Just a quickie post – may do some of these from time to time.
Residente temporal card is ready. I go pick it up at 11:00 this morning.
Significant step, I think, but seems pretty routine too.
Just a quickie post – may do some of these from time to time.
Residente temporal card is ready. I go pick it up at 11:00 this morning.
Significant step, I think, but seems pretty routine too.
On Wednesday I had an appointment at Migracion. I met Liz at her office and off we went, after paying for the translation work on our apostilled marriage license and the affidavit from the Consulate affirming that my wife was the same person with her married name as she was with her maiden name.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, we got called into a room that had 4-6 workstations in it. There I was fingerprinted and signed documents. Card should be ready sometime later this week, depending on staffing during Carnival week. The resident temporal card, along with the CURP (unique, randomly assigned idenfication number), will enable me to open a bank account and buy a car, two big items on our to do list.
It feels it has been a fairly routine week. A little sun and pool time in the morning. A little hunting and gathering before or after that. Went to Costco again yesterday and bought another pool floatie, a couple of large, lush pool towels, some towels for the guest bedroom and a couple of pillows for the same.
Our crate of belongings is due to arrive on March 10. Figuring out money transfer things to pay rent on the new, longer-term house we are renting effective May 1. Skype is proving to be a blessing for communicating with the new landlords in Florida, with Fidelity and with family and friends. Staying in touch is a lot easier than when my Dad moved us to Brazil in the early 1960′s (ham radio or long distance calls when you waited for hours for the operator to call you back with the completed connection.)
We have friends from the US coming down for the last 10 days in March. The day after they leave, Kathy starts a Spanish immersion class at Habla, a language school here. I need to find out when the next Spanish for speakers of other languages class starts at UNAM, and get signed up for testing and placement into the appropriate class.
Life is going pretty well. We both seem to be making the initial adjustment without much trauma.
Now for some photos:
View from the back patio
Morning sunlight on back wall glass
Yesterday’s supper, cooking from cans seems tastier here, for now
Living and dining room
More next week
We arrived on the evening of January 30. On the 31st we got moved into our short-term rental, with a three month commitment. Lovely old colonial home. We will be moving into a long-term rental at the end of April, another lovely home two blocks from Parque Santiago and its market and two blocks from the Merida English Library. It is on a nice, quiet street but not far from the action. We might have to start going to the Tuesday night big band dances at Parque Santiago and join the old Mexican couples on the dance floor
We would be happy to stay in this house, but the owner is interested in short-term rentals and we want more stability than a month-to-month arrangement after the end of April. The new house is a three bedroom, three bath with a nice garden and swimming pool. The owners are USA citizens, who after years on the Gulf Coast nearby and in Mérida (and the Dominican Republic before that) have moved back to the states. The current tenants, who are moving to a north Mérida suburb, were full of praise for them. We are looking forward to spending multiple years there.
The adjustment so far has been smooth. I guess one could say we are in the honeymoon period. My Spanish has proven adequate to what we need to do. Some of it comes out like my childhood Portuguese, but the two languages are close. On the 26th I go to immigration to get fingerprinted and to turn in my photos, and shortly thereafter will get my resident temporal card – good for one year with renewals taking it out to four years.
On Friday we went to the US consulate to get an affidavit affirming that the woman I am married to is the same woman with her married name as she was with her maiden name. Our apostilled marriage license and that affidavit are being translated into Spanish. After I get my residency permit, she will get hers, being brought into the same status I have. Until then she is on a 180 day visitante visa. It should all be done by the end of March or early April.
We have shopped at stores large (WalMart and Soriana) and small (the fruit and veggie stand a few blocks away) and at the mega-sized mercado Lucas Galvez. I get cold beer at the Cervefrio in the neighborhood, run by the 68 year old Concepcion whose daughter is there with her on Saturday afternoon and Sundays. Today I asked if it was her sister and they both laughed. The daughter said her mother married at a very young age :). There is an good sized store in the next block that supplies a lot of our needs, but does not have, other than cold cuts and cheese, meat, fish or fruits and veggies. The water guy delivers on Monday, and there is a very civilized three time a week trash pick-up.
We rented a car yesterday for our trip to the consulate, Yucatán Expatriate Services, Costco (pronounced Coastco), and to Walmart, taking advantage of the wheels to stock up some. Driving has not been difficult and we look forward to buying a car in March or April.
We have had our first company, friends from the Caribbean side of the peninsula and a couple from the US who were vacationing there. They stayed at a hotel as we are not equipped for 4 overnight guests, but they were over for an afternoon and we went out to eat with them a couple of times. On Sunday we took them to a state-sponsered artisan shop carrying arts, crafts, foods and clothing made in Yucatán state. The couple from the States were very astonished and pleased at the lack of hard sell tactics they were used to in the Caribbean tourist zone.
That is about it for now. I will end with some photos of our short-term rental and our cat, Flea, who is adjusting very well. He is 18 and seems to think this is an all right retirement home.
One of our lime trees
Bird of paradise
The Cablemas people were here today to install broadband internet access. I selected the midrange speed. WiFi built into the modem they left for me.
I am going to aim for one blog post a week. It has been an eventful three weeks since we arrived and I guess I have some catching up to do, but it is siesta time.
Tomorrow we go to the consulate to get an affidavit saying that Kathy is the same person she was before she got married and changed her name. Feb. 26 to the immigration office for fingerprints.
Kathy is in the pool doing her water exercises and I can see her from the back, screened in patio where I am typing this.
The trip down.
On January 28 we had the apartment move out-inspection and we headed to Laurie’s house to spend the night. Had a good time there, and the following morning we purchased a third large suitcase and Kathy repacked two smaller ones into the big one. We know have 3 large suitcases each containing between 65 and 70 pounds of stuff, one carry-on bag (iLugger) with our 21.5” iMac, two backpacks weighing in at close to 20 pounds each and one cat carrier.
We spent the night before the flight with our good friends Dan and Melody. Dan took us to the airport on Jan. 30, getting us there about 2 1/2 hours before flight time. We had never flown with our cat before, much less internationally with him, so we wanted to make sure we had enough time. We had all kinds of paperwork from our vet, including a form with 5 carbonless carbon copies :). The airline took a couple of them. We headed to the United Club after checking in and spent some time there. Nice environment for an airport. About an hour before the flight we went to the gate area. Kathy and I get to board with the first group of passengers due to her legal blindness. Since we flew down first class that did not make a lot of difference. What did make a difference was the Bloody Mary while we were still at the gate. The shrimp salad and white wine was nice too. Oh, with the first class tickets we got a higher weight allowance per bag (70 pounds) and two checked bags each – so there was no extra charge for our checked luggage.
Flight took off on time and 4 hours later we were in Houston at the gate for the flight to Mérida, an easy two hour hop. In Merida we were diverted to the SEGARPA office – among other things they process live animals being brought into the country. That took about 15 minutes and our vet’s work with the forms was right on target. Then it was on to customs. They noticed the big computer bag and asked what was in there. The customs agent then asked me how much the computer was worth. I said $1,200 US. I ended up paying a $35 duty on it.
Our friend Tom Kuhn was there to pick us up and take us to the home he shares with his wife, Debi Kuhn and their 4 dogs – they are fostering one of the dogs. Flea was happy to get out of the carrier and use the litter box that Debi had provided. They had also picked up a couple of cans of cat food – something Flea Cat Smith really appreciated. Tom and Debi are wonderful, hospitable folks, which will come as no surprise to those of you who know them.
The next morning our rental agent meet us there and took us to the house we had rented. Tom followed with all our gear. The house – Wow, but that is for the next post.
It is good have arrived.
In short, we have been here a week, are getting set up and are doing all right so far.
Yesterday Mayflower’s Matt and Miguel showed up and packed the household goods we are shipping to Mérida. One crate, about 210 cubic feet of our lives, is on the way. We are using Strom White to ship the goods, and Mayflower will deliver the lift-van (big crate) to Strom White’s warehouse in Laredo. Their customs broker will get it across the border and it should arrive within a few weeks.
The schedule for the next 8 days includes:
Shipping a few small things to relatives in the USA
Getting our cat examined and certified for international travel
Moving the rest of our furniture to a sister-n-law’s house. Some of it will go to our nephew and his wife who have just bought their first home and some will stay with Laurie
Get togethers with friends and former colleagues on Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Packing our suitcases, spending a couple of nights with friends and heading to the airport
So far we have accomplished all we have set out to do since deciding to sell our house this past May. It has been hard work. Stay tuned for stories of our accomplishments, frustrations, triumphs and setbacks as we continue along the path to being successful (or not) transplants in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.
We are in pretty good shape for the last 2 1/2 weeks in the USA. Kathy has been in Arizona the past 4 days visiting one of her sisters.
In her absence, I have:
Finished going through boxes of papers, sorting them into recycling and shredding boxes. All but the last box that needs shredded have gone to the shredder.
Ordered the cat’s travel harness, leash and folding litter box.
Prepared two computers for recycling. Have one more to go.
The next big thing will happen next week when the packers/movers arrive to do their thing. The following Saturday the rest of the furniture gets moved to its new owners. After a couple of nights on the air mattress, we spend a couple of nights with friends and then we are off to the airport
It Is Happening.
Received an email from the consulate yesterday. Be here at noon tomorrow with your passport, it said.
So, I went downtown early and stopped by the old workplace. Had a good visit with my former colleagues and set up tentative dates to do orientation / onboarding sessions with the two research analysts that are starting on Monday. Fun times.
At the consulate the visa person took a photo of me, I did a fingerprint scan, we talked about Mexico and our plans there, I went to the cajero and paid the small fee for the US side of the processing and walked out with the residente temporal document attached to my passport. There is still a lot do once we arrive in Mérida and go to the immigration office. In terms of showing documentation of our income and assets that qualify me for this status, it is almost like back to square one. The requirements may be different (showing one year rather than the six months required at the consulate, for example), but I am confident it will go smoothly.
On the sorting and packing front, big progress was made this week, and we are ready to resume tomorrow morning. Kathy leaves on January 9 to visit her sister in Arizona and I think we will be pretty much done by then – except for the bins of papers that I need to sort into recycle boxes and shred boxes. We have some old computer gear to recycle, and I have the mailing labels for them. I just need to get them plugged in, booted up and wipe the hard drives
Onward and forward!!
As we approach the move date of January 30, it is time for a progress report.
I have been back to the consulate, having decided to apply for a residente temporal visa for a retiree. This visa is good for four years. It can be renewed annually, or multiple years can be paid for at the start. Residente Permanente status can be applied for from inside Mexico at the end of the four years. On December 19 I applied for residente temporal status and am waiting to hear back from the consulate to go in for fingerprints and to get the document affixed to my passport. I am supposed to hear in the next few days. If I have not heard by January 2, I will go back to the consulate and check on the progress.
Once I get the permit attached to my visa, I will have six months to make the move, and 30 days after arriving in country to go to the local office of the immigration agency to start the in-country part of the process.
Moving household goods
We are going to move some household goods with us. We have chosen to move overland using Strom White Movers. We are going to limit it to one 7x7x4 crate (referred to as a lift van). We also checked with Linea Peninsular, but getting a load smaller than a 20 foot container to them, having it palletized and moved was more complex.
On January 21, movers are scheduled to arrive at our place in Portland, OR, load the lift van and take it away. It should arrive in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico within 30 days. The cost is estimated to be a bit less than $6,000. That seems like quite a bit, but there are items we want to take with us – some family things, kitchen goods, a little furniture, etc.
We are busy going through the next to last sort. Many things are going to Goodwill, some to family members, some are going in the dumpster. After this sort is finished, there will be one last sort making the final decisions about what to take. We will have a spot the size of the crate marked off the garage and space considerations will enter into the decisions.
Most of the remaining furniture has been spoken for and bought. Some of that – a dining room and bedroom set, our king bed, and some other things will get moved to their new homes the weekend of January 25.
The move down
On January 30 we fly out, Kathy, Flea the cat and me. We will take Flea for his physical and health documents the week of the flight. He had a physical and his annual shots in October, so we think this will be pretty much a formality.
We have rented a house for our first three months in Mérida. It is a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house with an enclosed back room – walls on three sides and a decorative iron back wall with screens that is open to the outside and the pool. It is in the historic center of the city and it has off-street parking for one car. It is on a busy street that is a bus route, but is about 8 blocks from the main square. We will see how it goes. We have the option to extend the lease, but the house is also on the market. Real estate markets move more slowly in Mexico, but that will be a consideration.
Early tasks after we arrive
We will probably need to buy some furniture – the house is partially furnished and we will have a bit of furniture coming down in our crate, but we will need to supplement that with some purchases. The rental agent will arrange for weekly maid and pool service, so that part is done.
I will have 30 days to go to the local office of the immigration agency and go through the in-country part of the process to receive the residency permit.
We plan to buy a car after we arrive. This will be something we will want to get done soon after the final residency permit is granted.
That is about it for now. There will likely be another post before we move, and more frequent ones relating our adventures in moving and getting settled in after we arrive.
I went to the Mexican consulate in Portland today to apply for a residente permanente visa. This may be viewed as roughly equivalent to getting a green card in the USA, I think. I was the second person in line, and after a 15 minute wait I was in.
My retirement income is enough to qualify for permanente, and if I had been receiving it for 6 months or more I would have walked out with the thing affixed to my passport saying I was eligible. Alas, I have not been receiving retirement benefits for that long. I could have received a residente temporal today (good for 4 years, after which one can apply for permanente status), I was told. The other option I discussed with the visa person was going down to Mexico on a 180 day visitante permit (what one usually gets when heading down on vacation via the form filled out on the airplane), returning after I had 6 months of retirement income documented and then get a permanente.
One cannot, I was told upon asking, combine months during which one was working with months during which one was receiving pensions/social security. The Mexican government wants to make sure, I was told, that a continuing retirement income stream would be present to support the visa applicant. Award letters from pension boards and social security were also not sufficient – actual deposits into bank accounts were the only documentation that was acceptable.
One can also qualify based on how much money one has in investments – documented via 12 months of investment/savings account statements. Our retirement assets are heavily tilted toward pensions and social security. We do not have 12 months of investment account balances that meet the minimum required. Balances that have been recently boosted by the sale of real estate would not work – 12 months of statements with a combined balance above the minimum was it.
We are leaning toward coming down on a visitante in late Jan / early Feb and, when we return to visit my mother in July, applying for a permanente. At that point in time I will have the six months of documented pension / social security deposits that exceed the minimum required.
The young woman I dealt with was very personable and professional. She sympathized with our return from a month long trip to Mexico during the winter.