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Frequently Asked Questions About My Life in Mexico City

I created this Frequently Asked Questions to guide my supporters and to answer a few of your questions. Any new questions I get I will add to this page. Last updated 05/15/2018.

Black. 31 years old. female. Self-employed. Immigrant or Expat. Lives in Ciudad de Mexico. Tall. Model size. Lived in 6 different cities in Amerikkka and China and Mexico. Adventurous. Introvert. Playful. Focused. Ambitious. Hustla. Passionate. Strong willed. Determined. Independent. Working on my Espanol.

I started this blog to encourage my Black brothers and sisters to go out and explore the world. Break the stereotype of “Black folks don’t do this or that”…

My name is Elyse Robinson and I am born and raised in sunny Sacramento, California. I lived there until I was 22 years old and moved to Boston for my first federal job. Throughout my years as a federal employee, I have lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Tucson, Arizona. I have a degree in accounting and worked as an Auditor for a few years prior to my move abroad.

I am now 31 years old and living permanently in Mexico City, Mexico. I know enough Spanish but I’m getting better every day with practice. I am self-employed and do a wide range of things to make ends meet here. But I don’t have to work as hard as I did back in Amerikkka as it’s so cheap to live here. My life is fun and enjoyable now…something I’ve always dreamed of.

Why did you move to Mexico City?
The answer is below. I left a few days after my mother’s funeral. You can also read this article I wrote too for a bit more information.

What made you choose Mexico City?
Truth be told. After coming back from China, I realized I only knew english and how much of a handicap that was. Wasn’t going back to China after my mother passed away because I was just too vulnerable and needed my family and they needed me. I also wanted the option to fly back and forth quickly and cheaply. So I thought I should learn Spanish…one of the most spoken languages in the world.

I was originally supposed to go to Ecuador and me being selfish again was to leave while my mother was still alive. But of course, The Lord laughs at your plans. My mother passed away the day before I was to leave for Ecuador. Funny because she did not want me to go at all. I couldn’t afford another ticket as that wasn’t in my budget. I also wasn’t waiting around for the refund from United as that took months. I had to wait for the death certificate to get the refund.

So, I had thousands of Southwest points and I knew they went to Spanish speaking countries (Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic). I looked and saw that flying to Mexico City used the least amount of points and was only 1.5 hours away from Houston by plane on a direct flight. Mexico speaks Spanish right? Funny as I’ve lived on the border twice (San Diego, Tucson) and never stepped foot in Mexico. All I heard was bad stories! I was also overwhelmed at the border in San Diego when I had to go there to obtain my SENTRI card. Little did I know that I would end up loving this place.

Can you believe I never heard of Mexico City before I bought my plane ticket? I bought my plane ticket. I then found a place to live through AirBnB and found a language school. My first Airbnb rental was in the ghetto and not close to any major attractions or public transportation so that’s why I ended up leaving a month and a half in. BUT I chose it because the reviews for the host were phenomenal. She took me around the neighborhood, showed me how to use the public transportation system, and just gave me the confidence to go out and explore.

In closing, I took all my savings and came out here on a hope and dream. I HAD to make it work. I’ll be here a year next month and can’t believe it one bit!

How did you move to Mexico City?
See the answer above.

How is living in Mexico City?
I love it here or I would have left right? How can I describe Mexico City? It’s like Los Angeles or New York (I’ve never been to NYC even after living in Boston so I’m just going off what other people say) or San Francisco. It’s like living there but without all the negativity of race issues and knowing you are Black everywhere you go. Here I feel free.

Mexico City has everything you can think of. From museums to schools, to shows (ballet, wrestling, bullfighting), to restaurants, to daily free events, you name it Mexico City has it. The weather is usually great. There is a rainy season from about May to September and it storms at night for a few minutes and clears up. I love it though and listen to the thunder. Yes, it does get cold at night so I compare the weather to living in Los Angeles. Nice during the day, but cold in the morning and night. Mexico City is not near a beach!!! It is surrounded by mountains which makes it even more beautiful. I honestly can’t think of a con of living here.

Here are my monthly expenses.

Do you feel safe there?
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world! Like any big city, you have to know where not to go and practice precautionary measures. Crime can happen anywhere. But I feel safer here than the states just because of the race issues back home. I’ve never felt unsafe at all and people are helpful and friendly here.

How are you treated there?
Like a queen! I’ve gotten free things just for being Black. When you walk in the door everyone wants to help you and talk to you. I’m treated with respect and people are SO patient with me since I can’t speak Spanish. You are also treated like a woman here. I’ve had men go out of their way to help me. I’ve never felt discriminated against here.

What does your housing look like?
My studio apartment is furnished with essentials and right by a major train and bus station. A weekly housekeeper that cleans my apartment from top to bottom and washes my clothes. Internet, electricity, and water included. Handyman on-site Mon-Sat which fixes things and takes my garbage out for me. I scaled down A LOT but my life is better. I can always move into something bigger later. Check out the video I made:

How do you get around?
There is Uber here (and another company called Cabify which I’ve never used) which is very cheap compared to the US. They also have taxis everywhere. I don’t think I’ve spent over $10 for an hour ride and 15 km. There is also a very extensive public transportation system here with buses and subways. Taking the bus and train is very cheap here. 6 pesos for the bus and 5 pesos for the train and as long as you don’t leave the loading areas for both you can ride it with many transfers for that price.

Do you speak Spanish?
Nope! I took Spanish for like 10 days in the 7th grade. My understanding has gotten better and my speaking is still pretty much nonexistent. But I study 3 hours per day most days (see below).

How hard is it to live there without knowing Spanish?
Actually not hard at all. Some people never learn it at all! You know how people come to the US and never learn english. A lot of people know enough english to understand what you are saying. Make sure you speak proper english and don’t use slang and idioms. If someone doesn’t know english, they will find someone that does for you! I have to tell people all the time tell me in Spanish and do not speak english to me! They want to practice their english.

What did you do before you moved to Mexico City?
I was an Auditor for the US Federal Government. The last place I “officially” worked was for the Air Force in Tucson, AZ. I had a good life but knew I wanted to leave the US eventually so had been working on that plan. But so much for my plan…but things do just line up when it’s time.

Yes, I have a degree in accounting and I’ll probably never use it again. But that’s a story for another day…

How do you make a living in Mexico?
Ha! I do all kinds of “hustles” but my main thing is FOREX. That buys me too much time in my day. I don’t turn down anything since I have so much time in my day to make money. $20 is half my grocery bill for the week so I just can’t. I have an idea for an online store so stay tuned for that.

Check out my post on financing your life abroad.

Why do Mexicans want to come to the US?
I actually get this one a lot. I can’t answer this question definitely. I think the media portrays a lot of negativity that just isn’t true (right along with the terrible image of Mexico). Yes, it’s true that some come for a better life because their lives were harder in Mexico. It’s also true that many come for a change of life too just like I did here in Mexico City. I’ll just leave it at that.

Where can I take great Spanish lessons?
I highly recommend Baselang. I wrote a review on them here.

UPDATE: 10/19/2017

How much money did you bring to Mexico City?
Eh give or take about $10,000 I had saved up. That lasted me about 6 months and I honestly was overspending on things since I was so excited and everything was new to me. I probably could have went a year.

What about the visa process?
One reason why I chose Mexico was the easy visa process. You can come on a tourist visa for 6 months, leave and come back for another 6 months, rinse and repeat. The resident visa process is also simple. Go to your local consulate website for more information.

UPDATE: 10/23/2017

How long have you been in Mexico City?
Almost a year! Can’t believe it…it just flew by. I arrived on November 26, 2016.

I know this post was long…but now I can just direct people to this post and save my breath. If I STILL haven’t answered your question then by all means leave a comment and I will answer it.

UPDATE: 05/15/2018

Are you a permanent resident
I am NOT a citizen. I AM a permanent resident which is called a “Green Card” back in the states. I can apply for citizenship in 5 years unless Mexico changes the laws.

I know this post was long…but now I can just direct people to this post and save my breath. If I STILL haven’t answered your question then by all means leave a comment and I will answer it.

How To Live Abroad Without Going Broke

First things first…what do I do to survive out here in Mexico? I have a lot of hustles that eventually pay off but they do not take more than a hour out of my month. The two main things I do is day trade and sell stuff book on Amazon and my course on Udemy. I really need to go scope out items here in Mexico I can sell online but I have been lazy. Day trading gets me by just fine. I will also look into online poker within the next week. Heard that was another way to make great gains. Especially since I cannot make money on the weekend because the markets close down. I also tour guide and consult with clients on moving abroad but that is not my bread and butter. I hope to send out a press release later this month to advertise that I am here! I am looking to buy a place out here sooner rather than later. So my hustle is STRONG.


Here is a list of great ways to make a living abroad so you do not have to worry about money. I tried to keep the list to jobs where you work for yourself and not have to depend on others hiring you:

1. Teacher – TONS of resources online on how to do this. A good website to start with is ESLcafe. Please be sure to sign up for their forum it has ALOT of good information. You can also teach online. If you are a certified teacher you definitely have more options and schools will pay top dollar and offer a GREAT benefits package. You can also do private tutoring or start your own school. I will one day write up how I went about teaching in China.

2. Day Trader – I do this Sunday through Friday. It is like gambling. You win some you lose some. There are plenty of resources online to help you understand what you’re doing. You can also get a free trading account to practice with. I trade FOREX and sometimes stocks.

3. Online Poker Player – Read online this is a great way to make enough money to live abroad. I will be trying this out soon and will report back.

4. Freelance – This includes writing and photography. See this website that has a list of websites you can freelance online with. This also include programming, marketing, virtual assistant, etc etc gigs.

5. Travel Medical Worker – You can work just about anywhere in the world as a nurse, speech pathologist, physical/occupational therapist just to name a few jobs. These are great fields to pursue if you want to travel and live abroad.

7. Travel Agent – You can work remotely and have clients anywhere in the world.

8. Tour Guide – This is more location dependent. Set up shop somewhere and offer unique tours of your city.

9. Military – They usually live overseas for periods of time with everything paid for. Although I have known people in the military that have been on the same base in the US their whole career.

10. Boat Crew – Rich people sail and are always looking for crew to man the ship.

11. Cruise Ship Worker – Cruise ship jobs allow you to see the world and get paid to do it.

12. Au Pair – Take care of rich peoples’ children. I talked to a woman that did this right after high school in Spain. She became fluent in Spanish and loved it. She is still in contact with the family she lived with for a year.

13. Geologist – You will definitely need a degree to become one but the travel and living abroad opportunities are crazy.

14. Street Performer – I see these people all the time here in Mexico City. I have no idea if they make a great living or not but they must or they wouldn’t do it day in and out.

15. Work in Exchange for Room and Board – They give you free living expenses in exchange for work. All kinds of websites online to find opportunities. A good one I just found out about is You can work on organic farms or maybe house sit.

16. Peace Corps Worker – They now have it to where you know the location before you go. You can get on their web site and apply for any open jobs that they have. I’ve heard good and bad stories about the Peace Corps. Please do your research.

17. Flight Attendant/Pilot – If you work for an international airline you will be based in another country. Most of these jobs require more than one language though so get to learning!

18. Sex Chat Operator – Very easy work and very location independent. You can work anywhere on this earth as long as you have a good internet connection. Talking dirty to men in short messages.

19. Phone Sex Operator – Companies are always hiring or you can start your own line with an 800 number and they pay VERY WELL. If you are up to it you can make a lot of money and have stories to tell for days.

20. Web Cam Worker – Same as a Phone Sex Operator but your presence will be out there.

21. Importer/Exporter – I plan to do this if I ever quit being so lazy and get to it. Importing and exporting products from another country can be very lucrative.

22. Host/Hostess/Server – People pay good money to see a pretty face serving them.

23. Interpreter/Translator – If you know another language this is very lucrative and would allow you to work anywhere in the world. This is why I need to up my Spanish quickly.

24. Diplomat/Government Worker – As an ex-fed I had the opportunity to live in various locations all over the world as an Auditor. Go to for more information.

25. Missionary – You would provide humanitarian help to those less fortunate than you.

26. Airbnb Host – If you own property you can rent out a room or the entire place.

27. Business Owner – This could be location dependent or not depending on if your business can be mobile.


A few other ways you can live abroad:
1. Attend school abroad – Alot of countries are much cheaper to attend school in than the US anyway. You can still get federal loans to attend school in another country. Also, after you graduate alot of countries offer visas so you can stay longer. I wish I had done this when I was younger.

2. Work abroad programs (Working holiday visa)Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and Ireland offers work visas for young people in the US to work for a year or more.


I hope this article helps those looking to move abroad. You can do it!




*I do not vouch for any of the services or programs I have
mentioned above. A healthy amount of caution should always be
exercised when accepting hospitality from strangers.

Charles Schwab Bank – Best Bank for Americans that Travel

UPDATE: I’m still here in Mexico City using Charles Schwab Bank. Everything in this post is still up to date as ever over a year later. I love this bank to death. The $100 referral bonus is still going on, so leave a comment and I will send you a referral link!

WHY put up with a bank nickel and diming you?

I’ve been with this bank for YEARS. I love the simplicity of their online system. The fact I speak to Americans on the phone ANYTIME I call. And when I mean ANYTIME they are there 24/7/365. I believe I called them on New Year’s Day one year and I got someone while other banks would be closed. They have handled all my problems quickly and efficiently when I’ve needed them. If you don’t want to call them you can chat with them online and get your problems solved too.

A little story: I was living it up in China and I was trying to get cash out. I didn’t do the exchange rate correctly and ended up trying to pull out more than what I had in my account at the time. I’m thinking Schwab just didn’t like that bank so tried two other ATMs. Big mistake as they shut my card down. I called them up on Google Hangouts and they fixed my problem promptly. I did have to find a larger known bank though to pull out money but that wasn’t a problem.

Let’s look at what they offer:
-First they offer a $100 sign up bonus to anyone referred. If you want a referral leave a comment and make sure to fill in your email address and I’ll send you one.
Schwab does not charge any monthly fees and does not have account minimums which is rare these days. I’ve literally had my account sit for months with no money in it when I was younger and my account did not close. *Cough* damn you Chase…
-The main reason I’m writing this article! No foreign transaction fees and no ATM fees anywhere. What does this mean? Most banks charge a 1-3% foreign transaction fee when using your card overseas along with ATM fees. If that other bank charges you ATM fees, they are fully refunded at the end of the month. So if you have $60 in ATM fees they will refund you $60 at the end of the month. You can also go into IKEA in China and pay the exact price that’s on that desk with no markup. Keep that money in your pocket!
-They offer mobile deposit using your phone to deposit checks so you won’t have to go into the bank.
-Free Bill Pay online and through the app
-Free checks (who offers free checks anymore?)
-They also send you free envelopes to mail in checks. I actually had to mail in a very large check with no issues. It got there just fine.
-0.10% interest rate not much but it’s something UPDATE as of 03/30/2018 it is 0.40%, so it went up!
-Schwab is a full brokerage too. I have lots of investments with them and their interface is SO easy to use with TONS of information to make an informed decision. They also have TONS of no transaction fee stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc etc. I’d highly recommend taking a look at what they offer in that department too.
-And of course FDIC insurance up to $250,000

To open an account:
-Account opening takes less than 5 minutes online. Only thing is you have to send at least a dollar deposit to fully open your account and receive your debit card and account opening package. You can do that through another account, mobile deposit, or through the mail. This is no different than other large banks.

They will force you to open a Schwab One brokerage account but you do not have to use it. It just comes with your checking account.

Charles Schwab Bank does have physical branch locations but only in big cities. I’ve walked into a branch when I lived in Pasadena, CA (LA) and Sacramento, CA to deposit a check. They do not take cash nor do they have ATMs as it wouldn’t make sense to have them. You can go to ANY ATM damn near and pull out money.

Click here to find out more informaton: Charles Schwab Bank

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