Mar 3, 2010

Wherein We Went Crazy and Ended Up in Mexico for 5 Days, Part 1

Sometimes you just get silly. (Some people might call it "having a mid-life crisis", but I see no need to use proper names here.) You see, a funny thing happened when we went to the beach last Summer: we got super tan, and started calling each other "babe." No really, eww, we would never not be tan, right babe? Actually, we had an epiphany of sorts and set a goal to move out of the country in 1 year.

Let me back up. At some point, early in our marriage, we started started talking about wanting to live abroad for a while. For the life of me, I can't figure out why we didn't just pack up and go then. I guess we thought that being responsible adults was the right thing to do. In fact, we were looking into passports and visas and teaching English and such, and then along came Mia and going back to school and then getting a job and buying a house and having 2 more kids and here we are. Or rather, there we were on the beach on the Olympic Peninsula, 30-something parents of 3, with a mortgage, a mini-van, and a Costco membership up for renewal, and everything was just peachy. There was another family playing on the beach and somehow we got to talking with them. It turns out they were living the exact life we had always envisioned for ourselves, or at least a very close version of it. They moved to a different country every few years, working on projects for the US government. We mentioned that we had always wanted to live abroad. Do it, they said without hesitating. Even with kids? Absolutely.

This is where the epiphany comes in. As we drove home, we talked more about it, and decided we were tired of just talking about it. Why not just say we're going to do it, and then make it happen? It was time for less talking, and more doing. I think we heard someone say that in a movie once, and it worked for them. And since movies always mimic real life, it seemed perfectly logical and sane to think it would also work for us. Not crazy at all right?

So we came home and threw ourselves into this crazy dream during the 15 minutes or so since then that real life hasn't gotten in the way.

There's just been a few teeny snags.
1. We don't exactly have international opportunities jumping in our laps. It would be nice if we had degrees in International Finance, or Living Abroad, or something. But we don't; we have extremely practical degrees in Information Science and, um, Performing Arts. And the chance that Mark's company will move him to one of their international offices is pretty slim. We looked on the government's job listing site, and tried to apply to a few positions, but got caught up in the evil vortex otherwise known as the US government's web-application process, which apparently has a motto of "We want YOU to apply for Government jobs, (but not actually be able to get one because our website is so messed up)." The really frustrating, I mean, amusing thing is, Mark designs websites. Specifically, he designs websites for optimal user experience. So if anyone from the government is reading this blog as part of the Patriot Act, you could really use my husband to redesign the US Government job site, and it would be nice if you could move our family to, say, Barcelona, to do that. Not that we don't love the good ol' USA. Go freedom!
2. We met with our Mortgage lady and got bad news. BAD NEWS. Darn housing slump.

So, enter the Mexico Plan: wherein we find a cheap, safe place to live and just move there, live off Savings for a while and hope we find some means of supporting ourselves, and pray like mad that the housing market picks up just when we want to sell our house. Just the sort of thing that any other perfectly sane, responsible couple with 3 kids to take care of would do right? Years ago, Mark took a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula (think Cancun), and remembered being really impressed with a city there called Merida, which is the capitol of the state of Yucatan. So we turned to our dear friend, The Internets, and started looking into it. Turns out, it's very safe, cheap, and there are already lots of ex-pats living there, who may or may not be mentally ill. Yay!

Remember the less talking, more doing thing? Well, it took some convincing of yours truly, but that is essentially the reason that we bought plane tickets, dropped the kids off at my parent's, and ended up on a plane to Mexico, headed to Merida.

Really. We got back just under 2 weeks ago. At this point you are thinking, she wasn't kidding about being insane. Well, maybe it's from being a little over obsessed with The Amazing Race, or from too much nitrous oxide last time I went to the Dentist. Or maybe it's just Holy Crap, we're in our 30's and always did what we thought we were supposed to do, instead of living out our dreams, and now our dreams are being suffocated by American suburbia. Or something like that. But there you have it; this is what we're trying to do. It's a little weird admitting your completely unreachable dream to everyone you know and all of cyberspace. I'm imagining conversations 10 years from now: "Remember when you went to this random city in Mexico because you thought you were going to move there? Yeah, that's a little embarrassing huh?"

Regardless, consider this our Message to the Universe.

Dear Universe,
We really, really, really want to move. Outside of the United States. Preferably somewhere that doesn't have bird-eating tarantulas. Is that too much to ask? Thanks, Uni, you're the best. Really.

Next up, Part 2: Wherein we go to Mexico.


Courtney @ Ordinary Happily Ever After said...

I see that you gave up on my blog design... I don't blame you :) I'm a flake these days.

You know, the US military is great for sending you overseas :) We're hoping Italy or Japan will be in our future.

Kacey said...

Wow Donna. I am impressed. I hope you guys end up having an amazing adventure despite the fact you have 3 children, a minivan and a mortgage. How was the whole Mexico experience?!?
It was so fun to see you guys tonight. We really miss the old Bothell ward :)

jhoopes said...

I loved reading this!!! It made me laugh, think, and admire you two!! Looking forward to reading the next part.

Aimee said...

I always save your posts to the end of my Reader list because they make me so happy to read so it is like my treat at the end of getting through my Reader. (Yes, I need to unsubscribe to many!).

Anyway, again this post made me laugh many time. I would say lol but that just crosses a line for me.

I hope the Uni was listening loud and clear. I think if you apply The Secret good things will come {wink}. We will come visit where ever you land.

kg said...

Hey Donna,

Like I have said before, I love reading your writing! And, I can totally relate to your situation---but it sounds like you are on the right track--throw it out there and watch the universe work in mysterious ways. Who knows, someone you know (or dont know) may be looking for the perfect person to write a travel blog in Paris-----! It will work and it will be amazing! Keep really are a great writer.

Unknown said...

Hi Donna,

OK, I know we haven't spoken in years, and we primarily keep in touch with Christmas cards, and I sometimes feel like I'm blog-stocking you becuase I am subscribed to your blog, and that might freak you out but I have to throw in my two cents. Do it!! Now. :) Dave and I are actually in the EXACT same position. We are trying to find our way abroad. If that doesn't work out then we are going to move somewhere west of here where life is more about life and less about work. Somewhere with less traffic. Someplace more suburban. (Never thought I'd say that!!) Somewhere like Portland. So you may actually be one step ahead of us.

Also, tell Marc not to bother trying to fix the governments' websites. I'm an IT Project Manager and I've actually built my share of sites for the government and the truth is, the gov't is so messed up they can't even let you fix anything!!

That was probably too long for a comment, but I can't find your email! Can't wait to hear about part two.


PS - Dave is always talking about taking me to Merida! He says it's beautiful.

Sara said...

You're so funny! I hope all your dreams come true!

Shelly said...

Wow! Go for it! Make sure to get a place big enough for visitors...

HeatherB said...

That is totally our dream and we haven't given up yet either!! Let us know if you find any great opportunities and we will let you know too. Australia has a decent visa program. Europe is pretty hard to work in, but check out Australia. Good luck :)

Spence said...

Shashi and talk about it too, but simular roadblocks hold us back, except I think we would be in a better position with your degrees. (We have art and art) Shashi's more optimistic, she sees us getting artist's residences off yonder. That could happen. But I always think that we should be amassing wealth and we have the best chance at that in our home country where we know the culture. My idea of realism has always been very misguided.

Oh, and we don't have 3 kids and a minivan. We have 1 babe in the proverbial oven and a pick-up given by my mom, who is a grandma, and a big ol' Chrysler that was Shashi's Grandma's. (That's why I often choose the username 'grandmacar' and make the password 'grandmatruck'. I just think about my life.)

Does that help any? At the very least it's nice to talk to you again. I find singing along with Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear helpful and gardening and agonizing about giving the things I make to the people I made them for.

Spencer said...

P.S. your talking to Universe reminded me

tvmom said...

love your story, can't wait for part 2!

Anonymous said...

GO FREEDOM! But seriously, don't give up looking. My husband lived in the Cayman Islands for 9 months or something and his dad was just, like, building something (I don't remember what), but it was one of the highlights of his childhood.

HeatherB said...

So, dying to hear part two. Bring it on girl!