Eben and Tanja

Eben and Tanja

13 July 2006 Interviews & Editorials 3

YL: When did you move to the Yucatan and where did you move from and why did you move?

Eben and Tanja: We moved here from London in May. We came here to find a nice, calm, safe place to raise our children for a few years, and because we were captivated by the architecture of the region.

YL: Why did you choose the city you live in over other places in the world?

Eben and Tanja: The weather, cost of living, location, and ample opportunities to work on real estate development.

YL: What did you plan to do after you moved here?

Eben and Tanja: Real estate development

YL: Are you doing now what you intended to do when you moved here?

Eben and Tanja: Yes

YL: Did you buy a house right away or rent first? Do you think you made the

right decision?

Eben and Tanja: We are actually renting, as that works best for us…

YL: Now that you live here, how do you like it?

Eben and Tanja: Apart from getting used to the heat at this time of year, it is a mellow and pleasant city to live in.

YL: Would you ever return to your former location?

Eben and Tanja: Absolutely, London is one of the most exciting places on earth.

YL: What are the most striking differences between living here vs. living where you lived before?

Eben and Tanja: The slower pace of life, and everyone is so short!

YL: What do you love about living here?

Eben and Tanja: The weather and how easy it is to get things done.

YL: What do you miss from your "former life"?

Eben and Tanja: The Queen.

YL: If you are working or own a business, what is it like owning and running a business here or working here?

Eben and Tanja: Despite the Mexican love for all things bureaucratic, it is pretty easy to run a company here, as there are generally very good and inexpensive advisors here. We put our lawyer and accountant through their paces, and the charges are quite reasonable.

YL: Do you have to do more than one thing to make a living?

Eben and Tanja: We do a lot of different things, but mostly for the stimulation, and a desire to stay plugged in. So while we are doing a lot here locally, both of us continue to maintain commitments overseas.

YL: Do you work as much as you used to "back home" or are your work habits different here?

Eben and Tanja: The work habits are different, because of the time differences, but we both work a lot here as well, but this is by choice.

YL: How is the city where you live different for residents than it is for tourists?

Eben and Tanja: We really loved Merida as tourists, walking through the colonial heart of centro, and enjoying the party atmosphere. But we also enjoy getting into the different rhythm of life that comes with living here. Most importantly, there are a lot of interesting people who have decided to make Merida their home, and we are enjoying meeting them and getting to know them.

YL: How is your Spanish?

Eben and Tanja: Pretty good.

YL: Is the language barrier a problem for you in your day to day life?

Eben and Tanja: Not a big barrier, but it is never quite the same to speak in a second language as it is in the Mother Tongue.

YL: What is the one most important piece of advice you would give someone planning a move to the Yucatan?

Eben and Tanja: Go for it!

YL: Are you a Mexican citizen?

Eben and Tanja: No

YL: If you aren't, do you think you will become one?

Eben and Tanja: No

YL: Why would or wouldn't you?

Eben and Tanja: No need

YL: How are you treated by Mexicans? Do you feel resented or welcome?

Eben and Tanja: They are very hospitable…

YL: How do you feel about the economic prospects of Mexico?

Eben and Tanja: Bullish

YL: What are your plans for the future here?

Eben and Tanja: We would like to stay here for a few years and see how it goes…

YL: Do you see your business growing?

Eben and Tanja: Yes, we would like to see that happening, and so far so good…

YL: Do you see yourself staying?

Eben and Tanja: For at least a few years, yes, beyond that, it will depend…


Eben and Tanja have a real estate development company called Balam Properties.


  • catherine verde 16 years ago

    Hi there-
    We are thinking of buying some small properties in merida to renovate and sell, with the idea of developing a small business to supplement our incomes, allowing us to escape the US and move to mexico with our family. I can see from your website that you feel Merida is a good investment..I'm just wondering how quickly houses are selling? Of course this depends on how the house is priced, but how long would you estimate for a small colonial renovation to sell at a fair price? 6 mos? a year? Many thanks! Catherine

  • Eben 17 years ago

    We aren't so expert in the local school system yet...but we have found the Montessori school to be quite good--though our oldest is only a year and a half!

    Kids generally pick up languages quickly, and I am sure your daughter would be no exception, but the first 6 months are likely to be a nightmare for her if she were to be put into an all Spanish speaking school--after which she will most likely thank you (when she has had the wisdom of years), but I can imagine it will be tough. There is an American school in Merida, but we don't know anything about it.

    But Spanish is a dead easy language, and pretty easy to get by in with just some basics.

  • WEST BROWN 17 years ago

    Dear Eben and Tanja, My wife and I have a 12 year-old daughter who doesn't speak Spanish yet. Could you tell us something about the schools in Merida? Thanks in advance.
    West and Marivien Brown

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