Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pulling the Plug

A friend of mine recently posted a Facebook status update explaining that she would be taking a step back from social networking and that if anyone wanted to stay in touch, they should call her on her phone. What a concept. She's not the first of my friends to make such an announcement so it wasn't the first time I felt a twinge of jealousy and curiosity. But I felt it nonetheless.

I want to unplug sometimes. I really do. The Internet consumes me because I have become a social networking whore. Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Keek... I want to fuck them all. It's not just out of pure obsession or addiction but that plays a role in it as well. I have a different reason to want to be on the Internet and I think it's a good reason... I suppose everyone thinks their reason is good though, right?

I'm addicted to the Internet because it's connected me with thousands of people who can understand me. And when I say me, I mean the me I've been through each stage of my life. People who have moved around a lot. People who have struggled with drugs and alcohol. People who were outraged by SB 1070. People who married immigrants. People who love calzones. People who are obsessed with border dynamics. People who are separated from their children. People who dream. People who love Beachbody. People who have navigated the rough waters of  USCIS and come out alive but battered and bleeding.

If it weren't for this little Internet-box-machine-thingy-ma-jig, I wouldn't have met any of those people. I find that somewhat unsettling. Now, I can't deny that I've stayed awake until 2 am on a Tuesday playing Candy Crush and wondering how I'll be able to sleep if I don't pass level 140. I've had drunken nights where I watch dozens of YouTube music videos and posted some of those questionable videos to Facebook. I've scrolled through my insanely long Twitter feed until I've seen every single tweet since the last time I'd logged in. I've searched people's addresses on Google Earth before going to a party to make sure the person doesn't live in a neighborhood I might get shot in. I've seen enough Jenna Marbles videos to feel as though she is someone I know in real life. I've played 17 different games of online Scrabble at once. Maybe I did all that yesterday. I have the normal addiction, but I don't think that's the real reason I'm hooked.

I'm hooked because of the people I've connected with.

With that being said, the idea of unplugging and getting away from it all is still somewhat tempting. I've been extremely stressed in the past couple of weeks, trying to find some balance in my life, and it's certainly caused more than a couple arguments at home. Stress turns me into a raging bitch and my loved ones suffer more than anyone. This, of course, has prompted more than one person to suggest I just unplug for a bit and concentrate on life. Real life. Raymundo. Work. Sam. My home.

Maybe they're right. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention to the right things.

But I can't quite shake the idea that if it weren't for everyone I've met online, if it weren't for my Internet promiscuity, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be content with my life in Juarez. I wouldn't understand my husband as well as I do. I wouldn't know anyone else who was in my situation and I probably would have thrown tens of thousands of dollars down the toilet with immigration attorneys only to find myself at a dead end. I wouldn't have this blog as my outlet. My family wouldn't be a Skype call away. And as intriguing as the concept of powering down my laptop is, I'm just scared of the possibility of losing any of those connections. So for now, I guess I'll just continue my quest for balance?

It's a long and winding road my friends.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Old School Blogging: 5 Things

It used to be that the only people who read this blog were my parents, grandparents, Zoe and a handful of people in the expat/immigration community but ever since TAL aired I have a few new readers. So I suppose I should let you all know a bit more about me. It comes at the perfect time because I was tagged in a post last month and have yet to respond. One of my favorite bloggers, Leslie Limon, well known for her beyond amazing food blog, La Cocina de Leslie, tagged me in Old School Blogging: 5 Things in her other blog, La Casa de Leslie back in July. I know it's been a while but there's no time like the present, right? Sorry Leslie! ;) This month... errrr... last month, they're asking us to tell five things about ourselves. These types of surveys are always fun for me. Brings you right back to the late 90's, AOL days, when you'd stay up until 3 am instant messaging with friends.

5 Things I Have a Passion For

Reality Television

5 Things I'd Like to do Before I Die

Help my father build a house
Take my husband  to Sunday dinner at my mom's
Get to my goal weight
Create something of greatness that changes lives 

5 Things I Say a Lot

I'm obsessed
Who's excited?
Positivity is infectious.
C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S (telling my husband how to spell congratulations)

5 Books/Magazines I've Read Lately

This Love Is Not For Cowards by Robert Andrew Powell (fuck yeah)
Women, Food & God by Geneen Roth (just another AFGO) 
Jemima J by Jane Green (for the millionth time)
El Huesped by Stephenie Meyer (my first book in Spanish!)
Good Housekeeping (my sweet mother sends me a subscription as a gift every year)

5 Favorite Movies (aka hardest question EVER)

The Breakfast Club
Thomas Crown Affair
Angelitos Negros
Requiem of a Dream

5 Places I'd Like to Travel

San Salvador, El Salvador
Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Genoa, Italy
Saint Gallen, Switzerland

5 People I'd like to tag...

Giselle from The Deportee's Wife
Frank from Burro Hall
Corin from Corin in Exile
Sara from Rebelde Pequena

PS. Thank God I don't know everything I know.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The New Black

I was watching Orange Is the New Black just now when suddenly the computer froze and the screen went black. Thank you Cablemas. I was halfway through Episode 13 and suddenly left with only a reflection of myself on the laptop when it hit me.

A couple episodes back Piper mentioned to a teenage delinquent that the scariest thing about prison isn't the other inmates and what they might do to you. The scariest thing about prison is that you realize who you really are because you have nowhere to run. Nothing to distract yourself with. No Twitter, no family, no Facebook drama, no 9 to 5, no carting the kids off to football practice.

It's just you.

And while I shouldn't dare to compare the life of an exiled wife of an undocumented immigrant to prison life, here I am. This life might not be prison, but it has it's limitations. You can only go so far and you can only do so much when you are trapped in a country that isn't your own. You are suddenly forced to realize what you're made of. To realize how you react to things. To realize what you want. To realize what you need.

To realize who you are.

And that, that right there, is what's hard about life in Mexico for me. I want to be the strong woman. The one who doesn't need a bathtub. The one who doesn't need Sunday dinner at mom's. The one who doesn't need health insurance. The one who doesn't need a garage. The one who doesn't need a fancy gym membership. The one who doesn't need date night at AMC and Chili's.  The one who doesn't need to own a home. The one who doesn't need stability or to know what's going to happen tomorrow.

But then I see my reflection. I see that I'm not that strong woman. And I see that I'm a little sad still. Deep down under all that positivity. I'm a little pathetic. A little desperate. A little jealous. A little tired.

And in that moment... that exact moment... I realize that I'm just me. This is all I can be in this moment.

Even if it's not exactly who I want to be.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I had one of the most fantastic weeks ever because of all the people that TAL has brought into my life. The support from everyone has been amazing... and unexpected... and so... well, bad ass. I didn't realize how many people would hear the show or how it would impact my life. More people have read my blog this week than in the 3 years since I started it. I've gotten supportive emails and tweets from all walks of life, from military wives transplanted to Fort Bliss to train travelers in Oslo to native Juarenses who haven't been back in years out of fear. I love meeting new people and hearing new stories so it's been incredible to connect with all of you. You would think nothing could knock me off this cloud I'm on, but because the Universe doesn't want anyone to get too excited, all this crazy stuff has been happening.

My car broke down for the 2nd time in two weeks forcing me to suck up my pride and ask for rides from friends, which is always something I dread. I hate asking for help and I hate cars, car problems, driving and anything that involves gasoline really. There was an incident at a BBQ back home and my son was left with a broken, cracked and unfortunately unsalvageable front tooth and although he's taking it like a champ, I'm not even there to make him a milkshake and tell him it's going to be okay. My plantar fasciitis is acting up again which has given me a gangster limp and while I was doing my workout on Wednesday I went down into a burpee in some funky way which caused my thumb to pop out of place and now I can't bend it. Since I am in the process of losing weight I only have one pair of slacks that I can wear to work without having to physically hold them up every time I move and I somehow managed to tear a big hole in the butt of those. Who knows how long that was there for? I decided to go all Susie-Homemaker and stitch up the hole but couldn't find any thread. I was just remembering how the prisoners in Orange is the New Black took the thread from old t-shirts so they could thread their eyebrows when Ray came to the rescue with a roll of thread that he had been hiding God knows where. And to top it off my poor husband has been having all sorts of stomach pains this week which landed him back at that dreaded hospital where they diagnose everyone with gout and give them 428 prescriptions and now he has decided that he doesn't want to drink alcohol for the next two months. This brings us full circle because I was fully intending to deal with all these other problems by having a nice glass of red wine and relaxing in a bubble bath and now the Mister doesn't want to drink. Oh, and like most people in Juarez, I don't have a bathtub.

Whew. I'm glad I got all that off my chest.

Anyway so I was doing really great with all the feeling sorry for myself and what not when I decided to reply to some blog comments and I see a woman who's son has leukemia, explaining how it was for her family when he was first diagnosed. Oh. And then later on that day a close friend messaged me about some serious medical issues her family is going through and that one of her children might have cancer. Oh. And then I get on the bridge yesterday morning and I see a new amputee panhandling and I can't help but think what my life would be like if I didn't legs.



So God, you mean to tell me it's time to stop feeling sorry for myself? You mean to tell me these problems aren't anything compared to what most people in this world have to face? You mean to tell me I'm blessed and lucky and should be beyond fucking grateful for my wonderful life?

I've gotten this message before, years ago, when I was feeling sorry for myself about our immigration situation, but I got the reminder loud and clear again this week. Loud. And. Clear.