As most of you can probably tell, I love to write. Most of you can also tell that I LOVE to travel. Every summer the U of M offers week long courses in writing or art, called Split Rock Arts Program, where people can go and improve there skills. I happened to be looking through the brochure when we were sorting our mail some time in early May and noticed that this summer there is a class on Travel Writing and it is being taught by Catherine Watson who was the travel editor of the Star Tribune for 25 years. Unfortunately, the classes are quite expensive and our “fun” funds are severely depleted after two months of vacation. They do offer a few scholarships each summer so I decided to apply. I had to send in a writing sample since scholarships are based on financial need and on “merit”. I just found out today that I got a full scholarship for the price of the class AND room and board (it’s at the Cloquet Forestry Center). Now it is quite possible that there was no merit involved and I was the only applicant for the scholarship but I think I will cling to the hope that I have some potential and could someday even get paid to write! A dream of mine since high school! I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and hope to expand some of my blog entries into more interesting essays. It is such a great opportunity to spend a week with an instructor that has traveled the world and, even more importantly, gotten paid to do it! Yay!
No news on the job front for Mex yet… he’s going to speak to the manager at his old job tomorrow and see if he can get something temporary while he keeps looking since he is going crazy being at home. We’re keeping up the search and dropping off résumés though because he would like something new.
As I was driving to work this morning I decided to turn the radio off and just let my thoughts run. An interesting experience since I usually try to drown everything out with music cranked up just a little too much. My mind drifted back to the time in Tetelilla. I wondered what they were having for lunch today… how they were handling the heat… if the mouse was finally out of our room… how Gaby is doing in school… if Sofia’s granddaughter is smiling yet…
As thoughts swirled in my head, I started to become more analytical. I have always noticed the different dynamics of Latino family life vs. American family life. For instance, Mex is appalled at the idea of putting anyone in a place such as a nursing home, especially your parents. The idea of caring for your parents is so ingrained in Mexican children that there is no other option in their mind.
That leads me to my next thoughts… the idea of pride. It is evident in the way his sisters interact with Mex and Mex’s dad looks at him. You can see how proud they are of him. You can see how much his sisters love each other and are proud of each other’s accomplishments. As we would sit on the beds at night talking (there are no couches in the house they sleep in) his sisters would always be close and leaning on each other and acting like the best of friends. It was so fun to watch and I wished I could understand their jokes and stories more completely.
When we came back to Minneapolis and went to visit Mex’s brother Gigio for the first time, he was talking to me about the trip and telling me stories about his dad. His face beamed as he told me how, in his 20’s his father had been a matador in the bull fighting ring. Then he told me how, even though his father has been so unhealthy for many years, he still owns all of his fields where younger and stronger men in his town had lost theirs long ago. It made me smile to see how proud he was of his dad. It also made me wonder if he ever has told his dad that. Possibly… I know it is hard for Mexican men to express feelings to each other. They are very romantic and caring in their words to a carina or “sweetheart” but have a hard time voicing much sentiment to each other. I suppose that is true of men from any country but I just notice it more now with Mex’s family.
My thoughts were forced to wrap up as I neared the office but I vowed to myself to be more open with my emotions and tell people how I feel about them when I have the chance. Life is short. Enjoy every minute and help others enjoy theirs!
Mex and I have some friends that are going throught the same exact process we went through. She just called last night to tell me her husband got his interview notice for July 1st. When she said that I felt sympathy knots in my stomach and the memories of that first week of February flooded back to me…
The mixture of fear and joy when we actually had the date in our hands. The intense panic because we didn’t feel prepared and had so much information to gather. The anxiety over how in the world it was possible to get everything done in a month while still working and squeeking out every last penny you can. The excitement to see Mexico with my husband and meet the family I had heard about for so long. The gut-twisting terror that things wouldn’t work out as we had planned and he may have to stay there.
Those feelings begin tossing us around like a canoe in the ocean from the minute we saw the deadline in black and white on the paper. It wouldn’t have mattered if we had every single paper in order and all of our travel plans made… Just like it didn’t matter that we had been planning to do this before we were even engaged… Over three years of knowing what was necessary to have my husband become a Permanent Legal Resident. I’ve decided that even though it is possible to prepare financially or physically for this, or any challenge in life, it is impossible to completely prepare yourself emotionally.
It reminds me of what another friend told me when she talked about having a child… “I don’t feel ready, but I didn’t last year either. I could keep waiting but, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel ready so we just decided to do it.” Now she is the proud mother of the cutest twin baby girls ever and is comfortable in her new role. I bet she can’t imagine the world without her girls now and those pre-pregnancy worries seem far away. We weren’t “ready” for my husband’s interview notice either but now we can’t believe we dragged out the process for so long. Looking back, it was easy to “wait” before we got his interview date… It was stressful and exhausting from the point of our notice until his actual second interview… But now, we can enjoy life and each other without the shadow that followed us for our entire relationship. We can tour Europe if we want to or hop on a plane to Mexico at any time… Mex can open a retirement account and I can finally make him the beneficiary on all of mine. The little things we didn’t even realize we worried about are now gone… of course we still get to have all the fun ‘discussions’ like “who left the toilet seat up?” “whose turn is it to clean the bathroom?” “you drive like a crazy person!” oh the joys of being together!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends and we look forward to helping them prepare for this exciting (but highly stressful) time.
Well, it has been three weeks since we got home and Mexico seems like a distant memory. It makes us both sad and we are trying to figure out when the next trip will be able to happen. Part of that depends on if Northwest Airlines still allows people to use frequent flier miles and when there is a free ticket available. It has also been over two weeks since I’ve entered anything on the blog so I’m guessing I’ve lost most of my readership! =(
I must say that we are both overwhelmed by the number of people who were reading our blog and the support we have been given. We have received letters, cards, emails, and too many kind words to count. It has warmed both of our hearts so much to know there were so many people, some who had never even met us, following our story and feeling so passionate about the results.
Yesterday, Mex got his “Green Card” in the mail. Yay! It isn’t actually green at all. It is shiny and official and even has his fingerprint on it. It does have an expiration date of 2018 (which it freaks me out on a whole ‘nother level to just imagine how fast that date will come) but it doesn’t really expire. It’s like a passport where you just need to send in an application and probably more money and get a new one. Of course, by then we hope he will be a citizen!
Not much has been new for us. We both got quite drastic haircuts… of course we should have gotten them before going to keep us cool instead of now when we need to warm up a little. Just kidding! no complaints about the weather from us! Mex has been working on finishing up some loose ends in his quest for a US diploma. He’s finished two more trimesters of work in this last week (he needs 36 total to graduate) so he’s got about seven done. He’s hoping the long hours he’s been putting in will catch him up from the two months he missed.
Mex is still looking for a job. He would like to continue working in food service so he can get more experience in order to run his own restaurant one day. Let us know if you know of anyone who is hiring! We haven’t tried very hard yet but need to get in gear as the end of the month nears because we were hoping he’d have a job by June.
Anyway, thank you all again for your overwhelming kindness and support. We feel so cared for it makes us smile every day!