Not Plan A.

This week we have lived in Tijuana for six months.  It has been quite the adventure.  Some of it has NOT gone according to what I planned, but that isn't a bad thing. 
We will call my expectations Plan A. 
Here is what Plan A looked like:
  1. Learn Spanish.  It can't be that hard, I will pick it up in no time.  I took Spanish in High School.  Give me a few weeks.
  2. Go to church in Spanish.  See item #1.  It won't be a big deal to go to church in Spanish...no problem.
  3. I don't think that we will go into San Diego very often.  Why would we need to go into San Diego?  We should be able to get everything we need right here in Tijuana.  After all, we work for the State Department, and there are people in Africa that go grocery shopping and are fine, we can certainly make it in Tijuana.  We don't need San Diego.
  4. Hang out with all the other moms here and be BFF's.
  5. Get a nanny/cleaning lady.
  6. Save money.
  7. Don't drink the water.  Don't eat/drink/whatever you call it -- the ice.
  8. Learn how to sew and cook and clean and be crafty in all of the free time that I would find because of item #5.
Here is a little bit of my reality.  I realize that as I type this, and you read this, there are people that are judging me.  I would have judged me six months ago as well.  Let me tell you this, for me, moving to Tijuana has been a lot like having kids.  People will tell you how wonderful it is, then they will tell you how hard it is, then they stare off into space and mumble something, say "good luck", and walk away quickly before you can ask any questions.  It's like that, you can't explain how it is unless you've lived it. 
Sometimes you wonder why it is you did it.  Other times, you can't believe how lucky you are.  Then there are the moments that you wonder why other people haven't warned you about certain things.  The most frustrating can be when someone asks you what it is like, not being able to explain it properly because you just have to experience it to know.  Then the people who haven't done it yet look at you like your crazy and doing it all wrong because they know best, and they would do it totally differently when they have the opportunity.  It is a vicious cycle.  The judger becomes the judged.  It just happens.  The cycle usually starts with a statement like- "I would never..."

Here is what life has come to here in Tijuana for us. 

This is Plan (not) A:
  1. My Spanish is much better than it was when we arrived.  I have more vocabulary and I understand a lot more.  I don't have a lot of time to study, nor much of a desire.  I might be missing out on an opportunity, but I am also realistic in my expectations were totally off base.  I have not given up completely, but my time is spent with two precious Angels, and one stud muffin that makes my heart sputter.
  2. Church.  Oh church.  We went to a Spanish speaking church for almost six months.  In that six months both Ben and I were given callings (responsibilities) with the youth.  It was frustrating.  They had higher expectations for my Spanish skills than I did.  They would change the dates of activities and not tell us.  We would show up on the wrong day, and no one would be there.  We would wait and wait and wait.  Then they would be frustrated with us when we didn't show up.  I wasn't getting anything out of the meeting.  I felt myself losing my religion.  (Remember the judgmental comment?)  We are now going across the border.
  3.  I love San Diego, remember?  It is a little piece of heaven right here on earth.  I am not kidding.  San Diego is the first place that both Ben and I have been that we would BOTH live here forever.  I love grocery shopping in the States; we can get whatever we need.  I love going shopping, to the beach, to the mall, to Sea World, to the Zoo.  Really.  I love it.
  4. Since San Diego is so close, most everyone just does their own thing.  It's just the way it is.  We do get together every once in awhile to hang out, but not like I thought.  I do have one great friend here, and in my humble opinion, I just need one good friend wherever I live.
  5. We do have a cleaning lady.  Actually we have two.  Each lady comes once a week.  We asked one if she would like to have a few more days to watch the kids for a few hours.  We gave her a day to try it out, and it was miserable.  We came home and she said that our kids were terrible (apparently in Spanish it is not as harsh, but terrible is terrible), and it was too much work.  We will keep looking, however because the border is so close, it is not cheap.
  6. Okay, we are able to save a little bit, but remember #3?  Sea World, the Zoo, grocery shopping, Target, Anthropologie, J. Crew, it is all here within just a few miles of the border.  Doesn't work well with trying to save money, but it does work well with trying to fill our closet that is HUGE.
  7. We don't drink the water out of the tap, but we do just about everything else with it.  Ice usually isn't a problem because a lot of restaurants use ice made with clean water.
  8. Really?  Remember the cake?  That is not going well, and I am trying to find new talents to work on.  Like being a good mother, because we don't have a nanny, I don't have a lot of free time.  I like it that way though (well, most days).  The little guys and I have great adventures, and they think mac-and-cheese or chicken nuggets make fine meals.  On special occasions, they get grilled cheese. 
Even though my expectations pretty off, I still really like it.  It has been fun to live here, and I absolutely love our house.  I love that so many people have visited us.  I love the food here, especially the tacos more than almost anything else.  There are o many amazing restaurants! 
Moving here has been really good for me.  The last six months have been a time of learning and growing.
I have learned to adapt my expectations. 
I have learned a lot about myself. 
I am happy.


Janalu said...

It's true. You only need 1 good friend where you live, the rest is gravy. And Spanish is so overrated:)

Crystal said...

Emily, Thanks for stopping by my blog to encourage me : ) I will add you to my blog list and would love to keep up with your adventure as well! I am glad to here that you are doing well after six months. God Bless you~ Crystal

Z. Marie said...

You know, expectations are such difficult things. You never know how it will be until you've tried it, and your experience in a different time (even in the same place) can vary so much.

Emily Horrocks said...

I love your little 6 month report...it sounds like this was a wonderful move for you guys and you've really grown a lot.

I just wish we could come visit!!


Just US said...

I always envision the super green grass too and then whenever I get to where I am going wonder who stuck the muck in my way :) I am glad to hear you are adjusting though and have made your expectations work for you.

Bfiles said...

I love this reality check and think it is so on target. Thanks for sharing it with us. I think that spending time in the US, in a place that makes you happy, is totally great. It's one of the things that appeals to me about border posts- you get a little bit of both worlds. Nothing wrong w that.

Camille said...

What a great post! You tell those Judgey McJudgersons to kiss your trash! :)

Rebekah said...

I think that when we get "Plan A" Heavenly Father says "Oh Yeah?" and laughs and throws us HIS plan...

David L. said...

This hit home on so many levels. Though in all honesty, I tried not to create any expectations; I guess I just never wrote them out but they were lingering in my mind.

Bryn said...

Oh how I wish I was close to a Whole Foods! This week is our 6 months of living in Mexico also. What a change it has been.....and I have met ZERO of my expectations!

Jill said...

The greatest thing about life is that it takes twists and turns and surprises you in all different ways.

So glad to hear that all is going well with you - even if it isn't Plan A.

Connie said...

It is good to set expectations, but even better to live in reality! I've learned that reality at post, is a totally different reality than at home, and each post is different from another. I can be a little jealous when I read another blog about someone who has their act together and is accomplishing all of MY expectations ...jealous in a good way... I am happily impressed with folks who manage do what I want, but can't. However, I also keep in mind that they are not busy living my GOOD life, and I wouldn't trade for anything :) .

Julio y Paulina said...

6 months already? let me tell you girl, congratulations!!! Lol!!!

Something that I dont get is...why did they give you guys llamamientos (callings) at church?? first, you must to improved the language and then have duties in there, because, of course...the language always will be a problem....mmmm....But good to hear that tu español es mejor ahora que antes!!

don´t give up!