I was planning on writing this entry today anyway, but I received a somewhat pleasant surprise to find in my inbox this morning a 66-page pdf file entitled Welcome to Hermosillo 2010.
Now, I'm sure Natalie is sitting on pins and needles that I might disclose something in that document that isn't meant to be shared, so I'm going to go ahead and disappoint everyone by promising to keep that document almost entirely sealed. Sorry, but there is just too much paranoia right now to take that route.
I was planning on just tipping my hat to the diplomats of yesteryear and how daunting new post assignments must have been to them.
Can't you just imagine being in the foreign service 100 years ago? "Hey Joe Diplomat, we are sending you to Peking in a month. Here is a copy of The Travels of Marco Polo. I hear the duck is great. Good luck."
Just about everyday since October when we learned we would be going to Hermosillo, I've been researching on the Internet what exactly is in store for me. I realize that this kind of information is only so good, but I have to imagine will cut into the culture shock a bit. That, and the fact that Hermosillo is practically a border town with more American culture present than many other posts.
So then I skimmed through the Hermosillo hand guide this morning for an hour or so, and I started getting a little cold feet. The move to Mexico has lacked teeth; it hasn't seemed like this was something we were actually going to do.
The pdf has ushered in some of that realization. The rest probably won't hit me until we are driving through Arizona.
Now this is the part where I'll share just a little of the info that I read today, though in truth, most of what I'm going to include is stuff we've probably all heard before, and this was merely confirmation. All the same, if Natalie and the State Department would kindly close out of this blog and go do something more productive, that would much appreciated.
First, the Mexican police really do suggest bribes in lieu of tickets. Similarly, don't part with your licenses, passports, etc. In fact, don't even drive with your passport in your car; rather, keep a copy.
While it is better not to drink local tap, Hermosillo is better than most of Mexico in that you can wash dishes with it. I've been practicing not drinking water when we go out to restaurants. "Would you like a glass of water, too?" "No thanks. I'm moving to Mexico. I'm trying to quit."
The heat is scary. The locals say Hermosillo has nine months of winter and three months of hell. But still, for those inclined to feel cold (read as, my wife), they suggest space heaters for winter nights.
Mexican schedules are intimidating. They start the day "early" though that makes sense because it is so hot. By the way, the guide considers starting the work day at 8 a.m. as early. When I did work, that is when my work day started, so I don't think of 8 a.m. as early. But then things get interesting. Morning runs til 1-2 p.m. followed by the biggest meal of the day. Dinner is at 9 p.m., which isn't that weird for the East Coast when we are eating out, but we usually eat our dinner at home around 6 p.m. Going out at night means you better be able to sleep in or be able to operate on less sleep because it will run into the early morning hours.
All not too bad, but as you start adding little differences here and there, and maybe a few larger ones like language, and culture shock is on the horizon. And a lot of heat.
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