Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quiet Time

We´ve had a busy two weeks with my mom and aunt visiting.  My mom got awful headaches from the first day because of the dust and pollen in the air.  She wasn´t able to go out much, but we did make it to Frida Kahlo´s house one day.  It was my first time going to the ¨Blue House.¨ It was beautiful, but most of the house is set up to display Frida´s artwork and I was hoping to get a better sense of how she lived in it.  Beautiful houses not used as houses always make me sad.

My mom left after just a week because her headaches kept getting worse.  It was definitely a good choice though. When I called her on her first day back in California she sounded like herself again, and here she was absolutely miserable. My dad has put off visiting so that he can stay with my mom.

Spending time with my aunt was amazing.  We spent mornings knitting under her expert guidance, visited knitting shops, ate at an amazing restaurant in Coyoacan, visited the Zocalo, Templo Mayor, the Ex-Convent, and Xochimilco.  Each day was relaxing but we managed to see and do a lot.  We had great meals at home and enjoyed Jose`s popcorn in the evenings.  It was a really great visit, and I started missing her the second we left the airport this morning.

Since I`ll be leaving in just over a month for school, having the apartment to ourselves again is nice.  I`m looking forward to spending a lot of good quality time with Jose. My excitement hasn`t faded at all, but the reality of how hard and lonely it will be is starting to hit me.  Waves of panic are making me freeze when I imagine just how difficult that part of going back to school will be.  In order to have one last month of happiness, I plan on lots of movies, ice cream dates, and Mexico City adventures.  We are even planning on taking a little trip to nearby Cuernavaca or Queretaro for a couple nights. Being apart from Jose and my dogs is worth everything that will come from me having my degree, and I`m hoping that a happy and romantic last month will make the separation a little easier.


Monday, May 10, 2010


People often ask what language we speak at home, and then don't understand when I tell them its English.  They give me a look like I'm the most foolish person in the world.  For awhile I didn't really know why we speak English.  We tried in the beginning to always speak Spanish, but it would never stick. One day I really thought about why we speak English at home, and for me the reason is perfectly understandable.

Since last October we have been facing the fact that our life has changed drastically.  It wasn't something that we were prepared for, chose, or wanted.  The hardest part was living in a foreign country that we had never been to without the option of coming home when we wanted.  We had so many goals and dreams in the U.S., and some, like graduating from college, were just about to happen.  Then, we were told we had to wait three years and our dreams had to wait three years too.

The life we had and wanted was in the U.S., and options in Mexico didn't allow us to recreate that life here.  Our family, friends, work, school, and culture were all left behind, and in Mexico we found ourselves with very little. We became lonely, depressed, angry, and sad.

In December we were happy to get our own apartment, although it was in a bad area and very basic (you may remember the no-hot-water-ever issue or the hassle of no indoor sink). We worked hard to fix it up and set it up nicely, but it didn't feel like home at all.  We spent most of our time inside because the neighborhood was so bad and it always felt like we were just waiting.  Waiting for things to get better, waiting for the three years to pass so we could go back to the U.S.  Time passed so slowly.

What we longed for more than anything was to be home with our families.  We dreamed of our blue bedroom, the cozy livingroom, and family dinners.  While stuck in the apartment, we remembered strolling through beautiful and safe Healdsburg and seeing all the familiar sights.  We wanted a sense of home but coudn't get it.

Speaking English was the only thing that was like home.  In the United States we spoke English with each other and most of our family. When we spoke English in our apartment in Mexico, it was like a little piece of home. Inside our walls we were protected by everything that was outside and English helped us forget we where we were.  We listened to English music, watched English TV, read English books, and always spoke in English. With so much English surrounding us it was easier to feel at home and take a break from all the sadness and shock that filled us.  I'm sure the comfort of hearing one's native language can never be truly understood until the sense of home is taken and longed for.

I know living in Mexico is a great way to learn Spanish and people think we are giving up a great opportunity.  If we had chosen to live here and were excited about it, I'm sure that we would try to speak Spanish at home and learn everything we could.  We aren't that situation, though, and we have had more important things to learn than Spanish, such as moving on from our losses, building a life, and finding happiness. I'm sure that as things get better, Spanish will be spoken more, but until then I am perfectly happy speaking English in Mexico.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lots of Visitors

We are going to have a full month of visitors.  My mother is arriving tonight, my aunt on Saturday, and then my father at the end of the month.  Since my mom hasn't been able to work lately, she is going to be able to stay down here for awhile.  My aunt will be here for 11 days, and my dad for over a week.  We will have lots to do with everyone here and I'm sure the month will fly by.

My mother just decided yesterday to come down. Its very last minute, but there was a cheap plane ticket and she really wanted to come. It is perfect timing because Jose is in Acapulco for the week so Anna, my mom, and I will have a few days alone. It will be nice to have mother-daughter time and be able to really catch up before Jose comes back.

In Coyoacan, we are going to visit many parks, Hernan Cortes' palace, the ex-convent where Mexico fought Americans and French, Leon Trotsky's house, Frida Kahlo's house, and the plazas.  Everything is a short walk from our apartment, so we will spend many relaxing strolling through Coyoacan.  I think that everyone will enjoy the park where we take the dogs.  It really is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been too.  In other parts of Mexico City, we are going to visit the Zocalo, pyramids, the Latinamerican Tower that has a great view of the city, and Xochimilco.

I'm leaving for UC Berkeley's summer semester at the end of June, so Jose and I will have just a month together after all the visits.  With this month flying by with my family and sightseeing in Mexico City, and then one last month with Jose, I'll be back in California and in school before I know it.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Changes!

I didn't want to say anything before, because I doubted it would happen, but it has - I got into UC Berkeley (my dream school) for Fall 2010!

I'm going to major in Social Welfare and focus on immigration, education, and Latinos.  I hope to someday work for providing better educational opportunities for immigrations.  The education I will get from Berkeley will prepare me extremely well for what I want to do.

Its really exciting, but of course Jose can't come back with me.  Its going to be hard for both of us, and I'll really miss Mexico City, but I am going to go back and he is going to stay here.  Luckily we have Skype so we'll be able to talk and see each other.  I'll come back for all vacation breaks and some long weekends when breaks are far apart. 

I got a whole bunch of financial aid so it will cost very little.  Luckily, I have amazingly supportive parents who are going to take care of whatever isn't covered so I can just focus on school and graduate as soon as possible to get back to Jose.

I had been going crazy for months because I thought I had nothing to do.  The options in Mexico were lousy, so I was considering going back to the U.S. for 6 months to work and save up some money for Jose and I.  But of course, leaving him just to work a low paying job wasn't exciting.  I applied to UC Berkeley in October, but never thought I had any chance of getting in so I didn't even really consider going to school an option. 

I am so happy now.  I'm excited about going to such a great school to learn about something I am really passionate about.  I will have my degree before Jose can even start the immigration process again, so by the time he returns to the U.S. I will be able to work and support us comfortably while he finishes school.  This is good for me now, because I really need to do something to make me feel more worthy and fulfilled, and it will be good for our future.  One of us having a degree will make things so much easier.

I am going to start during the summer semester.  I'm flying back to California at the end of June for orientation and then classes start on July 6th. When classes are over on August 13th, I'm going to fly back to Mexico City for 10 days before the Fall Semester starts.

Life is good!  Hard, but good.