Monthly Archives: July 2008

A restaurant I will never visit

Well, I haven’t posted anything for a long time and thought I should get one more in by the end of the month. These last couple weeks have been crazy. Mex is working at his old job but he also worked at a German restaurant in NE Minneapolis for a day. While he was at work the owner asked him about his wife, if she was American, and had he married me to get his visa. He asked these questions multiple times and in front of other employees. Now let me just vent for a little while…

First of all, clearly if he had met me he would quickly realize Mex married me for my charm, humor, intelligence, good looks and all that other stuff… =) What really pisses me off is that because I am American and he is Mexican, people belittle our entire relationship and think Mex had a motive for marrying me (other than the above mentioned wonderful qualities). Never mind the fact that I was the one bringing up the marriage issue after 5 years of dating and he was content to continue our relationship as it was. His parents were together for over 20 years and had 12 kids and were never married. Marriage is for the “rich” in Mexico, Mex says. The person you love and are with is your husband/wife with or without the ceremony.

Another thing that I find completely offensive is when I say my husband/boyfriend is from Mexico 80% of people respond with the question “Is he legal?” What kind of question is that? What about “How did you meet?” “How does he treat you?” “What does he do for a living?” “How old is he?” Even complete strangers will ask me that question. Doesn’t anyone else think that is offensive? Is legality or illegality all a Mexican citizen has to offer for an identity? I feel like the people who ask me that question are waiting for an answer from me and, based on that answer, they will already have their opinions about Mex formed without even setting eyes on him or starting up a conversation. For me that question is as personal as asking to see someone’s tax returns from the previous year, or quizing them about details in their bedroom affairs.

One of my other favorites is “How did he get here?” People ask that question and it seems like they are waiting to hear of a harrowing trek through the desert dodging bullets and almost dying of thirst. It seems like such a morbid question. Why not ask him “Why he came to the US?” “When did he come?” No one asks “How.” ummm… a plane, bus, car, taxi…. really… “How” is about transportation and I wouldn’t ask someone from England or Australia to tell me “How” they got to the US.

I realize I’m ranting so I will stop at this point. I just have been very upset by that boss of Mex’s. Mex came home feeling like absolute crap. Like he was worthless. Like his 8 years of cooking skills didn’t matter. His 13 years of learning English didn’t matter. We both felt dirty, sick, sad, like our love didn’t matter. Like all the challenges we’ve overcome these past eight years and especially past six months were for nothing.

All because some jerk decided to put us in a box and judge us by our nationality. That’s the power of a “pendejo,” pardon my Spanish.



Filed under Bicultural and biracial marriage, Immigration, Marital Issues, Minnesota vs. Mexico, Minnesotan/American culture, Permanent Resident Visa/Green card

Going North to find South

What in the world does that mean you may be thinking…. I’m not even sure myself. Currently, I am amid towering red pines and lairs of woodticks near Cloquet, Minnesota. When I saw the ad for a Travel Writing class taught by Catherine Watson, former travel editor of the Star Tribune, I couldn’t resist. True, my vacation days for 2008 number almost as many as my work days. However, that just seemed to increase my urge even more. Catherine is a writer I have admired for many years, partly due to the fact she was a lead female in a typically male profession, and partly due to the lyrical quality of her writing and the place it puts me in when I read it.

This very blog is what stirred the deep desire to spend a week away from home writing. I know a number of people have read this online journal since my return, probably as many as read it while I was away. I look back now at my writing and am sad by the flatness and lack of detail. I am sure I will now spend the next week or so obsessively going back and adding for my March and April entries, hotel and place names, anecdotes I had been to rushed to mention and spell-checking for goodness sake, a feature I really wish google would fix on this website.

Through a week of constructive feedback and an amazing support group of writers, I have learned how to better capture the emotions of our journey. Maybe I was too fearful before to put them on the page because I felt like putting them in black and white would make them harder to get through. Now I know I have a larger story to tell. Not just of a couple driving through Mexico, but our trip through the immigration process. The decisions we had to make before and after we were married, the risks that were involved, the actual laws that stood in our way. I look forward to expanding on these topics and hope the momentum I feel from this week of class will carry me through the future weeks and help me to flesh out the feelings and bring our reality to others. I’m not sure if this will happen on the blog or not. Maybe snippets here and there. Only time will tell.

PS. Mex was offered a job this week (3 actually). After 10 weeks of looking, his old job at a Deli in downtown Mpls actually created a position for him, offering him a 9% raise. He took the job for now because it will provide him with enough time to continue his pursuit of a US high school diploma. Something he hopes to have by next June. It has been strange to be away from each other for four nights after the daily contact we’ve had since the month of February. I guess I should have left home earlier to write! Time apart can be a little bit of a blessing I guess.

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Filed under Minnesota