American Expat Living in Mexico - Interview with Tina

Published: 16 Oct at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Mexico
Tina lives abroad in Southern Mexico with her husband and four kids. They moved to Mexico in October 2013 and don't regret it. They love Mexico, the culture, the people, and especially the food! Tina spends most of her time homeschooling, blogging, traveling, and in her Bible ministry with her family. Tina's expat blog is called Los Gringos Locos (see listing here)

Latest family photo taken in Kentucky during our last visit.
Latest family photo taken in Kentucky during our last visit.

Here's the interview with Tina...

Where are you originally from?
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

In which country and city are you living now?
Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico

How long have you lived in Mexico and how long are you planning to stay?
We lived in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico for 17 months and in Uruapan for 7 months. That is a total of two years in Mexico. We don't know how long we will be here, but as of this moment we have no plans to leave.

Kids crossing a bridge in our Bible ministry.
Kids crossing a bridge in our Bible ministry.
Why did you move to Mexico and what do you do?
We moved here because a good friend recommended this area to us. We left the US for a simpler lifestyle and to do more in our Bible ministry. I am a writer and photographer. Brad is a carpenter by trade but is now on disability due to a traumatic brain injury in 2001.

Did you bring family with you?
Our four children!
Alexis, girl, 12
Taylor, girl, 11
Sawyer, boy, 4
Tristan, boy, 2

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I think we adapted very well. Brad and I love adventure and this one was our biggest yet. Change does involve humility and patience. Be sure you cultivate those qualities before your move.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes, because we found friends right away in our local Bible congregations. These people had the same beliefs and goals as us and that made the move easier. We have expat friends as well as local friends. It's a good variety. There are many Canadians in Mexico as well!

Waiting for the bus to take us to a local Bible assembly.
Waiting for the bus to take us to a local Bible assembly.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
In Morelia, visit the zoo and the downtown area. Their zoo is unlike any zoo we have been to in the US. It's great for families. The downtown area is authentic Mexico, and the architecture is beautiful. For a great view of the city at night, try Altozano.

In Uruapan, visit the National Park. It is the area crown jewel. For a bit of adventure you can drive 45 minutes to Paricutin. It's a dormant volcano. Visit the church buried in lava then climb to the top of Paricutin for a real workout!

What do you enjoy most about living in Mexico?
The best part is having more time as a family, living this adventure together.

How does the cost of living in Mexico compare to home?
I will give you a few examples.
Mortgage in US: $1200 for three bedrooms, two baths
Rent in Mexico: $500 for four bedrooms, four baths
Family doctor in US: $20 copay with health insurance
Family doctor in Mexico: $1.50 without insurance
Not everything is cheaper. It costs more to fill up our gas tank. But overall cost of living is less expensive then the US. We had our transmission rebuilt for about $600. In the States that would have cost us about $3000!

Kids playing with the pigeons in downtown Morelia.
Kids playing with the pigeons in downtown Morelia.
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Mexico?
As a country Mexico does not have good infrastructure. It's just something you have to get use to. Just as life is slower so is everything else. When they say, I will be there tomorrow to fix your plumbing... it usually means sometime this week!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Mexico, what would it be?
Be ready to make some sacrifices and some changes. Be adaptable, humble, and patient. Have fun!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The thing I miss most is my family. 2000 miles is a long way. My parents were able to visit us for a month this spring and Brad's parents were here for two weeks in August. We loved having them.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
We have visited a few times and we are always ready to come back home to Mexico. We don't like the stress of the US and if we ever move back, that will be hard to adjust too!

Visiting the Maya pyramids in Palenque, Mexico.
Visiting the Maya pyramids in Palenque, Mexico.
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Google everything before you leave. Everything!
  2. If you have children you may want to consider homeschooling. We have two homeschooling and one in public school.
  3. Be prepared to be alone, if you don't already have a Bible congregation like we do. I can't imagine not having them!
  4. Don't buy your food at Wal-Mart. It's expensive. Shop the local markets but be prepared for them to raise the price because you are a foreigner.
  5. Keep a copy of your title and passports in your vehicle. A copy. Not the originals!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I love writing and photography. With my blog, I can do both. I write about all our adventure, big and small, including our travels, our Bible ministry, and our life with children. My blog is an expat lifestyle blog and a family travel blog. Come join us for a little experience of Mexico!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Visiting my blog and sending me an email would be the best way to contact me.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingTina is an American expat living in Mexico. Blog description: Tina and her family of six live as expats in Latin America. They are busy with homeschool, travel, and their Bible ministry. Come be a part of their adventures!
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