CJ School Chronicles… Getting everything on “The List” that we needed for school in Mexico

The List. Of course there is a list! I was just a little (or a lot, actually) surprised at what all was on the list.

It started easy enough. Enrollment forms. Until I realized they were  completely in Spanish. But, we had been spending the summer in Spanish class in Tulum, so I felt pretty good about knowing enough Spanish to fill out the forms. Ok, done. Next?

Then 1) Medical Certificate, 2) Original Birth Certificate with Apostille with it translated to Spanish, 3) Residency and CURP number, 4) Photos in Infintil Size, 5) School Transcript, 6) School Behavior Report, and a few other more common things that had to be brought to the school.

  1. Medical Certificate. This is apparently pretty common place in schools in Mexico, but I had no idea what this was. I sent the doctor a WhatsApp message and scheduled an appointment for this certificate. However, when we were driving by the supermercado, I noticed in the farmacia window a sign for “certificado médico”. I didn’t realize I could get this done at the grocery store! So I canceled the doctor appointment and my husband brought him into the farmacia. There was a doctor in farmacia that basically gave him a quick physical, filled out the “certificado médico” and we were done with that.

  2. Original Birth Certificate. Well, of course I knew what that was. I even had it with me in Mexico. But I didn’t have a clue was what it meant to have an apostille birth certificate. Turns out, it is basically a notarized copy of a birth certificate, but from a notary that is recognized world wide (or at least that is how I explain it so it makes sense to me). The catch? You have to mail in your original birth certificate to the department of state and they send you back the apostille and the birth certificate by mail. This took a little maneuvering since the birth certificate was with me in Mexico, but I needed it in Louisiana to mail to the state. Problem solved though when I sent it back to the states with my husband when he traveled back to work. Done with this one too.

  3. Residency and CURP. I called our immigration lawyer and she gave me another list of things we needed in order to get CJ’s residency. Turns out I need the original birth certificate and the apostille for residency too. So, back to the school to pick up everything I had just dropped off so we could bring it to the immigration lawyer. Also turns out it has to be applied for by my husband since on CJ’s birth certificate it shows my maiden name (yeah, something weird about the state of LA putting maiden names instead of married names) but my residency card is in my married name. A wasted trip for me, and a project for another day when my husband is home.

  4. Photos in Infintil size. I got this one. At least I thought I did. I remembered when I was in Tulum the previous week that there was a place advertising Infintil Photos, so I brought CJ to Tulum. The guy took his picture, processed it, and after waiting 30 minutes, he finally told me he couldn’t get the printer to work. So on to a new adventure. Finding a place that can create this specific size (I mean, I’m not even sure what size “Infintil” is). Luckily a friend of mine went with us a few days later to get school supplies and we discovered that we could take a picture at Samsclub and they photo guy could print it in Infintil size. Another thing off the list.

  5. School Transcript and School Behavior Report. I think this was the easiest item on the list to get. I emailed the school counselor from CJ’s previous school and she emailed me all of the information I could possibly need. Topped with the transcript from the remainder of his 6th grade that he had taken online. All printed out and done.

Paperwork and Enrollment finished – well, for the most part – and it was time to move on to Uniforms, Books, and School Supplies.


UNIFORMS – Luckily, the school has all the uniforms at the school to purchase. Un-luckily, there was nothing in his size available. I was worried that he was going to have to start school with no uniforms. We didn’t find out till the next day that the uniform people found larger sizes, problem solved, and my husband brought him back to pick up his uniforms.

SHOES – I had brought him to get shoes when we were last in the States, but we found out that he had to have 2 pair, one solid black and one solid white, so, my husband brought him to the store to get two more new pair of shoes. And then, we found out the black shoes meant ALL black shoes. So back to the store again for the fourth pair of school shoes, but this time the right school shoes.

BOOKS – The easiest on the list. They were handing them out at the school. But easy still didn’t stop the panic I felt when I realized they are all in Spanish!

SCHOOL SUPPLIES – This might have been easier if the list would have been in English, but it was all in Spanish and even when translated, I had no idea what these things were! Thank God for great friends, I had a friend go with me shopping and we were able to get everything we needed from Office Max. DEF59464-F970-4590-AB12-CC36D6EB7421

And that’s it. Everything done. Check list complete. Nothing left on The List. I wish I could say that I handled this with strength and confidence, but honestly, getting everything on this list was some of my toughest, emotional times since moving to Mexico. It felt like for every one step forward we were taking three steps backwards. Even though I’ve come to know and accept that things move slower in Mexico and that nothing ever happens as anticipated, I was having a really difficult time taking things in stride. I would go from crying, to wanting to scream (maybe I should have – my friend told me screaming is better because crying makes your eyes puffy), back to crying.

But that didn’t last. I found out how strong my support system is here in Mexico. I found that I have friends that truly want to help and for once, I let them. Gotta say, feels great be surrounded by great people.

And just like that, The List is finished 🙂


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