Saturday, November 2, 2013

Náufragos y Inmigrantes

I am reaching with this blog in the most ridiculous way possible. I can tell even as I begin writing...

We have family traditions. Even though we are just a scrape of a family, here on the border, hundreds of miles from my family in the US, hundreds of miles from my husband's family in Mexico. We are still a family. Every Tuesday we have "Midweek Movie Night." The tradition probably came from the fact that Redbox has new releases every Tuesday. Yes, in a country where pirated movies are sold on every corner and cost less than an item from the 99 Cents Only store, we still splurge for a rental once a week.

This week I couldn't find an action movie that had Spanish subtitles and Gordo hadn't seen, so we opted to watch Cast Away on Megashare. Surely you remember it. Motherfucking Wilson. I'm still mad at Tom Hanks for not swimming after him.

Towards the end, Chuck is at his welcome home party and the guests are dispersing. He walks about the hotel room, noticing the catered seafood that has gone to waste. He grabs a lighter and flicks it on and off repeatedly, noticing the lack of effort it takes to light the flame. Everything is so easy. He falls asleep next to the bedside lamp, again turning it on and off, no doubt marveling at the concept of electricity. When he goes to Kelly's house a few scenes later and she gives him his car keys back, he fondles the key chain and recognizes his old pocket knife, quite the contrast from the ice skate blades that he utilized on the island. In the final scenes, he chugs water lazily from an Ozarka bottle, again, symbolizing the ease of the modern world. The ease of a normal life. It got me thinking.

Just as I should never compare our lives to the lives of prisoners I certainly shouldn't compare it to that of a damned cast away. But you know me. I just can't help myself. When you live the life of an undocumented immigrant's wife, you marvel at the ease of life outside your situation. You think about what life used to be like. You wonder what other couples worry about. What they go through. Their daily struggles. Why they argue. What they're sad about. Why they're so often unhappy with their lives. If they are allowed to live together in the US, what more is there? What is the source of the unhappiness?

If  immigration didn't play such a huge role in our lives, where would we be? Why would we be upset? Why would we struggle? I feel like our biggest arguments are always over money. If one of us wasn't forced to work at a maquila in Mexico for a few bucks a day, would we still have that struggle? I can't remember arguing about money when we were in Gilbert. Neither of us have much in the way of a higher education, but our two US salaries were plenty. We're pretty simple people. If we were to have that again? At this point, I can't imagine what it would be like. I suppose all I could complain about would be his incessant snoring or obsession with pawn shop television shows. Maybe his irritating laugh? His tall tales? I don't know.

It all seems so trivial.

Then again I hear my friends and family who don't have an undocumented spouse, who don't have the same hurdles to jump. I hear their relationship issues. I feel like I get it. I don't mean to discredit their problems, albeit different from my own. I just struggle with my perspective of what a "normal life" really is. I wonder if other people in my situation have this same struggle? Will those who haven't been scorned by USCIS ever understand me? I wonder how I am ever supposed to feel normal again? After all of this? Or is what I'm feeling now normal? Was I in a trance before? I don't know. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

I don't feel liked I'm trapped on a deserted island. But I wonder what life would be like for Ray and I if we are ever "rescued" from this situation? I can't wrap my head around it.

25 comments:

  1. Why does the "Midweek Movie Night" need subtitles? If he hasn't seen it, watch "El laberinto del fauno" ("Pan's Labyrinth"). The blood of the innocent opens doors.

    "Bienvenido Paisano!" is good comedy about LPRs (with U.S. citizen teenaged children) visiting Mexico. I won't give the spoiler. Maybe I can relate to that more than you can (it is as least close to the great topic you have chosen for this week).

    FWIW, subtitles in English on the TV were a big help in my wife's ongoing assimilation, as well as working as a cashier with the American (at least the New Mexico version of them) public. I understand your husband because it is the same issue for me with the languages reversed (and Spanish has much more structure than English). It's hard at this age to learn another language, especially since I'm not immersed in it.

    And my wife learned the basics to English at a Mexican university (at half the age I am now), along with touring in the United States with a musical group. My in-laws know it well enough to converse with me. Sure, mi suegra gives me a hard time for not picking up Spanish, but she understands why.

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    1. Subtitles are necessary because Ray is still struggling with English, big time. I appreciate the tip on the English subtitles, I never thought of that but I know it would have helped me when learning Spanish to have Spanish subtitles to a Spanish programs. I loved El Laberinto del Fauno, but I'll have check out Bienvenido Paisano!

      On a completely unrelated note... I have been meaning to thank you. Someone recently sent me a link to a thread in the City Data forum where people were commenting about my blog. I just wanted to thank you for backing me up. It was tough to read such judgemental comments about my life but I really appreciated your support.

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    2. Yes, I knew the reason for English subtitles for Ray, but reasoned if the movie was in Spanish in the first place (I didn't mention "Sin Nombre", because I assumed you and Ray had seen it)...

      City-Data is considered a mini-Stormfront by many, and I've left off posting there because bad moderation. Among the members they won't censor is "malamute" (whom lives in El Paso, and started the topic about your blog) that makes negative remarks about Latinos whether they immigrate legally or not, are U.S. citizens, or even that don't have any desire to come here. "Oldglory" hates Mexicans, and can't get his reality straight.

      Haters gonna hate, it has nothing to do with the method of immigration, but rather the ethnicity and/or nationality of whom they hate. Don't let them get you down, but be warned that they may try to figure out your employer in the U.S., so that they can attempt to affect your life. I've had one say that he took pictures of me and one of my stepchildren in front of my house.

      And yet, they will tell you they have the highest of values and moral codes, support the "Rule of Law", and are against illegal immigration only because of those principles...

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    3. The subtitle issue is with any non-Spanish movie. I am perfectly happy to read Spanish subtitles regardless of the language. One of my favorite films is a WWII piece in Dutch. It's a bit more challenging to watch in a 3rd language with Spanish subtitles but I can pull it off.

      I've already had a lot of folks trying to figure out where I work and have since gone back through previous posts to remove any indication of even the industry. I value my job and know that many of my posts (mostly related to my previous drug addiction) do not flow with the company's mission statement so I've done some editing. May those people keep their safe distance from me... or else ;)

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    4. If an employer sanctions you for something that is unrelated to your job performance, they had better prepare themselves for where it might end up. I've had at least two friends (whom also immigrated their wives legally, one from Guatemala and the other from Mexico) whose employers and former employers have been contacted by e-mail and phone calls saying that they be fired. Thankfully that didn't happen, but it is very telling that the attempts were made.

      It has opened my eyes that there are still bigots around that object to someone, even a past servicemember, legally immigrating their spouse to the United States. The shithead coward that contacted me by e-mail to joke about covertly taking pictures of my family and I in front of our house waited eight months to send it, so he could cover his tracks better. Apparently he isn't well-enough informed about my military background, and might want to get a little more worried after reading this.

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    5. I feel confident that my employer would have no issues with me announcing my title to the world. I just choose not to because, let's be honest, most of the time I am vulgar and highly opinionated. I would never want people to form opinions about my company based on my life or my blog.

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    6. It's surprising actually, it can be just one person in a critical position with some nutty notion that can change your employment. I've been affected. But I've caught it in time, and now it is my turn for action.

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  2. It's been awhile since I learned a "new" Spanish word - so thank you for "Náufragos." Lo tuve que buscar en google. So - it goes without saying, but couples in the U.S. have plenty to argue about, just as couples everywhere. We (husband and i) mostly argue about money, too. We have three children and bills, bills, bills. We also argue about time - we both work so much we rarely get to see each other or just enjoy quality time, like the movie nights. Every couple has something - there is also in-laws, illness, etc. Hopefully when you get back to the states you'll live happily ever after - but i'm sure you'll also have some struggles, and luckily the current struggle you're in (and making the best of) will help prepare you for those to come! - sarah

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    1. I know, I know. This was a completely selfish blog, but it's how I was feeling. I know that we will have plenty of struggles, being in the US or not, life happens. I appreciate your comments; I need a good kick in the ass with reality now and then. And you're right, this experience definitely strengthens our marriage and will help us overcome any hurdle that gets in the way in the future.

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    2. Not selfish - more of a vent, maybe? We all need the swift kick - trust me, when i read this, i had to think of my own situation (very different) and remind myself that we all have our challenges.

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  3. You're lucky in that you're compatible with the man you married. I wasn't in your situation and was able to live with my husband (before I moved to Japan without him and things ended between us).

    -His infidelities
    -His going through a religious conversion and wanting me to convert ASAP
    -the dogs (we always take in the troubled cases, and their behavior WAS a problem)
    -money (I have lots of education and thus LOTS of student loan debt. This wasn't about having "nice things" but about my finances sucking up his paychecks.)
    -moving (I had to move around the country a lot for work, and he hates to move)
    -my lack of desire to sex him up (see 'his infidelities')...
    -him deliberately picking fights with all of our friends, so I'd lose them too...
    etc

    Fundamentally, he and I were incompatible people. You and I, Emily, are "fight to be happy" people. He was "wallow in misery" guy. Everything upsets him, makes him angry, etc.
    Since my divorce, I have met so many different kinds of people. And I have realized that I no longer have to be afraid, for example, when I miss an exit while driving that someone is going to scream at me, or that if I lose my glasses I am going to be berated for hours. I still flinch and wait for the shitstorm.. but it doesn't come anymore. Some people are just.. unhappy people. And they -make- conflict.

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    1. Oops, part of that got cut off. Under the first paragraph it should have said

      We argued about:

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    2. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. I know sometimes it just doesn't work. I think you are in a better place now and I'm glad you don't have to deal with the shit storm any more.

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  4. Hey my name is Caitlin and I'm also in Juarez with my husband to be. Juarez ain't so bad and my husband loves me with all his heart. And. I thought I was the only gringa. ;) u can add me on Facebook caitlin darsey thnx for your time

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    1. Hey Caitlin! Nice to meet you. Rest assured, you are definitely not the only gringa! :)

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  5. Wow!! Your right every couple has their own battles everyday. I know my husband and I would too and eventually been working on it. He's a great man and been patient with me.

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    1. I'm glad you have a good man in your life. And yes, we all have our own battles, regardless of the situation.

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  6. Hi, my name is Barbara. I am currently now in your same situation. My husband in 2010 was pulled over and didn't have a license and later was detained by ICE for not having an I.D., or any proof who he was. My husband was brought to the U.S when he was 3 years old and his parents never fixed his papers, but they received residency years later and stated on their paperwork to the Government they had no children, which they have 6. 2 are U.S. born citizens and the other 4 are Mexican born. We have been married at this time for 1 1/2 years and we were both only 22 at the time. Sometimes I believe it was all my fault because I started calling lawyers and set up a meeting that day for my husband and I to meet with a lawyer and I was texting this conversation to my husbands cell phone, when he was pulled over by Chandler Police, they took his cell phone and read everything, even though they needed a warrant for that. But it's hard to put a case against the system, when someone is here illegally. My husband tried to beat his case for being Deported, and got tired of fighting it for 3 years, and he was able to voluntarily deport and can not reapply for the 10 years as you have specified as you are waiting. I am currently attending Nursing School and end in January 2014. I drive to a small city in Juarez called Tres Jacales near the Caseta,Mexico/Fabens,TX Border every 2 weeks for 3 days and come back and work and go to school. I will be able to move out there full time at the beginning of February 2014 when I finish nursing school and hopefully I can get a job at a hospital soon. My husband stays out there with one of his uncles and I understand when you have to buy everything again when you already have it at home. I live in Queen Creek. How was it for you when you first moved out there? I went out there and stayed for a week during summer break and at first I was terrified because of the stories I heard, but I felt safer each day and understood you do not mess with the wrong people and stick to yourself and people will not bother you. Everyone was pretty friendly, except the US Border Patrol when I came thru the line to enter Mexico with a mini fridge and a Futon Bed, and some groceries and clothes. They searched my car like crazy and the broke the back of my SUV that is connected to my trunk because they used a screwdriver to pick up the compartment where my spare tire was thinking something was in there. They put me in a isolation room and interoggated me for 40 minutes and I was in tears, they had found nothing and kept asking me why I was going and it was odd that young female would go to Juarez alone during all the stuff that is going on. I had advised the Border Patrol, that I feel safe there and the only thing that I feel unsafe around is them. I made a complaint the next day with the morning crew about my car and they said they would pull the video to investigate and call me, sure enough, they called me and apologized stating they were sending me a form to get an estimate to fix it and saw how the accident occurred of them using a screw driver. I had threatened them with legal action and have my lawyer Subpoena that video is the only thing that had this matter resolved in a 2 day turn around. I did not think they would treat me an American Citizen going into another country like that. I pay my taxes and follow the laws. The Border Patrol said what do I expect when I enter a 3rd world country to be treated like. I was pissed off at that remark, because the Mexican Border Patrol say me crying and asked why I was crying, I told him what happened and he said they are Ruthless Pigs. Very true. He checked my car and cleared me in 5 minutes. Sorry for ranting, but I too understand now what you have gone through. It's crazy how your own country will treat you. They need to learn some manners and some respect.

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    1. I am sorry you've had to go through all of that Barbara. I haven't had experiences like that with CBP, but I think it's more common for gringas to cross at the major points of entry (downtown, Cordova, Ysleta) and probably a bit more rare where you're crossing. Also, the more you cross, the more agents get to know you and hassle you much less. Juarez has treated me well but it's definitely been an adjustment. If you read through my blogs you can see that we've definitely been in some scary situations over the years, but all and all it's been a positive experience. Definitely shoot me an email and we can talk more about it.Best of luck to you! TTYS

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  7. My mom is in the same situation as you are. My mom married my undocumented father 17 years ago and had myself and a younger brother. He was in prison for many years and he was released a while back. Now my mom lives with my father and brother in Juarez not too far from the boarder. She crosses everyday to El Paso to work and goes back every night. Sometimes I feel bad that she has to go through that everyday. She left a life here in the US and made another in Juarez I felt for a long time that life over there for my mom and brother to be miserable. But after a while I realized things for them were not all bad its not the most comfortable life for them but it is a happy one.

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    1. Exactly. It may not be the ideal situation, but being with your loved ones is certainly better than being without them. Best of luck to your family Cindy!

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  8. Hi,
    Found your blog today and it is hard when you have a spouse deported; I live in Mexicali, Baja California. My husband was deported in 2002, and permanently barred from re-entry in 2010 at his appointment in Ciudad Juarez because of his tattoos ( he has a lot). It is tough being so far away from family, mine is in Washington and Northern Cali and his are in Leon, Guanajuato. We have a 12 year old son and I actually think the schools here in Mexicali are better than those over the border (they wouldn't let him go in California). The toughest part as you say in another of your blogs is having enough money, I work part-time for not much in the U.S. can't find anything else (have never had this problem before) and my husband works as an electrician but I know you know how they pay in Mexico. I wanted to mention a really good app for learning Spanish, you can download it to your phone or on the computer, Duolingo, its really good. Thanks for your blog, I will be reading it:) Layla

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    1. I am new to Duolingo, but I love it! And I totally feel your stuggle mujer! We will get through this. Thanks for all the RHONJ tips :)

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    2. :) de nada and I love duoling too...I put it on my husband's phone for english too.

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  9. oops, saw duolingo on your links list, sorry:)

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