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I created this Frequently Asked Questions to guide my supporters and to answer a few of your questions. Any new questions I get I will add to this page. Last updated 12/28/2018.
Black. 32 years old. female. Self-employed. Immigrant or Expat. Lives in
Ciudad de Mexico Mérida, Mexico now. Tall. Model size. Lived in 10 different cities in the US and China and Mexico AND Guatemala. Adventurous. Introvert. Playful. Focused. Ambitious. Hustla. Passionate. Strong willed. Determined. Independent. Working on my Español.
I started this blog to encourage my Black brothers and sisters to go out and explore the world. Break the stereotype of “Black folks don’t do this or that”…
My name is Elyse Robinson and I am born and raised in sunny Sacramento, California. I lived there until I was 22 years old and moved to Boston for my first federal job. Throughout my years as a federal employee, I have lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Tucson, Arizona. I have a degree in accounting and worked as an Auditor for a few years prior to my move abroad.
I am now
31 32 years old and living permanently in Mexico City, Mexico. I know enough Spanish but I’m getting better every day with practice. I am self-employed and do a wide range of things to make ends meet here. But I don’t have to work as hard as I did back in Amerikkka as it’s so cheap to live here. My life is fun and enjoyable now…something I’ve always dreamed of.
What made you choose Mexico City?
Truth be told. After coming back from China, I realized I only knew english and how much of a handicap that was. Wasn’t going back to China after my mother passed away because I was just too vulnerable and needed my family and they needed me. I also wanted the option to fly back and forth quickly and cheaply. So I thought I should learn Spanish…one of the most spoken languages in the world.
I was originally supposed to go to Ecuador and me being selfish again was to leave while my mother was still alive. But of course, The Lord laughs at your plans. My mother passed away the day before I was to leave for Ecuador. Funny because she did not want me to go at all. I couldn’t afford another ticket as that wasn’t in my budget. I also wasn’t waiting around for the refund from United as that took months. I had to wait for the death certificate to get the refund.
So, I had thousands of Southwest points and I knew they went to Spanish speaking countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic). I looked and saw that flying to Mexico City used the least amount of points and was only 1.5 hours away from Houston by plane on a direct flight. Mexico speaks Spanish right? Funny as I’ve lived on the border twice (San Diego, Tucson) and never stepped foot in Mexico. All I heard was bad stories! I was also overwhelmed at the border in San Diego when I had to go there to obtain my SENTRI card. Little did I know that I would end up loving this place.
Can you believe I never heard of Mexico City before I bought my plane ticket? I bought my plane ticket. I then found a place to live through AirBnB and found a language school. My first Airbnb rental was in the ghetto and not close to any major attractions or public transportation so that’s why I ended up leaving a month and a half in. BUT I chose it because the reviews for the host were phenomenal. She took me around the neighborhood, showed me how to use the public transportation system, and just gave me the confidence to go out and explore.
In closing, I took all my savings and came out here on a hope and dream. I HAD to make it work. I’ll be here a year next month and can’t believe it one bit!
How did you move to Mexico City?
See the answer above.
How is living in Mexico City?
I love it here or I would have left right? How can I describe Mexico City? It’s like Los Angeles or New York (I’ve never been to NYC even after living in Boston so I’m just going off what other people say) or San Francisco. It’s like living there but without all the negativity of race issues and knowing you are Black everywhere you go. Here I feel free.
Mexico City has everything you can think of. From museums to schools, to shows (ballet, wrestling, bullfighting), to restaurants, to daily free events, you name it Mexico City has it. The weather is usually great. There is a rainy season from about May to September and it storms at night for a few minutes and clears up. I love it though and listen to the thunder. Yes, it does get cold at night so I compare the weather to living in Los Angeles. Nice during the day, but cold in the morning and night. Mexico City is not near a beach!!! It is surrounded by mountains which makes it even more beautiful. I honestly can’t think of a con of living here.
Do you feel safe there?
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world! Like any big city, you have to know where not to go and practice precautionary measures. Crime can happen anywhere. But I feel safer here than the states just because of the race issues back home. I’ve never felt unsafe at all and people are helpful and friendly here.
How are you treated there?
Like a queen! I’ve gotten free things just for being Black. When you walk in the door everyone wants to help you and talk to you. I’m treated with respect and people are SO patient with me since I can’t speak Spanish. You are also treated like a woman here. I’ve had men go out of their way to help me. I’ve never felt discriminated against here.
What does your housing look like?
My studio apartment is furnished with essentials and right by a major train and bus station. A weekly housekeeper that cleans my apartment from top to bottom and washes my clothes. Internet, electricity, and water included. Handyman on-site Mon-Sat which fixes things and takes my garbage out for me. I scaled down A LOT but my life is better. I can always move into something bigger later. Check out the video I made:
How do you get around?
There is Uber here (and another company called Cabify which I’ve never used) which is very cheap compared to the US. They also have taxis everywhere. I don’t think I’ve spent over $10 for an hour ride and 15 km. There is also a very extensive public transportation system here with buses and subways. Taking the bus and train is very cheap here. 6 pesos for the bus and 5 pesos for the train and as long as you don’t leave the loading areas for both you can ride it with many transfers for that price.
Do you speak Spanish?
Nope! I took Spanish for like 10 days in the 7th grade. My understanding has gotten better and my speaking is still pretty much nonexistent. But I study 3 hours per day most days (see below).
How hard is it to live there without knowing Spanish?
Actually not hard at all. Some people never learn it at all! You know how people come to the US and never learn english. A lot of people know enough english to understand what you are saying. Make sure you speak proper english and don’t use slang and idioms. If someone doesn’t know english, they will find someone that does for you! I have to tell people all the time tell me in Spanish and do not speak english to me! They want to practice their english.
What did you do before you moved to Mexico City?
I was an Auditor for the US Federal Government. The last place I “officially” worked was for the Air Force in Tucson, AZ. I had a good life but knew I wanted to leave the US eventually so had been working on that plan. But so much for my plan…but things do just line up when it’s time.
Yes, I have a degree in accounting and I’ll probably never use it again. But that’s a story for another day…
How do you make a living in Mexico?
Ha! I do all kinds of “hustles” but my main thing is FOREX. That buys me too much time in my day. I don’t turn down anything since I have so much time in my day to make money. $20 is half my grocery bill for the week so I just can’t. I have an idea for an online store so stay tuned for that.
Check out my post on financing your life abroad.
Why do Mexicans want to come to the US?
I actually get this one a lot. I can’t answer this question definitely. I think the media portrays a lot of negativity that just isn’t true (right along with the terrible image of Mexico). Yes, it’s true that some come for a better life because their lives were harder in Mexico. It’s also true that many come for a change of life too just like I did here in Mexico City. I’ll just leave it at that.
Where can I take great Spanish lessons?
I highly recommend Antiguena Spanish Academy in Guatemala. I did a 3 month homestay in Antigua with a private teacher. You can look around my site for the adventures I had in Guatemala.
How much money did you bring to Mexico City?
Eh give or take about $10,000 I had saved up. That lasted me about 6 months and I honestly was overspending on things since I was so excited and everything was new to me. I had to do all the “touristy things”. I probably could have gone a year. No regrets.
What about the visa process?
One reason why I chose Mexico was the easy visa process. You can come on a tourist visa for 6 months, leave and come back for another 6 months, rinse and repeat. The resident visa process is also simple. Go to your local consulate website for more information.
How long have you been in Mexico City?
Almost a year! Can’t believe it…it just flew by. I arrived on November 26, 2016.
Are you a permanent resident?
I am NOT a citizen. I AM a permanent resident which is called a “Green Card” back in the states. I can apply for citizenship in 5 years unless Mexico changes the laws.
I know this post was long…but now I can just direct people to this post and save my breath. If I STILL haven’t answered your question then by all means leave a comment and I will answer it.