Before you dig in to part eight of my story, I highly recommend you start at the very beginning.
We’re finally in Merida. The first couple of days felt perfect. We all felt relaxed and as if we had come home. We were smug. Then today, for me, it’s all changed. People who know me know that I like things to be organised and planned. I love adventure but I don’t thrive on not knowing things or not being in total control, it’s why I never took (real) drugs at university. In fact, I don’t even care if people tell me the end of movies or books. I just like knowing how things are.
So come on someone, tell me how this all pans out! Today we visited a school. We’d assumed it’d be fine: we’d rock up, announce our intention and get the kids in to school. However, there isn’t officially any space for our kids. The head has said she’ll try to squeeze the kids in but she hasn’t made any promises. Gulp. Seems the school is more popular than it was last year. So now we’re frantically looking around and trying to figure out an alternative. It also has an impact on where we live when our three month rental on this place is up. I cope well with known unknowns. Unknown unknowns throw me a bit.
I wonder if I’d have struggled with this if I couldn’t name the problem. Thanks a lot, Donald Rumsfeld!
Getting From London To Merida
Let me back-track though because our last few days at home were super, um, interesting.
Leaving London Never Easy (To Misquote REM)
Bad things happen in threes, right? Well, our three were someone taking a dump on our doorstep, a broken blind and a broken oven. Col was amazing and cleaned up the poo without hesitation. He also worked his handyman magic on the broken blind, creating a better than new system the night before we flew. He’s amazing. The oven broke when we paid some company a fortune to clean it. After a few very determined calls and a lot of being ignored, it was fixed the day our tenants moved in. So that was stressful.
We had paid for a company to pick up our luggage from the house and deal with it for us. All we had to do was collect it in Mexico. Pick up went like a dream. We were told we would receive a text by 11am telling us the luggage was checked and all was well. We did not. I got stressed. I called a few times. I eventually got a positive answer around 11.40, by which point we’d been at the airport since 10am. We hadn’t felt able to go through security before the text since officially one of our bags was longer than permitted.
Security was a breeze until some smart alec security guard decided he needed to scan the kids. Hah. Both had a melt down. Luckily the small one was easy to persuade but the big one resisted with all his might. I ended up yelling and forcing him to let it happen and then yelling some more about not arguing at security if he wanted to get on the plane with us!
And then we were on the plane, all four of us, and the kids watched tv for ten straight hours. That’s my top tip for flying with kids now: just admit defeat. They do not want to read with you or draw, or look out the window. Just let them watch all the tv they want. Screw it, it’s all you want to do too, right? (I do actually have tips for flying with little ones, if you’re interested, check out this post: chock full of ideas.
Hurrah! All our luggage arrived in Cancun. Win!
Customs wanted to open our computer boxes to check if our computers we really as old as we claimed. They are. They were happy and we carried on our way.
We finally met our driver. Turns out he hadn’t been given the instruction to bring the minivan and had shown up with a normal ‘big’ car. Great. Glad I’d had lots of discussion about the size of vehicle needed then. He was mortified, we were…resigned, kids were knackered. The driver then had the idea of calling his friend who was picking someone up at another terminal and getting him to deliver our bags to us later on. Without a second thought we agreed and dumped half our luggage in a total stranger’s car.
Thank fuck that worked out ok!
Emotions Running High
As we left Cancun airport I think it really hit me that we were actually in Mexico. The road signs somehow were super evocative: signs to Tulum, a place in which we spent an idyllic month in 2016 particularly brought tears to my eyes. We’d done it. We said we’d’ move back and here we were, leaving the airport and setting off on our new family adventure, even if we only had half our luggage!
Settling In To Mexican Life
Well, it’s been three days but it already feels pretty normal. My mad organisational skills come in super handy when it comes to unpacking a house load of stuff so you’d never know we’ve only been here a few days.
Our first stop on Sunday morning was Rosas y Xocolate for a welcome back us / birthday brunch for Col. It was as good as we remembered, just a perfect spot for a lazy brunch.
We then took a walk along Paseo de Montejo to Wal Mart to stock up on food and everything else we’ll need but had just left behind in London. We may have been to the supermarket every day thus far, including today when we headed back to buy a printer. We also went to Costco to get ourselves membership of the ‘buy in bulk’ club. The only thing lacking in our lives right now is feather pillows – can’t find them anywhere.
Looking Forward With Understanding
Everything is in flux but it’s ok. We’ve only been here three days. I need to remember that. Just because we feel at home and aren’t especially traumatised doesn’t mean there isn’t some culture shock. My own personal culture shock is around not being entirely in control, I guess. I will feel much happier when we know where the kids are going to school and, therefore, where we should look for our next house. We need a car but can’t get that until Col’s residency visa is finalised. He went to get the very specific photos required but the place he went was shut. So he went to buy a printer so he could print out the forms, but the printer is sold without the requisite cable so he’s frustrated as he feels doubly thwarted by the day.
And the kids are feeling unsure about starting a new school again. So we’re all dealing with our own uncertainties but we’re doing it together, as a family and we’re doing it in a place we love. We’ll be just fine.
Do things improve for us? Find out in part nine of this story of mine.