Trigger Warning: Your usually sarcastic writer is about to get all sincere. The powers that be asked me to explain why my young family wound up living in Yucatán.
Mérida has a bit of a reputation for being a great spot for overseas retirees, but there is also a growing number of families moving here from both abroad and the rest of México. What’s the draw? Why are we here?
Yucatán is obviously one of the safest states in México but the lure is so, so much greater than just safety. For my family, there were a whole number of both push and pull factors. We weren’t happy with the direction the UK was taking or with the quality of life there. We wanted to slow down, reconnect with our values, learn a new language, and show our kids that there is much more to life than London.
If you’re ready to make an effort and find your community, Mérida is an amazing and vibrant place to live and bring up children. We have discovered fabulous schools for our kids, have met wonderful people, and really found our “tribe.” Living so close to the beach, as well as a number of cenotes and archaeological sites, means that we are never bored. We’re always finding new things to do and new adventures to share. Restaurants welcome kids with open arms, cultural events are for the whole family, and children are valued in a way they just aren’t at home.
We didn’t dive right in and move to México without a plan. We first took a six-month trip to figure out if living here could work for us. We rented a house and a car in Mérida and set about getting to know the city. We enrolled the kids in school, we took intensive Spanish classes, found friends, and explored the region as much we could. When our time was up, we knew with total certainty that Mérida was where we wanted to live and we needed to find a way to make it happen.
Within a year, we were back in Mérida, residency assured, and hearts bursting with joy. We brought kids’ books, computers, some bedding, and very little else with us from the UK. We pretty much started again. It can be a bit weird to look around our home here and think about the stuff we left in the UK, but it’s just stuff. None of it matters. Who cares if my couch or table aren’t as lovely as the ones we left behind? The life we’re living and the experiences we’re having are worth far more.
My kids have lived a good chunk of their lives in Mérida now. They consider themselves both Mexican and British. They move in Mexican society and the immigrant community with ease. They’re immersed in Mexican cultural references I can only dream of understanding, their schooling isn’t Eurocentric and nor, therefore, will be their worldview. I’m grateful to México for both giving us a home when we no longer felt as if the UK could be our home and for helping us educate our kids to be citizens of the world.
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger
Adventure lover who never lost her sense of fun or wonder
Photography by Jorge Zapata and Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today
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