WiFi Woes: What to do when everything isn’t perfect

I wish I could write that moving to Mexico has been smooth sailing. That everything has been perfect and wonderful and according to plan. But, that would be a lie.

You see, we still don’t have WiFi.

As much as I love Mexico, my first month here hasn't been without its challenges. Primarily, our WiFi woes.

Image Credit: Scott Webb (Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)

WiFi Woes

Earlier this week, Taylor and I spent two hours in line at the customer service desk of our (someday) internet service provider. We signed a contract with Megacable on Nov. 1 but have yet to hear anything regarding a definite installation date.

The customer service associate told us we could expect installation to occur sometime within the 17 days following our signup date.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Okay, 17 days sucks, but you’ll survive. You don’t need Netflix to live!”

It’s much more than simply streaming our favorite tv shows. Without WiFi, we aren’t able to work. Yes, a big part of teaching English online is being online.

The WiFi situation has been frustrating to say the least. It’s forced us to rent an Airbnb, cancel classes and reevaluate our finances. Not exactly what we had in mind for our first month in Mexico.

As much as I love Mexico, my first month here hasn't been without its challenges. Primarily, our WiFi woes.
Image Credit: Thomas Verbruggen

Attitude Adjustment

Leaving the Megacable office, we both felt incredibly down. Our efforts to contract service with other companies have been fruitless. At one point, we had an installation appointment with a company called Wizz only to receive a call an hour before the technician was scheduled to show up and learn our area didn’t have coverage.

We were and still are out of options. All we can do is wait and hope that Megacable contacts us. Our 17 days ends this Saturday.

I don’t care if this sounds dramatic, but this situation has left me feeling pretty hopeless at times. My absolute lowest was when Taylor asked me if we were going to have to move back to Michigan.

Before I could answer, “F*CK THAT” flashed in my mind like a giant neon sign.

Not everything was going to be easy. I knew that, and I still wanted to move to Mexico. I was fully aware that there would be bumps in the road. Ups and downs.

Yet, I encountered the first hardship and forgot all that. Time for an attitude adjustment.

When you decide to follow your dreams, you better be ready to take the good with the bad. Despite what your favorite travel blogger might post on Instagram, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

As much as I love Mexico, my first month here hasn't been without its challenges. Primarily, our WiFi woes.
Image Credit: Mark Adriane

Moving Forward

I don’t know when we’re going to get WiFi. It could be tomorrow. It could be Saturday. It could be never.

What I do know is that I’m going to embrace this and whatever other challenges come my way. I don’t have to like it, but I can acknowledge it as part of my experience and, in doing so, feel a little bit better.

Have you ever moved abroad? If so, what challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?

How I Found an Apartment in Querétaro, Mexico

Finding an apartment in Querétaro turned out to be a lot harder than I’d anticipated.

In the weeks leading up to our departure, I actually told Taylor I was looking forward to apartment hunting! Can you believe that?! I figured that after the nightmare that was the Madrid rental market looking for an apartment in Querétaro would be a breeze.

I was wrong.

Here is everything I have to about how to find an apartment in Querétaro, Mexico! Suerte!

Image Credit: Mario Rodriguez (Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette)

Finding an Apartment in Querétaro

During our search, we utilized a variety of sources (some successful, some not):

  • The internet. In Madrid, Idealista displays the majority of apartments for rent. However, of the websites most commonly used in Mexico (Segundamano, Vivanuncios, Trovit, Lamudi), none come close to Idealista’s user-friendliness. It was difficult to tell where in the city many properties were located as many owners neglected to include even general location markers.
  • Pounding the pavement. When the internet came up short, we decided to hit the streets. In Madrid, you could hardly walk a block without seeing a Se Alquila (For Rent) sign. I booked an Airbnb in the heart of the city center for just this purpose. Certainly we’d see something while we were out walking! Nope. Taylor and I canvased the neighborhood for hours without so much as seeing a single Se Renta sign (in Mexico, they use a different verb).
  • Newspapers. Trying to stay positive, I suggested we pick up a newspaper and check out the classifieds. That’s how people used to do it, right? For 10 pesos, we bought a copy of the Diaro de Querétaro. Sitting on a park bench in Alameda Hidalgo (Querétaro’s main city park), we started circling ads to call. Unlike the websites, the majority of properties listed were located in the center. We saw the first property we called, and although it ended up not being the one, our spirits were lifted.
Here is everything I have to say on how to find an apartment in Mexico! Suerte!
One of Querétaro’s many beautiful plazas! Image Credit: Alejandro

My wishlist

During our final months in Madrid, Taylor and I loved imagining our future home in Querétaro. After two years in a 45m2 apartment, we’d learned to live modestly. Our wishlist was far from extravagant:

  • Located in the city center. Since we don’t have a car, we needed to be located within walking distance of…well, pretty much everything.
  • Separate work spaces. Since Taylor and I both work from home, we needed space for our offices. Because we teach English online, sharing a single work space was out of the question.
  • Outdoor space. In Madrid, I suffered from major balcony envy. In our new home, I wanted an outdoor area where we could sit and enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.
  • Furnished. I wanted to be able to unpack my bags and get right down to enjoying la vida méxicana. Our furnished apartment in Madrid made life so easy!
  • An oven. I said many sad goodbyes in Madrid but bidding farewell to our two-burner stove top was not one of them. I should be able to make cookies when I feel like it!
Here is everything I have to say on how to find an apartment in Mexico! Suerte!
The colors and architecture give this city such a cool vibe! Image Credit: Alejandro

Compromises

The very first place we saw was unfurnished, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it was terrifying. The thought of furnishing an entire apartment (especially without reliable transportation) overwhelmed me. I told Taylor I only wanted to consider furnishing a place as a last resort.

Several showings later, we saw a furnished apartment. It was horrible. The mattress was lumpy and dirty. The dishes were mismatched and cracked. The tv was a hulking relic that took up half the living room.

The Querétaro rental market has few furnished apartments to offer, and the ones that it does have (within our budget) are hardly places I would ever seriously consider living. When the owner suggested we simply flip the mattress over, I decided I was ready to take the leap and furnish a place.

Here is everything I have to say on how to find an apartment in Mexico! Suerte!
Templo San Jose de Gracia is located in the heart of Querétaro. Image Credit: Traveling Otter

Our New Home

After an unsuccessful showing, Taylor and I were walking back to our Airbnb and decided to stop for a drink. When the server brought our cervezas, I told him we’d had a long and difficult day of apartment hunting. He sympathized with us because it had taken him a year to find his apartment in the city center.

A year?! And I thought booking a second week in an Airbnb would be extreme!

The server, Eduardo, said he knew a place we might be interested in. The apartment next door to his friend was for rent. He said we seemed like good people and would ask his friend for more details.

Eduardo put us in contact with his friend, Paulina. Paulina, in turn, put us in contact with the owner of the apartment. Without ever even having met us, Paulina told the owner that we were her friends. We saw the place Oct. 21.

It was and still is perfect. We’ve been living in our new home for a week. Minus coming furnished, it met all the criteria on my wishlist. Pictures to come!

Have you ever house hunted abroad? What challenges did you encounter? Let me know in the comments below! 

La vida méxicana: My first two weeks in Mexico

Today marks two weeks in Mexico! I’ve hardly had time to breathe let alone blog. Setting up life in a new country is, in fact, rather time consuming!

first two weeks pin

Image Credit and Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette

On Oct. 18, Taylor and I flew from Detroit to Mexico City. The four-hour flight seemed like nothing compared to the trans-Atlantic trips we almost got used to during our time in Spain.

Once in Mexico City, we collected our bags (just one suitcase and two backpacks each) and hopped on a bus to Querétaro. The journey took three hours, and we checked into our Airbnb around 5 p.m.

At dinner that night, we toasted finally being in Mexico. I’ll never forget that feeling. Mexico, Mexico, Mexico. We’ve been talking about it since January. Then, it just seemed like a far off idea. Now, it’s here. We’re here.

Highlights

Everyone is so nice. Our second day here, I told Taylor that more people had been nice to me already than had been during our entire two years in Spain. It was a joke then, but after two weeks in Mexico, it could quite possibly be true. From our Airbnb hosts to the waitstaff at restaurants to the dude who sold us chicken at the market, people have been open and kind. Many have not only welcomed us but offered help.I’m not sure if it’s cultural or simply the difference between living in a country’s capital versus a “smaller” city. Whatever it is, it’s reaffirmed our decision to move here.

Shopping at markets. I’ll admit that I kind of freaked out when I found out the closest grocery store is nearly a mile walk from our apartment. However, I’m quickly adjusting thanks to the country’s fantastic market culture. At first, the markets can be a bit overwhelming. But once you get the general lay of the land, you can find everything you needand so much more. Our purchases have ranged from chicken and fruit to desks and glassware.

Chicken at Mercado de la Cruz.
Chicken at Mercado de la Cruz.

The food. Tacos, enchiladas, tamales, pozole, ceviche, mole, quesadillas, frijoles, tortillas, huevos rancheros. On more than one occasion during my first two weeks in Mexico, a dish has been placed in front of me, and upon tasting it, I wondered if I had died and gone to heaven. Oh, and the prices! Just this week, Taylor and I had a delicious breakfast and fantastic service for $8 USD. That’s including the tip!

These tasty rolls and melon balls preceded my huevos rancheros.
These tasty rolls and melon balls preceded my huevos rancheros.

Challenges

Delayed contract signing. Just three days into apartment hunting, we found an amazing place. Location, size, price: It ticked nearly all our boxes. We saw it on Saturday afternoon and called the owners Saturday night to tell them we wanted it. I was eager to share the news with family and friends but wanted to hold off on doing so until we signed the contract. So, I waited. And waited. And waited. Despite having met with the owners on several occasions, we still have yet to sign anything. In fact, we won’t be signing the contract until Nov. 1—which also happens to be the day we’re supposed to move in! At first, I was nervous that the deal would fall through, but I now understand that this is simply how things are done in Mexico: lentamente (slowly).

Long, leisurely lunches kept me sane during the whole apartment process.
Long, leisurely lunches kept me sane during the whole apartment process.

Furnishing an apartment. I said the apartment ticked nearly all our boxes. It didn’t tick the “furnished” box. When planning our move to Querétaro, we hoped to find a furnished apartment during our first two weeks in Mexico. In Madrid, many apartments (if not the majority) are furnished. It makes life easier for expats trying to relocate. However, this just isn’t the case in Querétaro. Even if an apartment is “furnished”, that generally doesn’t include a refrigerator, washing machine or microwave. Additionally, the furnished apartments we saw had really beat up furniture which we would have most likely wanted to replace.

After spending an afternoon checking prices of appliances and other household necessities, we decided to take the plunge and furnish a place ourselves. It’s been a challenge in the sense that it’s not something we were expecting to do, but since we decided to take it on, we’ve been enjoying it. Although we’ve lived together for several years, it’s the first home Taylor and I will furnish together. Who knew buying a fridge could be so much fun?!

A quick pic before we boarded our flight to Mexico City!
A quick pic before we boarded our flight to Mexico City!

 

Have you ever moved abroad? What were the highlights and challenges of the first two weeks in your new country?