Welcome to the expat life!

I'm going on my second international relocation as a wife. We moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, about 3 years ago and now we're moving to Mexico City, Mexico.
As I know very well relocating is not easy but it is a choice. So, even with all the issues we have I'll try to make the best out of it!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trying To Understand NY

Another move within the U.S.. Easy, right?! No, it is sooooo hard to understand life in NY. And by NY I mean Manhattan, where we are focusing our house hunt. We are also looking in CT because my husband and kids - and I'm sure my pets would too if they could vote - would prefer to live in a house.

Well, unfortunately we can't afford a nice townhouse in the city, so first I had to learn the difference between condos and co-ops.  Our realtor was great at explaining. One thing I had no idea of is that the process to buy a co-op usually takes about 90 days because of the requirement of a board approval.  Then, I found out that we have to act very quickly if we want to buy something there. It is not rare for a place to receive multiple offers. The market is very hot right now and the inventory is extremely limited.  
Another thing to consider are the cost of a parking spot, if you are considering keeping a car and the maintenance cost for your building. The maintenance costs can be pretty steep so you need to find out exactly what it covers.

I thought I had everything figured out just to find out that understanding the school system is not that easy either. If you're going to send your kids to a private school you'll have to submit your application as early as possible to a few schools, get in line - most of the wait lists are huge! - and take your kids to a test. If you're going public there are a few things to consider.  The location does matter when it comes to selecting schools but it is not the only factor in determining what school your kids will end up at. And the determining facts change almost every year. So, there are no guarantees that my daughter will end up at the same middle school my son is going to.

I am going to NY and CT on Monday to start my home search and look at the schools. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I just came across this site and had to share the link. Te information is very helpful! Hope you enjoy it!

The first link is etiquette in Mexico and the second one is in Brazil. They have other pages to many other countries.

e-Diplomat Mexico

e-Diplomat Brazil

Monday, April 29, 2013

Super Commuter, Not!

I was recently hired by a couple to assess whether  they should move or opt for the super commute.

It is so funny how the exact same reasons why one decides to move are the same as another decides to commute.

There is no rule to help us make this kind of decision. Relocations always take people out of their comfort zone and no one can predict whether it is going to work out or not in so many different levels. In a sense, it is a leap of faith. Yes, there are many aspects that can make the transition easier but there are no guarantees.

You already know why my family decided not to go to Mexico and how well it worked out for us. The couple I was working with decided to move to Mexico. How could they not?! They are a young couple, she is not working anymore because they are trying to start a family and they are both fluent in spanish. This is a great opportunity for them to live an adventure, mature as a couple - they are going to live away from their family for the first time in their lives - and advance his career. They are now very committed to make things work and to take full advantage of this opportunity. It is also easier to commit to a relocation once you realize it is temporary and that it can - and will - be an amazing move. Knowing it will only be for 2 years helps take some of the pressure off. Not having kids also makes the relocation so much easier. I remember my time before having kids when all we thought about was pack and go have fun on our new adventure. We loved it. 

I wish F & S the best of luck on this new phase of their lives! They are a lovely couple and I'm sure they will be very happy. 

I love working with relocations, it opened a few new doors for me. It's funny because I loved being a corporate lawyer and never thought of doing anything else. Then my husband and I decided on our first relocation and my life was turned upside down. We had fun moving, I became a mom and dedicated my life to my family. Now my kids are older and don't need me that much anymore. We're moving to New York and we'll likely stay there for a while. And I really want  to start working again. Working with all these couples made me realize how much I love working on relationships. I come from a divorced family. Having a happy marriage and a happy family has always been my main goal. I live for it. I am also the confident of must of my friends and the one thy come to when they need relationship advice. So it is only natural that I decided to educate myself more on this subject. I am now on my way to become a Relationship Coach.  Wish me luck and let me know if you need any help.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Safety and Dogs

A question I get asked a lot is this: "Is it safe to walk your pets on the streets of Sao Paulo or Mexico City"?

Well, it depends on what neighborhood you live in and most important on what time you're going out to walk your dog. If you don't live in a gated community I would walk them no earlier than 7:30 am and no later than 6:30 pm. The darker it it and the less people on the streets there are, the more dangerous it is for you to walk your dog.

The safety in neighborhoods vary greatly. You should always ask your doorman, neighbors and friends if and when it is safe to walk your pet. Also ask them what is the best route to take and how far you should go. 

Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. And always bring a bag to pick-up after your dog.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Aging Pets and Relocation

This is a very sensitive subject to me. My pets are getting old. Recently I lost 2 of my cats. It has been very tough on us. We're all extremely sad and trying to cope with our losses. We feel very lucky we are here in the U.S. and we had enough help from our vets during this very difficult times. Having old pets is a huge reason for us not to consider any international relocation for a while. My dog is now 14 and my remaining cat is 12. How can anyone consider flying them in cargo?? 

We're flying my cat and the kids to New York as the cat can fly in cabin. We'll leave them with my sister-in-law for a week as we fly back to Florida and drive our dog to NY. He loves car rides and we already found dog friendly hotels to stay along the way. We will take our time to get to NY and do as much driving per day as our "old man" can handle. His well being is our main concern.

And what to do when they die? Here in the U.S. we had some options. I cremated both of my cats and I want their ashes to be with me when I get cremated. We could have chosen to bury them as well, but we wanted to have them with us. If you're overseas and disaster strikes, what are your options?

Every country has its own rules and you should discuss it with your vet when you have a chance. I know it is not easy to find a crematory in Brazil. And if I remember correctly there is only one pet cemetery in Sao Paulo. I didn't do my research while I was in Mexico City. I asked some friends who live in Mexico and they didn't have an answer either. So ask your new vet at your new country. Trust me, you will be too upset to ask any question when tragedy strikes. So prepare yourself as best as you can. When I come to think about it, there is just no way to prepare. It is way too painful to lose someone who always gave you unconditional love and shared your life with you. 

God bless our amazing pets.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Still Managing Life in 3 Countries

I finally got my tickets for my last trip to Mexico City to pack our apartment there. It will be in April. So now I'll only have to manage Brazil and the US for the next few months.

We got so lucky with our tenants in Brazil. They are amazing! We are so happy they are staying at our apartment for a few more months so I'll have time to close our Mexico chapter before I have to worry about renting or selling the apartment in Brazil. I wish they would stay longer, but it is time for them to move on and I wish them all the best from the bottom of my heart.

Regarding our US situation, we still don't have a moving date. I am not stressing over it because I love Florida and its winter. It's been cold here this week and cold over here is around 40o F. Not bad compared to what our next winter in the northeast will be like. I remember our last winter in Delaware, before we moved to Brazil, 6 years ago. It was so cold and so long. It only started to warm up at the end of may. I'm not looking forward to it... But then I think about the spring. The nice summer nights. And the leaves turning during fall... Oh, yes. I'm ready to move. And luckily Florida is only a skip and a hop away.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Worst or Best Thing Ever??

As we are getting ready to move again I'm starting to miss the Super Commuter life. When we decided to live as super commuters we didn't have much time to think it thru but I had enough time to think of all that could go wrong. 

I only knew one couple here in FL and they travel a lot. So if I had a serious emergency I might not have had anyone to help me out. Luckily, we had no serious emergency. I only had to rush to the hospital once because my daughter cut her finger and needed 10 stitches - I was able to handle it by myself - just barely.

What if my husband couldn't come home every weekend? He was more than constant with his traveling. Yes, he got tired but being able to work from home on Fridays and pick-up the kids from school made it all worth it for him. He only stayed there for 2 weekends. During a 2 1/2 year frame this is not bad. One time it was for work and another because the weather here was so bad I asked him not to fly. - it was a good idea because the airport closed before his normal flight landed and all the flights from Mexico landed in Dallas. He says the worse part of all this traveling was going thru passport control and all the other long lines at both airports. Flying to NY now is a breeze.

I also thought he could get a lover over there. No, he is not that kind of guy, but my experience is that they never are, until they do it. He did not. He kept busy at work and taking care of himself. He had to get his groceries and do his laundry. He had people cleaning his apartment and doing his dishes everyday. He worked out every morning. He studied a lot. The one thing he didn't do? He didn't go out with co-workers often. He was on a different schedule than everybody else. Mexicans have lunch around 2 pm. My american husband wakes up at 5:30 am so he needs his lunch at noon. So he was always at the cafeteria by himself. Drinks after work? Almost never. A few times he did go out for drinks but not often at all. This made me feel good, I can't deny it.

Not having enough time together was another concern. We didn't have quantity but we did have quality. We made the best of what we had. We have an amazing baby-sitter who comes in once a week so we can have a date. We went out to many different restaurants and some times we would just bring a picnic basket to the beach and enjoy the sunset. We really made the best of our time together. And he was also really involved in our kids lives. On Fridays he would always drive them to school, pick them up and take them to swim practice. He would take the kids to breakfast on Saturdays mornings and this became "their thing". Our family life has never been better.

So do I recommend the Super Commute? Absolutely! I thought it would be a disaster but it ended up being the best thing ever to us! When people ask me if they should do it I say yes, you should. You, your husband and your kids need to be committed to make it work. It wasn't easy at all but it was great. We will look back at it in the future and miss it a lot.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Renting Our Apartment in Sao Paulo, Again

When it rains, it pours, right??!! We are in the beginning of our moving process to NY. So far, I am waiting for my husband's company to schedule our look-and-see trip. Then I got the news that our tenants in Sao Paulo are getting transferred too. Oh, the expat life... Never a dull moment...

So we are thinking about selling or renting the apartment there. We have absolutely no plans of moving back to Brazil. Five years ago we thought the apartment was going to be a good investment, but now it is time to cash out and keep our investments home, in the US. The only thing making us keep the investment there is that we will be overtaxed to repatriate our money. Brazil really overtax everything!

Anyway, if anyone is interested in renting a beautiful apartment at Villaggio Panamby, let me know.

Here is the link to our place:

Villaggio Panamby 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not Moving???

We got the job offer!! It is now official. We're moving to NY. So I told the kids the decision is now final just to hear my son tell in, in a very matter of fact way, "Mom, I am not moving!" Whaaaat??? Of course, it all happens on a Monday. No Dad in sight.

I asked him why not and he tells me that NY is not that far and Dad can keep on commuting. He likes Florida, his friends and, most of all, his swim team and the fact that it is January and he is still swimming outdoors. He had so many good reasons to stay I just couldn't argue. I really did not know what to say... It is harder for me to convince him to move because I would also love to stay. And he knows it.

A few minutes later I went back to him with a suggestion. Why don't we go to NY soon, during the week so he can visit a few schools and swim clubs in the areas we are considering moving to? This way he can pick his 3 favorite schools, swim clubs and neighborhoods. I told him I would focus on looking for houses in the areas he liked the most. He was pretty happy with the suggestion and immediately agreed to it. I also told him we will be going there a few times before we move. We may even go to a swim meet over there to see if he can make some friends before the move.

Digging a little deeper I found out that one of his issues is that we almost always move during summer. Therefore, when we move all the kids in the neighborhood are traveling or in camps. It is hard for them to make friends during this period of time and both my kids feel very lonely. If we can help them make friends before the move so they don't feel like complete strangers when we do move, it will be wonderful.

Growing up is not easy. Growing up relocating every 2 years must be really hard. But this time, the transition will be as smooth as possible. I'll do my best to make sure of it!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Happy New Year!!!!

2013 will be another year of changes. We will move, yet agin. No, we still don't have the final offer but my hubby will start working in NY by February 1st. I'm still getting used to the idea of the move but I'm less in denial now. It is a pattern to me, first comes denial, then acceptance. 2013, bring it on!! I know this will be a wonderful and crazy year!

May 2013 be a year that brings lots of love, light and joy to all of us!!