Getting to Know a New City

Coming here to live vs. coming here on vacation proved to be two

Arriving in Merida
Arriving in Merida

very different things.  Packing was harder because I knew we were not just here for the beach or to tour some Mayan ruins, but to actually stay.

This mindset penetrated everything we planned and the first week of our stay was focused around finding a school for the kids and a place to live.

The first house we stayed in was selected from Air Bnb.  We needed a place to land while we explored the city to find where we wanted to rent.  We chose a place in Centro Historico (the Historic District and center of town).  Being in Centro

Centro House
Centro House

has been a neat experience.  Everyone walks everywhere.  The buses service the rest of the city from here.  The central market is here.  The architecture is beautiful and colonial and some of it has been here 400+ years.  But we know we can’t stay in Centro with the kids.  The streets are busy.  The sidewalks are narrow and there’s no green space.  A lot of people are crammed into a small area and the asphalt’s hot.  There’s not much airflow between the tall buildings.  We know that we are going into more of the “suburbs” to

Centro House Living Room
Centro House Living Room

find our house.

Before choosing our own place for the next several months, we had to find a school for the kids.  This was a huge hurdle, as the idea of homeschooling the little ones moved to the back when some online research led us to some great schools they could attend in Spanish.  Philosophically, we embrace the Montessori Method and the bigger ones went to a Montessori school or attended a Montessori program.  I also felt that, especially for Cielo, she needs a place that feels comfortable and familiar.  She’s the most reluctant of the bunch and may have a hard time transitioning to the

Relaxing in the Hammock
Relaxing in the Hammock

unfamiliar.  With Montessori, the philosophy is the same no matter where you go (IF it’s true Montessori).  The materials are the same.  So the difference here would be that everything is taught in Spanish.  Jackpot.

We tried to tour the schools based on what we found on the mobile maps.  We spent an entire day entering addresses, following the GPS and landing where it said.  Three times in a row the GPS announced, “You have reached your destination.”  And three times we were nowhere near a Montessori school.

As we were giving up and deciding that maybe it was time to find

Seen while driving all over town looking for schools
Seen while driving all over town looking for schools

some lunch and take a break, we passed a Montessori school that wasn’t on our list.  I shouted excitedly and we circled the block and parked.  Upon further inspection, we discovered the school was a daycare, but it gave us the lead we needed – the name and accurate address for one of the schools we were looking for.

Finally, we arrived at the school and were met by a teacher who gave us the tour.  We were so relieved to be in the right place after spending half the day at dead ends.

The school was adorable.  Kid-sized desks and low shelves.  Our tour guide showed us the place in Spanish and Romeo translated for me.

Montessori Classroom
Montessori Classroom

On top of how we (the parents) felt about the place, the kids also really loved it.  We were sold.

Of course, that didn’t stop us from exploring other places.  A friend of a friend who lives local in Merida took us around the next day to see even more schools.  We found that there are several Montessori schools in the area and some of them even have accurate addresses.  After touring them, the kids still voted that they liked the first one best.

So, as it stands, Goose will homeschool and get involved with the local expat homeschooling community as well as extra-curriculars.  The Littles will attend the Montessori school with an immersion in Spanish.  School starts August 31.

Now to find the house…

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