Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Net-Culture Shock- independence

Net-Culture Shock- independence

On Jan 6th I have been in Mexico for 6 months now. I feel like half a year is a good time to reflect on what I have learned and how much I still have to learn. The main topics of my growth have involved being pregnant, food, children, and interaction with people, Spanish, and dealing with business. I don’t like each post to get to long so that people can read only on topics of interest to them so each of these topics will be discussed in different posts.
I realize as I’m writing these posts on Culture shock that the biggest shock to my system really didn’t have a lot to do with the culture here but more with my circumstance, and personality. As you may know from reading some of my firsts posts before moving to Mexico I was on my own. But really even before that I was always an independent thinker. I wasn’t quite a bra burner as a youth, but close enough. I wanted to be different and did what I could to achieve that. I also refused to ever “need” a person to help me to survive. I was raised with the belief that although you can love someone you should never be in a position where if they were gone you’d be up a creek with out a paddle. So this had a lot to do with me striving to continue my education and move up the nursing career ladder. (Not the nursing parts just the moving up part.)
The first year of my marriage to my husband I was in the upper hand of all things. I never meant to be, and by then I had realized the biblical truth of letting the man be the man of the house hold. This was not an easy realization for me by the way and lucky for my husband I found my bearings in the bible before I meet him. But I had worked so hard to be independent of others that by the time I was married it was inherent. My husband would come home from work for example and I would have rearranged all the furniture on my own, or hung up a new shelf ext. (Im actually still bad about this.) I was also making the larger income and everything was in my name at this point. The last 6 months or so before my husbands voluntary departure date we had actually even decided for him not to work but to stay home and take care of things there and to take care of me. I was pregnant and this was nice to have dinner ready when I came home from work.
Then there was the 2 years of raising our daughter alone and doing house and all by myself. I went in head strong and determined aside from the occasional depression. I did have a lot of physical and emotional support around me the first year. But as most times happens those people slowly faded off. In the end there were about 2 or 3 people who still came around to help or just hang out. So there I was with my 1 ½ year old, my new home, my new car, my management position at work and my husband still in Mexico. I shopped alone, I ate alone, I watched movies alone, I read alone, I slept alone. (Oh sorry I did have the company of my daughter who couldn’t even speak to me yet.) I was definitely independent and didn’t like it one bit. I hated knowing that I could do it if I had to. I didn’t want to. The “American Dream” sucks when you have to live it independently.
So I gave it all up to move to Mexico with my husband. That was a long story to get to the point of this blog, sorry. I get a little mellow dramatic sometimes I know. 
Yeah no longer a lone, I sleep in the same bed as him, I read with him, we get to watch movies together, I have help in the grocery store and to hall the groceries in.
But…. Yes there is always a but… Now I’m never alone! Yikes who would have thought that this would be a problem. I can’t go to the store alone, I can’t drive at all, I can’t go to the park alone, I’m scared to even take a walk alone. Little miss independent has lost her independents completely. This was a cause for many late night cries and discussions with my husband. He completely understood and was so good with me about it. He would try to think of things that I could do while he was at work. One thing that helped so much in those first scary few months was just to go on walks. Now depending on where you are in Mexico I’m not sure this would be a good idea. But here in the town we live in it is so safe. I was still scared and felt like everyone was staring at me for so long, but I took me and Alana out almost everyday just to practice some independence. It was so helpful although when I would pass by people I still craved conversation but at least I was out and doing something of my own will. These walks became routine and we got to know our surrounding area. Eventually about 3 months after getting her we got a vehicle that was safe enough for me to drive and Alana and I would go on drives to check out the town or to find parks (that were free so we wouldn’t have to interact with anyone) Slowly one by one things would come up where I would be forced to interact with people when my husband was not around and if I kept myself calm then these thing usually went well. I know now that this has been the hardest part of this whole ordeal for me. I’m slowly gaining back some of the independence I lost and am glad that I will for now not have to gain it all back. I pray that I never will. I don’t ever want to be without my husband, sometimes now I wonder how I ever did it without him. It’s so nice to have the extra hands and set of patience with Alana, groceries, ext. Although now I can at least go to the store with out him and make it home, or go to the park with Alana, or go to his families’ house. Yes I even drove to the town that’s about 20 min away a week or so ago and hung out with his family all day without him. Man that felt nice. I’m smiling now after writing this to know how much more comfortable I am now. I think I also need to add that I did get pregnant like the day I got here so I got to experience all of this with pregnant hormones rushing through my body. I tell you what if I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it right. 
This may not be something that everyone who moves to Mexico will go through but if you’re the typical American women and you don’t know a lick of Spanish then grab your boot straps and hold on tight. But in the end it gets better as every week goes by. I’m sure in even the next few months I will be looking back to see that I have made great strides. I’m so excited about the year ahead of me.

Culture Shock- interaction with friends and family

Culture Shock- interaction with friends and family

I’m going to skip doing the blog on children. I just recently posted a blog on a lot of my thoughts towards that. So now I move on to the shock of interaction. This was the big one for me. I’m a social and interactive person. I’m a nurse for goodness sakes I don’t know what to do if I can’t honestly ask you how you are doing and care about what you are going to say to me. So simply knowing how to say, “Como esta.” Isn’t enough for me. I want to understand the answer and to hear the truth. Both of which I’m finding I don’t get.
My first few months here were filled with a lot of frustration and tears. There were people around me who made this better and those who made it worse. Ill start with the bad and end with the good that will bet us to a better out look right? Well I seriously didn’t even know a lot of travelers or vacationers Spanish when I came. I had just not had the time, will power, or strength to concentrate on it before I left the States. So I could say things like hello, good bye, how are you and Im fine. That’s about it. Now when I said Im social I meant I’m the one who starts the conversation up in the elevator ride or walks faster just to catch a conversation with someone I see on the street. At first I found my self instinctively trying to start these random conversations with people. Here the neighbor hood stands on the corner in the mornings waiting for the trash truck. Oddly enough Im finding that there is little conversation that goes on there. But at first I tried hard to spark up some communication. I would say, “Holla, Como estas.” They would answer then ask me a question. Ok this should be good right this is how a conversation starts. But crap I don’t understand what they are asking me. So I ask them to slow down and to say it again. (Oh I forgot that in my list of words I knew). But even then I don’t know a lot of the vocabulary so this is lost on me. After a couple days of this the neighbors started to avoid eye contact with me knowing the conversation would go in this manor. My head sinks a little lower. This will be harder than I thought. Striking out in my independence I bring Alana to the park often. Back then though even paying at the gate was an ordeal, and once I went to get us a snack and when I didn’t understand the Peso amount the couple behind the counter literally looked at me in disgust and said, “You don’t understand.” I said no and handed them what was in my hand. They counted out what I owed them and practically threw my money back to me. Ok it prob wasn’t that dramatic but when in the situation it feels like it is. My husbands’ aunt was just as bad with me and for the first couple months I was here she was the only family member in the area I had met. This was just due to my husband working all the time and we just hadn’t had a chance to go to his other aunts’ house. But the first aunt I spoke of was very quick to sigh, huff, or roll her eyes with even the times I just needed to think on a word. She frequently told me I needed to learn and study more. One day I learned how to tell her to be patient with me and that I study every day. Man that was a good day and felt so good. I told Issac that when I do learn Spanish this particular aunt wont like me very much because I think she’s rude and inconsiderate and I’m not usually one to let things like that slide. (In the moment I mean I won’t bring this old stuff up to her.) She actually one day had the nerve to grab me by the shoulders and gently shake me in frustration repeating, “You don’t understand, you never understand.” What was worse about this was that I had just told her I understood she just didn’t believe me. Now to the good people, there is a couple who own a store not even a block from our apartment. My first day in the store my sister was still here trying to help me settle in to the apartment. We went to get a jug of water. Im scared to death but am trying not to show it. I tell the lady at the counter I need water and a 2L of Coke. She starts saying something to me very fast. Im sure I looked like a deer in head lights. I asked her to speak more slowly, and that all I wanted was this container of water and soda. I then held my hand out with money in it. She looked at me with such compassion that I could tell I prob looked ridiculous. She did slow down her talk but again it didn’t help. I had only been here a couple days at this time. Suddenly I hear a man next to me saying in English, “She’s trying to tell you that you have to pay for the jug and the bottle for the water and soda then when you need more you return the containers.” AHHHHHHHH relief. Thank you God for putting this man in the store right now. Oh no problem I say and she tells me how much to giver her, counts it out of my hand slowly so I can understand and see what she is doing then counts back my change in a teaching manor. I’m all smiles at this point. I had just survived my first buying experience in Mexico. She has the guy tell me to come back any time we need to or if we have questions. And I did, we have become good friends with this family. After about the 2 month of being here I was crying often at night to Issac about the lack of communication with people and how badly I realized I needed it. During one of his trips to the store Roma told him that I should come and chat with her from time to time, that she is always there and usually alone with the kids. When I was sick in the early months of my pregnancy I would go sit at her store and she would feed me fresh fruit that helped my sickness. We would sit and “talk” for so long. This was the interaction I needed. Although it was and still is at times difficult she is always a good person to sit with when I need someone who is patient with my Spanish abilities. She is also a good way for me to see how far I have come. When Issac and I go in together she always tells him how much better Im doing. I can only imagine how much patients it takes on her part but she does it. She is a lot like I am (when Im speaking English), she talks a lot and fast. But with me she slows down and waits on me to think of my reply. And when I compose a sentence wrong she tries hard to understand the meaning then fixes the sentence and waits for me to repeat it correctly.
Aside from this couple Issac has a couple friends from work that are also very patient with me. I find that people who have truly tried to master English are the ones who are most patient. His aunt for example doesn’t know the first work in English so she has no idea how hard it is to really learn how to speak another language. These two individuals at Issacs work actually know enough English and me Spanish that with a mixture of the two we can have a coherent conversation. They also try to correct my sentences and help me to say them right.
So after 6 months I am doing a lot better, I discussed an incidence that proved this to me in my Amigos Aqui post. I am also getting more confidence and Im seeing with confidence confusion can come also. Here is and example: The couple I was talking about before had let Issac and I go out to some property they own out on the river. It was beautiful and Issac and I want to go out there camping some time. So next time I was at the store the husband was there working. He asked how we liked it and I said we loved it and then I said, “Queras Campo.” Thinking I meant that I wanted to go camping some time. Then he proceeded to tell how he goes all the time, and a lot of times with out the wife and family even. Then I’m getting concerned why is this married man telling me he goes camping without his wife when I just told him I want to go camping. Then it hit me. I said Queras not Quero. My inner self is now shaking its head as I finish listening to him tell me about him camping. There is no point in fixing my error now, but I’m glad a figured it out and didn’t go on thinking him a pervert. Once at a little kids birthday party that we went to with the friends from my husbands work I messed up and didn’t get to fix it also. I was standing there watching the kids and the host of the part (one of our friends mom) came up and was asking me something. I had no clue what she was saying. You see when I’m in a public situation like this even the Spanish I do know leaves me I clam up. Thankfully one of our friends came to my rescue and told me she was asking which child was mine. After the mom left I turned to Issacs friend and with a nervous laugh tried to tell her thank you but instead said, “Mucho Gusto” which is nice to meet you. We then moved on to the next activity of the party and it wasn’t till later that night as I was replaying the conversations in my head that I realized my error. Man sometimes you just feel like an idiot. The good thing is this lady is supper tolerant and understands the difficulties of another language and just brushes this stuff off.
These types of things are getting better and I'm so blessed that the one aunt I spoke of is not the only family in town that I can turn to. There are two other aunts and my husbands grandma here to. They are all very good with me and are patient people in general. Also his sister has come to visit twice and she speaks great English. She has told me she will let me know if Im doing something out of the norm because my husband isnt always the best at letting me know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Net-Culture Shock -food

On Jan 6th I have been in Mexico for 6 months now. I feel like half a year is a good time to reflect on what Iv learned and how much I still have to learn. The main topics of my growth have involved being pregnant, food, children, and interaction with people, Spanish, and dealing with business. I don’t like each post to get to long so that people can read only on topics of interest to them so each of these topics will be discussed in different posts.

As many who have visited Mexico or know someone who had the food is usually the highlight of the stay down here. And aside from what his aunt would lead me to believe most of it is relatively easy to make. I have yet to attack the tamales process yet but some day I will. His aunt whom I spoke of earlier is a wonderful cook; she feeds us every time we go to her house. This is the most I can say that is positive about her.  When we have something out there that seems exceptionally yummy or that looks like I can cook it at home a later day, I use to ask her to please write down how she made it. Every time I ask she says that she would have to show me something first, either how to wash a specific veggie or how to cut a type of meat, or how to what ever. At first I was angry about it then I asked Issac if maybe she can’t read and write. Hey I’m not just assuming because she Mexican its more common even in the states than most people think. It’s something that comes to mind due to my nursing background. But he said no that she is prob just being difficult. So for most of those dishes Im waiting until his mom is around to ask her to write down a recipe for me, and Iv asked his sister to e-mail me some.
The biggest shock to me when I started trying to cook was being unable to find “normal” items at the grocery store. This went for baking and cooking normal dinners. First I would have to try and translate the food names but even then you just can’t find some of the stuff you need here. As far as baking goes for example there are few bake mixes here. Sure they have the cake mixes, and pancake mixes, and recently I have found mixes for tortillas. But the cake mixes are pretty expensive, and the pancake mixes can really only be used for pancakes they are really sweet, and I have found that buying fresh tortillas is so worth it. We bought a tortilla press but I’m supposing it was a cheaper brand because it only presses the tortillas halfway. I told Issac until he gets me a new one we will have to spend the extra grocery money to buy the fresh ones at the grocery store. I was supper siked the day I was giving the recipe for bisquick, and other recipes to use it in. This has been working out well. I just make a batch the size of one of the md boxes and put it in some Tupperware and use it like normal. Its actually so easy and cost effective I think more people in the States should do it. I actually just used it to make my birthday cake. Other things for example that you won’t find are cans of Rotel, biscuits in a can, blocks of cheddar cheese or most yellow cheeses. With the cheese it’s a come and go kinda thing, we see it there sometimes and others not. This week we actually asked at the deli for some because I needed it for a specific recipe. She brought out packaged Kraft sandwich sliced Cheddar cheese. This is the oddest thing; we opened it as soon as we got home to eat a little because it has been some time since we have gotten our hands on any. Im telling you the truth when I say this was American sliced cheese with extra yellow color. It looked the same color as Cheddar but texture and taste was American. What’s up with that Kraft, why try to fool the Mexicans?
The greatest thing about food here is all the street food and I went into detail about that in a different post so I won’t again but I did have to mention it here. This comes into the culture shock thing because it is literally on every street corner. A lot of people sell home made stuff right outside their door step, and others push around carts full of yummies. Coming from a place that the FDA is so strict you can’t even feed the homeless with out a lic now this seems strange and untrustworthy. But we haven’t gotten food poisoning yet and I love that we can randomly stop on the side of the street and grab some grub. Even the nice restaurants are not too expensive where I live. Issac and I can go out on a nice date for $500 peso or less. This includes dinner, drink and desert.
Speaking of pesos this come up a lot when grocery shopping. It took me at least 4 or 5 months to get use to thinking in Peso and not always trying to convert to the Dollar to decide if something is cheep or expensive. This meaning I have only been doing better at it for a month or so now, so this may be hard for me to explain. I wouldn’t have understood until after it started to hit me while shopping. See comparing does no good if what you make and therefore your budget is in Peso. Also it really still makes no sense to me why some things are more expensive here and others are so much cheaper by comparison, but trying to figure all that out while shopping gets old quick. So now I just take our budgeted peso amount and do the best I can with it at the store. We have done much better with our budget even now that I have shifted my thinking. For the most part unless your just here for vacation it is pointless to try and compare what the price would be in the States. I finally had to tell myself, “Your not in the States, Amanda, that’s why.” So my whys are slowing down and there fore shopping and cooking are coming much smother at this time.
For the most part I feel that I’m adjusting well to the new foods and ways of cooking. We even found “real” ice cream the other day. Most places have what is more like fruit ice, or butter ice cream, or what they call normal ice cream but its sour. We actually found a place that has what I consider to be Ice cream (milky and creamy). I’m not sure I could explain it better is just something you’d have to taste for yourself.
I think that’s about it for the food part. Hope it was interesting to read.

Mexico: The Trick is Living Here by Julia Taylor

Mexico: The Trick is Living Here by Julia Taylor
An outstanding e-book for those moving to or recently moved to the wonderful country of Mexico
When starting this blog I was in search of others who had been forced to move to Mexico due to similar reasons as mine. I was scared and alone although I was for the first time in 2 years living in the same house as my husband; I needed someone who could understand where I was in life. My husband is all that I wanted and I was so happy to be with him but I needed another source of companionship. During my searching I found the author of this book and was enchanted by her writing. I wish I would have had this book a year before I left the states. I’m sure I would have read it more than once, and still plan to. Everything she has written in this book rang so true to my experience with moving here.
She knows how to make you laugh and if you read the book before you come be sure to read it again a few months after being here so you can laugh even more. Moving to Mexico is so much more than paperwork and titles it is an experience and I feel now that I have been able to share that experience with the writer.
For the most part I found that the first part of the book was a lot about the technicalities of moving to Mexico. Although she somehow managed to help you know how it feels to go through those technicalities here and not in the states. And yes it does feel different. I have to say I was shaking my head and laughing through the entire book. Although I had been here about 4 months when I started reading there was a lot I still had to learn (and still do). I was so thankful for the useful links she added to the book, and all the information on children and birth certificates. I love that over and over she explains that no matter where you are in Mexico one thing always remains, nothing goes the same. Your best bet is to get to know people and ask questions.
I must say my favorite part of the book was at the end when she explains a little about culture. As in the states there are things with the culture down here that changes with the region and the most important part is to keep your eyes open to what others are doing. And ask if you are unsure. For the most parts Mexicans are open and ready to share their knowledge.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is moving to Mexico, whether it is out of necessity or because they want to retire here. Please for what ever reason you move here do it with an open mind and heart and be ready to be thrown off your feet a few times. There is a link on the home page of my blog that will lead you to the book if you are interested in buying.

Culture Shock I (6mo-pregnant)

On Jan 6th I have been in Mexico for 6 months now. I feel like half a year is a good time to reflect on what Iv learned and how much I still have to learn. The main topics of my growth have involved being pregnant, food, children, and interaction with people, Spanish, and dealing with business. I don’t like each post to get to long so that people can read only on topics of interest to them so each of these topics will be discussed in different posts.

First off I found out I was pregnant like 2 months after getting here. If I were to do one of the conception calendars it would land on the exact day I first stepped foot into my new apartment here. Yes my husband works fast apparently. We really planned on it taking a few months to get pregnant, at least long enough for me to get use to the idea that I had just left my country to live in one that I didn’t even know the language of. But God knows best right! I have to always tell myself this. Well I immediately started searching online for others who has had babies here that were not from here. This blog was helpful for me in that matter but not until more recently. I had actually gone onto a couple of question forums and got some of the most rude and outlandish advice or answers. Such as, “Go back home to the States.” “All they give you is tequila to kill the pain.” (This one was serious, can you believe it) “Why would you even consider having a baby in Mexico?” (Even though I had wrote why I was here) “The people don’t help with the language barrier there.” That last comment is so untrue for most of the Mexicans and healthcare professionals Iv meet here. But at the time I didn’t know better so as you can imagine this search only increased my anxiety. I had almost given up before I found the lovely people Iv found through this blog. Iv written on a lot of that and wont go into to much detail about what I did but more about how I felt. I am a nurse and I understand that a baby will come no matter what but Iv also seen a lot of the issues that can happen. Quite frankly I was scared to have to deal with this so soon after getting here. I was also anxious about what would be expected of me as a patient here. I had heard that doctors here were different and from what I had heard I wasn’t looking forward to the experience.

Although I found a it to be much better than expected and even better of an experience so far than what I got in the States. My doctor has no nurse, which is slightly upsetting to my nursing ego. But this also means when I need him I call him directly, and he gets upset if he finds out that I should have called and didn’t. This also means he is in the room during my entire appointment. As a matter of fact the appointment is held in his office. His office has a typical office style bed for the patient, an ultrasound machine, all his equipment needed, and his desk. This was weird and uncomfortable to me at first because it makes your appointments more personal. How funny is it that a healthcare professional is saying that, more personal is more uncomfortable? But once I got use to it I really like it now. At any time I can interrupt with a question and he is there to answer. Now remember that I’m going to a private doctor and not one from the Social system. His family claims the experience is the same but I doubt it. This same family told me that having my baby in a Social hospital would be the same as the private. That is so not true I have a post on it for more detail. Even now I love the independence the health care system gives me although I know if I wasn’t a nurse this independence would really be translated into lack of education. At my last appointment for example our doctor told us we may want to do another urine test this month. Here I’m thinking he’s gonna write a script, but doesn’t. Issac called the hospital and they said I didn’t need it. So we plan to go get it and they will walk the results up the street to my Dr. office who will call us with the results and if we need to go get Antibiotics or not. NO Prescription needed. And honestly you could potently leave the dr. completely out of the loop and just go get your results on your own. We asked if they could be sent to our dr. and they said yes no problem. So for me this is ok because I know what Im doing but others don’t, although they would easily be able to bring the results into as pharm and ask the dr. that works there what they needed.
This pregnancy has been different than the first in ways other than the fact that Im in Mexico. That difference being I had to be on a special diet due to gall bladder issues, which will thankfully subside after the delivery of the baby. This diet however was made a little more difficult being in Mexico. For being such and over weight country USA has tons of options when it comes to diet foods. A lot of them are false advertisement but if you know what you’re looking for you can find many healthy prepackaged foods. For example I’m not supposed to have anything fried or oily, this means chips. In the states you can get things like baked Ritz chips, baked Lays (which were my favorite), ext. Here there is no such thing. That is only a small example but there are many others that I won’t go into as much until the food blog. What I have learned from this diet is that I can cook. I think I would have learned this anyway but my family would have died of heart failure on the way. I can’t have pork, gassy foods, greasy foods, or dairy (unless its desolactosa or lactose free such as pannela cheese) so I had to get creative and look stuff up. Thankfully I found some other blogs and websites with recipes that could be used here or easily altered to use here. I say used here meaning that you can’t get the same items at the grocery store here as in the States.
The last thing that is different about the whole pregnant thing here is that there are no second hand stores or garage sales for me to go to stock up on baby cloths and stuff. People just don’t have them here. I assume that items stay in the family until they are to broke down to pass down. His family will be throwing me a baby shower in Feb and this should be interesting. Im actually really excited to see if they do all the normal games and stuff with me. Aside from one family member his family doesn’t delight in pushing oddities on me and watching me squirm. Although I want to get the full experience so I hope they don’t shy away. I have seen pictures of at least 3 baby showers down here. There is a game they play where you have to guess who gave you each present and what it is. If you don’t get the answer right the person who gave you the present gets to draw something silly on your face with a washable marker. I saw it in all three sets of photos so Im sure if we play it I will have lots of stuff on my face. I don’t know his family well enough to get them right.  Again I say it will be interesting.
I think that’s all for this post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Amigos aqui

We had some friends from the states visiting us for a week. It was so nice to have them around for a lot of reasons. It was nice for me to have constant English conversations. As good as it is for me to learn that only my husband can talk to me in English it gets kinda old sometimes. I also realized how far I had come with my Spanish. I get pretty hard on myself sometimes about learning and feel Im not doing well enough. But Issac worked all but 2 of the days they were here so it was up to me to show them around. We went to get juice and I actually got to translate and didn’t have to ask the lady to slow down at all. It was so rewarding and I was so proud of myself. This gives me more motivation to continue. I had kind of started to lag on my studies and was trying to use what I knew. But now I realize what I know, I know, so its time to learn more. This seems to be how I learn anyway and it is working well with the Spanish. I am determined to be fluent and not need someone around to help me so much. I know I will always be learning some vocabulary and there will always be mistakes made. Im getting more use to trying and not caring how people look at me, when I completely screw up. And am even getting comfortable with asking for a moment to think on what I want to say. That’s something Im really not use to. I’m usually too quick to speak my mind.  And now its hard to get it out. But that is all getting better.
About Samantha and Brian’s visit I had a fun time showing them around town. Also Issac was able to bring them out to a town where they got to see some beautiful country side. Alana and I didn’t get to go on that trip. We all came down with a cold while they were here. Brian, Alana, and I seemed to get hit the hardest. Alana and I stayed home and slept that day. A couple days later we were feeling a little better so we went with them out to the Rio Verde (green river). Some of our friends who own the store that is next to our house have a ranch out on the river. It was so beautiful out there, and so comfortable. Im an outside person and don’t feel more at home anywhere than I do with my bare feet in a river. Alana loved it and we look forward to using the site for camping once the baby comes and is old enough to go.
I feel like our friends had a good vacation and most of all we got to visit and talk. That is really why they came and that was accomplished.

Its a girl

We went to the dr. today and got to see on the ultrasound that the baby is going to be a girl. And sometimes ultrasounds are not to be trusted but this was a full shot and I am positive it is correct. She was probably getting sick of us calling her a boy because she actually stayed still for quite some time while we were looking.  I had a cold last week and it was pretty bad. I still have a little cough left over. Also we did a lot of walking and going around while our friends where in from the States. So this week I have been having some cramping, and back and hip pain. When we told the doctor about all this he seemed concerned that we didn’t call him. Then he literally told me that I needed to eat, sit, and drink lots of fluids for the remainder of the pregnancy. (That’s 11more weeks) Issac of course told him that I do to much and the doctor again told me that rest was important now. Seriously though, Im not a sitter. The only reason I sat so much when pregnant with Alana is because my job required it of me. Now my job is a 2 year old, sweeping, mopping and picking up after my husband and daughter. Really I think a lot of it was from all the extra walking and activity while being sick when our friends where in town. Im thinking like any sour muscles this should pass in a week or so. So will I listen Im not sure yet, depends on if the house begins to drive me mad. (Which it will) Im already planning to mop the kitchen tomorrow. Really Im fine and I do believe that doing nothing but sitting is an over reaction. Yes nurses can be the worse patients but I also think we know our limits most of the time. The doctor, most likely due to my nonchalant attitude actually wrote on the script pad to rest, drink and eat lots of citrus drinks and fruits, dress warm (It doesn’t get below 30degrees here), and don’t let myself get cooled off to fast after being hot. Then Issac asked if I shouldn’t be walking bare footed on the tile floor. (I scoffed and laughed). And the dr. agreed with him. Oh man now Issac has it on his side that a dr. said so. Good thing I got slippers and socs for Christmas that I like. Well I think that’s all. He wrote us a script for three medications and we will be getting one of them. The one for my cough. The other was just a stronger Tylenol but I don’t think I need it. (I told him I took some and it only helped a little and he said maybe I needed a higher dose. Talk about lost in translation. I meant I took 2 extra strength 650mg, he prescribed Tylenol 700mg one tablet.  Anyway Im still happy with our doctor even though he is a little more conservative than I am. And he promised us Issac could stay in the delivery room the whole time as long as he didn’t freak out or start to pass out. I think we are only going to allow Issac to stay by my head. He gets quisey with medical stuff and freaks out in emergencies for the most part.
I think that’s all for now. We shall see how these things go. Also we were reasured that I would be the first to feed the baby (I will be nursing again). And that as long as the baby is healthy it will stay in our room with us at all times.
Issac recently found out at work that when I have the baby that he gets 2 extra days off that week paid and he also gets $400pesos as a gift. The HR lady told him also that if we get married (remarried in Mexico) then he gets three days off and $600p that he can take at the same time as I have the baby. So now that we have the marriage lic with Apostille from the States we may go ahead and get remarried here just so he can have a whole week off with me and the baby to help. Also we get money. Not sure how that will all work out we shall see.

Im getting so excited. Three more months.

We found a cheep crib that was on sale for 1/4 the normal price. Praise God for that one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009



This post is different than most I have put up. But the my reason for starting this blog in the first place was for restoration. Here is a verse I read today that helps me to voice my thoughts on why I started this blog.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Fauther of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles , so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope fo you is firm because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in your comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
With it being the new year I always reflect back on previous years and thank God for where I am now. While doing my study this morning I ran across a Psalm that I had prayed over often during the past 2 years. I write in my bible when things come to mind and sometimes date it. Mainly for purposes just as this. Now I can see where I was spiritually in Jan of 2007. This would have been almost 6dmonths after Issac was sent to Mexico and would still be more than another year and would still be another year and a half that we would be physically separated in our marriage. Im going to put the psalm here and in the parinthasis is what I wrote in my bible at the time.
Above this verse I wrote a quote from a song that rang so true in my life during those 2 years
(I was sure by now God you would have reached down and wiped my tears a way steped in and saved the day.) Psalm 73:1-4Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (The wicked to me are those who hate according to race and who do not educate themselves before they speak against those from other countries.) They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
v13-18 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; (why did my purity not prevent this in my life) All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. (tears, so many tears) If I had said,”I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. (and I did) When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me (will I ever understand) till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. (truth and light will always come out through the darkness.) v 21-28 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, (as it still is) I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you (forgive me). Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will take me into glory. (Please guide me). Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. (YES!!!) I have made the sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (and I do I love you Lord!)
Then I wrote another quote from the same song above. ( But once again I say Amen and its still raining.
So like I said this is how I was feeling then. This is why the Psalms are so great. They did not try to hide their true feelings. When I needed to cry and scream at God or with Him the Psalms where their for me. And now they remain an addition to my voice.
During our plans for me to move Alana and I down to Mexico for good this is the verse that held me. We had to give up a lot to follow the path God lead us down. And I will never try to lie and say that it was easy. I freaked out for quite some time about what we would do for money, and how bad is sucked to give up my “American Dream” of a life. But what is a dream if Christ is not in it. Phillippians 3:8-21 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
And now this is how I feel after the move. Psalm 71: 20-24 though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you-I, whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all the day long for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.
Let me leave you with one more verse
Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider my self yet to have taken hold of it (perfection) but one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Thanks for reading, just wanted to share a little of my heart.

New Years in Mexico

My first Mexican New Years

Well the most special thing about it was that I got to kiss my husband at midnight. That hasn’t happened for 2 years. I know that’s obvious but it didn’t really dawn on me until it was happening how grateful and happy I was about it. We had a couple of friends down from the States and because we all got a cold while they were her we actually didn’t do anything. Origianly we were suppose to go out to Issacs Grandmas house to spend the New Year with the family. Aside from not feeling well our guest suggested to me that they were not fully comfortable being around that many non-English speaking people. Issacs family is great and all but that can be intimidating even for me still sometimes. So we agreed to stay in. I found that New Years here is quite different for people our age. Im use to everyone being out, downtown, at bars, at balls, ext. But not here, everyone even young adults go to spend the night with their families. We kept asking around about what was going on down town and everyone kept saying they didn’t know because they were always with their family. I figured there would at least be fireworks. But we can always see the down town fireworks from our apartment and they actually didn’t have any. Now the reason this is such a surprise is because these people shoot off fireworks for everything. I have seen at least 5 or 6 displays since Iv been here which has only been for 6 months now. I suppose that’s where everyone gets the family oriented idea from Mexico. I had looked up a few of the traditions and although I didn’t have pure yellow undies on they had yellow strips. The women her wear yellow undies on new years for a prosperous year. Don’t ask me why I just read it somewhere and Issac confirmed that some do. Also we bought grapes. They eat one grape at each stroke of the church bell at midnight. You are supposed to make a wish with each grape. But honestly I don’t see how this is possible especially for a people group who eat dinner over 2 hours. I couldn’t get a new grape in my mouth for each ring much less get a wishful thought through my head. It was pretty comical watching the other three try also. We were all chocking and laughing by the time we got done. We went inside when we started hearing all the guns going off in the air. So, no fireworks just a bunch of people shooting off their guns to ring in the New Year.
This has nothing to do with Mexico but as far as resolutions for our family Issac and I decided to do a verse of the day with Alana, and that we would work on doing a devotional (him and I) at least once a week. Alana was doing so well listening to the verses for the Advent Calendar that we decided we needed to keep it up. So far that is already a hit. She loves it, even though she doesn’t get candy like she did with the calendar. And we have yet to do our devotional but the weeks not over yet. 

Well I think that’s all for the New Years celebrating. I hope you all had a great time that night and am looking forward to reading some stories.

Immigration reform

A friend got this from the ICE website. I hope it helps.


In November 2007, ICE began meeting with state executive agencies to discuss the concept of ICE Rapid REPAT (Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer) as part of the ICE ACCESS (Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security) initiative. The concept, recently implemented in Puerto Rico and Rhode Island, is modeled after two programs in the States of New York and Arizona that capitalize on ICE’s ability to more effectively identify and ultimately remove criminal aliens from the United States while still preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system. ICE field offices recently began to reach out to State agencies to present ICE ACCESS partnership opportunities, including ICE Rapid REPAT, where appropriate.
Key Elements

* In States where Rapid REPAT is implemented, certain aliens who are incarcerated in state prison and who have been convicted of non-violent offenses may receive early conditional release if they have a final order of removal and agree not to return to the United States.
* Eligible aliens agree to waive appeal rights associated with their state conviction(s) and must have final removal orders.
* If aliens re-enter the United States, state statutes must provide for revocation of parole and confinement for the remainder of the alien’s original sentence. Additionally, aliens may be prosecuted under Federal statutes that provide for up to 20 years in prison for illegally reentering the United States.


ICE Rapid REPAT is another law enforcement tool available that assists in ensuring that all criminal aliens serving a term of imprisonment are identified and processed for removal prior to their release from state custody. The identification and processing of incarcerated criminal aliens prior to release reduces the burden on the taxpayer, and ensures that criminal aliens are promptly removed from the United States upon completion of their criminal sentence. This program allows ICE to more effectively achieve its objective of identifying and quickly removing criminal aliens from the United States. ICE Rapid REPAT also allows ICE and participating states to reduce the costs associated with detention space.
The Puerto Rico and Rhode Island Agreements

On July 31, 2008, ICE and the Puerto Rico Department of Correction and Rehabilitation announced the signing of the first ICE Rapid REPAT agreement. According to Puerto Rico officials, foreign nationals make up more than 2 percent of their prison population. Through Rapid REPAT, it is estimated that between 50 and 60 non-violent aliens will qualify for the program each year. This could save the tax payers an estimated $2.5 million annually.
On August 20, 2008, ICE and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections announced the signing of the second ICE Rapid REPAT agreement. The Rhode Island agreement represents a step forward in Governor Don Carcieri's Executive Order on Immigration. The Executive Order directs the Parole Board and the Department of Corrections to work cooperatively with ICE personnel to provide for the parole and deportation of criminal aliens.
The History of the New York and Arizona Programs

In 1985 and 1995, New York amended Sections of the New York executive law to implement Conditional Parole for Deportation Only (CPDO) and Early Conditional Parole for Deportation Only (ECPDO), respectively. These two parole dispositions can be granted to an alien inmate who has not been convicted of a violent felony and is subject to a final order of removal, for which the alien has waived or exhausted his or her appeal. Under the New York program, from 1995 through 2007,
1,952 criminal aliens were released to federal custody for deportation.
In 1996, Arizona implemented Release to Detainers/Deportation Orders from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). This form of unsupervised release authorizes the deportation of foreign-born inmates upon completion of one-half of the imposed sentence(s) pursuant to the Arizona Revised Statutes. This release is granted solely for deportation purposes to all foreign-born inmates who do not have any previous felony or sexually based convictions and have a final order of removal. The ICE field office in Phoenix has removed a total of 1,133 criminal aliens through this program since 2005.
New York and Arizona

Both New York and Arizona have realized substantial savings in detention operation and relating costs through these programs because the parolees are detained for significantly less time than what is typical for an alien’s release to the ICE Criminal Alien Program. Since January 1995, the State of New York realized over $140 million in combined savings. Since April 2005, Arizona saved over $18 million in detention costs.
ICE ACCESS Components

The complete list of ICE ACCESS components, Asset Forfeiture, Border Enforcement Security Task Forces, the Criminal Alien Program, Customs Title 19 Cross-designation, Document and Benefit Fraud Task Forces, Equitable Sharing/Joint Operations, Fugitive Operations Teams, Immigration Title 8 Cross-Designation – 287(g) Program, IPR Center, Law Enforcement Support Center, Operation Community Shield, Operation Firewall and Operation Predator are available for download at