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Many thanks to my husband Frank for sharing how his love for Mexico began, the challenges of having been a career firefighter in Southern California, and how his dream of making the world better–one roof at a time–is coming to fruition via Sol Luz Power

By Frank O’Grady

How I came to be a retire in Mexico has its backstory and to tell it effectively, I need to return to the very beginning of this dream of mine.

It all began well before I met Katie, sometime in the early 90’s, when I started taking day trips to Rosarito Beach and Ensenada in Baja California, venturing off onto any little side road I could find within a few hours of the border.

I needed a belt for my work uniform and having never been further than Tijuana, I decided I would head down to Rosarito and have a look around.

20 minutes after crossing the border, I pulled into north Rosarito Beach and slowly drove the length of town–which at that time, took me all of about 10 minutes!

Rosarito was very quiet and I spent a lot of time chatting with locals and eating at different taco stands to practice my Spanish and to sample as many fish and carne asada tacos piled with fresh salsa, cilantro, onions, guacamole and a squeeze of lime as I could. 

I wandered the beach, smelled the air, kept my eyes wide open to all of the color and contrasts and just enjoyed conversing with whomever I met. Ready to find the belt, I headed on foot towards the north end of town where I had seen a leather shop.

Love at First Sight

You just never know what is behind a door in this country~a metaphor indeed for life here.

One Man's Journey of Reinvention in Mexico

This was my first introduction to shopping in Mexico and as I stepped through the door, I realized it would be like no other shopping experience I’d had before! It wasn’t just one shop—it led to an entire market I would have never known was there from the outside!

There were dozens of stands with vendors selling everything from clothing to tools, food, alcohol, flowers and shoes. I was amazed! It was, truly, a very Mexican experience.

Near the front of the market a man had all sorts of belts on display–deer skin, horse skin, cow skin, sheep skin, snake skin, ostrich and who knows what other types. It was getting later in the afternoon and I was quite thirsty so I chatted briefly with the proprietor about his belt selection. He showed me the differences in softness and texture, the different types of dying and engraving.

It was a show and a personal shopping experience like I’d never had in my life! I didn’t know what to buy so I told him I was going to go have a beer and come back and decide which one to buy.

He said he too was thirsty and he just happened to have a six pack of Tecate beer in his little fridge. Go figure! He handed me a bottle and grabbed one for himself. Marvel of marvels, the bottom of the bottle was formed perfectly to twist the cap off of another bottle! 

We sat and chatted about belts, life, kids, women, sports, lifestyles north and south of the border, differences in culture, the sky, the sea…it didn’t really matter–we just talked and meandered our way through those six beers.

It was time for me to get across the border before it was too late, so I went ahead and purchased a few belts (for probably too much), but I think both of us were quite happy with the exchange. He made a bit more than if I had really bargained, we drank beer and, best of all, we conducted business in a way where the purchase of my new belts was practically an afterthought to what was truly important in life.

I walked out of that store, found a few more fish tacos and conversations on the way back to getting my truck, and I was profoundly struck with the realization that I had found a new love in my life. That very day, I fell deeply in love with Mexico and I knew without equivocation that I could happily spend my life living there, amongst her people…becoming one of her people.

I do believe in love at first sight and twice in my life I have been fortunate enough to be struck, but that’s another story.

From Firefighter to Solar Designer

One Man's Journey of Reinvention in Mexico

I will jump forward a couple of decades and tell you about my foray into the world of solar energy.

Near the end of my career as a professional Firefighter for the Lakeside Fire Protection District in East San Diego County, I was rapidly losing my capacity to deflect human misery without absorbing it. The forced overtime hours and subsequent time away from my family was detrimental to all of us. 

To say that I missed many important days in my family’s life would be an understatement. With as finite as time is, I set my sights on being able to retire as soon as I was eligible.

I believe in unions. Workers are the backbone of our world. Mine had the foresight while the economy was freighting along to negotiate and pay for the best retirement that CalPERS offered its safety employees, 3%@50. Sure, I could have worked another 7 years and increased my pension by 32%, but I also could have damaged my body worse than it already was, or, died on the job. My back could no longer ignore the physics of my work and my head was filled to the rim with tragedy.

It Was Time for A New Life While I Still Had Life and Vitality

After my retirement in 2012 and once in Mexico, I would be running on the beach in the humid air, smelling the ocean, absorbing all the greenery and just decompressing in our new hometown of San Pancho, Nayarit and I would tally all the deaths I was personally involved with over the course of my career–easily over 1500. After a period of time that level of involvement in life and death takes a toll.

I began to look at options to get myself into a new line of work that would augment our pension and stimulate me mentally. It was also about doing something right for the world and to be an example to my children. My sights were set internationally.

One Man's Journey of Reinvention in Mexico

Having installed a small stand-alone photovoltaic system at our place in Baja, I was intrigued by the prospect of assembling systems that could generate electricity out of the sun. I found the whole application fascinating and I still do.

At the age of 47, three years before I was eligible to retire, I started taking Electrical Theory classes at San Diego City College. 

I studied at work between calls and drills to progress well at school and pave a path for the future. My co-workers often wondered why I didn’t promote more than I had and why I concentrated on something completely unrelated to the fire service.

A New World

We knew we would leave Southern California once I retired from firefighting. We were tired of the busyness of life in SoCal. It seemed as if one had to work non-stop to afford a life focused on consumerism and accumulation and a political climate of division and hate.

When I walk through a door it needs to be to a new world. I needed something completely free of the fire service–free of the stories, free of the capitulation to external labor pressures, free of the politics of it all…free of all of the tragedy and death.

When I walked away, I did it not just willingly, but wholeheartedly and eagerly–relieved and without any regret.

We Wanted a Better Life for Ourselves and Our Children

In San Pancho, I surfed and practiced capoeira, wrote and exercised and lived life while we adjusted to a reality where we were not work dependent. We grew and learned and gained knowledge about our new country and we found we wanted to set new goals and direct our paths differently.

I kept my dreams alive, dreaming that I would get into the business of photovoltaic design and installation and that I would not only make money but also have the opportunity to travel with my family and use grant money to install solar systems on rural schoolhouses or community centers that had no access to electricity.

I kept following the trade and keeping my ear to the ground, having faith that it would all work out. 

From San Pancho to San Miguel de Allende

At a certain point, with our kids growing and needing different educational opportunities, we decided to move to the heart of Mexico. We felt, as new residents, that we had a responsibility to learn more about our adopted country and where else can you learn more but in the revolutionary seat?

This was another step off of a cliff in faith. We had never even been to San Miguel de Allende but we rented a vacation rental for a month, loaded up all our stuff and hit the pavement looking for a long-term house, a new school for our kids and a new life.

I applied for a scholarship to Solar Energy International, and while  I really did not have much hope due to my retirement status, age and income, the only thing I knew for sure was that if I did not apply, I would never know.

I talked about my career as a firefighter, my time as a union officer, how I believed in serving other people while doing right in the world; opportunities for solar in Latin America and providing electricity where it is needed most, and being an example to my children while involving my family in projects throughout Latin America.

Apparently they found my application compelling because they contacted me and stated that they wanted to offer me not just one scholarship but two! I am still am honored and amazed!

After I finished my second online class, I traveled to Paonia, Colorado to take hands-on installation courses. This really rounded me out as a professional designer and installer and created important relationships within the industry for me. I founded my own business, SolPower Mexico, and am indeed proud to say that I have kept my commitment to improving the world, one roof at a time.  

I Am A Dreamer, I Dream Big

of a life with adventure, independence, beauty, color, love and flavor.

And I dream of this life for the people I love, too.

It is a rich life here in Mexico. It is not a fairy tale nor is it all roses. We have been lumped up a few times down here but we got lumped up pretty bad in the USA a few times as well.

Life takes its shots wherever you are. 

To come here and live, to establish yourself in a new country far away from the border…well, you have to dream and you have to be willing to step off the edge of the cliff with faith in your soul.

My hope for our children is that they always remember:

*Dreams are important

*Having a highly malleable vision for your life is important

*Sticking with and supporting the dreams of your loved ones is important

*Living life with courage and faith is important

*If you let a dream die, make sure you replace it with another dream

Reinvention in Mexico

Living, parenting and reinventing in Mexico has been an active, daily choice, and a journey of now 11 years that recently saw our children graduating high school and soon to begin their University lives. What lays ahead is an evolving path that we are faithful will continue to reveal itself. Life, one big adventure, isn’t it? 

Saludos,

Frank One Man's Journey of Reinvention in Mexico

Other articles by Frank:

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father’s Perspective

 

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Leave Your Ego at The Border~Moving to (or Visiting) Mexico 101

As a 10-year Permanent Resident and grateful guest of Mexico, I would like to share a few of my observations of the demanor of some of the visitors, transplants and expats in Mexico. Please understand that my comments come from a desire to facilitate cultural understanding, appreciation, and most importantly, respect.

While my experience of living as an immigrant in Mexico is in large part based upon my upbringing, my travels, my profession and my choices as an adult woman to raise my children in this magnificent land, it is not such a difficult to understand concept that when visiting or residing as a guest in another country (i.e. Mexico), that it is best to do so with some mindful forethought and preparation.

“Leave Your Ego at The Border” means to arrive open-minded and open-hearted to the opportunities of experiencing another culture and all that is has to offer. Making demands of your host or expecting that everything will go exactly your way or how you were accustomed to in your home country, is highly unadvisable. People will not want to acquiesce to your every want and desire, trust me. 

Moving to Mexico 101:

  • Be mindful of the living room you are walking into.
  • Make an effort to learn Spanish
  • Learn the national currency so that you can conduct your financial transactions with comprehension, respect and patience.
  • Be a keen observer of the cultural norms (and nuances) and modify your own behavior/assumptions in accordance with them–always remembering that you are a visitor and–ideally–a welcomed guest.
  • Understand that yelling at the barista, wait staff or service provider in irritation and/or indignation will not make your order come faster, assure its delivery in your desired state, nor make you a decent person. Quite the contrary. 

A Course in Manners Is Not to Be Underrated: KISS

I have witnessed enough distasteful interactions of people in search of “fun and freedom” south of the border that are cringe-worthy and simply shameful. As a former middle-school teacher, allow me to share an important acronym passed along to my students: KISS= Keep It Simple Silly

Keep It Simple Silly:

  • Be here legally Do not assume that your stay in Mexico on an expired FMM or a Temporary Visa is a badge of honor for “skirting the system”. Quite the contrary, it is a total lack of respect and regard for the laws of this country, not to mention the fact that the possibility of being detained and deported doesn’t sound like such a fun memory to add to your #tripreport.
  • Contribute to the local economy in a thoughtful, additive, sustainable way. 
  • Volunteer, become involved in your community, extend a helping hand to humans and animals alike.
  • Improve and care for the environment by being a socially-conscious observer, consumer and action taker.
  • Leave your ego (and fear) at the border, the dividends will be great and the rewards immeasurable.

I am aware that as a Writer & Relocation Consultant that I am part of this process of a continual uptick in folks moving to Mexico. Would they have found their way here without me? Most likely.

I indeed feel a great responsibility to guide these “reinventions in Mexico” in a thoughtful, mindful and respectful way so that the footprint we expats leave as individuals, couples and families is one that carries with it the highest regard for and contribution to Mexico and her people.

Mexico’s reverence for community, family, history, tradition and relationships is palpable and something I will always hold near and dear to my heart, treasure, protect and honor.

Gracias, mi Querido México for being home to so many of us that came looking for a better life.

¡Viva México!

¡Te quiero!  

Leave Your Ego at The Border~Moving to (or Visiting) Mexico 101

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Many thanks to my best friend, Father to our beloved children and love of my life hubby for his reflections on our family’s immigration to Mexico…

By Frank O’Grady

Our immigration to Mexico was my dream, not my children’s.

We moved here when they were eight years old, and in my eyes, still babies in so many ways.

They just turned 18 this June 2022 and have now lived more than half their lives in our adopted country of Mexico. 

Their faith in us was paramount to us having a successful move to a part of Mexico where we were not going to be able to bounce back easily over the border to whatever perceived comfort zone that might have existed. 

I knew there was a different and a better way and like with many of my other dreams I laid plenty of groundwork. We did not just pick up and leave a life in the USA on some fantastical mid-life crisis.

Moving to Mexico with Children, A Father's Perspective

My dream for Liam, Mairead and Katie was for a life that was not completely centered on commercialism and struggling to keep our heads above watera life without the incessant chasing and worrying about dollars in a world gone mad with the need to buy and consume just a little bit more than can be reasonably earned. A life with involved parents instead of home just being a place everyone gathered at night after a day or days at work.

Baja California~Our First Mexico Home

 

We prepared our children in a multitude of ways with many experiences in and about Mexico well before we even broached the subject of moving to mainland Mexico.

Katie was only a few months pregnant with Mairead and Liam fishing with us on the Sea of Cortez out of a tiny aluminum boat. 

We journeyed down the Baja Peninsula, stopping at the same restaurants, rest areas and hotels…our twins hugged and held and squeezed and cheeks pinched by every female worker in these stops.

A Love for Mexico was Nurtured in Our Twins from A Very Early Age

As Liam and Mairead became more aware of the differences in their country of birth and the country we vacationed in, they eagerly looked forward to our journeys to a place where we all felt very much at home–a place where we had the time to be together as a family instead of constantly trying to meet an agenda or drive across a city of two million to get somewhere.

Moving to Mexico With Children, A Father's Perspective

 

Moving to Mexico with Children~A Father's Perspective

It Felt as If Every Time We Went to Mexico That We Were Actually Going Home

At a certain point in our careers, Katie and I both realized that continuing to support our lifestyle in Southern California was going to essentially condemn us to many decades of work so that someday, when we were close to 80, we might have a paid off house that we hadn’t had much time to enjoy because we were constantly working to pay for it.

When Liam and Mairead were around seven years old we really started talking to and involving them in our plans to move to Mexico. The existing paradigm wasn’t working for us emotionally, physically or mentally–we knew there was a better way and we were determined and committed to create it together as a couple and as a family.

We viewed this move through our children’s eyes…how they would experience it as 8-year-olds, as 10-year-olds, as now young adults. We knew that we had an age window to move successfully with them and to do it as a team.

Immigration to Mexico

I retired from firefighting at 50, Katie from teaching at 44 and with our 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old chocolate lab, we immigrated to Mexico in 2012.

Our children speak, think and navigate life in two languages and through the lens of two–if not multiple– cultures. 

Moving to Mexico with our children was a decision that we have not once regretted. They know that their lives are not just their parent’s dreams and creations, but also their own evolving adventure and story–that living a life with intent and purpose is both a choice and an opportunity. 

~Thank you for reading, Frank

For more on Moving to Mexico with Children: 

Immigration to Mexico with Children, A Mother’s Perspective

 

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Relocation Assistance

While I traditionally have not written about the “mechanics” of making a successful move to Mexico on my blog–but rather the fun and adventure of life well lived here–I figured I’d share some (hopefully helpful) information about one of the most important pieces of of a multi-pieced immigration process: Mexico Visa Requirements & Process 2022

Financial Solvency: Temporary or Permanent Residency

One of the very first things you will want to do is to locate and read through the Visas for Foreigners Tab of your local Mexican Consulate’s website to determine whether or not you meet the financial solvency requirements.

The majority of Mexican Consulates these days are reserving the Permanent Residency exclusively for pensioned/retired individuals. Even if you meet or even exceed the financial requirements for Permanent Residency, it is unlikely that you will be granted it without being pensioned/retired and with Consulate-approved proof of it.

While your Consulate establishes the exact criteria that you will need to follow, this article by Mexperience is very informative: Financial Criteria for Legal Residency in Mexico 2022

Differences Between Consulates

Since each Mexican Consulate varies in the details relative to the application process itself, financials and authentication of documents, it is imperative that you clarify any uncertainties directly with the Consulate you will be working with.

Most Consulates provide an email for you to contact them via, and if not email, then a phone number. My recommendation is that if given the option between the two, email is best, so that you have a print record of any and all communications that you can then bring with you to your appointment. 

*It is essential to follow the instructions of your Consulate to a T and if in doubt, contact them directly.*

Appointment Availability

With a continual uptick in folks wanting to move to Mexico, many Consulates are backlogged with limited appointment availability. It is best to prioritize this step and time it in relation to your move, for once you are granted your pre-authorized Visa, you need to be in Mexico within 6 months. 

Each person needs their own appointment and for couples or individuals/families with children, ideally you will be able to schedule them all on the same day. For families with minor children, the parent(s) needs to have their appointments prior to those of the children, or, ideally and if allowed by the Consular Agent, all go in together during the same time slot. 

Making Your Visa Appointment

Both the Temporary and Permanent Resident Visa applications must be started in your home country, with the second and final step of receiving your physical card to be completed at your local INM (immigration office) in Mexico.

Some Consulates request that you contact them via the email provided on their website while others are  switching over to Mi Consulado/Citas de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (citas.sre.gob.mx).

Some, for example, like the Mexican Consulate in New York, have their own internal booking system

For those Consulates that are utilizing Mi Consulado, in the upper right-hand corner you should have the option to change the language to English. While this video is in Spanish, watching it several times should help to guide you through the process. The number 1-424-309-0009 is also provided by the Mexican government as an option for registering yourself in the Mi Consulado system and for making an appointment (# applicable to U.S. and Canadian clients only). I have also been successful in chatting with a Consular representative via the messenger feature on Facebook. Leave no stone unturned.

Keep a file of all the required paperwork, make more copies than you think you will need, be patient, follow the instructions to a T of your Consulate, and double and triple check that you have everything prepared according to your Consulate’s exact specifications prior to arriving for your application appointment(s). 

Documents Required for Visa Appointment 

Most Consulates require the following documents:

  1. Passport size photo; No hair on forehead, eyeglasses, hats, earrings or other facial piercings; no smiling. Front profile, color, white background. It’s best to wear white and the background must be white.
  2. The VISA has an approximate cost of $48 USD, paid in cash. It’s preferable to bring exact change.
  3. Example Mexican Consulate Visa Application (use your Consulate’s linked form) to be printed and completed, one per person. For question 21 “Length of Stay”, if you are applying for Temporary Residency, check inside the circle beside “More than 180 days and less than 4 years”. If you are applying for Permanent Residency, check inside the circle beside “Definitive”.
  4. Original & Valid Passport plus color copies of the pages containing personal information, photograph of bearer and expiration date/extensions.
  5. Financial proof ($$ amounts & proper documentation to be defined by your Consulate). Names must match exactly with your passport. Take as much proof of financials as possible. Your name must be on your financial statements and if a joint account, both names.
  6. Original and copies of marriage licenses when sponsoring a spouse or bank account is in both names. Whether or not the marriage license needs to be apostilled is to be defined by your Consulate. Carefully read through the information provided on the Consulate website and email/call them if clarification is needed.
  7. Some Consulates are no longer requiring birth certificates (usually only for minor children), but you will need to clarify this with your Consulate
  8. Appointment confirmation form(s)–ONE FOR EACH APPLICANT

*specifics to be confirmed with your Consulate*

Apostilled Documents

If any of your  documents need to be apostilled per the stipulations of the Mexican Consulate you are applying at, go to the Secretary of State Website for the State the document was issued. You can find your Secretary of State at THIS LINK. For Federal apostille access, refer to THIS LINK to contact the U.S. Department of State Office of Authentications.

Interview Appointment

When you arrive at your Visa Interview Appointment(s) in a happy and patient mood 😀 you will be interviewed by a Consular Agent. He/she will review all of your documents and identification and ask you some basic questions as to the purpose and destination of your move. If all is satisfactory and in order, the agent will place a pre-approved 6-month Visa Sticker inside your passport. It will be valid for six months only and can be used to enter Mexico once. 

Prior to Leaving Your Consulate Visa Appointment

Prior to leaving the Mexican Consulate, be sure to check your Pre-Approved Visa Sticker to ensure that your:

  • gender is indicated correctly
  • name is spelled correctly
  • birthdate is accurate and
  • type of Visa you have applied for–Temporary or Permanent–has been indicated correctly.

You Have Received Your Pre-Authorized Visa, What Now?

Once you have received your Pre-Authorized Visa Sticker in your passport (valid for 6 months and one entry) and you have arrived in Mexico at either a land or air border, you will need to ensure that both your pre-authorized Visa and your FMM are date stamped, with the grey, official-only sections (both top and bottom) of the FMM marked “CANJE and 30 days” (NOT TOURIST) by the immigration official as seen in this example:

Mexico Visa Requirements & Process 2022

The FMM is a 2-pieced form. The immigration agent will keep the top portion and give you the bottom portion for safe keeping; do not loose nor discard it.

INM (Immigration Office) Support Once in Mexico

After you have been pre-approved for your Residency Visa (6-month validity) and you have arrived in Mexico, you have 30 days in which to convert your pre-authorized Visa to your Residency Card.

For this second step of the Visa Process, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of–especially during these times of high demand & the navigation of government bureaucracy–connecting with a bilingual facilitator (does not need to be an attorney) in the area that you will be moving to. A reputable INM Liaison thoroughly understands the nuances of Mexico’s immigration law and is likely familiar with the immigration staff

Can you do this second, INM part on your own? Sure. Do I recommend it? Not necessarily, unless you speak excellent Spanish and can navigate your way through immigration law. My family, for example, as 10-year bilingual Permanent Residents, have always contracted with our trusted INM liaison for both our initial residency cards in 2012 and each and every 4 year renewal for our children.

Working with an INM Facilitator will save you time, money and frustration and more importantly, ensure that the process of converting your CANJE to your Residency Card is done properly within 30 days of your arrival to Mexico. After so much time and money invested to get this far in the residency process, why risk having to return to the States to begin it all over again?  I am able to provide a recommendation for an INM liaison in both the Puerto Vallarta and San Miguel de Allende areas. 

Do Not Leave Mexico While Awaiting Your Residency Card

While you are waiting for your Temporary or Permanent Resident Card(s) to be issued from INM, you need to remain in Mexico. If you are not able to for some reason, you would need a permission letter from INM to leave Mexico–until you are granted your official residency card. If permission is granted (cost is around 500 pesos), you can be out of Mexico for a maximum of 60 days. 

If you leave Mexico while your Visa is being processed without official permission from INM, you will compromise your legal status and have to begin the process all over again from your home Mexican Consulate.

Exiting/Entering Mexico Now as A Resident

Once you have your Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa Card, you are required by law to complete a FMM each time you leave Mexico.

At no time should you check “tourist” on the FMM. 

Fill out the bottom portion of the FMM form which immigration will take upon your departure from Mexico and then keep the upper half to provide to immigration upon your return. 

In box 8 enter your TR or PR visa card number from the back of your Visa Card. At the top of the FMM write “Temporary Resident” or “Permanent Resident”. When re-entering Mexico at an airport, go through the line used for non-citizens. Never have a color copy of your Residency Card, Driver’s License or any other Mexican government issued ID as it is considered fraud and there could be serious consequences. 

How Long is a Temporary Visa Valid For?

A Temporary Resident Visa will initially be issued for 1 year. Up to 30 days prior to its expiration you may renew for 1 to 3 more years. Your expiration date will be on the anniversary of the day you entered Mexico. 

After 4 years as a Temporary Resident, you can convert to a Permanent Resident within Mexico, applying as a renewal and adding an extra letter indicating it’s time to get your permanent residency. Your INM Liaison can easily assist you with this process. If you become a Permanent Resident, you must remove your foreign-plated car (or legally nationalize it) from Mexico as you won’t be able to get a TIP anymore.

Permanent Residence Status 

With Permanent Residency, you never have to renew your card again, except for your minor children who would need to have theirs renewed every 4 years and then one final time after they turn 18 prior to the date of its expiration. With PR status, your car has to be Mexican via either purchasing one in Mexico or nationalizing yours if possible. Not all NOB (north of the border) cars can be nationalized and the process can be quite expensive.

While much more of a nuts and bolts article than I traditionally write, I do hope this information has been of help to you. The information is not exhaustive and there are many other types of Visas that one can obtain, depending on their particular circumstances, and as such, it is always best to consult with the Mexican Consulate directly.

*Disclaimer: I am not a Mexican Immigration Official nor Mexican Attorney, just a gal that has lived south of the border for 10 years and compiled this information from what I have seen, lived, studied and cross-referenced with the INM liaison I send my clients to* ☺️

Saludos,

~Katie

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The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

Motherhood came to me in the gift of the two most precious, red-headed, cherub butterballs of pure Irish love and joy. To say that I have been blessed would be an understatement.

When Frank and I first met–back when I was 28 and just beginning my teaching career and he, 34 and well into his career as a firefighter–I never wanted to marry and he never wanted to have kids.

Perfect. 

3.3 years later we were married in Bishop Mallory’s first ever outdoor wedding ceremony (he said he had never met a couple like us before) and 2 years later, we were pregnant with our two little miracles, Mairead Ema and Liam Quinn.

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

Life. She is funny like that.

Motherhood

Being a Mom is the the most fulfilling, challenging and heart-expanding experience unlike any other I have ever had. It has brought me to my knees and had me singing from the mountaintops, turned my heart inside out, and over again. 

Parenting guidebooks, words of wisdom from well-intentioned loved ones and copious amounts of personal preparation cannot take the place of what you, as a parent, are destined to walk and discover on your own. There is just is no other way other than figuring it out, with love always as your guide post. 

Coming of Age in Mexico

Barely a month into our immigration from San Diego to San Pancho in 2012, Mairead and Liam had an adventure that without a doubt set the template for the shenanigans to come in our reinvented, “out of the box” lives where freedom, fun, family time, community, connection and culture are the headliner events. 

Strapped into the back of a dune buggy with a group of their newly-made friends, down the jungle road they bopped and bounced until their horse-back riding instructor Ceci found a body of water that looked “suitable” for an afternoon swim! 

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

While trying to emote nothing but pure joy and excitement, it is safe to say that I was feeling a bit horrified at the prospect of what my children were swimming in–doing an informal assessment of bacteria counts as they submerged themselves over and over into this cow pie sink hole.

Adventure at its best, no?

They survived unscathed and had good showers when we got back home!

The O’Grady Twins Turn 18!

For those of you that have been following along with us since the beginning, it might be hard for you too to believe that it has been nearly 10 years since our immigration to this magnificent country, when Mairead and Liam were just 8 years old. 

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

As they say in Spanish, “con un cerrar y abrir de los ojos”–with an opening and closing of the eyes–time goes by so fast. I am savoring every moment as I know all too well that I will be staring the empty nest stage straight in the nose before I know it, perhaps even before I am ready for it. With love as our guidepost, I trust we will continue to navigate all of these sweet and bittersweet chapters of life with grace and unity. 

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

So many grand life adventures lived and still so many stories yet to be told–both good and others that simply remind you that life is not for sissies–since we walked off that one-way flight from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta.

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

Our children, our precious treasures, our greatest life teachers. 

The O'Grady Twins Turn 18! Coming of Age in Mexico...

I love you, from here to the moon and around the world back again times infinity.

Feliz cumple mis tesoros!

~Mom xo

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*Protect yourself and your loved ones with an Expat Travel Insurance Policy (message me for a referral) & Carbon Monoxide Detectors for both home and travel *

Looking for a Residency Visa Specialist Recommendation? Feel free to email me at losogradysinmexico@gmail.com

 

 

 

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