Really wish I had read your book before building in Mexico….

Michele Berkner, Canadian Snowbird, writes:

I have just bought your book and will be diving into it on the plane back to Canada today, but before I leave Mexico this time around, I have a situation that I am hoping you can help me with.

[We want to sell our Mexican car to someone we know in Mexico.] The only problem is that we are being told that there is a minimum price we can sell it for. At the time [we took ownership of the car] the value was 81,000 pesos and we are told we must sell it for a minimum of 28,000 plus pay for the transfer 2800 pesos.

The source of this information is dodgy at best, but I can’t find anyone who has ever heard of this before…….your help would be much appreciated!


home-sweet-mexico replies:


Thank you for purchasing my book. I hope you are enjoying it.

I have never heard of such a rule, though, there are lots of laws I have no idea about.

I think it would be a good idea to ask a car-owning Mexican friend (preferably one who has nothing to gain from your car sale and one who has been to university) an open-ended question if there is anything you need to know about selling a car.

I know that you can work this out in a way that is beneficial for both parties.  If a third party seems to be dishonest or is blockading the process, try to work with a fourth party — preferably at a different location.

Best of luck!

Julia C Taylor

Michele Berkner:

Hi Julia:

Thanks so much for your reply and yes, enjoying the book a lot!!

I was able to determine that there is no minimum selling price, you just need the original factura (plus copies of course), all the tenencias over the past 5 years and the tarjeta [de] circulation (plus a million copies of these last 2 as well….I would imagine!).

I also appreciate your recommendations on getting the correct information by working around those who seem to wish to blockade anything I try to attempt….that would be the accountant who will be losing her job as soon as humanly possible.

Really getting a good laugh from your book.  A friend of mine gave me a book called “God and Mr. Gomez” after we had finished building our home.  Its another good book with lots of laughs if you haven’t read it!

Thanks again




Thank you for the suggestion of the book. I haven’t read it and it sounds interesting. I think I’ll have to read it soon.

I’m so glad you are enjoying my book and that you found a solution to your lack of information about selling a car.

Would you mind if I put up a quote from your email “Really getting a good laugh from your book…?”

Sorry, to bother you with my request but this is the way that I get all of the positive reviews on my web site. I wait until someone sends me a compliment that comes from their own heart, then I ask them if I may use it to help sell my book.

Many thanks,


Michele Berkner:

Hi Julia:

No problem to use quotes from me!  The book is very informative and it’s a great read due to the humour….and truth behind everything you have written…..really wish I had read it before building in Mexico as it would certainly have made my life a lot easier!!

Thanks again for everything!


home-sweet-mexico replies:


Thank you! I have been sick with a flu and am finally able to put up your quotes. May I use your name or just your initials? I guess I’ll start with your initials, then fill them out with your name if you give me permission.


Michele Berkner of Canada:


Sorry to hear about your flu!!  Feel free to use my name…Michele Berkner…or initials as I am not trying to keep anything hidden at all.

Your book was great and again, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT TO HAVE READ IT PRIOR TO BUYING LAND AND BUILDING A HOUSE IN MANZANILLO…….I still go back and read about the small un-truths as that is just soooo soooo true!  I even had to run a few tests to prove this to my husband!!!

Thanks again so much for your book and all that info you have provided…..practically free….to all us knot-head Canadians/Americans who blindly go to Mexico thinking it will be exactly the same as it is at home!!!!  I now know that if I need a new bank card it will take 3 trips of 4 hours each to get that accomplished…..instead of the Canadian 10 minutes “here’s a temporary card and you will have the new one in the mail within the week!”

Having said that, I love Mexico……’s such a great laugh!!

Take care.


Vaccinating Your Mexican-Born Children in Mexico

The following post is in response to a question from a young woman from the United States, living in Mexico with her Mexican husband. She wonders if the vaccine that causes a scar on the child’s arm is mandatory.   

Children in Mexico have immunization scars on their arms that look like the ones the boomers have. When I would get together with other moms and toddlers, some of their children would have the recently-made red welt on their arms.  In contrast, our son was born in Mexico, has a full regimen of shots and does NOT have that scar — ultimately not for cosmetic reasons, but for immunity and health reasons.

I don’t know much about vaccines, but I know that they can be made from live, killed, or modified versions of the disease causing agent. Since I had already grown to deeply distrust IMSS and the national medical system in Mexico due to some bad experiences, I found a private pediatrician in our town that was well-thought of and famous for not giving lots of prescriptions and medicines, especially antibiotics, which tend to be frighteningly overused in Mexico.

You see, seeing that scar on childrens’ arms had gotten me to thinking.  My parents had that scar, but I didn’t. I wondered if it was because we no longer vaccinated for that in the US. I could imagine three different reasons for discontinuing a particular vaccine. Reason number one might have been that whichever disease it protected against was so uncommon it was considered “eradicated.”  Reason number two might have been that a new vaccine had been developed. Reason number three might have been that the vaccine was later determined to cause more risk than benefit. The pediatrician I found helped us to make informed decisions about which vaccines were right for our son.

It has been a couple of years since we did our son’s vaccination series and I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional, so double check all of this info for yourself.  If memory serves, that scar is caused by the tuberculosis vaccine. Our doctor told us that the vaccine does not produce immunity and is only useful to help protect people in high risk situations, such as children who live with a family member who has active tuberculosis. Since no one in our family had tuberculosis, we did not give him that vaccine. Our doctor said that having it can even cause a false positive test for the disease.  Another vaccine I was worried about was the polio vaccine. I don’t remember as many details about that one, but by conversing with this doctor I felt safe giving the vaccine we gave.  Not that everything from the US is better, but this doctor administered the same vaccines that are given in the US. This had the added advantage for us, that if we were to return to the US (where no one seems to know one thing about Mexico), the schools would be satisfied with the shots our son had had.

The shots were expensive — hundreds of U.S. dollars, but I never regretted a single cent. An unplanned benefit of taking our son to this pediatrician when he was healthy was that, when our son was ill, we could call our pediatrician at any time day or night and he would help us without making us bring our son in.  This doctor, like many in Mexico, still serves the parents directly and the relationship with the doctor has been soothing to our nerves. Imagine the difference between heading out to the emergency room at 2:00 am with a baby who is throwing up bile and calling the pediatrician who knows him, getting told over the phone what to buy at the 24 hour pharmacy, and giving it to the child 30 minutes later. Of course, this same sleepy pediatrician didn’t just give us a medicine’s name over the phone and hang up. We talked about the symptoms, then he told us warning signs that might indicate more sever problems, and he followed up.

I was also impressed by his use of lab tests, rather than simple symptoms. One time, this saved our son from being unnecessarily medicated. One time I saw blood in his stool. A friend’s baby had just been diagnosed with amoebas (from blood in his stool) and was taking harsh medicine for it. My doctor ordered lab tests of the stool sample and it turned out to be an extremely acidic stomach. The doctor quickly figured out that I’d recently added Oreos back into my diet! Since I was nursing, the Oreos were effecting my son. That was a simple, safe fix and my son was spared a regimen of harsh medications.

Another friend’s daughter was always on antibiotics for this and that. In contrast, our son never needed them. Our pediatrician always found ways to help him to heal quickly and naturally. He is a standard M.D., not naturopathic, it’s just that he is very smart about how he does things.

When you live in Mexico, see if you can find a pediatrician in your town with a strong reputation. Even if you are “retired in Mexico” and don’t need a pediatrician, I think these anecdotes can give you some ideas of what to look for for yourselves!


Q and A: Can I Teach in Mexico if I Don’t Have a Bachelor’s Degree?


Hello Julia
My name is Joseph. I am a Canadian presently teaching Conversational English in China. I have been teaching Conversational and Business English here for almost five years, children, teenagers, college students and adults. Although I don’t have a univercity or college degree I do have a TESOL Certificate, five years teaching experiance and many letters of recommendation from former and present employers.

I heard that as of this September all children in school must be taught English. I would like to obtain a teaching job in San Felipe Baja Mexico. I vacationed there for three winters and would love to return there to teach. I like it because it is a quiet little fishing village and the people are wonderufl. I loved the mexican people and believe I could pick the language up again after being there for a month or so.

Is it possabe to get a legal teaching job without a univercity or college degree?

Is there any other advice you can give me.

It’s a great leap of faith leaving everthing behind in China to return to Mexico but I would gladly be willing to try. If nothing comes of it I could always return to China.

I look forward to your reply.


Hello Joseph,

It sounds like you have some solid experience, but the answer to your question is both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’

It is possible to work as an English teacher in Mexico without a college degree–especially with experience and a TESOL certificate, BUT, probably not in the public school system.

To work in the public schools, you would have to get permission from SEP, the federal education “ministry.” They generally require college degrees, though, it would be worth asking the local SEP authorities, just to find out what they would tell you. SEP has had to increase the English classes they provide to students and they may have some leeway in how they go about meeting that need. They may be able to credit your TESOL and years of experience. You would have to go in to see them in person. I don’t know if there is a local office right in San Felipe.

Private schools, on the other hand, also hire English instructors and have more flexibility in setting their hiring criteria, BUT there don’t appear to be any of those in San Felipe.

It appears that the smartest thing to do would be to go on a fact-finding visit to San Felipe, and possibly to other areas of interest, just in case you find that there aren’t enough opportunities for you right in that area.

For some general information about getting ready to teach English in Mexico, you can click on the “Articles” link on my web site and read any of the related articles that interest you []. Also, if you are serious about moving to Mexico, my book Mexico: The Trick is Living Here might be helpful to you.

I hope that this answer has been of some help to you.

Sincerely, Julia Taylor
Author of Mexico: The Trick is Living Here and creator of