When I was a little girl, I used to play two types of pretend games. The first one was when I pretended to be a teacher. My mom says that I used to put all the pillows and cushions from the sofas on the floor facing a little blackboard or the wall, and then I would start giving them instructions and being the teacher. I don’t remember this, but I always knew I wanted to become one.
Another game I played was pretending to be a mom. I’m an 80’s girl, so I had my Barbie dolls and my Cabbage Patch baby, and I would pretend we were all getting ready for Daddy to come home and have dinner. I loved dolls and playing pretend mommy.
Fast forward a couple of decades later, and those games became my reality. I became a teacher, and some years later, I became a mom to a boy and a girl. However, life wasn’t exactly as I had planned. I never imagined I would be living somewhere other than my hometown in Monterrey, Mexico.
My husband and I are both Mexican. We have been living abroad since our second wedding anniversary. Nine years ago, we decided to grow and raise our family in two different countries. In total, we have lived in four countries: Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands, and now here in the United States.
We love adventure and traveling, and we have shared that passion with the kids. Being an expat is something I never considered, it just happened. I feel it has helped me a lot in my personal growth. Some of the most important things that living abroad has taught me are about diversity, tolerance, language learning, and respecting other cultures.
I recently got certified in TESOL, and it got me hungry for more, so I will be looking into preparing myself professionally in this area. I think the world is getting more culturally mixed families and children that don’t only speak one language. I feel such a passion for that topic since my kids speak three languages. It’s definitely a personal interest.
I haven’t worked as a teacher since we moved to Belgium nine years ago, but as I mentioned, I intend to go back to that career. I’m using this time in the USA to prepare myself. At the moment, I am a “mommy teacher,” as my son sometimes calls me when we do crafts and activities at home. He actually likes pretending I’m his teacher. This pandemic has brought those skills to the surface again, and I have enjoyed it so much. Although let me tell you, I’m not made to be a homeschool mom. That requires next level organizational skills!
Besides my vocation for education and my love for my kids and being a mom, I do have so many other interests and hobbies. I get crazily excited getting ready for my kids’ birthday parties as I like to make everything myself – it is like the craft-Olympics for me. I love Disney, and I take Christmas seriously. My main hobby is crocheting, it relaxes me, and I can’t go anywhere without my yarn and hook. Other interests include painting and baking and cake decorating (for which I’m actually certified). I like drawing and coloring, making bows, crafts with felt, anything really that is creative, free, and hands-on.
These activities have become my “salvation” since becoming an expat mom. They have helped me make new friends, stay mentally healthy, and remind me I’m still me, not just a mom or teacher. I’m so much more.