Arrival in Guadalajara

We arrived in Guadalajara on Tuesday after a wonderfully short flight time of about an hour-and-fifty minutes, which is particularly great with two small kiddos in tow.

The terminal at IAH was not crowded at all, which made getting everyone and everything checked in a bit less hectic. DiploMom handled getting all the bags checked while I handled getting DiploDog squared away.




We were very pleased that we were able to bring DiploDog along as checked baggage since it meant she would not have to be processed through cargo in Guadalajara and we would not need a customs broker to get her out, which apparently could cost around $1,000.  Insane!

Smooth flight. Check. Smooth entrance through immigration. Check. All the bags arrived. Check. Here comes DiploDog with the other bags. Check.

The only other item I was holding my breath a bit on was getting through customs and out of the airport with DiploDog. We had all of our paperwork, but one never knows with such a bureaucratic process. Thankfully the process was fairly quick and everyone was very nice.

Time to unload for your exam, DiploDog.



With DiploDog squared away, we had the paperwork we needed to provide to customs and we were then out of the airport to meet our sponsors and get loaded into a motor pool van to head to our housing assignment.


The traveling circus was on its way.

We are very pleased with our housing assignment. There are about eight other consulate families in the neighborhood and we have already managed to meet a few of them. Everyone has been quite helpful. Our sponsors that picked us up took great care of us by setting us up with some meals in our refrigerator that just needed to be heated up. They also took me to Walmart for an initial grocery run.

On Wednesday night we had one of the most insane thunderstorms I have ever experienced. We had just gone to bed when things really ramped up with driving rain and hail. I commented that I was surprised that we had not lost power yet and a few minutes later, my surprise was over.

What I wasn’t expecting was how long the power would be out. It went out at around 10:00 pm on Wednesday and was not back on until 4:30 pm on Thursday. Our neighbors who have been at post for a year told us that the power had never been out like that before. When it had gone out, it was usually for around 5 minutes or so. We later found out that a tree had fallen into a transformer so that helped explain things a bit more.

All in all, so far, so good. Internet is hopefully getting installed on Monday or Tuesday and we’ve been able to look at a couple of school options that are very close by for DiploTot. There is WiFi at the neighborhood club house so we can be a bit more connected in the mean time. Our UAB was delivered to us on Wednesday and our car may arrive by the middle of next week.

The Final Pack Out

Since we were still in our house for about 8 days after our pack out, we still needed to have a few things around, such as food, cleaning supplies, bed for DiploDog etc. We told Francisca she could have whatever we left behind.

We got a photo from Dulce today of that final pack out. Francisca’s son Luis borrowed a truck to help and here is what it looked like. Toyota trucks are the work horses of Guatemala.


They have a couple of dogs. Here is Sisi on DiploDog’s old bed. She definitely has room to spread out.


Traveling Home

The final leg of the trip home is always the most hectic. Loading up and getting to the airport with so many bags always makes things interesting. I’m trying to figure out how we can travel to Guadalajara with fewer bags, but I’m not seeing how that is going to be possible.

Here is everything waiting to get get loaded onto the van from the embassy motor pool, minus the water jugs, of course.


The crate for DiploDog went in first, then everything else.


DiploTot was able to enjoy a special morning cupcake. On the way to the airport, we made a quick stop at her school to drop them off for her class and to say goodbye to her teacher.


After that is was onto the airport. After rounding up two porters, we got everything loaded and into the airport, making a concerted effort in the chaos of the loading process to make sure any small backpacks didn’t get snatched. So close to being on our way, the last thing we wanted was for anything to get stolen.

The great thing about the airport is that it isn’t totally packed, which made the process of getting all the bags checked in, not to mention getting DiploDog checked in as well, much less crazy.



Bags checked and we are ready to roll.


The Kindle Fire tablet kept DiploTot occupied for the entire flight. I know she would normally have fallen asleep, but there was no way she was letting herself do that with shows to watch. DiploBoy finally managed to snooze for about an hour-and-a-half. We really appreciate the short flight to get to Houston and the short flight we will have to get to Guadalajara. I can’t imagine having some 10 or longer flight with connections.


When we arrived at baggage claim in Houston, the first thing we saw was DiploDog. She was just kind of randomly sitting there. It didn’t appear to any kind of official pick up location, nor was there anyone official in the vicinity. She was very excited when she saw us, so I let her out and put her leash on. That lasted for about five or ten minutes until an agent with customs exited a nearby door with a beagle and told me I had to have DiploDog back in the crate.


We got her crate on a luggage cart and managed to get the rest of our bags. Thankfully a couple of helpful staff helped push all of our stuff out through customs and outside of the airport where we loaded everything into the in-laws’ cars. It is good to be back!


Our car was picked up this afternoon.  In the past, one could not bring a car into Mexico that was older than five years. We are glad that has changed since we have been really pleased with this car that we bought from an officer that was leaving Guatemala shortly before we arrived.

It was wonderful to have the car waiting for us when we arrived.  We’ll have to wait a bit longer this time around, but we are hoping we’ll be able to receive the car in Guadalajara about 6 weeks after arriving.  We’re also hoping we get to keep the blackout window tinting. I’ve really grown accustomed to the fact that no one can see us inside when we are out and about.





Pack Out II

It is a big relief once everything is packed. Then we’re ready to get things cleared out of the house and loaded. First up was our HHE, which came in at 7,102 lbs and filled 8 crates.




As boxes were loaded in, I checked off the numbers. This was then compared to the checks on the movers list to ensure that everything was accounted for.




After the first 6 crates were loaded, the truck departed for the warehouse and then returned with more to finish our HHE and to start on our storage shipment.


Our storage shipment wrapped up fairly quickly the next morning and came in at 3,746 lbs and 7 crates.




A huge weight was lifted once the truck departed with the last of the freight and we were finally finished. We have a small bit of loaner furniture from the embassy to get us through until we leave post.

Pack Out I

The morning that the movers arrive is always stressful. We’ve tried to do as much in advance as we can and we are hoping that our UAB will not exceed 700 lbs and that the what we are planning to ship to Guadalajara won’t exceed 7,200 lbs. We did a good bit of sorting and arranging in advance, which paid off in a smoother moving experience once the controlled chaos of the men arriving began.

Our UAB was sorted in guest room and out in the foyer area. We were able to ship everything that we had planned, as our total weight came in at around 640 lbs.



It’s fairly crazy watching the packers get after it. They were very quick, yet very meticulous in how they packed boxes and in how they wrapped and protected furniture.






It took two days to get everything packed and ready to load onto the truck. Then it was time to load our HHE going to Guadalajara and everything else that was going back to storage in Maryland.