Saturday, October 12, 2013

Q & A Part 1

I'm going to take some time to answer questions that I get frequently on Facebook, Twitter and via email. There are a lot of questions so I'll be doing this in a couple of blogs in the hopes that it doesn't put half of you to sleep...

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What made you choose Juarez over another border town?

When I initially planned a move to Mexico, I was hoping to move to Nogales. I briefly entertained the idea of staying with the company I was working with and commuting to Tucson. After I realized what the commute would entail, that idea was off the table. I had already looked at our budget and knew that even if I could secure a "decent" job in Mexico, it still wouldn't be enough to make ends meet. We had/have quite a bit of debt and financial responsibilities in the US so I knew I would need to continue earning a US wage for the foreseeable future. Next stop TJ. Ideally, I wanted to live in Tijuana and commute to San Diego each day, but again, after looking at what that commute would be like, I changed my mind. I absolutely hate driving and having another 30 minute drive added to the already insane wait times at the Baja California POEs was just too much for me. Texas it was. We looked specifically at Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juarez because at the time I knew one woman living in each of those cities. They all told me the same horror stories and to me, none of the border towns, including those California and Arizona borders, seemed to be particularly safe. Mind you, this was in 2009 when the drug war and violence was at it's height. We ultimately chose Juarez because after looking at the job markets in various cities, El Paso was booming with opportunity compared to the alternatives. And it ended up being a smart decision as I was able to land an interview for a company on August 9th 2010, only 2 days after our arrival, and was hired about a week later. It was also a plus that Juarez is the closest border town to my husband's family in Hidalgo del Parral so a visit to his home town is just a 9 hour bus ride away.


Did you ever expect to become this popular in the immigration community?

This question literally made me LOL because I don't see myself as being "popular" in this community. There are so many people and blogs that I look up to and follow and I just feel like little old me with nothing more to offer than the next person. This week a gentleman came up to me at the grocery store and asked me if I was The Real Housewife of Ciudad Juarez. He went on to tell me how he could relate to my story and I couldn't believe it! He wasn't someone who I would ever think would read my blog, so I was touched to see that people from all walks have been following my journey. It was definitely surreal moment for me.


What do you do for a living?

I am a Russian spy.


Do you ever experience reverse racism? Guera this and guera that...

I don't personally experience it aside from a few flippant comments online from time to time, but I'm not so naive to think that it doesn't exist. I'm sure people have preconceived notions of me and the fact that I am a gringa and the fact that I am American. Why wouldn't they? That's just human nature. But I am the type of person that doesn't really consider color, so maybe that's why I haven't noticed the judgement on myself. All in all, the people I have met in Mexico have been so welcoming and so appreciative and so willing to open their hearts and homes to me. It's definitely been humbling.


How do you decide what to write about each week?

I have no clue. I just write whatever I feel like writing. It may be about something that went on that particular week, or something I am going through emotionally or a topic that I can't get out of my head. I literally just wake up on Saturdays, have a breakfast beer, and let the good times roll.


How did you get off drugs?

By locking myself in an apartment for several weeks, eating copius amounts of chicken wings and tortillas, writing in my journal for hours each day, and filling the rest of my time with the first season of Lost on DVD. This is also, coincidentally, how I found God. But that's another blog in itself.


Will you have children while in Juarez?

I hope so. People assume that because our children do not live with us, it is because we find Juarez to be an unsafe place to raise a child. That is absolutely incorrect. I would almost prefer to raise a child here so that they can experience at a young age some of what I have been luckily enough to experience as an adult in this city.


A few months ago you wrote a blog about starting a healthier lifestyle and posted a lot on Facebook about your workouts. Are you still doing that?

Yes! I am currently doing a Turbo Fire/Focus T25 hybrid program. I have lost 50 lbs since April but have had my fair share of hurdles with a foot injury in July. And let's be real, I have some pretty big issues with food and alcohol addiction that get the way of my weight loss journey. But yes, I am still trucking along. It is a never-ending process and I'm learning to be more forgiving of myself when I slip up. My ultimate goal is still health and happiness.


What is a good bar/restaurant to go to in Juarez?

I should start off by saying that it is very rare that we go out in Juarez. That has nothing to do with feeling safe or lack of cool places to go. It has everything to do with our finances. We have only been out a few times in the last 3 years but I can give some quick and simple reviews. Las Alitas on Antonio Bermudez. Loved it. Cheap beer, good wings, Applebee's vibe. Mayflower on Gomez Morin. Best crab rangoon of my life. Shitty service. Maria Chuchena on Tomas Fernandez. Too upscale for me to feel comfortable. I'm more of a hole-in-the-wall-kinda-girl, not a valet-parking-kinda-girl. Really good salsas and impeccable service. Frida's on Paseo de la Victoria. Amazing art and enmoladas. Best margarita I've had in Juarez. The city is also riddled with burrito and hamburger stands that make some of the most mouth-watering food I have ever eaten but of course most of them don't have names. As for bars? We can't really afford to drink in bars... We drink too much, we'd go bankrupt. Also, neither of us ever want to be the DD, so we usually opt to have house parties. However we have stashed a little cash over the last month and are planning a date night tonight. Our first date in over a year. I think we've decided to skip the movies and go to a bar and grill to watch the fight, so maybe I will have a better answer to this question tomorrow.


If your husband could by some chance wave a magic wand and be able to live with you in the United States legally, would you, at this point, come back or stay in Mexico?

This is a really hard question for me to answer. Honestly, I was tempted to ignore it. I didn't come to Juarez thinking that it would change my life for the better. I didn't think it would change my character or affect my marriage in the way that it has. Leaving behind a place that has provided so much for me would be difficult. Whenever there is a glimmer of hope for immigration reform that would include my family, I have to say, I get nervous. The idea of moving back to the US is a bit scary for me. It is financially tempting, but to stop the learning process that has begun within me since we moved to Mexico seems like the wrong thing to do. But man, some carpet and a bath tub and two normal paychecks and being physically closer to my family sounds pretty nice sometimes. But then I begin to question, do I really need any of that? I'm not so sure. I don't have an answer to this question. I try not to think of the what if's when it comes to things like this. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a very Merry Christmas.

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I just have to say that I feel so blessed to be able to share my life with all of you. The fact that so many people are curious about our lives here, especially people who have never been personally affected by immigration, is amazing to me. I love all of your questions and comments and reflections.

Now I have a question. How did you poop before Smart Phones?

24 comments:

  1. Re your question: Books. DON'T tell my library.

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  2. Hi Emily! I have read your entire blog! And I must say I loved it! You have a writing style that is captivating! I am currently in a battle with immigration. My husband has been in Mexico City since Aug. 2012. He had been granted voluntary departure. I went to live with him there for 8 months and ended up giving birth to our baby in Mexico City. I am currently back in the US and I am picking up with his immigration battle where we had left off. You seem like a cool girl and I look forward to reading your future posts!

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    1. Thank you! Best of luck in your immigation journey.

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  3. Me encantas como eres vieja asi sige q yo te voy apollar y ya te descubriste q eres un espia pero nimodo si lo save dios pues q lo sepa todo el mundo te amo mucho y eres lo mejor q e tenido en toda mi vida.

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    1. Pues ya que sepan todos... ni modo ;) Gracias por tu apollo mi amor. Siempre has sido mi fan mas grande. Te amare hasta el fin del mundo.

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  4. Id read shampoo bottles, toothpaste, whatever was around lol

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    1. Lol. I used to have a magazine rack in the bathroom :)

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  5. Loved this entry as always. I had a question i meant to add before - do you follow any current novelas and if so, which ones?
    Also, "aww" at an earlier comment - assuming of course it's from raymundo! If not, uh oh... jaja.

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    1. Thank you! No, I don't follow any novelas right now. The most recent that I watched was Corazon Valiente but I didn't make it all the way through. I liked it but it's extremely time consuming to keep up with a novela. It's hard for me to commit to the TV for an hour a day, 5 days a week. It's more difficult here because we don't have a DVR.

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  6. A bit off topic, but reading all your comments about how you don't like driving or waiting on the line each day, haven't you considered about getting the linea express? Or any reason you can't get it? I know that's one thing I regret not doing during the 10 years I lived in Juarez, even though I didn't go to El Paso that often (once or twice a month)... I guess I always assumed it was too hard or expensive.

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    1. For starters, any of my friends in my situation that have applied for the Sentri were denied because of their spouses status in the US. It didn't used to be an issue, I do know someone who was approved in 2003 and another in 2006 but those are the most recent approvals I have heard of. On another note, I cross the Bridge of the Americas which does not have a Sentri lane. So even if I was approved, I would still have to cross at one of the other bridges which is not only inconvenient (I live/work close to BOTA) but also expensive. It costs $2.50 US each way... That's at least $100 a month and not something I can really fit into my budget. Then there is the additional costs for the application and the annual fees. It just doesn't make sense for me personally.

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    2. I'd still suggest you to analyse the possibility. In terms of money, it costs $140 US for the card, but that is each five years. For the Mexican fees, if you use the Lerdo bridge it costs around $400 per year but that includes unlimited crossings, so you don't have to pay the $2.50. If you use the BOTA for going back to Juarez, then that's all the money you need to spend, not the 100/month you were estimating.

      Now, it all depends on how much time you wait in the line each morning. But considering that an idle car consumes around one gallon of gas per hour, if you do wait an hour you would be saving at least $600 US per year on gas, even considering the detour to the Lerdo bridge.

      And I'm not even counting the reduced wear on your car and more importantly the saved time. But as I said that's depending on how much you have to wait usually...

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    3. Interesting. I didn't realize you could purchase a year or crossing like that. It would all be more relevant to me but my waits are minimal. I get in line at 6 am each day and wait about 30 minutes to an hour on Mondays. The rest of the week is generally 15-30 minutes. This is ever since they put in the Ready Lanes. It's definitely not bad enough for me to consider the Sentri. Especially because it's not convenient for me to cross at Ysleta or Stanton. I'm glad you told me about this though, I will definitely spread the word. Although, it may be a moot point for people in my situation as they are typically denied because of their spouses status.

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  7. Ok, this may be a dumb question. Can you drink the water without getting Montezuma's revenge? Both at home and at restaurants?

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    1. That's not a dumb question. I know one family, only one, that drinks the tap water here. I gave it a try for shits and giggles but my teeth started to get faint gray marks all over them. I had to buy a special toothpaste for a while to get them back to normal and now I only drink bottled water, as do most people here, even natives. I never had any stomach issues from it though. My dogs drink the tap water and they're still alive and kicking.

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    2. Thanks for the info! Became a reader after the TAL piece. Very interesting blog, enjoy reading it!

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  8. Did you know that, right there in Ciudad Juarez, lives a Mexican scientist well known for works he has published on the internet on quantum physics, computer electronics, Einstein's relativity theory, and stuff like that; who has also published some works (most of them in Spanish, but some in English) were he gives some sound advice and even some opinions on subjects such as immigration? Regarding the immigration topic, you might wish to check his work entitled "An open letter to US Senator Jeff Sessions". He has another work also in English entitled "In the end, nothing will change" you might wish to read (so far, his prediction in that work has held true). His stuff containing those points of view and comments on social and poitical issues is published in Blogger, under the blog "Mi Bitacora Diaria" (if you know some Spanish, you might wish to take a look at some of the other stuff he has published in that language), and the name of your Mexican neighbor who may live just a few blocks from where you live (perhaps, but maybe not) is Armando Martinez Tellez. I understand that some of the works he has published on science stuff have logged hits numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Thought this info might interest you.

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    1. Very interesting! I will look into him. Thanks Doris.

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  9. Emily, what does a path to citizenship look like to you? I say that as someone who very much believes one is needed - but who feels overwhelmed by the complexity of it. A law has been broken in crossing the border illicity, there is no two ways about that. But the U.S. has inconsistently applied immigration laws and has clearly failed to secure the border. Both sides are at fault.

    Instituting a new policy on immigration provides answers to those who might come in the future, but what do you believe should be done for those who are already here? Or who like your family, wish to reenter? If you could wave a magic wand, what would immigration reform look like to you?

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    1. This is a fantastic question... I am going to think about it. I don't have a ready answer. It's a very complex situation. Honestly, I've been asked this before, quite some time ago, and I still don't have a confident response. I'm not particularly educated on immigration and I hate to respond based on my experiences alone. I am going to think some more about this and include it in my next Q & A blog. Thank you for asking Stephanie!

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  10. I tried to respond to Stephanie's comments yesterday, but had a login issue that was self-induced. It is more than a single question, in fact her comment has topics that could be debated for weeks. At least I've resolved my login problem, and look forward to reading and responding further.

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  11. If you were to become pregnant living there would you give birth in Mexico or would you give birth In USA and why? If you had the opportunity to chose and didn't go into labor at work early In Texas, etc.
    I heard that if child is born in USA that its difficult to get certain services in Mexico when falling on hard times. Not sure if true.

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    1. Regardless of where our future children are born, we would be able to secure dual-citizenship for them so that they could get any eligible services on either side of the border. However, as scary as it sounds to me, I think I would lean towards birthing in Mexico so that my husband could be a part of the process. I can't imagine going through that without him present. However, you never know...

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