The First Week is Always the Hardest in a New Country


Whenever we arrive in a new country, we are excited to see our new place, try new food, and explore the city.

But to be real with you, the first week is always a bit rough. And we expect that. You should to.

1. Our Budget is Tight

Usually our budget is really tight the first week because of extra expenses, like getting the kitchen in order. This includes buying items such as condiments, spices, aluminum foil, paper plates, and other items that last more than a week or so like jam and peanut butter. (Well, not at the rate Darian’s is trying to devour PB&Js.) Also, we have travel expenses such as transportation to and from the airport. This wee that cost us about $250.

2. We Feel a Bit Trapped

During our first week, it’s also harder because we usually don’t have any friends yet to hang out with or any language helpers to spend time with Adelaide and the kids. Here in Mexico, Adelaide is hesitant (and so am I) of Adelaide and the kids going out without me. Not that it isn’t safe here in Guanajuato, but we are not familiar with the area and Adelaide’s Spanish isn’t great yet. (It will be with the incredible language system she is using.) It was the same when we lived first moved to Aracaju, Brazil. But after a week or two, we all got comfortable with neighborhood and the language. Adelaide was fine taking the kids out without me. So this first week they played a lot in our apartment, and I took a long lunch break to walk around the city with them and get some lunch (tacos, yummy!).

3. We Have to Figure Everything Out

Another challenge (and one I do enjoy, but is time consuming and a bit stressful) is figuring out where to go grocery shopping, where to find the best deals, getting local SIM cards for our cells phone, and arranging the house so the kids don’t destroy anything. Luckily, our Airbnb landlord drove me around on the first day we arrived while Adelaide and the kids took a much-needed afternoon nap. He showed me the nearest grocery store, some good restaurants, the mall (where he helped me get local SIM cards for our phones), and some of the local sites to explore. That was a big help.

4. Getting in a Routine

And the hardest of all is finding a good routine for the kiddos and us. The kids usually don’t sleep very well the first week. Their bedroom is strange to them. They wake up a lot at night and cry or climb into our bed and wake us up. The bad sleep, and perhaps that their tummies are getting used to the food, is my guess why they seem extra cranky and needy during the day too, as I overhear them with Adelaide as I work. (Adelaide says this is normal. It’s because I have been in the office for the last couple months that I have forgotten.)

But usually in week two or three we find our groove. It isn’t easy, but I still feel it is worth it to have these experiences of exploring new places and working on new languages. I love hearing Darian starting to say small phrases in Spanish and when he recognizes words in Spanish. And it melts my heart when Nolan tries to repeat phrases in Spanish. Overall things have gone pretty smooth and as expected for the first week.

Adelaide & the Kids in Guanajuato, Mexico