three things I brought that I shouldn’t have, 3 things I wish I’d brought that I didn’t and a bunch of things that I got right

three things I brought that I shouldn’t have, 3 things I wish I’d brought that I didn’t and a bunch of things that I got right

Moving to Mexico requires a lot of planning and a fair bit of packing. Well, I guess that depends on how you’ll be arriving. During my years of living here, I have met people who have literally shipped everything they owned in crates.

I have also met people who mule (themselves) their personal treasures from their “abroad home” back to Mexico via their suitcase. I have also met a fair share of folks who did what I did, which was to sell nearly everything and pack only a few bags to make the permanent move.

There are advantages and disadvantages to making the move with crates, via your suitcase over the years, or just by simply packing one time and selling everything that didn’t make the Mexico list. If you’re wondering about items that maybe should be on the list versus what can be left behind, I will share my lists with you. Yes, lists as in plural.

3 things I brought and wished I didn’t

Hair products. As a woman, I packed my blow dryer, curling iron, straightening iron and a wand that is a combination blow dryer/ curling iron.

What a waste of used space! In my 13 years here I have never used any of them, and to be honest, can’t even tell you if they still work. Do I still have them? I do. You want them?

I moved to the Caribbean sea side where “beach” is the theme and the extreme humidity reminds you of that every day. There is not a chance on this side of the planet that a curling iron is going to produce a curl to last more than a few minutes.

As for the blow dryer, I used it once to help with the removal of a sticker.

Makeup. I even bought new stuff to bring with me and after a few months, it ALL went in the garbage! The humidity here is extreme. Foundation literally melts off. Mascara never dries. Blush isn’t required because after a while, you simply end up with a natural tan. As for the eye makeup, it’s not possible to live here without sunglasses. Your eyes are always covered, and if they’re not, they should be.

Again, this is a beach town where natural “wash and go” is the style for everyone.

The third thing I brought and truly regret were my heels. Yep, they made the Mexico list and honestly, they shouldn’t have. I did wear them for a stretch when I finally became a permanent resident and worked in an office for two years, but they were only worn in the office. Mexico sidewalks are, well, uneven to say the least, and anything but flat shoes are deadly.

3 things I didn’t bring but wished I did

Bedsheets. Good bed sheets are hard to find here locally. Really good bed sheets are even harder to find. The sheets sold in stores here are a polyester blend. Polyester plus heat equals a lot of sweating.

You need cotton sheets here to survive the hot nights, especially during the summer months. Stores sell the polyester blends because they’re less expensive, which makes them affordable for the locals.

Also, the bed sizes are different. A queen sized mattress in Mexico is smaller than a queen sized mattress in the rest of North America. If you’re moving here, I suggest buying both your bed and sheets locally. You can find really good quality sheets here online for really great prices.

Toolbox. I had a great toolbox when I moved from Canada. It got left behind then eventually given away. You can buy tools here of course, good brand named tools, but I wished I would have made some effort to bring a few special pieces with me.

More original paperwork. If you’re started your immigration process, then you already know everything in Mexico has to be an original. I did okay in bringing a majority of the original paperwork with me that I needed, but I left some behind that I wish I would have stuffed inside a book or something to have here. Mostly, university diplomas.

I have never needed them for any legal purpose, but for personal reasons, I kick myself for not putting them on my Mexico list.

A bunch of things I did bring and use to this day (13 years later!)

Cookware! If you have specific cookware that you’re uncertain about, bring it! Before I made the move, I went shopping in Cancun stores to see what was available. Back then, everything was Teflon and / or super cheap aluminum.

I removed two large bunches of clothes and replaced that space with my stainless steel cookware. I’ve never regretted it! I also brought quality cooking utensils, knives and small appliances with me.

Small appliances also made my list. Again, back then, things like blenders and toasters in Cancun stores were super cheap. I still use the ones I brought with me 13 years ago.

A winter jacket. Yep, you read that right. An actual winter jacket from Canada. It’s a short waist-length coat of medium density meant for Fall weather, but for here, it’s been a lifesaver during our cold snaps.

Xmas ornaments. If you celebrate Christmas and are seriously attached to your annual decorations, consider packing them. I brought mine. Not all of them, but just the tree decorations and I was always glad I did. Unpacking them each year offered a sense of familiar, something I appreciated the longer I lived here.

Also, decorations were pretty pricey here and the selection, not so great. That has changed a lot over the years. Now, the stores are filled with all sorts of Christmas decorations in all price ranges. Everyone from the major brick-and-morter shops to the dollar stores carry them along with a selection of over-priced specialty shops.

Books and dvds were a life saver for me! Moving here and not knowing the language left me feeling very lonely, so I often turned to books and movies in English. Again, 13 years ago, cable television was only in Spanish and there were no used bookstores to shop from, nor were there any online shopping sources. I still have my dvds and now, a wicked book collection in English.

While the dvds are pretty much extinct these days, books are not. If you are like me with a book in your pocket no matter where you go, consider removing all those unnecessary hair products and high heeled shoes you’ll never wear to make a place for books instead.