Monday, May 04, 2009

one year

Yesterday marked my one year anniversary of being in Mexico. It was yesterday one year ago that I crossed the border in Nuevo Laredo to move down here. It was a long and rough trip and I didn't think I was going to make it.

About 4 am on May 2, 2008 I headed out of my house for the last time on Wildcat Run Lane with the Pacifica loaded and with Emily and Bella. We had a lot of road ahead of us. Emily was 2 months and Bella was 16 months. I didn't know what I was getting into. I am sure most people that I was nuts for doing it alone. To me I didn't want to intrude on anyone else. I thought this way I could push through the crying and drive just a bit longer or I could stop as much as we needed (to change diapers, mix formula or whatever) without bothering anyone.

Thanks to many, I had enough gas cards to make it almost the entire way to the border. I also got a McDonald's gift card and that was our stop of choice. We still have those Happy Meal toys (American Idol toys to be exact).

I had pretty much been an emotional wreck for those last 3 months in the States. It was February 5, 2008 that I got the call from Jorge telling me they had barred him for 10 years. I was 8 months pregnant with Emily and realized that I was on my own. It didn't take us long to come to the conclusion that I would be moving to Mexico. I decided that I would have Emily, wait for the birth certificate and social security card and then head down.

I had to pack up my entire life and move. I sold as much as I could. I moved a few dressers to my mom's house and had the crib sent down to Mexico, but all other furniture slowly vanished from the house.

I had a massive garage sale where I made over $1500 for my belongings. I occasionally would grab items from the sale and take them in the house, always thinking I could make room in the car. And, let me tell you, it is an odd feeling to sell things you really weren't wanting to part with.

After 18 hours on the road I just couldn't go any further. I had originally planned to get to Austin, but 10 pm rolled around and I was exhausted! I decided to look for a hotel. Problem was that everyone else was too. It was right around graduation time and they were having all these conferences at that time. Let me tell you it is not the easiest thing running in to the hotels just to be told they had no rooms with the girls. Finally I stumbled across a hotel with ONE room left. I took it!

The next morning I woke up to find a flat tire. Remember, I have the Pacifica packed so full that I don't think a mouse could have farted in there. Well, that is where the spare is. It was 6 am and I was in full on panic. At this point all I wanted to do is get on the road and cross the border to find Jorge. He had taken a bus to the border so he could drive the rest of the way down. Plus, we just wanted to see him after our three month separation. I asked the guy at the front desk and he was no help. He handed me the phone book. Thanks, buddy! No place was open or if I did get a hold of someone it was a million hour wait. Finally I got a hold of a guy that said he would be right over. He said he could patch the tire so I could drive and get a new one. There was a Wal-Mart that the automotive department opened at 7 am. Thankfully they had my tire in stock. I think they only had 2, but I only needed one.

After a few tears and more stress, I finally got back on the road. We crossed over the border and immigration on the Mexican side was kind and just let me through. They didn't care about what I had in the car. I guess they saw a white girl and her two little girls and thought I wouldn't be carrying any guns or money. He asked if I knew where I was going and told me to be careful and keep my windows ups. There are people that stand on the corners of the intersections and ask for money.

I knew where the building was to check in me and the vehicle. I was there 2 years ago. I pulled into the parking lot and immediately saw Jorge! What a relief! I suddenly felt ok. I think I was just tired of doing it alone.

(First time Jorge saw Emily!)

We got to Jalostotitlan the next day because we had to stay in a hotel due to the tire issue that previous morning. I was happy to be here but at the same time I couldn't believe how much I left behind.

It took about 3 months to get past all the stress and sadness that I was experiencing. I had major culture shock. Nothing was the same. My life had changed overnight and not by choice. After that period I felt ok. Of course I have good and bad days. But, it has now been a year. I don't know what the future holds but I have come to realize that is not what life is about. It is the present not the future that counts. Concentrate on what is at hand and things will hopefully work out.


Cutzi said...

I got such a lump in my throat seeing Jorge hold Emily. What a challenging time for your family. And ten years?! So you have a bit of a road ahead of you...

I wish I could come visit you!! I'd bring you some Starbucks or something. ;-)

penny said...

I cried just reading that. My god Val. You are nothing short of AMAZING. Really. Truly. You are so strong and brave. And that trip and the experience overall of doing this thing that you didn't choose must have been so hard and heart breaking. But look at you -- you're flourishing now. Making the best of it and making it a beautiful experience. Look at how happy your girls are. :)

You inspire the sh*t out of me.

love, penny

Heather said...

Happy Anniversary! I know how sucky it has been. Sometimes live doesn't work out the way we plan. There is a song I love that says "life is what happens in between". I realize how true that is and I'm sure you do too. It always amazes me how one "little" thing can happen and your life is instantly changed.

When you least expect it, your life will change again. Hang in there.

svillarreal said...

I admire your courage, at least your family is together. My husband is in Juarez with his family while we work on his visa. I hope we get through this process without problems. I hope you don't mind me asking why your husband recieved the ten year ban?

Tara from Me and the Mexican said...

I'm so enjoying reading your blog and do not want to stop!
Your journey has been extremely interesting. You are a very brave wife/mom/woman to travel alone to Mexico along with everything else.