Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back in Monterrey

I was in Mexico City for three weeks and I must say that I had no desire to return to Monterrey.  But opposite to what I would have loved to do, I got on a plane and now I'm back in the boring and scary city of Monterrey.  While in mexico city I spent my time relaxing and preparing myself for the last three weeks I have to be in Monterrey. Three more weeks and I am free and never to step foot back in this city.

Being back in Mexico city was nice.  After being in Monterrey for three months and finally getting out of there, I realized how unhappy I am in Monterrey.  Mexico City is definitely better than Monterrey but does not compare to Healdsburg.  I am more than ready to be back home and finally be able to se my family and friends.  I visited Coyoacan many times while I was back in Mexico City because it is one of the only places in Mexico where I feel somewhat comfortable.  I was able relax in Mexico city, as crazy as that sounds, but even with 20 million people around me, it is less stressful than being in Monterrey.  In Coyoacan and in Condesa (Anna's area) I was able to go on walks when I need to clear my mind without having to worry about my safety.  Just that alone was really helpful after I was robbed.  It helped me relax and remind me that I don't have to be worried about my safety 24/7.  Physically I am doing much better.  My ribs are the only thing that bother me now.  Its been 3 weeks since I was attacked so the pain is not as bad but definitely still there.  The bruising on my ribs and face are gone along with the scratches I had on my cheek, arm, and neck.  I am really glad Emma insisted I go down to Mexico City because now I feel much better emotionally and can feel I can power through the last of my time in Monterrey .  I do not know how I would have done if I had stayed in Monterrey.  Like Emma said, I would have probably beeen a basket case.

After I was robbed and beaten, our lawyer sent in a request for an expedited waiver appointment.  She was told that the consulate was not going to send a request for an expedited appointment to the USCIS because request for expedited appointments are only considered for active duty military applicants or for serious medical illnesses.  I guess being robbed at knife point, a fractured rib, and a concussion don't count.

The waiver appointment will be on June 7th like planned.  Right now I am working on updating and making our hardship letter as strong as possible.  We will have 15-20 minutes to convince the USCIS officer reviewing out case that Emma needs me home so this letter and the supporting documents are my number one priority from now to June 7th.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Got a Beating

I have been staying at Anna's apartment in Mexico City for the past week, after being mugged in Monterrey while buying tacos in the evening.  I am fine now, but it was an eye opening experience.  After living in Mexico for almost two years and seeing and hearing violence, but never being the recipient of it, it was a shock to be attacked.

Last Saturday, I was walking a few blocks from my house when a guy came up from behind me and shoved me to the ground.  He held a knife to the back of my ear and demanded everything in my pockets.  I only had about 250 pesos, or 20 dollars, and a really cheap cell phone.  I gave up my money and cell phone without a fight, but the robber got angry with how little I had and didn't believe that that was it.  He kneed me in the ribs a few times and demanded more.  Once he realized I actually did not have anything more on me, he cut my shoulder with his knife, just for good measure, and left.  Also for good measure, he threatened to find me and kill me if I told anyone.

After going home and calling Emma (yes, crying) and letting her know what happened, I went to the closest clinic to get checked out.  I hit my head pretty hard on the pavement and got a minor concussion, a bump on my eyebrow, a fractured rib, a gash on my shoulder, and a couple of scratches here and there.  Nothing is really bothering me anymore except the rib, but that is hurting enough to make me curse the robber multiple times a day.  After being checked out at the clinic I went to campus to report the incident, and the campus security along with 2 police officers assigned to the Tec area were there within minutes.  I told them what happened, and they said that this is becoming common in the area.

 I was freaked and and in a lot of pain, so the next day I flew to Mexico City and am now staying with Anna and Benjamin.  My professors are letting me take my exams after Semana Santa, the Mexican Spring break, so I'll be in Mexico City until April 24th.  By the time I get back to Monterrey, there will only be three weeks until the semester is over and I am out of there for good.  Being beaten up sucked, but it is nice to have an unexpected few weeks in Mexico City.

I am taking some anti-anxiety medicine that lets me relax and sleep.  I've been surprised by how much this got to me mentally.  I felt angry, scared, sad, and confused for a few days after and wasn't acting like myself at all.  When I got jumped in Healdsburg a few years ago I wasn't nearly as bothered as I was this time, and that was surprisingly similar to this attack, down to the knife cuts and hurt ribs.  A lot of people have been making comments, usually joking, about what good are my muscles if they don't even keep me from being beaten up.  But put a knife to my neck any day and  I won't even consider fighting back.

Whenever I tell people in Monterrey that I lived in Mexico City they think I am crazy because they say it is so dangerous.  Even when I say that nothing happened to any of us (except that one time Emma got groped a little on the metro), Mexico City is clearly, in their opinion, a lawless wasteland.  I don't understand how people in live Monterrey where they see and hear gun battles and corpses on the street, and where random attacks and kidnappings are common, and they think that Mexico City is too dangerous to visit.  I have always felt safe in Mexico City, and I do even more now that I compare it to all the danger and crime in Monterrey.

Our lawyer is trying to get my waiver appointment expedited on the basis of extreme hardship for Emma because she has to choose between being with me and giving up school or staying in school and being so stressed out she isn't able to do well.  It is not very likely that it will happen, but its worth a shot.  She sent out the request yesterday and it takes about a week to get a response.