Setting Up and Linking In

It’s been a while between posts – I’ve been busy researching this one though, truly.

Having packed up our house and moved to Mexico City with our 8 month old, it took a while to get over the jet-lag and work out what suitcase had what.

Then came the apartment hunt, the race for furniture, and adapting to whole new (non)sleep habits of an active baby.

Then came the loneliness, the isolation, the frustration.  I was struggling.

Having always been an independent, active, ‘fixer’, during this whole process I felt completely powerless.

Prices went north as soon as anyone saw my foreign face or heard my broken spanish, and the cheapest markets were not safe places for me to go.

No furniture, no internet, no part for me to play to get us out of the hole.  So it was just me, in an empty house, with my baby. hand

At times like these at home I’d race off for a coffee with a mum from my group to talk it over with cake and a stroll by the beach.  But they were a long way away, and in a whole other time-zone when I most needed to talk.

What’s more, in a society where so many women still without some very basic rights, I also felt like I couldn’t complain – I had it so much better than most here.  Just-be-grateful.

Sitting at home mulling it all over.  And over.  This wasn’t me.

When our internet finally got connected I went crazy trying to find some support.

Here’s what I found – I hope it’s helpful to anyone else out there in the same situation:

header_logo4-b36da6106baf6e1ef7de1f09861d104b La Liga de La Leche (Equivalent of Australian Breastfeeding Association for fellow Aussies).   mumsMonthly meet-ups for breastfeeding and expectant mums.  Absolute gold!  I met some beautiful Mexican (and some foreign) mums with similar problems to me.  I got to feel that support that comes in a group of mothers.  The facilitators have seen and heard it all before; it’s a real comfort.  The mums there got me more connected.  My new Mexican mum friends told me about home-deliery grocery shopping services.  They insisted I get some help with the housework, told me how much to pay and where to find it.  I learnt about like-new secondhand baby-gear stores…and best of all? – we laughed.  About husbands, mothers-in-law, our bodies, our babies, the expectations we put on ourselves, and those that society does.  It felt good.

Meetup_squareOn Meetup.com I found exercise groups, book-clubs and more mothers groups; on Internations I found afternoon coffee and breakfast clubs with like-minded people.  Through contacts I heard about Facebook groups that focussed on mothering as expats, or where you could buy or sell secondhand gear.

 


 

Finally connected with support, once more with purpose, I felt myself again.  I now had people I could call on those days I just needed to get out for a stroll (even if it wasn’t going to be by the beach this time), to debrief to; fellow expats to tell me where to find multigrain bread and red lentils; and locals just to explain stuff to me.

If you’re setting up in a new city, try searching a few key words in Facebook groups including the city/town name; for mums, find La Liga de La Leche or it’s equivalent; and scroll Meetups for a group that matches a non-baby hobby of yours – like books and wine!

 

 

 

 

The Blog & I

I love writing. I find it a great method of expression. I can’t dance; can’t paint; can’t draw; can’t sing. But I think we all have some way to reconnect with our more spiritual side, and for me writing is that.

But why make it public? I initially started blogging sporadically as part of my business Little Mexican Tienda, to establish more of an identity for the business for my customers. That’s still part of the reason I’m doing this.

Having just moved to Mexico though, blogging also gives me a way to share my experiences with friends, family and to share information with others in the process of relocating their family to Mexico City or anywhere else around the world. It gives me an opportunity to paint a picture of Mexico for those that plan to come, as well as those who prefer to travel from the safety of their armchair.

Even if I sometimes use the blog to complain about the realities of life in Mexico, I love the place. It’s the soul of my small business. It is where I met some of my closest friends, where I studied at university. It’s where I met and married my husband.  And it’s a part of my daughter’s cultural heritage. Over 8 years it has become a part of who I am.

Over the next 12 months I hope to share with readers the highs and lows of my life here. I hope to share yummy food finds, reflections on culture and Mexican ways of viewing the world, and practical advice on living & parenting abroad.

Dec2014 import 416I also hope to document progress of sourcing and creating a whole new range of baby clothing for Little Mexican Tienda. I’ll be using my knowledge as a new mum of what clothing works best, working on products with fair trade collectives here that invest profits back into their communities, and partnering with Aussie stores to bring that clothing to Australian customers.

So there you have it. Let me know your thoughts on what you read, and post any topics you’d like to hear more about or questions you have.

I hope you enjoy the blog.

Don’t Throw Out (all) the Baby Books

Our little Mexican - surviving us somehow!

A first time mum, I was recently told to just, ‘do away with the baby books,’ since I ‘really knew best’ (with my instincts and all). I ought to have been comforted but the comment bothered me – why was … Continue reading

Mexican goodness: Recipe for Agua Fresca

In the spirit of loving all things Mexican, I wanted to share a recipe for what I think is the world’s most refreshing summer drink; Agua Fresca. It translates literally as ‘Fresh Water,’ but for the sake of authenticity (and … Continue reading

Selling and the market-stall

On September 7th The Mexican and I headed to Glebe Markets for our first market day with Little Mexican Tienda.

It was hot and dusty, and election day.  I figured the election would work in my favour, since people were out-and-about whether they liked it or not, but the dry wind was less likely to.

The set-up was surprisingly quick, with mates arriving at a perfect time to be put to work hanging decorations!

It had helped to really think the design and set-up through prior to the day; I’d noted down some great tips on markets from these blogs:

Finders Keepers: 10 Tips Market Stalls

Baby Donkie: Top 5 Tips From a Market-Stall Newbie

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I made good sales, and learned lots.

What worked:

– Having internet on my phone so I could work on the website and business between sales

– The colourful decorations & latin music brought people in and helped them understand the energy of my brand

– The gear!  It was great to see a mix of people enjoy the different product lines, and to see that my hunch that people wanted fun, unique & ethical gifts for babies was right on. I loved seeing so many people grin as they looked through the ‘juansies‘ with messages like, ‘No Hablo Ingles’ and ‘Hay Leche?’ This told me that not only are they a popular product to sell; they’re a gift that will be well-received.

What will work, next time:

– A position that’s more ‘in the thick of it,’ as our spot at Glebe was on the outer edge

– Some products for sale under $10: Little Mexican hair-clips, badges or bibs so I have something for all budgets

– Having discount codes (on business cards) to give out for future internet shopping.  That way every person that comes through the market stall can reconnect with Little Mexican Tienda later, especially if they’re not sure about sizing on the day.  I don’t want to be that pushy salesperson pretending to be your best friend to make a sale.  An initiative like this gives me a way to make sure customers feel valued, and connect with people without doing that!

Tell me, what makes a market-stall work for you as a shall-holder or a customer?

2013-06-29 19.55.372013-06-29 20.12.152013-03-31 21.33.00  2013-06-29 19.33.15

This Month

October is a month of boosting product content on the website, with lots of cute dresses and fun juansies to go up this week.  I’m also going to build my presence on Etsy which seems like a natural home for my products.

And as for markets? I will return to Glebe for sure, but have had a lot of recommendations to try Bondi, so keep an eye on the Market Dates page for updates later this month.

On a more sombre note…

You may have seen media coverage on severe floods and storms in Mexico in late September, affecting around 1 million people.

If you would like to help you can donate via the American Red Cross here, they’re partnering with the Mexican Red Cross to get sorely needed food, first aid, & cooking utensils to communities isolated by storm and flood damage.

Small business tricks – ensuring things are done (not perfect)

Small business tricks – ensuring things are done (not perfect)

Little Mexican Tienda goes to market After months of putting the business together, I’m ready to go to my first market on September 7th at Glebe Markets. Now when I say ready, there a million and one things I would … Continue reading