Monthly Archives: June 2008

How important is YOUR name?

I guess neither Mex nor I knew how hard it would be to find a job after he returned. Ironically, employment seemed to come much easier before he got his permanent residency. I guess it could be a sign of the economy. Of course I have started to get suspicious because we’ll see a new job posting online for a restaurant and it says to apply in person and he’ll go the very next day and when he walks in they say “sorry, we aren’t hiring.” I don’t know the proper term for my suspicions… it’s not pessimism… I can’t think of the word… not really skeptism either. ugh! whatever the word is it is FRUSTRATING.

I hate the assumption people make about him from his appearance or voice or name. He has told me repeatedly that he wants our kids (when and if we have them… don’t get excited, I’m NOT pregnant!) to have my last name which makes me a little bit sad. We discuss it very seriously because I think his family would think that it was my fault and absolutely horrible to not take on their father’s name. I feel like we would be denying their Mexican heritage and teaching them a very bad lesson in balancing their bi-culturalness from the start. Mex’s arguement is that he doesn’t want people to judge them immediately from seeing their name on paper. That is what he has always dealt with and is feeling it rather painfully now. Of course if they have an American first name like Fred or William (FYI- neither of those are ones we’d consider) instead of Frederico or Guillermo it might balance out the Latin last name.

It makes me ponder why I decided not to change my name. I mostly did it for business reasons but also, out of sheer laziness. The thought of contacting all the places my name is and changing it just exhausted me. Plus, Mex was begging me to keep it. I still don’t fully understand why. I could have done in the “Mexican” way and become combined our names with his name first and my name last so in the US I would have the same name but in Mexico I would have his name. But again, out of laziness I did not. Contrary to what some people may think, my maintaining my last name had absolutely no feminist undertones. I didn’t do it to “maintain my identity as a woman” or anything like that. I have never been much of a traditionalist on marriage as far as dreaming of my wedding day, big family, etc. I always wanted to be married, maybe have kids, be happy, etc, but never focused much time on it. However, as we talk of children this last name thing does become and issue. Luckily we still have plenty of time to discuss it and come to a decision before any kids are on the horizon…

This issue does remind me of why I was going to start the blog in the first place, before this whole visa process turned us upside down. The title is “Minnesota & Mexico mix” and was supposed to be about cross-cultural bumps between the two of us. Names are apparently one large “tope” around our house (that’s a “speedbump” for those of you who don’t remember my irate typings from the road in Mexico).

Anyway, that’s all for the evening. Best of our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends Amber and Alberto as they start this process this upcoming week! We’re thinking of you!

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The land of "plenty"

Or, more fittingly, the land of too much of everything. Here in the middle of the desert are dozens of mega-hotels with 2000+ rooms each, enormous buffets on every corner, neon lights and spot lights and glowing slot machines… The pure amount of consumption that happens in Las Vegas is absolutely insane. On our trip to the Grand Canyon we met a couple from New Zealand who said they just can’t believe “America.” They commented that they were not able to find any place that wasn’t stuffed with people and that Americans seem to consume so much. The said there is nothing in New Zealand like Vegas and there, for entertainment, most people do outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking. Mex and I tried to explain that Vegas was not the city to judge America by. However, we started talking about it over dinner yesterday and decided maybe the Zealanders weren’t so far off. 

Bellagio flower display

In Mexico, where water is scarce (which is in almost the entire country) the use is strictly limited on a daily basis. You have one hour to pump as much as possible into your water holding tank. In the US, we see desert and decide to build one of the most energy-sucking, water-consuming cities in the country there. Why? Maybe gambling and girls were the only thing that could get people to visit this dry, wickedly hot area. Now there are dance clubs, “gentlemen’s and ladies clubs”, and free drinks while you gamble. I must admit that Mex and I did take advantage of the last one but penny machine hopping and pretending to gamble until the drink lady came our way. Of course, by the third margarita I really did put my $5 in the machine but luckily 500 pennies last a long time…

It will be a long time before we come to Vegas again (don’t tell my husband I said that!). He does love it with all the lights and things to do and I like to come here because it makes him happy. We usually go to shows like Cirque de Soleil or comedy shows but we decided to spend our “fun” money on the Grand Canyon excursion instead this time. It was a good choice since we both had wanted to see it for years. The business trip was worth it and I wish I was attending the classes the rest of this week but unfortunately I didn’t have time in my schedule. We just are not dance or clubbing or drinking people so Vegas does have a limited appeal. It is amazing to see the large size of the casinos and the fact that construction keeps going on. And the shopping would be great if I knew (or cared) anything about fashion. Everything from Jimmy Choo shoes, Armani suits, and $4000 prada purses! You can walk around for hours just looking at everything there is to see and being amazed, overwhelmed and slightly disgusted. Oh well… We just ran in to our friend Karla at the airport here in Vegas. Small world!

A few follow up notes: There were a ton of people selling time shares to condos in Vegas. We were attacked at the entrance to every hotel and casino with the question “Are you two married?” finally, after the 4th day I said to one of them, “Yes, but not to each other.” He didn’t really have a response to that and Mex and I walked away without being bothered. Totally annoying!
One last thing… Our hotel Excalibur is home to the “Thunder from Down Under” show featuring Australia’s hottest male exports. I couldn’t quite convince my husband to go though =)

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Filed under Mexico, Minnesota vs. Mexico, Minnesotan/American culture, Travel outside MN and Mexico

Live from Las Vegas

Yes, we are in Vegas. I surprised Mex with the trip and luckily I’ll get to write it off as a business expense! I was at an investment real estate class two weeks ago and the instructor kept referencing this additional class and when I looked it up I saw it is only offered three times this year… Vegas, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. Needless to say I jumped on the chance to take it and surprise Mex since that was something he was really excited to do (go to Vegas) at the end of Mexico trip that got cut out. I was intending to upload some pictures but the internet kiosk I’m using does not accept USB ports. We got a steal on a tickets/hotel package because we are staying at Excalibur which is a cheesy, medieval theme and very kid friendly. It is also a very good business opportunity for me as well or I wouldn’t have done it. After this class I will be able to become a CRS (Certified Residential Specialist). Of the 1.4 million members of the National Association of Realtors only about 37,000 have a CRS designation. It requires 75 career transactions or $10 million in sales volume (I have both) and 120 hours of specialized real estate classes. And of course, as with any sort of “club”, a hefty annual fee.

Anyway, we flew in Saturday evening and got to our hotel about 7. We then took a taxi over to the Rio and waited in line for an hour to go to the seafood buffet. Both of us ate about 4 pounds of crab legs, not to mention shrimp and mini lobster tails. It was pricey but awesome! This picture is of Mex with only HALF the legs we ate. Delicious on one level, disgusting on another! Surprisingly, neither of us got sick. Today (Sunday) we took a bus tour to the Grand Canyon since my deal with Mex was we would not gamble more than $30 each the whole four days. It shouldn’t be too hard since we are going to be in class all day Monday and Tuesday and attending networking events in the evening. We fly back Wednesday.The Grand Canyon was absolutely beautiful! We were excited to go since we had been to the Copper Canyon in Mexico which is longer and deeper. They are completely different experiences though. Copper Canyon is full of pines all the way to the bottom while Grand Canyon is all red striped rock. The time on the bus was a little long but we got the tickets at half price by buying them online instead of on the phone. I can’t remember the website.

This picture just makes me think of the Shrek movie when Donkey says “I’m a donkey on the edge.” There aren’t many bigger edges than the Grand Canyon!

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Finally an interview!

Yay! Mex finally got a call back. We were starting to fear that we have been too picky in looking for his new job. He wanted something reasonably close to our house, with benefits and better pay than his last job. Of course we were hoping for regular hours during the week, instead of the typical nights and weekends of the restaurant world. Therefore, he’s only found about four jobs that fit that description.

Yesterday he went to the Presbyterian Senior home in North Oaks. It was a little further away from us than I thought when he applied but it was the most gorgeous and gigantic building I’ve ever seen for senior housing. There must be room for 500 people and they are still expanding. It is not a nursing home or assisted living. It seems like just senior reduced income housing. The people living there pay only $260 a month and there are parks, full service dining, indoor pool, pool tables and all kinds of stuff. Unfortunately, when Mex showed up for his interview the chef was out due to a family emergency but he got a tour of the kitchen and filled out some more applications. He’ll have to go in a second time and meet the chef.

He also dropped off applications at the Bon Appetit food service at Target and Medtronic locations so he’ll have to call and follow up with the chefs later this week.

That’s all for now! Hopefully the next update will include a new job report!

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