Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Exchange Rate - November 2011

Saw this article on Yahoo today. It is in Spanish so if you have an automatic translator it will convert it over for you. Basically the exchange rate is continuing to move to new short term highs in favor of the U.S. Dollar. This is of great importance to expats living abroad, specifically here in Mexico.

How would you like to experience a 25% decrease in the cost of living over a six month period? Expats in Mexico have since May. The Peso/Dollar exchange rate has gone to $14.30 MXP to $1.00 USD today. Economists are expecting this trend to continue through Christmas with a move to 15/1 sometime before the end of the year.

FYI. Enjoy it while you can. I really think this has more to do with keeping Mexican manufacturing productive since 85% of all goods manufactured in MX are sent to the U.S.A. Those American imports are thus paid for in U.S. Dollars, keeping demand for dollars high, amongst other reasons.

Recuarda, "Hecho en Mexico."


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Good Insurance Agent

I have posted in the past on car insurance for Mexico (Click Here). Let me make one modification to my recommendation. Use a local agent that will get you the same policy who is also available 24/7 and is accountable, accessible and understands your needs. I am not saying MexAdventure won't fulfill their responsiblities. I am just saying it is better to work through Locals if you can. This is one of the things I am learning.

I have a policy with HDI through MexAdventure but I don't have a local sale rep through whom I originated the policy. If I had it to do over again I would go the route of the local rep who hooks you up with the insurance agency. That way you have a local contact who will do everything in their power to take care of your needs.

This is the local agent I recommend, Julieta Morales Vera. This is her website. She gives excellent customer service, she is bilingual and she has a good reputation among the expats I have talked to. If/When I renew my policy I will start it over and use her. You need a good local rep on the ground who knows the city. For that I recommend Julieta. Here is her email and contact info: (786) 342-0569
Telcel: 9991 63 35 61
Iusacel: 9999 49 31 32
Seguros Mérida - Oficina 
Calle 72A No. 489 x 17 Col. Garcia Gineres
C.P. 97070 Mérida, Yucatán, México
Oficina: (999) 285 72 82

I would highly recommend that you pay a few dollars more for full coverage. Contact her and she can explain the details. This is one of the areas that you definitely want to get right when living abroad.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Schooling for the Kids and Learning Spanish

My advice to you if you are moving here with school-aged children:

Don't wait until you get here before you start immersing them in a good language program. Do that now. Why? If/when you move here you are going to want to put your kids in school at some point, even if you homeschool the first year after you arrive. Our kids are now enrolled in a private school and are doing well socially. But one of our sons is going through a bigger adjustment academically than we thought would happen.

Por ejemplo (for example): He is doing the same level of math this year in his Spanish curriculum that he did in last years English home-school curriculum with a few things added in. But he is adjusting to some aspects of the this years course study more slowly because they are speaking on a more advanced level with regards to Spanish verbs in the command form. Now his teachers are telling me that his Spanish is improving. But when we are studying and doing his homework in History, Geography, Ethics and Civic Studies....whatever, it is taking longer for us to decipher the written text in those classes because much of the vocabulary and verb conjugation is new to both he and I. Mexican History, as an example is obviously going to be spoken almost exclusively in the past tense. That means the verbs fluctuate between preterite and co-pretertie with regards to all all five verb tenses of me, you, him/her, them and us.

Confused yet?

And both he and I have finished the first three and one-half levels of Spansh studies from Even if your kids have taken some of these courses, which I strongly advise that you do in advance of moving here, there is still an adjustment period for them in the language and in their course study. Some nights I spend two hours translating text with my son just to get him to a point where he can read and decipher the content of his course studies. In doing so we utilize Google Translate quite extensively along with a good Spanish dictionary.

And on top of that, if your child's teachers are not understanding of the adjustments they are going through and they grade them like they should be fluent, well, let's just say not every teacher in the world understands the word "curve". Some here do and some don't. I have already had at least three sit downs with my son's teachers. We love them and are grateful for the opportunities God has given our children and they are learning and growing. Not everything comes easy with that and you just have to understand that this will involve you with their homework, preparation for upcoming tests and general levels of encouragement more than maybe if they were going to schools where everyone speaks your native tongue.

Get a good language program like The Learnables before you come down. Learn as much Spanish as you can before you arrive. You will be glad you did and so will your children. If you have questions email me. We are glad to help and give feedback.



P.S. Just because a school in Merida says they are bilingual doesn't mean they are really bilingual. The bulk of the course studies will be in Spanish more than likely. If the teacher teaching those courses speaks very little English and they are not understanding of your situation, you will be wishing your kids spoke more Spanish. Study Spanish now.