Officialize a Mexican Daughter

It’s official!  Frida is a Mexican citizen!  Normally we wouldn’t wander out so soon after the birth, however we needed to get Frida’s Mexican birth certificate in order to then apply for her US passport from the American consulate in Guadalajara.  Otherwise Frida would be stuck in Mexico when we leave in April.

We went with Maria the midwife to the local “civil registry” to get the birth certificate.  People, including Mexicans, love to dramatize how difficult government functions are here.  I have to disagree.  In January we helped someone pay property taxes and renew a car registration, done at two different offices, and now today we applied for the birth certificate.  All those experiences have been fairly straightforward without too much waiting, but maybe we’ve just been lucky.  I will say it went much smoother by having Maria along to help today.

[If you found this post by searching what documents you need to get a birth certificate in Mexico, I’m going to list them clear at the end of this post.]

For the birth certificate we needed two witnesses to sign.  Maria was one but we needed another, so Maria and I went out witness hunting.  We found a nice lady working as a house cleaner sweeping the sidewalk (something many Mexicans do daily).  The owner of the house, her boss, wasn’t home, so she volunteered to come along!  She ended up having to wait a long time so at the end I gave her 200 pesos, a little over $10.  That’s possibly more than she makes in a whole day of work, so everybody left happy.  She was a mother of seven, a grandmother of 12, and was smiling & happy to help.  Her signature will forever be on Frida’s birth certificate!

There was a lot of paper shuffling going on.  Our naming system confuses them.  When people marry here the wife doesn’t typically take on the husband’s last name like in the US.  In Spanish-speaking countries the norm is that children get two last names; the first last name is the father’s paternal surname, and the second last name is the mother’s paternal surname.  But since Carrie took my last name, that means Frida’s name according to the Mexican birth certificate software should be Frida Ayn Ferguson Ferguson.  Their computers won’t print the certificate unless both last names are filled in.  We’ve heard some offices are unwilling to waiver from this, so the baby ends up with a double last name.  That, in turn, leads to more paperwork to change the name back to US norms when applying for the US passport at the consulate.  Luckily we had a helpful group of workers today who made a phone call and figured out they could substitute dashes where the second last name would normally go and bypass the requirement.

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Here’s the stranger witness, named Bertha, finally getting to sign after 30 minutes of being very patient.

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The Mexican birth certificate looks very official.  They even put Frida’s thumbprint on it, possibly the most adorable thumbprint ever to have existed.  Note the stranger witness Bertha’s big smile!  At this point she didn’t know I was planning to pay her something.  She was just there to help and took time out of her day to do so.  How nice.  Furthermore, Maria helped another mother birth all night and hadn’t slept at all, but she’s smiling all the same.  How fortunate we are to have met such nice people here.

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Below are bonus pictures.  We took a bunch of pictures the other day but I haven’t had time to put them up.  Many turned out to be Pinterest Fails (search Google Images for “Anne Geddes Pinterest Fails”, here’s an example: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/56787645273132718/).  BUT, some of them are pretty darn cute.

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This isn’t staged.  iola loves kissing Frida and does so about 20 times a day.

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-Ryan

Here’s information for people looking for guidance on what they’ll need to bring to the Registro Civil to get a birth certificate for their child born in Mexico.

Things we needed to get Frida’s Mexican Birth Certificate, called the Acta de Nacimiento:

-Original and one copy of identification for each parent.  We used our US passports and provided black & white copies.  You get the originals back, of course.

-Original & one copy of each parent’s birth certificate.  Again, we provided a B&W copy of each of our birth certificates.  They only keep the copies and give you back the original birth certificates.  Note: we had a friend tell us when she had her kids in Mexico she needed to have the parent’s birth certificates “apostalized” (what some countries of the world call something like “notarized”), translated into Spanish by an official translating service, and the birth certificate must be no more than six months old.  We didn’t do any of the above and no one said a thing.  I would recommend going without the certificates being apostalized or translated and it likely won’t be an issue.  Carrie’s birth certificate was over 12 years old and, again, it didn’t matter.

-The application for the birth certificate, which our midwife provided and helped us to fill out.  Also bring a copy of the application (we didn’t and they made us go make a copy to keep for our records).

-Originals and copies of ID’s for each of your two witnesses.

Talk About a Home Birth

Our beautiful new baby: Frida Ayn, born at home in the Santa Teresita neighborhood of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Arrived at 4:15 PM on Friday, February 26, 2016

Weight: 3830 grams (8.44 lbs), Height: 52 cm (20.5 inches)

Big thanks to Maria, Francesca, and Lupita of Casa Aramara!!

Carrie has had two natural births at home, each time with wonderful midwives.  Each birth has been in a comfortable environment and the results have shown it.  No medical intervention, healthy babies, no drugs, and no tearing (fast healing time!)  In Carrie’s words, “If a birth can be relaxing, each one of them was.”  If you or anyone you know is considering different options for having a baby, we’d highly recommend looking into home birth options!  Take a destination birth trip to Casa Aramara in Mexico, consider Genea Birth (midwives for iola) if you’re in or near Minnesota, or have a look at all the many talented midwives all over the world.  For skeptics, we consider it to be as safe (if not safer) than hospital births and you’re welcome to contact us if you’d like to hear more!

And now, lots of pictures!!

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-Ryan

 

Keep on Hiking

Carrie’s due date was a few days ago, but no baby yet!  Instead Carrie keeps coming up with more and more fun stuff to do.  Two days ago we hiked into the Barranca de Oblatos (canyon) and yesterday we visited the Guachimontones archaeological site.  Both involved a decent amount of physical activity hiking up and down some serious inclines.  Carrie just smiles and does it…they were her ideas after all.

The Oblatos Canyon is right on the northeast edge of Guadalajara and is a gorgeous place.  Lots of people arrived after work to exercise on the paths leading down into the canyon.

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Guachimontones archaeological site is quite different from previous ruins we’ve visited.  Large stepped circular pyramids are the focal point of the many outlying structures surrounding them.  The hike up was steep.  The sign below says pregnant women, people over 60, and anyone with a disability is allowed to drive up the road to the ruins; everyone else must walk.  Despite qualifying for multiple reasons, we chose to walk (more specifically, Carrie decided we’d walk).

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We bought a $2 kite at the gift shop that wouldn’t fly despite perfect kite winds.  We had some good laughs trying though.  Even the security guy (green shirt) was helping us try to get it going and to re-configure the kite to no avail.  In the end the only thing it was good for was shading our already sunburned faces.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to fail at flying a kite.

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-Ryan

Antique Outside

The word for what we’d call “outdoor markets” in English is tianguis in Mexican Spanish.  Sometimes there are mixed tianguis, meaning there will be a mix of clothes vendors, food, fruit, tools, etc.  Often there are specifically themed tianguis, like all fruit & veggies, all clothes, all hippie stuff (no joke), all car parts, etc.  On Sunday we went to an antique themed tianguis.  This is one of the coolest themed tianguis we’ve been to.  Something we keep repeating at every tianguis is, “Wow, that is amazing they set all this up just for one day!”  It really is incredible the amount of stuff vendors will bring in and set up for the day, only to transport most of it back home later in the day.

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We stopped for street tacos on the way home.  Mmmm.

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For dinner we did the exact opposite of eat street tacos: we ate at the Cheesecake Factory.

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-Ryan

Shake that Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque is a well-known artsy town on the edge of Guadalajara.  It has the same ring to it as “Laffy Taffy,” at least in my head (pronounced Tlah-kay-pah-kay).  So for our visit to the lovely town I had one of the worst songs ever stuck in my head, Laffy Taffy by D4L.

It’s a popular tourist destination, which means it’s charming but a little too refined for my tastes.  The architecture is beautiful.  The stores and restaurants are modern and swanky, at least in the pedestrian-only artsy tourist zone.  I gravitate more toward the hole-in-the-wall joints that are predominant in most of Mexico, but I’ll admit it was fun to feel fancy for a day.  Carrie’s goal was to find Mexican jumping beans. Unfortunately El Niño weather patterns ruin all the fun.  A street vendor explained that last year it rained earlier than it would have, which means the “beans” (actually moth larva in seed pods) had a shortened lifespan.  So no jumping beans, but it was a gorgeous day for walking around and seeing the unique town.

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wp-1456189224499.jpgWe did find parts of the town that were more of the “dusty” Mexico I’ve come to love.wp-1456189033542.jpg

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-Ryan

 

Call Dad a Good Sport

My dad is probably the most humble guy I know.  I’ve read here and there about the philosophy of stoicism over the last few years.  I think Dad is a Stoic even though he doesn’t know it.  He’s always been willing to laugh right along with us whenever we poke fun at him, usually for his attire.  Well, he gave us plenty of material for our trip to the Guadalajara Zoo.  No, his outfit wasn’t planned and, yes, he gave me permission to write about this.  He referred to himself as Marlin Perkins all day.  Mom called him Crocodile Hunter.  I called him Safari Dan.  Carrie laughed.  Iola just called him Grandpa; gotta love child non-judgmentalness.

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The Guadalajara Zoo was very impressive, absolutely not what I expected.  While I’ve never been to the San Diego Zoo to compare, people have written the Guadalajara Zoo tops it.  iola’s favorite part was the train, with the squirrel monkeys coming in a close 2nd.

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You can walk through a double door system and go in with the squirrel monkeys.  They were curious little devils.  You had to watch your pockets.  They loved iola’s stroller.

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The view from the zoo was equally as scenic.

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Mexico offers plenty of animal interaction even outside zoos.  While waiting for our Uber car to take us home, two horses trotted down the street with no owner in sight in a city bigger than Boston.

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Until next time, Marlin.

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-Ryan

Size Up the City

The ability to leave our house & go on foot to find whatever we need need is priceless, not to mention much healthier.  On our block alone there are four different small stores, and within a few blocks there’s pretty much anything you could ever think of.  Carl has barely left the garage since we arrived in Guadalajara, and that feels very nice.  We frequently walk to see the historic areas of the city.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for modern stuff, Guadalajara also has sprawling luxury suburbs.  Over the last few days we’ve taken my parents to see both the old, historic district, and the new ‘burbs with fancy malls and chain restaurants.  They’re both fun to see in their own ways.  There are so many beautiful sides to Mexico that most Americans would never imagine.

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The city’s main market is HUGE!  It’s very difficult to describe.  There are multiple stories of vendor after vendor.  It’s divided into categories.  So in shoe land, for example, there are probably 100 vendors that only sell shoes.  There’s electronics land, fruit land, spice land, pet land, musical instrument land, handiwork land, clothes land, and on and on.  You could wander for hours and not see everything.  It’s cool and overwhelming at the same time.

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The next day we did a 180 and walked around a fancy mall in a fancy suburb.

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We ate dinner at a Chuck E. Cheese sort of place called Peter Piper Pizza.  Again, not what I thought I’d be doing in Mexico, but fun nonetheless.  iola won the 250 ticket jackpot on a game, which we thought was amazing, but then five minutes later she did it again!  The funny part is since she’s never been to a place like this before, from now on she’s going to be disappointed when the machine only gives her four tickets.   I wish I knew how to choose a different freeze-frame preview of a video.

And there’s always time for relaxing at the house.

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-Ryan

Take a Trip to Tequila Town

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The Ferguson’s took Tequila, Mexico by storm.  Next time we’ll call ahead so they’re ready for us.  I’ve tallied up the results for the tequila each of us drank, and….wait for it…we officially drank zero ounces of the fermented agave delicacy for which Mexico is known worldwide.  We also bought zero bottles to go, likely making us the most boring and least economically stimulating visitors ever to have visited the town of Tequila.  But Tequila was not the most boring town we’ve ever been visitors to.  The landscape around the town is gorgeous; row after row of dusty blue agave fields with steep mountains as a backdrop.  The town itself is a designated Magic Town by the Mexican government, just like Comala, Mazamitla & Pátzcuaro, and with good reason.  The well-preserved colonial Spanish architecture is charming, to say the least, in addition to the town’s legacy of tequila distilleries.

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Did you know Jose Cuervo means “Joseph Crow”?

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In perfect fashion for Grandpa & Grandma’s visit, below is the Grandparent’s Tequila Distillery.

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Put yourself back in college.  You saved up enough money to stay at a crappy old hotel in Panama City for spring break.  You’re at a bar trying to look cool for the ladies.  The DJ screams in the mic, “DID SOMEONE CALL THE TEQUILA POLICE?!!!!”  That probably never happened, but the real Tequila Police did.  Sorry, I can only think of spring break jokes when I think of tequila, even though I never went on spring break.

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Just to prove I had zero drinks of Tequila, here’s my parallel parking job, probably the finest of my time.  I squeezed into a spot just inches longer than the car itself.

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-Ryan

 

Reunite for Saint Valentine

iola received the best Valentine’s Day present she ever could have hoped for…Grandma & Grandpa Ferguson showed up in Mexico.  There was a brief warming up period, as in about 15 seconds, and then iola was back in her groove of being with her best friends.

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Carrie’s been wanting to see as much as possible before baby #2 arrives.  She somehow has more energy than all the rest of us, probably her vibrant desire to see new things.  For example, by writing this post right now I’m holding up the show on leaving the house to go see stuff.

Earlier this week we drove to the west of Guadalajara into agave country.  First stop: Magdalena.  It’s a cute little town known for it’s jewelry stores that sell opals from nearby mines.  We shopped, ate ice cream, and walked around the town.

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The beautiful dark black volcanic rock Obsidian is also common, thanks to the now-dormant Tequila Volcano.  That sounds more like a device Señor Frogs would offer crazy spring breakers, but no, there is a real Tequila Volcano.  The rock is so prevalent that at one point most of the cobblestone roads were made of it.  Below it’s used as decorative inlay in Magdalena’s town plaza.

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People here love touching iola, the little blondie.  I captured this moment by accident.

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-Ryan