Monday, July 18, 2011

Who are you hanging out with tonight?

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight but my husband just called to tell me that his manager was murdered last night. Everyone at the factory is obviously very sad, as am I. My husband says he doesn't understand. He says his boss was a good man. He didn't do drugs, he didn't hang around with criminals, he wasn't involved in human trafficking. So what happened? Well, he was drinking with 2 people that he barely knew outside his house and someone drove by and shot all 3 of them. That's what happened.

This is where you have to go above and beyond common sense and street smarts in Juarez. In life, it's a given that you should "be careful who your friends are." But in Juarez? Your choice of friends can be a life or death decision 9 times out of 10. And the hard part is this: Drug dealers are fathers and mothers and accountants and real estate agents and sons and sisters and cousins and restaurant owners and church-goers and security guards and school teachers. They are people who are loved probably more than they are hated. And, nowadays, they're not just drug addicts and drunks trying to keep themselves high. They are professionals. These people are the employees of millionaires or millionaires themselves. The Sinaloa Cartel and The Zetas aren't mom and pop shops. They feed the world's (:cough: America's :cough:) addictions. It's a multi-billion dollar industry and everybody wants a piece.

It's hard to know who's trying to take a slice of the pie and who's just trying to stay alive. This is why I am always harping on my husband about who he associates with at work. It's sad but I am constantly telling him not to make friends. An innocent friendship can turn deadly in a second and it's scary and sad and uncertain. But this is life. The world isn't all safe and cookies & milk and perfectly planned suburban neighborhoods and fulfilling jobs that pay 40k a year. This is real. As my stepdad always says, "this is what separates the men from the boys." These are the times that I have to put on my big girl pants and be judgmental and snobby and say, "Hell no, I don't want to be your friend, and yes, it's just because I'm paranoid." On to the next one...

I try to not think too much about the immense saddness of any of this. Everyone may consider me to be some heartless bitch, but I can only take it for what it is. I cannot dwell on it and squander my days away in fear. Some people seem to think I am naive about what is going on in Mexico. I'm here to assure you that I am not. I am more aware of this reality than you could ever imagine. But what am I supposed to do? Do I move? Where would I move to? We could move to the interior and try to muster a life out of 300 pesos a week while I default on student loans and stop sending money to my son. We could pick another border town and wait for the same crap to go down there. I could frequent protest rallies and activist's groups against violence and risk everything by putting myself in the spotlight while I tried to change the world. I could be selfish and save myself while there's still a chance and we could live apart for the next 10 years and pray that our marriage doesn't become another statistic.

Or I could just accept that I have to be careful and take each day as it comes and look after my family as if it were the last slice of bacon in a kitchen full of Emilys. I pick the latter. I choose to accept that life isn't always what you think it will be and this... this fucked up situation in Juarez isn't going to ruin my life. It is going to teach me and change me in ways I never, ever would have expected.


  1. OMG I'm so sorry :( I have so much respect for all you ladies living south of the border. I'm not there, but I could be soon enough. Take care of yourself.

  2. I'm sorry Emily but it breaks my heart, it makes me cry the tears that you hold back in strength. To live in a world where I can't trust anywhere, where I do turn for support or strength when I need more than what is contained in my four walls. Thankfully our child support all goes to Mexico cuz you can bet your ass I'm filing for bankruptcy and defaulting on all my student loans if they kick us out for 10 years. It should be off my record by the time we return.

    Much love as always, Krystal

  3. I'm so sorry, Emily! Please be as paranoid as it takes to stay as safe as possible!

    And as always, thanks for sharing a little bit of your life with all of your verve and pluck.

  4. Em, I am so sorry to hear this. May his soul rest in peace.

    On a different note, I really loved the 'last slice of bacon in a kitchen full of Emilys' reference. Classic.

    Love you both (even from afar), and cuidense!

  5. You're smart to be scared, hon. And those smarts will keep you safe. Big hugs.

  6. This is horrible. I admire how strong you are though Emily. You gotta do what needs to be done to protect you family, in the end all that matters is you and your husband are safe. Take Care.