Tag Archives: Mexican American relationship

Just a gringa

Well, I’m sad to say that I’ve discovered no matter how much Spanish I speak or books I read about Mexican culture, in the end I’ll still be a gringa. Now I’ll say up front that those are not my husband’s words because if they were, he would be on the couch indefinitely. He has always asked me why I married a Mexican and if I ever wish I married an American. He usually brings up the question after a bad cultural experience, like when his boss for a day at Gastof’s harassed him about our relationship, or when there is an immigration raid somewhere in the country. I take his questions as more of a reflection on his self-esteem when it comes to being a Mexican and it saddens me greatly.

It’s a hard line to walk from my side. I knew where he was from and his situation before our first date so I had already made a conscious decision not to let any of that be a factor in our relationship. I DO care that he is Mexican though, in the way that I want to learn his culture and language and history so I can appreciate where he is from and where his family still lives. I want our future kids to love their Mexican heritage and look forward to visits south of the border. I’ve spent hours studying Spanish and taking classes. I have read many books on Mexican history or on Mexican’s in the US. I really do try to be patient with the cultural differences such as time (that’s the most different).

My disappointing discovery last weekend was that despite all this effort, his family will always consider me a gringa. They would never tell me this but my husband was talking with his brother Gigio about some things and told him I would like to help him and the family. His brother told him that he likes me but he would never let me help because “I can’t understand because I’m an American.” Of course, he said it in Spanish but that was the translation that Mex told me later. The topic in question was something that I pride myself very much on knowing a lot about (as it is my career). My initial reaction was anger which Mex experienced the entire car ride home. Then I was sad. So sad and disappointed. I know it isn’t how Mex feels and I know our relationship is as “race free” as any biracial couple can truly be but I thought I was making more progress with his family. How can they like me if they don’t think I understand them? Even after Mex’s intense immigration process last year.

A week later I’m still sad. Now I’m also confused and worried, not about us but about children. I want them to feel comfortable everywhere and his brother’s comment scares me and makes me feel like they are going to feel like they don’t fit in anywhere. They’re American but not white like their mom. They are Mexican but not really Mexican like their dad. Where do they fit? Will they resent me or him or both of us? Whew…. a lot to worry about when there aren’t even any kids on the horizon. Maybe I should stop for the evening and just enjoy the time at the lake while summer still lasts! Good night from the Gringa.

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Filed under Bicultural and biracial marriage, Family, Marital Issues, Mexican culture, Minnesota vs. Mexico, Minnesotan/American culture

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.

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

Put on notice

Well, we received notice on Monday, February 4th that Mex’s (what I’ll call my husband in blog world) first interview as part of the Permanent Resident process at the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, will be on Tuesday, March 4th at 7:45 am. We had planned on leaving about eight days in advance to take a leisurely drive south, visit friends near Omaha, see a few things in New Mexico and get to El Paso two days before crossing the border to get our bearings before crossing. However, we discovered he must have a medical exam in Mexico two days before his interview. Since they don’t do exams on the weekend, we actually have to cross into Mexico on Thursday the 28th of February so he can go stand in line at the doctor’s office starting at 5:30am. They do NOT take appointments so he basically has to go and hope he gets in sometime from 6am to 11am. Unfortunately, due to the short notice we really can’t leave any sooner than the 24th or 25th so we will be busting our butts to drive the 1500 miles from Minneapolis to El Paso in about two days, leaving us far from refreshed when we arrive.

The good thing is, I think my parents are going to drive with us down to El Paso and then hop over to Phoenix for the weekend to visit some of my mom’s aunts and uncles. They may stay in the area until Mex’s interview on March 4th when he will find out the date of his 2nd interview (the one where they give a final decision to grant his “permanent” spouse green card or not and forgive  his current status). The form is an I-601 Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility. I am very excited because I found out that if they do grant it, he will qualify for US citizenship within only three years. If they don’t grant it he will have to stay with his family in Mexico while we try again (which could take anywhere from six to 18 months.) Only positive thoughts for our journey though.

Between his first and second interviews we hope to take a train ride through Copper Canyon. I had never heard of this gem before we started planning our trip. Spanning northern Mexico’s Chihuahua and Sonora states, it is three times the size of the much more famous US Grand Canyon. It sounds very beautiful and is one of the “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” check! I love lists and checking things off of them, so this book by Patricia Schultz has become my fun (if somewhat obsessive) list of travel spots to hit over the next 60 years. It also has made for a little bit of competition between friends.

After his second interview we will drive 1400 miles down to his town of Tetelilla, Morelos, Mexico. It is a trip we could normally make in two days but all the travel guides warn against driving at night because there are still bandits and animals wandering the highways in some areas and cars don’t always drive with headlights on. Why? I have no idea but I’m not interested in finding out! We have a few places we want to stop on the way down like Zacatecas check! and San Miguel de Allende check! and see the sights of the country. Then we will spend about two weeks with his family before driving back.

In total, we plan on being gone for about six to eight weeks depending on the length of time between his first and second interviews. It should be an exciting adventure but it is very stressful to pack and prepare for that long of a trip, especially with such short notice. We did buy some clothes this weekend and hope to still go shopping today and buy all the toiletries we need and some gifts for his family. However, yesterday I came down with some sickness and have a fever and terrible pain all over my body and can’t breath deeply. Well-timed “death sickness,” a nickname given by college friends to my annual mega cold. Oh well. Maybe a cold will help me sleep better over the next two weeks.

Well, that’s about it for today. I just wanted to post an update about what is happening since when I send out the link to this blog many people will have no idea what’s going on because I had no time to notify them. I will be posting regularly to this blog and including photos during our trip so please check back if you are interested. I will also be available to check my email almost daily so that will be a great way to communicate with me. Well, adiós for now!

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Filed under Immigration, Permanent Resident Visa/Green card, Travel outside MN and Mexico