Saturday, August 3, 2013

#FirstWorldProblems

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.

Oh.

Ohhhhhhhhhh. 

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.

67 comments:

  1. I'm here because of TAL. Love your blog!

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  2. Hi Emily, I'm also here due to TAL. I live in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, which is a small town 2 hours east of Minneapolis,MN. I know how car problems are, and someday, you'll get a reliable one. Even so, you never forget. Our small town is about as white as a place can be, but I think your story is so completely relatable because its about being in love, making a family, not having enough money, and trying to count your blessings. Have a great weekend. From your new fan, Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan! And you're right, we're just a normal family, trying to live our lives and be happy. Enjoy your weekend as well!

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  3. Sorry I can't help with the car problems or your hubby's tummy issues but I do have some helpful advice for the pants situation! Get a rope. Perhaps your co-workers will not have seen The Beverly Hillbillies and instead of thinking you are related to Jethro Bodine, they'll think you are starting a fancy new fashion trend!

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  4. Hi Emily,

    Another fan here who just learned about you from TAL. I love your story! Will stay tuned...

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  5. Keep your spirits up. And remember this: One day this will come to pass and you'll look back and remember these as "the good old days." Enjoy them as much as you can. -A teacher in Orange County

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    1. That's exactly what I keep telling myself :) Thank you!

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  6. I've been reading your blog from the beginning and it's helping me so much as I go through the tumultuous process of moving back from Japan to the U.S. Totally different situations, totally not comparable, but somehow your words help me so much anyway :)

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    1. Awww I'm glad it's helping. Good luck with your move!

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  7. And you were writing this while complaining about how much I was getting accomplished in the morning?

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    1. Pretty much lol. You should really consider being less productive on the weekends.

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    2. You did this with a cup of coffee in your pj's. The talent of the artist.

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  8. "Oh, and like most people in Juarez, I don't have a bathtub"

    Hahaha... hilarious...

    También supe del blog por TAL, está muy divertido y, pese a que no creo en Dios, estoy de acuerdo con su conclusión, ¡siga positiva! Ojalá que se resuelvan esos problemillas y que algún día pueda tener una tina de baño :)))

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    1. Gracias! Tantos anos en EEUU con tina y nunca la use y ya muero por una. Pero ni modo, right? Glad you liked the blog :)

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  9. I also came over from TAL and I've enjoyed reading your blog. I lived in chihuahua for a year (el estado grande!) and loved it - however that was before things got "really bad" as they say and I've often wondered what it's like now (Really like, the way you show it - not just news clips or headlines).
    Oh, and my first thought when you mentioned taking a bath was "she has a bath tub??" haha. I had another laugh-out-loud moment from an earlier entry but I can't remember it now. Thanks for writing and best of luck!

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  10. (I remember now... it was the image of all the juarenses walking around with covered mouths in 70 degree weather, because they didn't want to catch a cold)

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    1. Ahhhh, that drives me crazy because... well, I just don't get it?!

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  11. I heard about you today as I listened to the TAL podcast on my morning jog. I was so captivated by your story, that I had to stop to catch my breath twice as I listened to your segment. You are clearly a special person with so much talent; and I appreciate what you are doing for immigration reform--whether you're meaning to or not!

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    1. Wow, thank you! And you are special as well if you can jog to talk radio lol. I'm impressed. Thanks for listening!

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  12. Hi from Macclesfield in the UK.
    I've only just started listening to TAL as an alternative to my predominantly BBC based podcasts.
    Your story was touching, heartwarming and bloody funny ;-) You made a long hangover-fueled drive home up the M6 entertaining on a Sunday morning.
    I can't help, I have no words of wisdom to share, I just wanted you to know that your story spreads beyond the USA.
    Best wishes. Nick

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  13. hi Emily! another new TAL fan here! love the blog---I also agree you are writing for all of us: family issues, car issues, the pity me stuff, and (important!)the counting of blessings......however, I do feel for you with the no bathtub---I love my tub---use it everyday and many times with a nice glass of wine!
    thanks for the thoughts!

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    1. Thank you! Yes I do wish I had a bathtub but I'm really just grateful that we have a heater and air conditioner at this point. So, guess I need to just count my blessings, right? Thanks for listening and reading. Take care!

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  14. Found you through TAL as well. Haven't had a chance to start reading your blog but I enjoyed your story on TAL so much it is literally the only podcast I've kept after listening so I can listen again when I need to feel inspired. My husband and I have gone through difficult times during our 4 year relationship, with him struggling to overcome depression, horrendous custody battles with his mentally ill and completely evil ex-wife (no, really!) and not being able to find a way to help support our family (he has 2 kids and I have 1) financially. Hearing the lengths you've gone to for love really helped me re-focus and re-commit during a time when I was feeling sad and angry and frustrated about all the sacrifices I've made to keep our family together. Your story really changed my life and I am grateful!

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    1. Wow it sounds like you've been through a lot. I'm glad I was able to shine a positive light on things. Half the reason I write this stuff is to remind myself to remain positive because I've been through some hard times myself and it's so easy to spiral into a negative place again. But I truly believe that life is what we make it. I wish you and your husband all the best!

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  15. I'm also a recent reader because of TAL. I loved your story...I listened to it twice. I am amazed by your love and strength. Question, is there much talk in Juarez about the new tv show "The Bridge" since it is based on the bridge between Juarez and El Paso?

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    1. Thank you! There is a lot of talk about it in El Paso. We don't get FX in Juarez so it's not really on most Juarenses hot topics for what I can see. I haven't seen it myself but from what I have heard from local journalists and a few natives who have watched, it doesn't paint an accurate picture of Juarez or El Paso.

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  16. you are such a fun beautiful person! I just now listened to the TAL podcast while I was doing dishes and was really bummed when your section ended so soon! So I came online right away to read some of your blogs. You should have your husband start a blog or have a "once a weekspecial" blog where your husband writes about his experiences that week. I think that would be wonderful!

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    1. That's a really good idea Sarah! I was actually just talking to him about doing something like this as a one time thing because I have lots of little questions about what it's like to work at the maquila. Maybe we'll do something like that soon.

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  17. Hi Emily! I listened to your story this morning on TAL and I was so happy and comforted in hearing your story of living on the US/Mexican border. I live and work in Ecuador and have lived here the last two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. I also have met the love of my life here and we were married 2 months ago! I have made the decision to stay in Ecuador with him for the next 3-4 years (until he finishes univeristy). It's been a tough decision to be so far from friends and family but it's the best decision for us at this point in our lives. TAL and other NPR shows are my Sunday ritual and help keep me connected to life back home and when I heard your story I was so excited and immediately ran to my husband and told him about your story. We are going to be dealing with visas, immigrations, embassys in the coming months/years and I am dreading it so much but its comforting to read your story and know I am not alone in this and dealing with the US immigration system. Thank you for writting this blog. I'll enjoy following you over the coming weeks/months etc etc. :)

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    1. Thank you Lindsay and congratulations! Once you start the immigration process I would highly recommend checking out the web forum at immigrate2us.net

      Take care!

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  18. Add me to your recent readers now thanks to TAL. I listened to your story again so that my husband would listen too. I love peoples' stories; I listen to the Moth podcast as well. And the daily life from the other side of border is a really neat perspective for this Texan. I'll be sticking around for sure.

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  19. Hey! I also found your blog from TAL. You're very funny, honest, nd very touching.
    Greetings from Austria!

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  20. Another TAL listener enjoying your work!
    Re your plantar fasciatis, try the following from Footsmart.com. Very simple, but help tremendously!

    Arch Pro-Tec, Pair
    $19.99

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    1. Thank you! I will definitely check those out!

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  21. So glad that I caught TAL and had the good sense to pay attention. I am fascinated by your story and thank you very sincerely for sharing! Like others have said, I will stay tuned!

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  22. Hi Emily! I just read your history in El Diario de Juarez. I also live in Juarez, and im very happy for you, and for all of us the juarenses, because this helps to change thw view that everyone have from our city. Yes is still violent, but like any other big city in the world, and even in the US, but you can walk more secure for sure in this times. If you still have problems with ur car, i know a very good and decent car repair, just tell me and i will send you his name and number. I wil be around here.

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    1. Thank you! I definitely want people to know the Juarez that we know as well. And I appreciate the offer but my husband was able to repair our car, thank God. Bomba de gasolina, AGAIN :/

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  24. Hi! I loved hearing your story on This American Life. I am originally from India and became a U.S. citizen 5 years ago. I know a lot of people who have to wait years and years to bring over their family members to the U.S. Living without your family for a long time can be really difficult. I am glad you are able to live happily with your husband.

    Please keep us updated on your great life story!

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  25. Hi Emily--- yup, another fan via TAL, thank goodness I heard your story that day!!! Loved it, and am so grateful to you for sharing your story. I"m a public health nurse in Wisconsin, fortunate enough to have as clients many families from Mexico. Most are undocumented workers, and I thank god every day for the privilege of being welcomed into their homes and getting to know them. Many have family members who've been deported- one while I was there on a visit. Beyond sad and terrifying. One woman, like you, moved to Mexico with their children to be with her husband who'd been deported.
    There are no words to express my hopes for common-sense immigration reform, and for people to understand the amazing, wonderful people we have living among us, who deserve to live and work here, free from the terror of potential deportation. Wishing you the very best, wherever that is.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and open mind. Take care.

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  26. Hey, got to your site through TAL. I'm from a little city in the UK, Norwich, and I just wanted to say how much you're diary got through to me. It was really heartwarming hearing about how you're going through your life affected by immigration laws, and just how optimistic you are about the whole situation. It's really heartwarming, and it's going to be one of those things that stays with me for a long time. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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  27. Hi. I found your blog via TAL. I'm sorry but I am going to be a little more negative than some who are writing...I don't know your full story but I was surprised to see you have a child who you left behind to go to Mexico. When I read your blog (and listen to the story on TAL) I worry that alcohol is a big part of your life and it seems to be a big part of the bond the two of you have. I appreciate you writing and sharing your story and I encourage you to continue to look at the big picture of your decision to be there for so many years.

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    1. Thanks for taking to time to check out my blog. You don't know the full story about my son because I've never posted it in my blog. I may one day if I ever get the courage but it's a very difficult subject for me to discuss outside of family. I did not leave my child behind to come to Mexico. I had him as a teenager and if you read my blog you will see my struggles with drugs that lead to that situation. My son was living with a family member before I met my husband and long before I made the decision to move to Mexico. The two are not related.

      Also, we may enjoy drinking, like many other 20 somethings without children at home, but it is not the glue that holds us together. My husband and I are together because we were meant to be together and because we complete each other. He understands me and supports me in ways I couldn't even begin to explain.

      If you or anyone is curious to know why I made the decision to be here for so many years, I'd encourage you to check out this blog post:

      http://therealhousewifeofciudadjuarez.blogspot.mx/2011/07/25-things-i-love-about-my-ham-sandwich.html

      Hopefully that provides a bit more clarity and you'll stick around so that you can understand even more over time.

      Take care.

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    2. Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I will check out the post you suggested and keep reading your journey. In peace.

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  28. I didn't hear TAL but my boss did and recommended I read your blog because I recently went through the immigration process with my husband. We had the absolutely best scenario, I'm an American citizen and he originally came to the States on a visa. The process was very tedious but "easy" when speaking about immigration from Mexico. It was eye opening and humbling.
    I've read all of your blog posts (You have had an interesting life and I hope you write a book!) I completely admire your love as a couple and your spunk! I connected with many of your blog posts. I appreciate that you are a voice for immigration and what people go through. Stories like yours are why there needs to be thoughtful discussion and immigration reform in the US.
    Hope you keep up the blog and your positive spirit!

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    1. Thank you! I am so glad that you had an "easy" time with immigration. I know it wasn't easy, but I know what you mean :) Take care!

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  29. Emily, congrats fm a juarense. I have read your blog since I see Diario de Juárez this week. Amazing woman, incredible story, you born to write. Keep up the blog, fm a new fan.

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  30. Also a TAL listener. I grew up in a very small town (population 620) and now live in a town of a 1/4 million because that's where my wife needed to be. It's amazing at times the places love takes us. I don't love this town, but I couldn't love anywhere she isn't, so it works out just fine.

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  31. Hi Emily! I also heard your piece on TAL, and have been spending the past two weeks reading your blog in the mornings before I have to dry my hair and go to work :) Immigration has not affected me personally, but damn, do I relate to being in a "non-traditional" relationship, and how something like immigration, or in my case, disability, can have such a huge affect on a marriage. I really need to find a way to stay positive like you do.

    I did have a legit question, though! Your Spanish is beautiful. How long have you been bilingual? (I think you mentioned that you picked it up pretty quickly.) Were you fluent when you and Raymundo met? I so wish (probably most people do) that I could speak another language fluently. Any tips for someone trying to learn later in life (i.e. after you've met your mandatory language requirements in high school)?

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Lots of love from Chicago! <3

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    1. I am so happy that you've enjoyed the blog and are able to relate to it! My Spanish... ahhh... well. I took it in school to meet the mandatory requirements but was left only being able to say Dar means to give, bano, cerveza and puto. I really LEARNED Spanish when I moved from Tempe to Mesa, Arizona to an apartment complex that had primarily immigrant tenants. It was more of a necessity. Then I met my now husband who I felt compelled to communicate with. I'll have to write more details in a blog soon...

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  32. Ayy sweetie I didn't mean to make you feel bad about Miguel's DX of Leukemia..I'm so sorry if I made you feel that way. I myself feel very blessed as things could be SO much worse for him. Other kids out there suffer and are suffering more than he is. Sounds stupid right? But like you that is how I approach things. The whole glass is half full yadda yadda..that is how I make it through my day. You inspire me to do that when I am feeling bad about MY day..so please know I am your biggest fan and am cheering and rooting for you. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer in my last post..hugs and hope your car magically gets better..I'll have a glass of red for you tonight!

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    1. Jen, let's be real. It was a much needed wake up call. You are such an inspiration and NEVER a Debbie Downer. I am amazed at your strength and have nothing but respect for you and your whole family. I am just blessed that we have crossed paths.

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  33. I've been watching "The Bridge" set in El Paso/Juarez. It makes Juarez look dirty, broken, scary, and violent. Not sure how you live and survive but continued good luck to you!

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    1. Joanne, I haven't seen it as we do not have FX here in Juarez but from what I hear from natives, and people who frequent Juarez, it does not paint an accurate picture. Maybe some day you can visit and come to your own conclusions. Thanks for the well wishes!

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