Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
I wish I brought high quality linens bedding, sheets, towels, etc.; a set of good quality pots and pans, basic set of kitchen gadgets; and a TV and DVD player.
I wish I left at home...You can find anything in this modern city, however the prices are much higher and the quality is not what we are used to in the USA. Don't weigh yourself down with anything but the essentials or the over the weight limit fees at the airport can be expensive. Don't even think of paying to move your belongings by truck unless your job will cover it. There is still a big risk that it will be stolen, so I left my items in storage in the USA where they remain today.
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
If possible, come to the city before you move and spend a week focused on looking for a house or apartment. Puebla is a big city and neighborhoods vary. Ask the locals at Starbucks, the hip restaurants or at a local bar in the nice hotels for advice on the better/safer places to live. They are very well informed and friendly. The nicer places to live do require a lease, so come prepared with a proof of employment or job offer letter, a bank statement (you can get a Mexican account after you can present a lease), passport, visa and best of all if you have a local reference that is trusted above all. You will need a lease to begin internet, phone and electric service. Hot water and cooking gas comes in the form of gas. Yes GAS only! Your neighbors can help you with the number of the company that services your neighborhood.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
I live in a 300 year old historical neighborhood that is very exclusive. There are many expats from Germany, France and other countries in the city that mostly live in very modern, new houses. My home is rare to obtain even by the locals.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
I asked around at work, drove around the neighborhoods by taxi and by chance while exploring a neighborhood on foot I saw a For Rent sign on a very appealing hacienda. I knocked on the door and the owner rented it to me on the spot.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
My costs are much lower. I could never have this type of home in the USA for this price. The average cost of renting an apartment in Puebla is $5000 MXN, and a modern, brand new home would be twice the price.