Over the past several weeks I have been struggling with a big decision. When I moved back to the US in November I did so for several reasons: To pay for the lawyer and legal fees to bring Alberto back to the states, because I missed my family and friends, and also with the idea that I would work to get re-established. Since coming here I have barely spent time with my kids, and even less time with my friends.
Iwas lucky enough to get a job right away, but it wasn’t a full-time job. I was able to get full time hours during the holiday season, but of course those hours dropped off right afterward. One of the employees was leaving and I was able to pick up his hours once he was gone. During this time, I was borrowing a friend’s SUV and the cost of gas was climbing. Between the poor fuel efficiency, the high cost of gas and rent I was struggling. One of my co-workers offered to let me rent a room from him for a lower amount. The apartment is much closer to work, and I thought that between the lower cost, shortened commute and the extra hours I would be able to breathe a little easier. Then there was a problem with the vehicle I was borrowing. One of my daughters was willing to sell me her car and I got it insured. The only problem is that it needs some work done. Soon afterward I was looking over my finances and new hours and I realized that with the new expenses I would have serious trouble making ends meet in spite of living closer to work and having a more fuel-efficient car.
The main reason I haven’t seen much of my kids or friends since moving back is because I haven’t even had the money to drive up to see them, much less go do anything with them. All of this hit during a week that I was sick, and I was left thinking about how precarious a situation I was living in. Needless to say, it was very depressing. I talked things over with Alberto and tossed and turned quite a bit. I kept hoping that I could figure out a way to stay and see my kids more often, but I couldn’t find a solution. I was worried about how we would pay for the lawyer if I moved back. Alberto assured me that the business is doing well enough that we will be able to pay the lawyer on time even if I moved back.
The past week has been incredibly stressful as I have struggled with my warring feelings. Wanting to stay so I can (maybe) see my kids and friends more often and because I really like my job and all it entails. Wanting to move back because I miss my husband terribly and it is exhausting struggling alone without the comfort and support of your partner. There is no easy answer, no simple solution. Either way I loose something precious. Time away from my kids or from Alberto is time I can never recover. This puts a strain on everyone involved.
Still, we did come to a decision. I already had tickets to go visit Alberto, but now they will be one-way. I told my managers on Friday that I would be leaving. It’s a heartbreaking decision. My co-worker felt so bad for me that he offered me an even lower rent, but I couldn’t accept. In part I feel it would be unfair, and in part these last five months have been so emotionally draining that once I’d reached the decision I didn’t have the energy to go through the process of deciding all over again.
So, on April 16th I will be flying back to Mexico to be with my husband. I will look back fondly on my co-workers, and I will miss my job. I can only hope that all of the paperwork will go through and Alberto and I will be able to move back to the states by sometime next year. I hate leaving feeling that things are unfinished, but then life is a work in progress and is always unfinished.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
So, we recently found out that it might be possible to get a waiver to bring Alberto back to the states. The only catch is that I have to come back up to the states to work for a little while because we’re not making enough in Mexico to pay for the lawyer and all the waiver and filing fees. (Not to mention getting any paperwork he has to sign notarized at the Embassy in Mexico – $50 per document.)
As soon as I got back to the states I started filling out applications for every job I could find near my daughter’s house. I wonder what the people in H.R. think when they see my work and school information from Mexico. It’s very difficult for me to not be working right now. I am accustomed to working and I have to pay a little more than $3000 in all between the lawyer, waiver fees and Embassy fees. I doubt that I will even be able to get something small for my kids & grandson for Christmas. I haven’t been able to do anything for them since moving to Mexico. I gave up a good job when I moved, gave my kids all the family heirlooms, gave my middle daughter my car, and sold everything else. So, now I’m starting from scratch, though thankfully my oldest daughter is letting me stay with her.
It is heartbreaking to be in this situation. I want to be near my kids and be able to help them, but I also want to be with my husband. If I stay in Mexico then I have little chance of visiting my kids and no chance of helping them. The only reason I was able to come back to the states this time is because a good friend paid for my ticket. I am scared that if I stay here long enough to earn money to pay for all the legal work that it might hurt the chances of bringing my husband back. What’s even worse is the fact that if we had gone through the process this year instead of in 2009 he most likely would not have been deported due to new legislation.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
So, there’s a lot of stuff that has been keeping me busy lately. After a bit of a meltdown following the last post Alberto and I started looking at me going back to the States for a while. There are several reasons for us to do this. One is that living here has become extremely hard for me and I really need a break and I need some real time with my kids. Another is that we might be able to get a waiver approved so Alberto could come back to the states – but to do that we need to pay the filing fees and lawyer – which cost more money (in US Dollars) than we make here in a year. So… It’s back to the states, work, see my kids and friends, and visit Alberto when possible. While it will be nice to be in the States for a while and see family and friends, it really sucks that I have to be separated from my husband. It will not be easy for me since I sold all of our stuff and I won’t even have a car. Basically, I’ll be starting from scratch – well, from scratch plus clothing. I know I’m not the only one who’s had to rebuild their life, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
Since deciding this and getting tickets back to the states there’s been a flurry of activity. Calls to find out who I can live with (still don’t know for sure who it will be). Trying to polish up my resume. Looking at apartment costs (just in case). Plus trying to get the Cafe squared away so Alberto can run it by himself. This part has taken a lot of time. Building new shelving, re-working the menu, generally re-organizing and teaching Alberto how to make a couple of the recipes. (lots of fun since I had to stop my usual “by eye” measurements and really measure the ingredients!) Then there’s trying to figure out what all to pack. Add to all of this that one of the biggest holidays down here is coming up… Dia de Los Muertos.
Dia de Los Muertos is Nov 1st and 2nd. (yes, you could say it should technically be dias de los muertos, since it’s more than one day, but it’s not.) This is a very big holiday where you remember your dead relatives. The first day (which falls on All Saints Day) is for ‘los inocentes’ (for dead children) and the second day is for the adults. Everyone sets up a table with photos of their relatives, candles, candy skulls (which should have names of the relatives on them), jicama, peanuts (in the shell), mandarins, a small pumpkin or gourd, pan de los muertos (bread of the dead) and any favorite food of the deceased people. We have our table all set up, but we have not purchased the bread yet (we will do that tomorrow or Monday). I have seen people make the sign of the cross and kiss their hand when seeing the table, which I think is rather interesting since this holiday is a pagan one, dating back before the Catholic religion ever came to Mexico. Strange to see such a co-mingling of pagan and Christian beliefs. We are going to be open all weekend and will probably be open late on the holidays. One of the big cemeteries is just a block away from us and people are already cleaning the graves in preparation for the holiday. It’s a nice thing to see people remember their loved ones.
One thing I am not excited about is the fact that the city is cutting the water during these days. This makes it a little problematic and frustrating when you need to be able to wash dishes, flush toilets, etc. Like almost everyone, we do have a tank of water here, so hopefully that will be enough to get us through. We can be thankful that we use bottled water for our coffee, tea and recipes and we have a good supply of that already. The city says that they’re doing this because they are replacing some pipes in the main (read: only) water reservoir here. I think it’s more likely that they chose the holiday to do the work because they usually cut water during the holidays. (People here have the propensity to wash everything at least twice on the holidays, even if it’s already clean -don’t know why – so the government cuts the water.) Mexico City already uses four times the amount of water that it’s aquifer provides, and if people waste water that just makes it worse. Sadly, the people here don’t understand environmental issues like that, so the government doesn’t explain, they just cut the water. Unfortunately, they rarely advise people ahead of time, so if you don’t plan ahead you’ll have to buy the bottled stuff and wash with it (expensive!!)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
So, it has been almost two months since my last post. Now that the move is complete I’m realizing how many things I wish I had kept/brought with me. Living here in Mexico City definitely requires more than just a bit of adjustment. It’s a darned good thing for me that I have had to deal with moving and challenges before.
There are certainly some great things about living here in Mexico City. Being able to get to know my husband’s family is certainly a major plus. Seeing all the museums, parks and trying all the local cuisine is another plus. We are also able to occasionally visit other areas of Mexico, although right now that’s limited to when he is going on his ultramarathons (more on this in a later post).
Learning a new language is nice, but it is definitely challenging. My desire to learn the language is driven not only by the desire to talk more easily with my husband’s family, but also by the need to be able to talk with people in everyday situations. It is very frustrating to be unable to express myself in the clear and understandable manner I am accustomed to. I am getting better at giving people a rough idea of what I want to say, but that’s about it. It feels strange to know what I want to say in my head, but to be unable to actually form the sentences in my new language. It is almost like saying “I make recipe. Butter in pan over flame. flour and spices in pan. chicken in sauce.” All in all, it is rather frustrating since I tend to think of myself as reasonably articulate. What’s more is I want to be able to speak more clearly before I start school to be an English teacher – and that is one month away!
Other challenges lie in figuring out where to buy things. Most neighborhoods have at least one of each of the following: vegetable/fruit store, bread store, tortillaria (store that makes tortillas), hardware store, papellaria (sells mostly school supplies), pharmacy, and various other miscellanea stores as well. However, that said, some things you would be sure you could find in one store just aren’t there, and instead are somewhere you would never expect. (Like when I was looking for scissors and the store that sold fabric, pins, etc. didn’t have them – instead they are in the hardware store.) Then there is the Tianges (a sort of traveling farmers market/flea market) Also, in the shopping district downtown, there are entire streets devoted to just one type of store (such as: electrical, plumbing, kitchen appliances, shoe stores, etc.) Sometimes it is cheaper to buy at those stores, other times it is cheaper at tianges, and still other times [rare] it is cheaper to buy at a place like *ugh* Wal-mart.
Add into all of this the fact that we’ve just adopted not one, but two part belgian malinois puppies from a rescue. Our poor cats aren’t so sure about their new family members. Also, our neighborhood is full of relatively young families so there are many fiestas that last late into the night and are accompanied by LOUD music.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )