? And they tried to evade the question, but they admitted that because we were foreigners, that we were getting charged the amount that we were getting charged. [00:23:45] Speaker C: I've been a permanent resident since. Again, I did my paperwork, so I've been a permanent residence since I stepped in. And again, my friends have like they show up to, they show up to every single thing that I have and I have not had that situation. I have not paid for you to go to the clinic. It costs next to the pharmacy, a donation. So I had a whole totally different. Once you know somebody, you know the rules and you google translate and you have it down. It's a night and day difference. [00:24:15] Speaker A: All right, so, all right, so key, you have a, you moved to Mexico with a little kid who eventually became school age Scoville. Can you take us through what the process was like enrolling your son in school and picking a school. [00:24:30] Speaker C: Okay. So when you get here and you get a curp, c Urp is like your Social Security number. Okay. So you need to have that for them to enroll in school. Now it's a catch 22. You can enroll in any school here, it just will not be registered. Okay, so Mexico is different from the US as it being it's under Sep, you can look, Sep is the whole all of Mexico. So any place we go, anywhere, you type in his current, his name, you will see if he passed school, what grade he's in. It doesn't go by school districts or anything like that. So one of the things was my son who got, he likes to play, so when we got here, he was playing and his Spanish is amazing. Like he is a local and seriously a local. So trying out different schools. I initially did like everyone else and I wanted to, everyone was saying, well, this is the international school. We went to the international schools and we tried it. A lot of them were babysitting. So then it was like, okay, well, and the kids were sorry, I was going to say something in Spanish. The kids were not super nice, they were entitled. Okay, because it's not just us here. You have Switzerland, you have Ireland, you have a lot of Russians, you have so many different people here and different ages where they have their children and helicopter moms and things like that. So you have to try out what's best for your child. For me, I was okay with him being immersed in Spanish, so I didn't need him speaking English. I didn't need a single word. School started, he didn't have to say a word of English. Here they try, if your child only knows English, you try to get them in that school that they can have both. But really it's not both. You might have an english teacher, but the rest of the day, 99% of the day you get 10% for that one class, 90% is Spanish. So if you have an older child, usually it's a lot of problems. Unless they want to gain friends and they play football and they do me football. [00:26:54] Speaker A: Not a fucker. [00:26:56] Speaker D: Okay, sorry. [00:27:00] Speaker C: As long as they're being immersed in the culture and they want to learn the language, then you'll be fine. But if your child comes here older and they don't know anything, they might get lost. So I had to go and try different schools. End up going to a really great Montessori that was in a house for a while. And then we went to some other schools and we just picked out what was best. But as long as you have your curb, you're fine. [00:27:28] Speaker A: Okay, so curb, curp, and then sep, s e p, and so that's how you're tracking your kids. So it doesn't necessarily matter which school it's by that number and then by their sep, which is kind of like their school identifier, like their diploma or. [00:27:45] Speaker C: Like wherever they are. But a lot of schools here are ward off. They'll have different things. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to ask them, are you sep approved? If they say yes, if they're not self approved, then your child is not going to have any paperwork then that they attended school at all. [00:28:04] Speaker A: Oh, that's good to know. That's good to know. [00:28:07] Speaker D: Okay. [00:28:08] Speaker A: And then learning. And then, Jonna, let's. I know you were talking your spanglish. I heard you. And so, so, Pam, what was it like for your kids to transition to life in Mexico as opposed to life in the US? [00:28:27] Speaker B: It wasn't a hard transition for them because I was homeschooling my daughter. We just took a break from school because with the divorce and just trying to figure everything out, we just took a break and they really didn't have, like, a lot of friends or things because they weren't in school, and my little one never went to school. So it was just like, okay, we moving. So it was kind of like an adventure for all of us because we didn't know what to expect, but we just was ready for a move, so it wasn't hard. I think it's harder when you have, like, friends or maybe if they're a little bit older or you're really close to family. Like, we just didn't have, like, younger people in the family, so it was just us. [00:29:07] Speaker A: So it sounds like a family adventure. [00:29:09] Speaker B: Yes. [00:29:11] Speaker A: All right. Okay. And so then, so you had young kids. Did you continue homeschooling when you got to Mexico, or did you put them in schools in Mexico once you moved? [00:29:22] Speaker B: When I came, I was going to continue to homeschool. But then we started meeting other families and moms, and then they would play with their kids with my eleven year old, Peyton. And then she was like, I want to try school. And I'm like, say no more, because there was a lot for me to just keep them home. So I started calling around and I just signed them up for the school that, the friends that they met, they went to the same school. And it wasn't like a long, hard process or anything. It's just regular paperwork. And that was it. And the school was bilingual. So half the day is in English and half the day is in Spanish. And my little one, Peyton, went to school. She went to a bilingual school in Atlanta for kindergarten in first grade. But so I guess she remembered some of the rules of Spanish because she, she fell right in and she was determined to learn the language because she said she wanted to know what people was talking about and hear other people business. So she gave herself a deadline, like, I'm going to learn this in six months or whatever her deadline was. So she's doing really good. [00:30:31] Speaker A: I love it. And Jonna, you have little ones, so are they bilingual? Did they pick up Spanish from your household, from interacting? [00:30:40] Speaker D: Well, we use Spanish in our household. My husband and I both were speaking Spanish prior to moving to Mexico, so that helped with the transition. My daughters are learning language as we speak because I have two under the age of two, so they are learning to be bilingual. And we are actually working on having them be trilingual because we are working also on American Sign language as a third language for them right now. [00:31:08] Speaker A: All right, good, good, good. So key, tell us about your approach to immersing yourself in the culture. When you moved down there, you speak Spanish, so let's talk about that. [00:31:22] Speaker C: I think she speaks more than me, but I, like, I, she speaks more than me. I probably do more here than her. Like, I own a business and stuff like that. Like here in Mexico, not like overall, but yeah. So I came in, my son was playing with our neighbor. That's another thing, too. The major difference in Mexico and the States is, you know, your neighbors, they want to know you. They want, hey, how's it going? And it's going to be fiesta. It's going to be something a door or two down. And they're like, you want to come as long as you're kind, they want to be involved. Anything dealing with your children, they want. You're going to be pulled in this out there. So my son was a huge gateway to everything. Everybody wants their child to practice English and he was saying Spanish. So relationships and friendships just evolved. And they wanted to know, why are you here and what are you doing? And you tell them. And it's been really healthy. [00:32:25] Speaker A: All right, so let's talk about village. So, Pam, what does your village look like there in Mexico? [00:32:33] Speaker B: I have a lot of single moms here, and I live in a subdivision. So it's a lot of moms here that help me a lot with my daughters. Like, one mom take my eleven year old to school, another mom a carpool to take my six year old to another school. But we have, like, a WhatsApp chat, so if anybody need food or ride to school or people borrow cars and all types of things, it's nice to have that help. It is mostly the moms in the subdivision. It's a couple moms that I met. I told you when I talked Asia, who helped me, she spoke at the Exodus summit. That was one of the moms that I first met, and me and her are really close, so it's some other moms around that I meet with. But as far as, like, helping with the kids, it's mostly the moms in the subdivision. That helps me a lot. [00:33:21] Speaker A: All right. Good, good, good. And, Jonna, what does your village look like in Mexico? [00:33:26] Speaker D: That's an interesting question for me. My village looks like my family unit, my children, my husband. I do have a few individuals, expat people here who are from America, who are part of my village. The interesting thing about living the expat life, though, I feel like there is a revolving door. And I say that because for those of us moms, parents who are living out of the country, unless you have someone or another family who is aligned similar to you, a lot of the people you meet in, you may grow to enjoy being around. They come and they go. So it's sometimes hard to build a village and keep a village because they'll be here, you'll be connected, you'll be dependent on each other to help out with children for a short period of time because people come and they go. So when we moved here, there was a group of individuals who I thought would be my core village who we knew here from visiting, and they did help segue that village. But my village has evolved since I've been here. And part of that being one of our nannies, she's from the state, she's from New York, and so she's become like family to us. And we have other parents, moms, dads that we met here with our children. I think having our children has helped us to meet other parents here, and that has helped with the transition into parenting outside of the US as well. [00:35:19] Speaker A: Okay. Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. I live in the DC area, and DC has a lot of transplants. People who come here for work might be here and then leave in two years. And so at some point, it was a hard adjustment for me to make, building the relationships and the friendships. You're just like, this is my pal. And then their assignment is up. They have to go. And so, yeah, okay. And he tell us a little bit about your village. Right? So you're there with your son. You've got some people that you know from the expat community. I know Lisa was a big part of pulling together this conversation. What does your village look like? [00:35:58] Speaker C: Oh, it's so good. So I have great friends. Like, we travel together. They're local. They're from Mexico. So I've been to San Miguel, Mexico City, everything with nannies and children. I have a smaller group of expats. I don't have a big group because I have a little son, and so I have to be aware of that. But they helped me. I literally just opened a business and I was like, they were like, you already got your arabs say this. Go to notary. And it's just been very smooth. I don't know. Without them, I don't think I would have stayed at all. I couldn't do it. I think having children and having local support is amazing because you don't have family here. You have to realize, right, your family's a plane ticket away, so you can't get sick. You can't get anything unless you have that support. Not just to pick them up, but I'm talking about, like, I have them for the day and just think it's amazing. [00:36:58] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. It could be intense when you don't have a local village and it's you and the little one or little ones, like all day every day. And so when we last spoke, we did talk a little bit about childcare, and so I do want to talk about what it looks like. Are you doing daycare? Are you doing before care, aftercare, nanny? What does that look like for you on a day to day basis? And let's go with Pam. [00:37:25] Speaker B: For me, I have a babysitter that comes four days out the week for like 4 hours a day. And it's a college student. She's like 19, and she helps me out. And if I need, like, to go somewhere or on the weekend or something. I have part of my family, I guess, is the housekeeper. She's an older lady, but she's been with us since we've been here. And she takes care of the kids like her grandkids, so she helps me out a lot with my kids as well. [00:37:56] Speaker A: Nice. [00:37:57] Speaker B: I don't, you know, while they're in school. Then I'm good. [00:38:01] Speaker A: Good, good. And then, Jonna, what about you? [00:38:06] Speaker D: We currently have a babysitter slash nanny, and that's the individual that I mentioned who is from the states. We are looking and interviewing for a part time nanny. We had someone, but they end up getting a full time position, which I'm happy for her, but our preference is to have someone native to the land where they can help reinforce that, that spanish piece, that language piece in our home more than we can. And I just recently, and I mean recently as in on Friday, went to take a look at a childcare facility here, which is walking distance from my home. It's actually a Montessori school, and that school will house children from 08:00 a.m. To 04:00 p.m. And I have the stats right here. The monthly payment is 4950 pesos, which, if you do the conversion with the peso, that's about $290 for one child. [00:39:15] Speaker A: A week or a month. [00:39:17] Speaker D: A month dollar, 200 a month. Now, this is from ages four months to right, under five years old for two children. For two children, it's 4300 pesos. So it's less for two children. You're looking at about $250 between four and four years old. Now, that doesn't include your annual payment. There's an annual fee, registration fee, which is 300. I'm sorry, 3200 pesos, which is about. Don't get me. It's. It's around $200. Somewhere around $200 for your year, your annual registration. And that's how much it would cost if I chose and decided to put my two children into daycare. And it's actually a Montessori school, so those are options for us. Now, the nanny that we had is a retired nurse by choice, so she has medical experience and worked in the pediatrics area. And for her fee, it was about 120 pesos an hour, which is like $6 an hour to have her to watch one child. For two children, maybe about 100, and 3140 pesos, which would be about seven to almost $8 an hour to two children. And that's what the conversion rate being, about $1 to 17. That's current today. And the conversion changes daily. Now, the nanny will not only watch the children, she will work with different modalities with learning. Wash the clothes, wash dishes, will help out around the house. That's all part of it. [00:41:28] Speaker A: And my eyes are bugging out of my head. And Pam, in terms of just babysitting, so you do like 4 hours. What does that cost you? All part. [00:41:40] Speaker B: He charges me like 90 pesos an hour. [00:41:44] Speaker A: And that's like, what? [00:41:46] Speaker B: Like five, $6 an hour? Probably. [00:41:49] Speaker A: Okay. All right. So my mind is like exploding, but it is. It's on par with the cost of living. So how much is rent, I think in your parts of Mexico, just so that where if people are listening from the US, you know, they're not like me. Like, I'm just like, what? [00:42:07] Speaker B: So I pay 23,000 pesos. So that's like 1350. And I have a three bedroom, two and a half house. Yeah. And it's in a subdivision. We have like the pool and the basketball court and tennis and all the things. [00:42:29] Speaker D: Yeah, I'm trying local conversion because I told you it changes every. [00:42:34] Speaker B: I had to pull out my calculator too. [00:42:37] Speaker D: Oh, we have a two. [00:42:39] Speaker B: Two. [00:42:39] Speaker D: We have a two bedroom, two bath house with a front yard in the backyard. It's a gated community subdivision. You have access to tennis courts, basketball court, park. Now this is not going to be what you would see in the US in terms of the amenities, parks. And we pay at the current rate about 1000. For that. It's about. It's 18,000 pesos. But that also includes the water and the Internet. What we pay outside of that is for the electricity and the gas. And the gas. We may buy a tank of gas twice in one year, which is about, I don't know, six pesos each time. [00:43:29] Speaker A: Well, about to fall off my chair. [00:43:33] Speaker B: Okay. [00:43:34] Speaker A: So we did have an interesting conversation when we last spoke about gentrification and the cost of things. And how do you make sure that you're paying market rate and we're not exploiting? Because we've been having conversations about working with like a virtual assistant overseas. So how do you balance that with making sure, sure that you're paying something that's fair and market rate, even though it might seem like, oh my gosh, $6 here in the US, but making sure that you're on par, on a day to day basis as you're interacting with, let's say, if you go to a restaurant and you tip and taking taxis, how do you balance that? [00:44:19] Speaker D: That is a great question because I would be of the opinion that we as black melanated individuals living outside of the country, we are the gentrification. I know key mentioned something different, and that's because here, specifically in Playa, you have a lot of Russians, you do have a lot of Canadians, you have a lot of people from the UK, you have a lot of people from everywhere, Jamaicans. However, it is very important to economically assimilate, I would say, because we are blessed to live in a country that allows us to come here, that allows us to be a part of the culture, to allow us to be a part of their life. And it is important to not push the local people out. Where we live is really amongst the locals there. I mean, we don't live in an area where most of the expats go to live, which is okay if you choose to do that, especially if you are just segwaying into another country. It's really good to find that community because it helps you transition. But where we live is amongst the locals. And it's important to ask a lot of questions, but find out what the market rate is for the locals. Find out what the locals do when they go to restaurants, how much do they tip? And it's just asking the question. You don't want to go to another country with an american mindset. And I don't say that lightly, because this is why currently, in the political climate that we have here, is the reason why they are trying to deport so many people. Because we are causing the cost of living to go up amongst the locals and we don't want to do that. If you are an individual who enjoys assimilating and enjoys authenticity, then it's extremely important to know, do the research of what the local rates are, what the cost is, and then challenge, sometimes challenge. For example, the taxis from central Playa del Carmen to where I live, it will typically cost because I live a little further in the gated community. It may cost about 100 pesos. Now, if I don't know any better, they may try to charge me 250 pesos, which is robbery, to get to where I live. But that's because they think that I'm not a local. They don't know the vamos. I keep employment. I'm. I, you know, I have my green card. I have my green card to show that I'm here. And sometimes you have to challenge them because they will charge you. So it's holding ourselves accountable, but also holding the people who try to exploit the foreigners, holding them accountable and letting them know this is not the rape. I live here, and this is what the cost should be. And that helps economically everybody to thrive. And also giving back to the local business owners here. Because as black and brown people, it's important to support each other. And sometimes when you are an expat and build this community, and I have this business, you have this business where entrepreneurs living outside of the country, you feed off of that. But we're not stimulating the local economy. As long as we keep the money flowing like this, we are in someone else's backyard, honey. [00:48:08] Speaker A: So, all right. And so, Pam, how do you balance that? So balance the local economy, balance tipping, balance, keeping track of what the current market rate is for conversions. [00:48:22] Speaker B: I'm not the best when it comes with the money, with the conversion rates. And sometimes, like, if you go to the store, like some of the grocery stores, like the women or the people who work there who bag the groceries, like, they don't pay them, so it's up to you to tip them. So it's like, I always give more if I can, because it's just like they're not making any money. And I feel the same way. What Jonah said, you come here and you're making us money, like hire them or do something. They allowed us to come here. So I feel that it's unfair. Like, just come here, you're making all this money, doing all the things and not respecting people and just treating them all type of ways and not including them. Like, if you have a business, like my babysitter, she's a college student, I'm asking her, do you have any other college students that's looking for work? You can do babysitting so it won't have to be hard work or what are you going to school for? Maybe you can tutor some other of my friends kids in a language. You can kind of do your own business and make a little bit more doing something different. So I just kind of contribute that way to try to give different ideas or try to get them to get different businesses or jobs that they wouldn't normally go after. [00:49:36] Speaker A: So thank you for that, Pam, because I do think it's important, and it's something that weighs on me when I travel and when I think about traveling with my kids, how to teach them to be good, honest, upstanding travelers and taking in their surroundings, as opposed to just, you know, going to experience and take from wherever they're traveling to. So it sounds like from having spoken with each of you and your reasons for leaving the US, to some extent there is a spiritual or a mindfulness that you experience as well as part of your journey. And so I know, Pam, you are healing. Jonna, you and I have talked about being centered and having that mindfulness. And key, when you talked about leaving the US, you were like, I wanted nothing to do with us racism. And so I spoke in with Lisa briefly. Where in the exodus community, Stephanie Perry and that entire community of black women. Just moving to a place of healing, to a place where there's peace and there's not everyday lethal racism, as char Winters would say. So can we talk a little bit about the spiritual, emotional journey that you find yourself on as you immerse in these communities and what that healing could do, I guess, to your spirit? And let's start with Pam and Keith and then Jonna. [00:51:04] Speaker B: For me, it was just having the space to be because when I came here, I'm still not working. I'm looking to get back into working. So this was my break. When I was married, I wasn't working, but I was doing all the jobs, so I still wasn't really getting a break. And I said I wanted to come and discover me. But at the beginning, when I first got here, it was just like all the excitement, going to the different places, meeting everybody, being excited to see other black people. Like, you made it out or you made this move. But I didn't understand, like, the healing part. And now I'm getting it, like the third year, like, finding out about trauma, like, I didn't even realize I was experiencing trauma, finding out that I had adhd and finding out it might be tied to the trauma or just paying attention to different things. I was too busy and I didn't understand what was going on. And now I'm learning it. So it's like I can see things even though I can't remember a lot of my past or when I was small, I could see it in my kids, and now it stands out. Like, oh, my God, I'm doing the same thing that happened to me. Or now I can see with the things that I need to work on because it's standing out so bright. But before I couldn't see it because I still was just busy. Like, I moved away, but I still wasn't being. Still just focusing on me or understanding what I needed to do to kind of figure out the things that I needed to work on. And I think just being a way to be able to walk to the beach and just sit or journal or be in nature to see my kids play with other kids. Like, I just don't feel like the healing would have happened in the states. I wouldn't have had the space. It would have been too busy. Even if I go to visit, the anxiety, the rush to go back to the stores and dissociate and shop my feelings away, like, I didn't understand what was going on, but when I would come back, I would just feel so bad. Like, why did I do that? Like, why did I buy all this stuff? Like, for a quick second, I just went right back into what I was, the same behavior as when I was in the States. And it's just a huge difference here. It's just a slower pace and you have time to think and you get to make a decision. Like, do you want to be stuck in Groundhog day and keep doing the same thing over and over? Or you just. Where I'm at at the point now, like, I'm scared because I used to just avoid, don't wanna change, don't wanna do new things. But now it's just like, I have no choice. I have to. I have to push past the fear. So I'm definitely a deep, deep part, like, pushing past fear every day now. Cause I cannot stay in the same space. [00:53:42] Speaker A: The art of stillness. I remember when we had the conversation and it was just like, you know, having the space to heal is almost like a luxury key. How about you? [00:53:54] Speaker B: Okay. [00:53:54] Speaker C: Mine's probably a little different. I think the space of just being able to be the parent that I choose to be, having my son be at the beach, having. He's able to walk and ride his bike to school, or he's able to go to the park and we have a walkie talkie, he can just tell me who's down there and I can trust that. Being able to see him be able to have, like, a childhood, not saying, like, mine, but, you know, when you were able to hang out with your friends and learn and explore and not have to be helicopter and afraid of what the neighbors would do and everything else, it's peaceful, it's refreshing. And then even moving here and people, what you gonna do about your kids and how you gonna do. Yeah, I don't have to. My Internet don't work, if you call it. Do you know what I'm saying? So being able to have the freedom to parent the way I choose and how I choose to live is it's just the healing journey for me that my son and myself need it. [00:55:02] Speaker A: I love that I was married and I got divorced. And it's jarring to be on this side of parenting. Because I'm a single mom by choice, chose sperm bank doctor, and it was a conscious choice. And when I think about the piece of being able to raise my kid the way that I want them to be raised and quiet, the noise, like when we close our door, it's just us. And I get to be a mess. I get to have them push me and challenge me in a way that is okay. And I don't have someone saying, that's not how you talk to your mom, because I'm trying to raise little people who are critical thinkers. You want them to go out, and I want my kids to be free black children. And I sit at that intersection of, can I do that in the states? Or do I have to leave the states in order for my kids to be mentally, emotionally, physically free black children? So it resonates with me and Jonna. We had this whole conversation. So tell us what this journey has been like for you. Cause I know that it goes all the way back to the evolution of your relationship and having your kids and evolving to Mexico being the place that you feel is home for your soul. [00:56:26] Speaker D: So I also was married before my current husband for ten years and never saw myself getting divorced and was single for quite some time before I even decided to say, hey, let's go hang out with anybody. And I'm thankful that I'm living on this side of the testimony, because if you knew what life was like for me before, and I'm not saying that I was abused and neglected, that's not my story. But there is a story there. And if you just knew that side of the story and to see me on this side, it is a. It's a beautiful place to be. And I'm constantly encouraging people who have women, especially us black women, who have been through the mud and through relationships and feeling like, you know what? I don't even care anymore. That could be your story if you want it to be that, or you can change the narrative. And a lot of that also encompasses the healing that takes place internally, the healing that we decide to do on ourselves, but also the healing that's readily available here. In a place like this, there is a big level of deprogramming and relearning deprogramming and relearning deep programming and relearning and getting rid of all of the lies, getting rid of all of the deceit and nastiness that we have been fed in our western american culture that has stifled who we can truly be. It's as simple as being. It's as simple as being a being. I mentioned to you earlier the cost of childcare here. When I asked one of my closest friends how much it costs for her childcare for her two children. It's about $1,500 a month. Generally speaking, I am a well to do american. I work 40 hours a week, minimum. I have children that I have to care for. I have a family I have to care for. I'm working to pay for essentials that should be there to help me live a life. But all of the money, and this is a story for a lot of Americans, a lot of the money they make goes to just pay for them to live. You go to work to live, you go to work, you're not living. And then working, you're not living a life. You're in this rat race and in this matrix. And a lot of the reason why many of us have decided to unplug from that is because we plugged into something and we were enlightened to see a completely different life where we can just be. We can just live a life. We can work, too, but we can live a life, and we can manufacture the life we want to live here, aside from the rat race. And Pamela said, when I go back to the states, too, it doesn't. It's very difficult to continue the mindset here because you equally can get back into the grind, grind, grind, grind. Got to do this, got to do that, got it. And it sucks you in, and it sucks the life out of you, whereas you come here, you unplug from that and plug into here, and you plug into a livelihood that you didn't even know exist within yourself, within yourself. Life here, not even here, even though it's beautiful to be closer, to be able to touch nature, to see the beautiful paradise and the birds that fly by. [01:00:27] Speaker A: Oh. So on that note, I know we could just go on and on with this conversation. I know we barely scratched the surface. So I do want to close with, if there were any tips that you would offer to moms who are looking to exit the US or go spend an extended period of time living in another country, what piece of advice you would give to those moms? And let's start with Pamela. [01:00:55] Speaker B: I would say join the Facebook groups and connect with somebody on the ground, like the place that you're thinking about going to, and not necessarily a relationship, but reach out to the person to talk to them, to get to know them before you come. So when you come, they can give you the ins and outs, like what Jonna mentioned before about the different things, where to go, the schools, just to give you a better idea versus just coming, not knowing anybody, trying to figure all the things out. Like at least if you meet one or two people, you can reach out to them once you get here to help you settle in and just not have to figure everything out on your own. [01:01:36] Speaker A: Thank you for that, Pam. And what resource did you use to help you get to where you are and to help you quickly get settled? [01:01:45] Speaker B: Her name is Asia Rutledge. She spoke at the Exodus summit and she homeschools her son. And I can't remember the name of the book, but she put an ebook together and it had all of the steps, all of the things that you needed to do. And when I was moving, that book came in clutch. Like what should I do? Like down to the exit plan, what things to prepare for, how to wrap up, like your bills and electronic mailbox, like all the things that you wouldn't even think about because there's so many pieces to moving abroad. Like, it was an awesome resource. Once I sold my house, I was like, what am I supposed to do? And I looked at the book and like, oh my God, this is right here. And it has so many details. So that book was like the moving bible. Like it helped me so much. It just gave me all the steps and all the questions that you could ask. Like, she answered it. So it was really, really helpful in the moment. [01:02:40] Speaker A: All right, good. And listeners, I'm going to put it in the show notes for the podcast. And Jonna, you a piece of advice and a resource. [01:02:51] Speaker D: I would say the piece of advice that I would give is to be open minded when moving out outside of the country. Do not try your best to. [01:03:07] Speaker B: Set. [01:03:08] Speaker D: Aside culture as you believe culture to be set aside beliefs as you would think that they would be. Even business. He mentioned it earlier. You know, some people come here and they have this american mindset. I'm going to the office, I'm going to take care of this and you think it's going to be done. That same day, things went differently outside of the country, a lot slower than America. And, you know, some people come here with the american entitlement type of Persona and, well, I came here, I had this appointment set on this thing and this is supposed to be done. Put that aside. You want a completely different country. My advice would be not to find an apartment, a house remotely without knowing someone who can physically get to the property or you being here yourself because there are a lot of scammers. My recommendation would be get here, stay for a certain amount of time, give yourself a couple of weeks, three weeks, a month, even find your place. But go physically yourself. Put your eyes on the place, or have somebody who is boots on ground who can go to the place for you, who you trust, because there are a lot of scammers that are online offering you the world and the dream in paradise. And you get here and you don't have the keys to anything. And I think the resource that I would say would be good is yourself. Use yourself as a resource. Connect with other individuals, like Pamela said, but learn the language. If you're going to be in a country where the native language is not English, do your best to learn even the basics. When people see that you are willing to learn just even a little bit to get by with the basics, they will help you. They will go a long way to help you. Don't be ignorant, willfully ignorant in another country. That would be my piece of advice. You yourself be your biggest resource with doing research, speaking the language. [01:05:24] Speaker A: And key, what would be your one piece of advice? And if there's a resource that you would point people to, I would say. [01:05:33] Speaker C: You need to contact your consulate for whatever country that you're looking for. I'm a retiree, so I had to make sure my pension was coming here, because for the United States government, there's like 60 countries they won't send your money to. You need to know those things ahead of time. You have to make sure if you're on Social Security, they have things on there too. So before you pick up and go, you gotta do the groundwork. And also getting here, you have to make sure whatever country I've lived in, a couple different ones, you need a couple things. Your curp is really important for you to come. If you want to work here, you need an RFC. It's super important if you do not have it. One of the things I don't think that they're really displaying is how much deportation we're having here. So in 2021, I think they were deporting 2000 people at day in Mexico, going back to the United States and Canada. For people overstaying who didn't have a visa, it is huge. And at least to get on the bus and just ask everybody for their information. Also, they are cutting down with how many days you're able to stay. It's not just the six months anymore. When you leave the airport, it tells you how many days. Reason being, it's inexpensive for people to live here. If people come and they don't have the right paperwork and they buy property and stay and they're not putting into the community. And the president said that's gentrification and we're going to stop it. So you are, if you want to work here, it's an RFC. You have to do the paperwork. Go to sat. It's fine once you do it. If you want to be a business owner, not a problem. Get your notary. You just have to do the right steps. So I'm more like, make sure you're here legally and that you have a job that you can sustain and that's super important. But you have your income that can come here and you don't have to fear that. [01:07:36] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. I didn't even think about that. Well, thank you all. This has been, I know this has been a long conversation coming. I thank you for your time. I thank you for the generosity of your words and your, and I do want to give a shout out to Talisa, who helped me pull this panel together. I want to give a shout out to the exodus community, Stephanie Perry, Asia, and so. So thank you all. And until next time, thanks for listening. To start to finish motherhood with Aisha. If you want to keep the conversation going, follow start to finish motherhood on Instagram or email. Meishaerttofinishmotherhood.com dot. If you love this episode, please share it with anyone who's thinking of becoming a single mother by choice, anyone who's already parenting as a single mother by choice and just looking for advice on navigating it all, or a friend or family member who's looking to support someone else's single mother by choice journey. Until next time. Bye now.

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