Sunday, June 24, 2012

La Mugre y Mi Uña

When I moved to Mexico I left some amazing friends behind. I never, ever thought that I would meet the women that I have met here. My friends here in Juarez are so special to me. I really can’t say enough about them. I never thought I would have this new group of people who truly understood me and where I was coming from. I feel so fortunate to have them in my life. A little over a year after we moved here, I received an email from a woman who had been living here in Juarez for about a year with her husband and daughter. She found me through this very blog. We talked for a while via email, and I could instantly tell that she was quirky and eccentric and super fucking cool. Around that same time someone else that I had met though had just moved to Juarez and we were planning a barbecue at our house so that everyone could get better acquainted.

I told Cortney that she should come. Now that I know her and her husband better, I know they were both hesitant to get together with strangers, but desperate to meet people in Juarez who could relate to their situation. Their hesitance makes sense because sometimes seemingly decent people in Juarez turn out to have their hand in the pot of delinquency that make up the danger in this city. They were on backlog at the time for a typical I-601 waiver case. After a year in Mexico, not speaking Spanish, she was coming to her wit’s end with being holed up in her apartment, so distanced from the life she knew before. I think Cortney was desperate to speak English. Their situation was different than the rest of us who live here in Juarez in that the majority of the people in our group of friends have lifetime bans with no chance at a waiver, with the exception of Stacy and I who will be able to file for our husbands after we have spent 10 years outside of the country (in 2017 and 2020 respectively.)

I still remember that barbecue, on October 6th, when I first met her. She had her hair teased, Jersey style, and was wearing a headband with a bow made of gold sequins. She was extroverted and bubbly and excited to meet everyone. I instantly felt a connection. She brought meatballs in some sort of sweet sauce, which I thought was hilarious, because who brings meatballs to a barbecue in Mexico? Either she wasn’t playing by the rules, or she didn’t know them. I have some serious reservations about making random friends in Juarez and I don’t know what it was about this woman, but I felt safe. I felt okay. We bonded over our love for Padre Kino and I felt like we had been friends since birth. Since that day we have been somewhat attached at the hip and I immediately knew we would be friends for life.

She is someone I can tell anything to, without being judged, even when she disagrees with me in every aspect. It’s hard not to judge me. I’m nuts. Seriously. I’ve had a rollercoaster of a life and it’s hard for someone to get me when they weren’t there for all of the madness. Somehow though, she does it. We can stay up talking till 4 in the morning, braiding each other’s hair and singing Adele, without a care in the world. Many of you have seen a change in me in the last year, especially those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram, and I feel I can fully accredit that change to this friendship. I have become more willing to adapt, more daring, more open, more understanding and most importantly, more positive, than I ever could have imagined.

Here we are, not even a year later, and her husband was approved and they went back to the States on Tuesday. This is the first weekend I have spent without her in a very long time. I’m not going to lie. I am so sad. I am also so happy for her, yet jealous at the same time. Obviously. Above all else though, I am happy for her. I am sad that she’s gone and I don’t have my friend around the corner anymore. This isn’t someone I became friends with out of convenience, or just because she understands all of the immigration drama. I was meant to meet this woman. It was so hard to watch them go. These are good people with good auras.

Cortney and Phil influenced mine and Ray’s lives in unforeseeable ways. They represent a different group of immigrants than we do. Phil came to the US as a child and you would never guess that he was a Mexican immigrant. He speaks fluent English and knew little to nothing of the Mexican way of life when they first came to Juarez. I had the pleasure of seeing this couple evolve over the last few months and take Mexico and it’s culture by the horns, taking away all of the positive things of life here. They were instrumental in my personal quest for positivity and optimism in life.

Cortney chose to come to Mexico with her husband and that is something I will forever respect. So many people in this world of immigration go back to their home countries alone, leaving their US citizen spouses and/or children behind and at the end of the day, a lot of the relationships simply deteriorate. Let’s be honest. I see it all the time. It’s too much change. It’s too much time apart. I think it is by the grace of God that Cortney and her daughter came with Phil to Mexico.

I am so glad that I met them. We spent a lot of time together before they left, trying to get it in. It was reminiscent of my last months in Arizona, trying to suck up as much of my friends as I could. Surprisingly, this hurts all the same. I don’t know why I wasn’t anticipating all of this when we moved to Juarez. I should have. I should have understood from my group of immigrant friends, from I2US and Facebook and American Families United, that people were going to move in and out of my life.

I should have forecasted that I would have these people, who would touch my life, and that eventually they would be moving on to bigger and better things. Living so close to the American consulate inevitably connects you with transients. For whatever reason, I didn’t anticipate meeting the people that I have met here. I don’t know what I will do when our ten years here is up. We have 8 more years. I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s time to say goodbye to the rest of the people who have touched my life in such remarkable ways. These people have become my family in a time when I am so distanced from my actual family. I am living a different life in a different world. I didn’t expect any of this and it’s so hard. At the end of the day, all I can do is be happy for those who are able to move on and be excited for all of the opportunities that the world has in store for them. I just pray that I will always be able to maintain the relationships that I have built here and will continue to build, regardless of any lines in the sand. That’s all I can do.


  1. What a beautiful heartfelt post to your friend! I got chills when you spoke about how you immediately felt the connection. Reminded me of someone I met last time in the US, and it is a very rare thing. Hold on to the good people you met. :)

  2. Wow! That is fantastic! How did they overcome the lifetime ban?
    I am sure you are a great friend.

  3. Great post. It is a great thing to be able to find someone that you are able to trust and tell all your secrets to. So glad that you found that person you can count on and I hope to make that kind of connection with someone here one day also.

  4. So fantastic that the two of you (4 of you) have found one another... Truly that is a blessing... :)

  5. I can only begin to imagine the strong bond you guys share. Im sure she is missing you as well right now. A friendship like the one you described sounds life long!

  6. What a sweet post. Im sure the two of you will remain friends, the internet brings us closer together, no? It wont be the same as being neighbors and playing woth hair, but you can still very much be friends