(The officer smelled his hand)
Bueno, andan bien. Eres Americana?
And so Gordo got out of the truck as ordered. He talked with the officers for a few minutes and while he was ten feet deep in negotiations, I noticed that our friends hadn't left. I was in shock and grabbed my phone to text them to move along, we'll be fine. I wasn't so sure. But our friends didn't budge. A while later, we paid a $30 mordida and were on our way. I was scared of course, but more amazed at the fact that our new friends stayed back to make sure we got out of there okay. That meant a lot to me. I know how intimidating it is to be in a neighborhood in Juarez that you're not familiar with. And I know how intimidating the police are here. So the fact that they waited for us was a big deal to me. It turned what would have been a horrible experience into an eye-opening, wonderful thing.
My car has made questionable noises since we moved to Mexico. Waiting in line to cross an international border takes a toll on any vehicle. Bumpy pavement full of potholes and the occasional unpaved road add to the problem. I've had my fair share of car problems over the last 3 years and as I've said before, being without a vehicle is my number one fear in life. I know that sounds insane and I know it's a fear I have to get over, but I'm just not there yet. In the last couple of weeks the noises had been getting worse. The car was shaking uncontrollably when in idle, even shutting off at times if I didn't throw it into neutral. This put me in quite the pickle while waiting in line to cross into El Paso every morning, not to mention waiting in line to cross back into Mexico each evening.
I had been ignoring the problem because, quite frankly, we didn't have the money to fix the car even if we knew what was wrong with it, so what's the point in trying to figure it out, right? Pretty stupid way of thinking. I see that now. My family urged me to take the car to a mechanic, insisting that finances always had a way of figuring themselves out. In desperation, I finally took their advice. I took it to a reputable taller in San Lorenzo, Servi Compactos, and was told they would get back to me with a verdict and the estimate.
I was frustrated and nervous and feeling like it was the end of the world. I know that sounds dramatic, but without a vehicle, I have no way to get to work. The buses in Juarez don't start running early enough to get me to the bridge in time to cross and catch another bus that would get me to the office by 8 am. The transit system between these sister cities don't really accommodate banker's hours. A vehicle is a must. And without the wages that I earn in the US, where would we be? My husband's earnings barely begin to cover our rent. That's why I flip a shit every time my car rumbles a bit.
In the midst of my frustration and fear, I was comforted by the fact that I have family who is willing to lend a helping hand. I have friends who are willing to switch around their schedules so that they can give me a ride to and from work. I am not alone in this city. I am not destitute. I can ask people for help. And it's okay to ask for help. I'm learning that. And now the week is over, and my car is fixed. It did work out. I will always work out. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
On an evening where a few nasty emails were trickling in here and there, I got an email from a high school student in the US. He had to listen to my podcast as an assignment for his Spanish class. He explained that he had a very conservative view of illegal immigration and admitted that he went into the assignment already determined that he would hate my husband and I. He wasn't even sure why he felt compelled to email me in the first place. He felt that we deserved everything we had coming to us.
This young man was surprised when he found himself feeling sorry for our situation. Although he went into the assignment thinking that my husband was a person who broke the law and shouldn't be allowed to live in the US, he came out realizing that my husband isn't a bad person. Ray just wanted to better his life and the life of his family. In the end, he came out of it all thinking that it's an injustice that it's been so difficult for Ray to do things "the right way." He came out respecting us and the love we have for one another.
While I don't think anyone needs to feel sorry for us, I was completely shocked that our story had caused someone to question their opinion and to see beyond the black and white of immigration law. And I swear that if the only reason any of this happened was for this one boy to see a different side of the coin, it was all worth it. If the only reason we moved to Mexico or the only reason I began this blog was because this one person was supposed to read it, I feel fulfilled and content with my life.
It was one of those weeks where something really shitty kept happening. But then out of nowhere, something amazing happened to balance out the negative. It was one of those weeks where I saw God everywhere, in everything and in everyone. I believe that He is always trying to balance things out, sometimes it's just difficult to see. At times it's seemingly impossible to detect. But it is. The good will outweigh the bad, sometimes you just have to wait for it.