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Need advice - moving in August


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#1 seamus8

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 08:50 PM

Hey y'all. Just found this site and am excited about maybe getting some good advice from those who are experiencing life in Mexico. I'm moving to Rosarito Beach from Portland, OR in August and I have a 10 year old daughter. I'm set to have her attend a bilingual, private school. I'm hoping she will adjust soon - she has alot of exposure to Spanish, but not yet at even a conversational level. I'm hoping she won't have a long adjustment period. Anyone have advice about how to help with her transition? What can I expect from the schools in Mexico...is it going to be completely a culture shock to both she and I? I'm nervous for her. Someone put my mind at ease...please!! Also..how feasable is it to drive across the border to San Diego if I need to find work? Is it worth the hassle? What is the commute time? Is there a "commuters pass" for US citizens? So, so many questions...I know. Thanks for the advice.

#2 Scooby

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 03:18 AM

I can't tell you myself, but if you don't get any answers, I'd suggest clicking "search" up above and type in "schools". Should find some previous posts regarding schools. Good luck.

#3 bluejeans

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 05:57 PM

Look around this site and you will find most all the answers you''re looking for.

#4 andy

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 06:34 PM

(seamus8)
Hey y'all. Just found this site and am excited about maybe getting some good advice from those who are experiencing life in Mexico. I'm moving to Rosarito Beach from Portland, OR in August and I have a 10 year old daughter. I'm set to have her attend a bilingual, private school. I'm hoping she will adjust soon - she has alot of exposure to Spanish, but not yet at even a conversational level. I'm hoping she won't have a long adjustment period. Anyone have advice about how to help with her transition? What can I expect from the schools in Mexico...is it going to be completely a culture shock to both she and I? I'm nervous for her. Someone put my mind at ease...please!! Also..how feasable is it to drive across the border to San Diego if I need to find work? Is it worth the hassle? What is the commute time? Is there a "commuters pass" for US citizens? So, so many questions...I know. Thanks for the advice.


Don't have any experience with Schools - can't help you there.

Rosarito is about 25 - 30 minutes from the US border. So a commute from there to San Diego is going to be long. You can do it, but expect 1 - 2 hours each way (with SENTRI pass) depending on where you take a job in San Diego. If you don't have Sentri and work in Downtown San Diego, you can expect a 2+ hour commute, one-way if you need to be at work at 8am. A little bit faster getting home. Remember we are in the era of $3 per gallon gasoline and most likely you will need to pay tolls to get from Rosarito to Tijunana.

Yes, you can get the Sentri pass which can speed things up crossing from Mexico to the US. I would recommend you come and apply for the Sentri pass ASAP so you can get it as soon a possible. Don't know how long the wait is for new enrollees.

Is it worth the hassle? Well assuming you get authorization to work in Mexico, would you be happy making $100 - $200 per week? Unless you start your own business or get a high level management job at one of the factories in Rosarito, don't expect to be able to earn much if any money. If you can work in a field where you can telecommute, that would be a great option.

#5 seamus8

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for the reply...it was helpful. Gives me a general idea. Since I'll have a little one in school, I don't think the 2+ hour commute is a very good option. I guess I will look for local employment...just not sure what the job prospects are there. I don't mind working for lower wages, since I will have a 2nd income coming in (my boyfriend works in Puerto Nuevo and makes decent $). My spanish is good enough, but I don't consider myself 100% bilingual. I would really like to open a small business... biggrin.gif

#6 seamus8

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:58 PM

I'm looking forward to her leaning Spanish!

Where would you advise looking for jobs in Rosarito area? Is the internet, maybe Craigslist or another site a good resource or would I just be "hitting the pavement"?

#7 andy

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:18 AM

Also, if you are not a Mexican Citizen, you may need documentation to work in Mexico. It depends on what type of job you take, whether you care about being legal or not, and whether the job pays you in cash 'off the books' of via some type of payroll.

A business can work out if you have a good idea, work hard, have something unique or better than the competition, etc. I don't have official statistics, but it seems that there are many more small businesses here in TJ than there are in the US which equates to lots of competition and many failures. In Playas it seems that there are many new businesses all the time, but many don't have enough customers and are closed in 2-6 months. On the other hand there are businesses that have been opened for years...

Since owning a successful business is one of the few ways for people to get out of poverty, there are tons of people trying to do the same thing. Don't even think about opening a taco stand and make sure you have enough capital to get things off the ground smile.gif

#8 andy

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:42 AM

(seamus8)
I'm looking forward to her leaning Spanish!

Where would you advise looking for jobs in Rosarito area? Is the internet, maybe Craigslist or another site a good resource or would I just be "hitting the pavement"?


There are nearly 0 jobs listed on Craigslist for Tijuana. For retail jobs its most likely fill out an application in the store. There are surely some sites online, but you need to understand the average person can't afford a computer and would not be looking for a job on the internet. Factory workers (less than $100 per week) are advertised in the newspaper or via signs hanging outside the factory to apply on-site. If you want to work at someone elses small business, most likely you would apply in person.

It sounds like you won't be working construction, but those jobs pay $180 - $220 per week or so. Hard labor, no safety equipment other than a hard hat. If you have a special skill or trade, you can probably do a little bit better... especially if you own your own business. I know someone who is very skilled with woodworking... probably 30 years experience... $150 per week refinishing furniture working for someone else... 6 days... 48 hours per week... 3 - 4 hours more taking two taxis to work each day... now you know why people are willing to leave their family, hop the fence or trek through the desert for a minimum wage job paying $270 per week for 40 hours of work in the United States. 2 - 3 times what they could make in Mexico... even more if they are from other non-border towns.

I don't have specifics, but it seems to me that it might be a good job as a waiter/waitress in a busy, moderately priced restaurant that caters to tourists. But most of the waiters are men... I notice a lot of the same waiters at places I frequent often. That tells me they are doing well there.

Better paying management jobs in the factories are via recruiters with most of the highest paying jobs done by foreign implants (US, Japanese, Korean, etc getting transferred to TJ to run the factory). Companies move their factories to Mexico in order to take advantage of the low cost of labor. They have little incentive to pay US salaries to other than the highest managers or specialized local talent running the facility. In general foreign companies usually pay more than Mexican owned companies.

Think about it, you can pay more than 10 people to do the work of one unionized worker in a US factory. And they are going to work harder, have less benefits, and longer hours.... average work week is 45 - 48 hours, 6 days.

How do I know all of this? I live with a Mexican who works in Mexico, I take the taxis and buses here and try to talk to the local people (with my poor Spanglish), etc. One of the things that is good about living in Mexico, learning another culture and way of life.

Sorry to give way more info than you need. I guess I am proud of what I have learned smile.gif

#9 Scooby

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:36 PM

(andy)
...... and most likely you will need to pay tolls to get from Rosarito to Tijunana......
There is the tollfree road but probably isn't as fast.
Eventually....
someday......
somehow.....
Blvd Dos Mil (2000) will have been completed for another faster alternative connecting Rosarito & the border.
(andy)
....Sorry to give way more info than you need. I guess I am proud of what I have learned smile.gif
Keep it up Andy;
sounds interesting and
I admire your courage to mix with the locals while struggling through the language difficulties. :wink:

#10 seamus8

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:38 PM

Thanks - you seem very knowledgable...I appreciate hearing it straight :wink: . It's definitely going to be a culture shock for me...I have a very "cushy" office job and have been very fortunate making great money with my company for the last 8 years. I don't even have a college degree. I am probably one of the few people who really luck out and are fortunate enough to have "worked their way up the corportate ladder". Thebig problem? I am dying a very, slow death here in corporate America. I hate the office politics and hate the hypocrisy more. I have seen more bullying here in the workplace than I ever remember being witness to or experiencing in the schoolyard! I have many Mexican friends who think I'm crazy for leaving for Mexico, since they know first-hand what the struggle is. I am willing to try it and just pray that I can make ends meet. I am thinking of opening a small bakery/cafe, since I didn't see much other than pan Mexicano in Rosarito. Wish me luck! Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

#11 richsinc

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 09:16 PM

seamus8;

Don't know the US national traffic in Rosarito but I do know that as a US national living in TJ that I can not find US products here in the supermarkets; like Dinty Moore beef stew; fresh US hamburger, bacon, not to mention Swiss cheese, New York extra sharp cheddar, bratwurst, Italian sausage, etc...

Maybe cater to the US nationals living here instead of a bakery?

I make a monthly trip to San Diego for food items not found here and notice that many Mexican nationals do the same.
If you must barter your life, make sure you are living.
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

#12 seamus8

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 09:53 PM

That might be a good idea...catering to the American demographic. I was thinking of that actually in terms of the bakery...didn't see many American type pastries...pies, cakes, etc. I really have my heart set on a bakery, because it's what I love to do. But, I need to keep my options open too...having some of the non-perishable food items available would probably be wise. I noticed there is no starbucks...wonder why they haven't taken over that part of the world yet....hmmmm? Maybe I could just sell their coffee. Might be a hit with the turistas.

#13 richsinc

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 10:19 PM

mmmmmmmmm!!!
an apple pie like Mom used to make with ice cream...or blueberry? Cherry? Any German stuff? Irish Soda Bread?

And good coffee and your favorite US foods to buy and take home! Sounds like a winner! Not sure of the US population in Rosirito tho...?
If you must barter your life, make sure you are living.
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

#14 andy

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 10:25 PM

(seamus8)
That might be a good idea...catering to the American demographic. I was thinking of that actually in terms of the bakery...didn't see many American type pastries...pies, cakes, etc. I really have my heart set on a bakery, because it's what I love to do. But, I need to keep my options open too...having some of the non-perishable food items available would probably be wise. I noticed there is no starbucks...wonder why they haven't taken over that part of the world yet....hmmmm? Maybe I could just sell their coffee. Might be a hit with the turistas.


There are a couple of coffee chains in TJ including The Buzz Cafe, De Volada and En Caliente. Different flavor than Starbucks. They have Starbucks in other places of Mexico including Mexico City... maybe you can get a franchise in Rosarito? Most Mexicans seem to drink instant coffee... and many of the tourists in Rosarito are not there for coffee... and the retirees on fixed incomes may not be in to paying $3 for a coffee... but who knows.

There are some very good bakeries in TJ with mainly cakes... don't know about Rosarito.

#15 seamus8

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 10:30 PM

Exactly! And, I do make good pies! Lemon merengue is my specialty. smile.gif Here in Portland, a woman just opened up a cupcake bakery near my work...there is practically a line out the door every day. She's doing very well. Anyway, your enthusiasm is much appreciated! biggrin.gif I could always open in TJ and commute home to Rosarito (?). That might be more feasable. I will be sure to send a post of my grand opening if it ever comes to fruition! :wink:

#16 seamus8

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:06 PM

You never know...they might pay $3 for a good piece of pie!!! tongue.gif

#17 seamus8

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 11:50 PM

Now I've got to go work on my business plan biggrin.gif

#18 bajashrink

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 05:08 PM

I've listed below three "100% bilingual" private K-12 schools in Tijuana with websites. There are others listed in the local phone directory without websites that you can check out after you come to Baja if the website ones turn out not to be to your liking:

Colegio Reina Isabel
www.cri.edu.mx

Colegio Inglés
www.iman.edu.mx

Colegio Bilingüe Anglo Español
www.colegioangloespanol.edu.mx

Understand clearly that in order to legally operate your own business or to work as an employee in Mexico, you will need to apply for an FM-3 visa at your nearest Mexican consulate. You will not be able to get a visa to work as an employee if you do not already have a job lined up. The employer will first have to submit a letter to the Mexican consulate, or if you apply in Mexico, to the Mexican immigration office in Tijuana.

As an employee, you might be able to get a job teaching English, or at an outsource telemarketing company like TelVista in Tijuana that provides telemarketing services for U.S. firms. Like the ones in India, you would be calling people in the U.S. to try and sell them something or to take surveys. The pay is less than $200 a week. Then there are the American-owned maquiladoras who often like to hire American supervisors and managers.

In order to enroll your daughter in a public or private school, you will need to show the administration her scholastic transcripts and verify that you are her legal guardian. They might even require proof of legal residency in Mexico. There is another type of visa issued that allows you live in Mexico but not work. For adults, you will have to prove financial solvency, and also present a recent criminal background check document from your local police department to prove that you have no outstanding warrants or felonies.

The vast majority of foreigners who reside in a Mexican border town and who just rent a house or apartment, don't bother applying for a residential visa; i.e. if they work in the U.S. or live on a retirement or disability income. Technically you can legally visit or "stay" in the border region up to 72 hours at a time without a tourist visa. Landlords don't care about your legal status--just your rent $$$.

#19 richsinc

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 10:12 PM

OH MAN!!!

Do you know how long it's been since I had a good lemon merengue pie???

When and where are you opening???
If you must barter your life, make sure you are living.
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.

#20 seamus8

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 04:50 PM

I'm moving in August...so I will keep you posted richsinc! I just made some lemon bars last night...those might be on the menu as well. Yummmmmmm. :wink:

With regard to the legal stuff...my fiance is a Mexican citizen and right now he is working in Rosarito. If we do open the business, hopefully :? we shouldn't have any problems with the authorities. I will most likely apply for my FM3 status to work, etc.




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