We’ve decided that it’s finally time to tell our story. Eliceo and I (Nicole) currently live in Yucatan, Mexico.
We live with our two kids, two bengal cats, an adopted street dog, two adopted street cats, a bunch of exotic chickens, a few peacocks and a quickly growing number of rabbits. We are both stay-at-home parents and work out of the home while our kids are at school. We also do a lot of volunteer teaching here in our community. I never pictured my life looking like this. In fact I’m one of those people who likes to plan everything in advance, and I can tell you, this is nothing like I planned. So how did this happen? It’s a long story, let me rewind a few years.
We used to live the typical American lifestyle. We had a house in Minnesota, we both worked outside the home, brought our kids to daycare, you know the drill. I taught K-2 ESL, and loved it. I had found my calling and couldn’t imagine ever leaving my students, their families, my colleagues, my school. But we were always living in fear that one day Eliceo would be deported. You see, after we got married, to our surprise, we found out that the policies had changed making it impossible for Eliceo to fix his immigration status.
We didn’t want to live under the radar anymore so we started praying about our situation. We finally decided to make the move to Mexico to start the lengthy 10 year process before qualifying to apply for a U.S. visa. This was the only way to fix the situation while keeping our family together. Little did we know that this was all in God’s plans.
When we arrived in Yucatan, we decided to do everything on our own terms, and to be honest, we struggled a lot. Just days after arriving Eliceo got appendicitis and had emergency surgery. Then a few weeks later he rolled our truck in a trip to Oaxaca. On top of all that we struggled to navigate a new system in a new state without friends or family. I started teaching English at a prestigious private school but was earning the equivalent of only $120 a week. I quickly lost my passion as I was no longer teaching struggling students nor helping families in need. Hoping to use his English skills, Eliceo started working as a waiter at a high-end restaurant making less than the equivalent of $1.00 an hour plus tips. We worked separate shifts, lived separate lives, struggled to make ends meet and knew something had to change. We tried turning our living room into an English school, then a school supply shop, then a brand-name clothing store, and then we gave up.
We started seeking God’s plan for our life and soon saw TpT in the news. I had joined the year before, but hadn’t invested much time or effort into it. That night I stayed up late creating my first complete unit. Slowly but steadily I noticed my followers and sales increasing. Since Eliceo had previous translation experience, I convinced him to translate my work. I quickly regained my passion as I saw that I was helping teachers internationally. After three years we both decided to devote ourselves full-time to supporting teachers through curriculum design.
Now we work side by side and get to spend more quality time with our two little ones. Oh, and if you’re wondering about all the animals we mentioned earlier, thanks to TpT, we now have free time for hobbies. In addition to starting a hobby farm, we do volunteer teaching at nearby schools. Never in a million years did I image this would be my life, but God always has a way of working things out for the best. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11