The first week was hard. I’ll admit it. So I decided this week that something had to change. I would have to expect less from this and go with it. Like I said, consistency isn’t strong here. I have to expect that to have a “normal” new life here and to get normal things done, it’s going to take time.
So, the plan of action… Gain independence. To do this I need a car. I cant buy a car until I have sold my car in Ireland, have obtained a social security number and a bank account here. None of these things have happened and all take their own time so plan b, lease a car. This is an expensive option. For two weeks for a small car it’s going to be $500. But that’s the price of my sanity at the moment. I can’t do another two weeks at home without having the option of running out for milk. Being at home for 14 hours of the day on my own with Michael was never going to be easy but I need to be able to get around.
Next problem… I’ve never driven an automatic and they drive on the right hand side of the road. Which just all feels wrong. Rob brought me out on Saturday in his car so I could try and get used to it. It was ok but so nerve wracking. They drive like lunatics here so that doesn’t help… Red lights mean nothing. That’s when the lights are actually working! So Tuesday will be the day that we go and pick up a car and I get to do it on my own. Honestly, feels like I’m starting to learn to drive for the first time again. Scary.
The mosquitos haven’t gotten bored of me yet. I had another trip to a pharmacist on Saturday as my leg was so swollen I could barely bend it. I’ll spare ye the details but it aint pretty. I think I’ll be wearing long skirts for a while to cover the scars. I’ve an amazon delivery on the way with everything you can think of to attack the feckers so I’m hoping next week will be better.
We are also learning here that everything is expensive. Unless you only buy processed food on sale then your groceries are ridiculously expensive. $25 yesterday for two steaks… I was shocked! So that’s not an option. On a recommendation we have now ordered our meat online. Omaha Steaks online. You basically bulk buy and it comes packed with ice in a cooler. Delivery is expensive so you need to be buying a lot! We ordered enough for a month, chicken, sausages, burgers, steaks, pork chops, ribs… everything! Almost $300 worth. At least we know its good quality and we can pick and choose whats on offer. Supermarket meat here would turn me into a vegetarian and that’s saying a lot!
Also, we think there may have been a positive development on a house! We went to view a property today having no expectations. And we were shocked! The house was lovely. And just what we were looking for. So we are hoping to make an offer tomorrow to negotiate on the rent. Which by the way is also crazy expensive. You can expect to pay between $3,000-$5,000 per month in the area we are looking in.. And it doesn’t feel real.. You’re paying for living in a secure gated community, the upkeep of the grounds, the communal pools and playgrounds… Rather than your own house. So fingers crossed they will except our offer and we will soon have a home to go to!
Michael is getting bigger by the day and his personality is coming through all the time. On Thursday he got his third tooth, learnt how to clap hands and play peekaboo with himself all on the one day!
So this week has all been about progress… taking each day at a time and trying to get one more thing organised so that we can start to call this place home! Hopefully next week we will at least have a another thing ticked off the list!!
3 thoughts on “Progress…”
Siobhan, it is so nice to meet you here! I’m a member over at expatblog. You must be completely overwhelmed especially with little Michael but it will get easier. That is great that you have others in your community that are welcoming you and helping you. Puerto Rico is not big on dairy, I’ve found hence the pricing. My husband and myself are vegetarians but also eat fish. We are in love with the Rincon area on the west coast and are able to stop at fruit/vegetable stands to get many items. I don’t know if there are many in your area, perhaps you could ask around. We are wanting to eventually rent long term in PR. You are doing great with your blog and I’m so looking forward to updates!
saw your post on expat blog too. 4 months in and I really dislike living here, but amazon is making my life much easier (no tax). UPS puerto rico is the worst, and amazon sends smaller packages parcel pool, which transfers to USPS. However, only 25% of packages I have returned through USPS have made their way back to amazon ( they will still refund, as long as they see the package was handed off to USPS). Just a heads up.
Groceries are pretty disgusting here….even at the Pueblo in Ciudadela ( I’m in Condado), moldy berries, sprouted garlic and still so pricey. La Hacienda is small and has a really good organic selection, but they are very expensive. Try Costco….they usually have really great produce. ALWAYS check expiration dates on everything, always. The meat is better than any selection I have seen, but still a little iffy on some products. I find Costco has a better selection than Sam’s club and I have heard that Costco lets you buy alcohol w/o a membership, so you might be able to get in one for free and see if it’s worth it. (1 english cucumber at La Hacienda $3.99, 3 english cucumbers for $3.99 at Costco). Also Costco is the only place I have found good avocados (imported from US). Most local stores carry Dominican avocados, but there has been a shortage, so I’m not seeing them anywhere else. Vitacost.com is good for buying natural pantry items ( and don’t mind waiting a week for shipment), and if in pinch, you can try Freshmart.
Being able to eat healthy here was a big priority, but I didn’t know access to produce would be so bad. Even the cleanliness of local restaurants has eeked me out so much that I now choose to eat at chain restaurants, almost exclusively because I know corporate guidelines suggest that their kitchens will be cleaner and they have more buying power when it comes to food quality. Good luck!
Oh, I’m sorry Jessica you are having a hard time. Hopefully, it will get better. We’ve been many times, especially the west coast and down in Guanica area. We always cook in vegetarian (with fish) and have been able to find reasonable veggies for the most part. Do you have a bog as well, Jessica? If so, I’d like to follow your journey, too 🙂