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Why I Cried the First Day in Vallarta

Paco Ojeda inspired me to write about the first day of life in Vallarta when he proposed that question to his audience.

If you haven't seen Paco's Coffee & Headlines and you live or want to live in Vallarta, you'll love his informative, funny, positive news show. He translates PV news into English for all us English-speaking Gringos, including teaching interesting information about Mexico's culture.

overview of the decision

In May of 2016 we vacationed in Puerto Vallarta (my first time) - after 4 days we felt the desire to move to this magical place. Details of the decision are here.

six months later

We hopped in our car in snowy Chicago with our two greyhounds Asha and Kai, luggage on the roof and headed south to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, our new home.

I wrote about the drive and have many photos in a few articles... something craaaazy occurred every day.

Kathleen Naomi wearing white

first day

At approximately 5pm on December 12, 2016, we drove into Puerto Vallarta, our new home! It was surreal after six months of preparation and 5 days of driving.

Once we got the keys to our empty, unfurnished house, we headed to a local Mariscos (seafood) place for dinner with friends.

By dusk we were back at the house and it was time to take the dogs for a walk. We hadn't gone far when Kai growled and I was startled to see a loose pitbull. My skirt was long and when I quickly tried to pull Kai away from the dog, I tripped on my skirt and fell on the uneven sidewalk, landing on my hand. The pitbull was friendly though my hand was bruised, swollen and bleeding. I didn't pack a first aid kit for Todd and I. I DID however, think about our dogs and had a very large bag of first aid items for them - haaaahaaaa. Their natural skin healer, Resq Organics and Arnica worked perfectly for my hand.

It had been a long day of driving and we were more than exhausted. We laid out the blow-up mattress we brought, a small blanket and two pillows. And with the dog beds close by, got ready to crash for the night.

As I looked around, I felt a very heavy feeling in my heart. It was the first time I questioned the decision to move to Mexico - my first day in our new home! Up until this point I had only felt excitement.

The house was dusty, empty, dark and I was cold. There was no heat in the house. The one small blanket did not cover us both. My hand hurt, there were geckos running around in the house which freaked me out a little. There was an inch of space under the doors that opened to the outside - what other critters would crawl in during the night?

I cried. I missed my family and familiarity of Chicago. I had moved to several states in the US, but this was different - we were now living in a foreign land where we didn't speak the language. I felt alone and scared, even though Todd and the dogs were next to me. Why did we do this? Were we crazy? I hated the dusty cold house and strange creatures roaming around.

Meanwhile, these are my husband's thoughts... 'I'm excited about our new home!'... zzzzzz snore snore zzzz.

day 2, a new day

It's a new day, I made it through the cold dark night! Plus no critters came crawling under the door that I know of.

First things first - clean the house. Where do we buy cleaning supplies? We didn't have internet or Mexico phone service, so we couldn't do a google search. We'd seen a Walmart as we drove into PV the night before, so we headed there. (In the next six months, we would find several places much closer that had cleaning supplies - it's all a learning experience).

Our shipment of things were scheduled to arrive that afternoon (chuckle chuckle) - we'll see. We didn't have our hopes up. We'd heard that in Mexico a schedule usually means mañana... maybe tomorrow, maybe in a week, maybe never.

It was early afternoon when I heard a large moving truck pull up outside - OUR THINGS WERE HERE! I did a happy happy dance! I highly recommend our movers, Strom White Movers.

As our furniture and boxes trickled into the house... the energy of the house started to come alive - our stuff made the house feel familiar and like home. Does everything have energy? I absolutely knew this to be true on this very day.

After unpacking a few boxes, we drove to Carls Junior for lunch. Even though I hadn't had a Carls Junior in years, it was a familiar memory from the U.S. and I was never so happy to eat a hamburger and fries. The comfort it provided from back home is still a fond memory and always will be.

the transition took longer than i thought

I had strong moments of sadness for a few weeks. I hadn't felt this uneasy since my first big move from my small home town to a large city in Texas at the age of 18. I missed family and friends, missed the familiarity of knowing where to find things (such as Japanese rice, hard taco shells, licorice, organic cleaners), and missed being able to go anywhere and understand what people were saying. Not speaking Spanish was definitely not easy.

After about two weeks, that feeling went away (well 85% of the time). Hey, family and friends can visit! We can visit family and friends! We'll figure out where to shop for food, glassware, furniture, etc.! We can learn Spanish!

We were looking forward to meeting people from around the world.

We live in PARADISE!

Have you had a similar experience? Have any questions about moving to Mexico? Let me know, would be happy to answer questions.


Kathleen Naomi


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