My cry of despair echoed through the empty freeways of Columbus, Ohio as we approached the airport and discovered neither of us had packed the freshly charged child entertainment devices. It was too far from home to return for them. Our fate was settled. We were going on the most strenuous trip of our lives and going without tablets for our young kids: house hunting in Mexico.
My child was throwing up all night and even so, I said to my husband, “this is the worst thing that’s happened so far!”
I often speak in superlatives. Obviously, the health of my children is most important of all, even no tablets during the week we just need to survive.
Have you ever been house hunting? Have you ever gone house hunting in a foreign country? With kids? Have you ever been house hunting in a foreign country with young kids in a very tight timeframe? It’s surprisingly fun. If you like that sort of thing. It turns out that I do like that sort of thing!
House hunt, day 1
Our relocation agent hands me the itinerary on our first morning in Mexico. After a quick glance, I see there are 6 houses on the list. This is so exciting, I think to myself. I don’t have a pen. Instead, I label the first picture of each home with the text tool. It works surprisingly well.
I think I take around 450 photos on day 1. We actually see more than 6 houses total. Maybe we see 8? It’s all a blur. The last house of the day is one so amazing that my husband and I are in awe that it is in our price range.
I lose count of how many places we see on day 2. We have another itinerary on paper, but one house is already rented and we skip it. We also end up changing the order. That is surprisingly confusing and I really can’t keep them straight. It matters less because the houses involved are not my favorites.
But I dream of the final house from day 1. It’s the ONE, if we can get it. My husband tells me his mind is made up before we finish with the second day of house hunting. I agree.
Keep on looking
We skip another house at the end of day 2. We are tired. The kids are tired. I’m sure our amazing relocation agent is also tired. In addition, I’m from the flat lands of Ohio, where a glacier melted a zillion years ago. It’s as flat as my midwestern accent. So being almost 6,000 feet above sea level instead of less than 700 feet is really kicking my behind.
We make our decision
We pick the final house from day 1! And we get it!
It’s Thursday and it is the day we get to do some furniture shopping. Since our minds are made up on the house, we expect our day to be light and easier than the previous days.
How wrong was I? So very wrong. For the kids, today is the worst day so far. The 3 year old didn’t have enough time to fall asleep in the car and that really affected her mood.
Remember this post, where I say try to keep things, like naps on schedule? Sometimes, we are in situations where that is impossible to do. So after much unhappiness at the furniture store and a meltdown of epic proportions at the mall, I bribed my daughter with candy. You know what? It’s okay to do the thing that works when you’re in tough circumstances (as long as it isn’t harmful – and it is my opinion that occasional candy isn’t harmful).
After we eat lunch and a little bit of candy, we get in the car for the drive back to our hotel. Both kids fall asleep. It’s kind of late for naps, but we have dinner plans later with an expat family. And a date with the hotel pool before that.
Thoughts on international house hunting
Our phones didn’t work in Mexico during this trip. Since we forgot the tablets, our phones and a few specific games installed on them for the kids helped us get through the very trying time known as house hunting.
In addition, many restaurants in Mexico have play areas for kids. Some are elaborate. Some of these restaurants are really nice restaurants. In the mall, there was a standalone playground in the food court, but that one cost money to use. We chose to go back to our hotel and use the pool instead.
We survived the trip. In fact, I feel like the trip went the best it could have, given the circumstances. It was so helpful that our relocation agent was very kind to our children. She arranged for our lunches to be in restaurants that had playgrounds inside. She helped with ordering food they would like (they ate fairly American foods – with my daughter having been ill before leaving, she wasn’t eating with her usual robust try-all-the-foods attitude). I ate all the tacos. And I will also branch out once we move there. I cannot reiterate enough how delicious the tacos are in Mexico.
In addition, the houses were gorgeous! I didn’t know what to expect, except maybe colorful tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Have you ever been house hunting in a foreign country? Have you endured some other difficult situation with young kids in tow?
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