Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Every step we take is in love OR Fear

Because this is MY struggle I write about it here. Lately I have had this ringing through my head. Every action and thought is either a step in Love or a step in Fear.

= = =
Every action and every thought becomes a struggle at times. Your life is stressed and not at the stage that you wanted. You realize you lash out just because of the stress.
You don’t want to be that person.

You wish you could just step back and treat everyone and everything with compassion.

Or Maybe you feel like your whole life is out of control and you never get what you want or your turn. You feel as if you always sacrifice your needs and wonder when will it be your turn.

Every action and thought is a decision to trust love or to trust fear.

For me I’ve been struggling because of the stress and pain. But ringing through my mind is this idea I learned from a pastor at a church I went to.

- Every action and thought is either a step in love or a step in fear.

You can chose to step in love or not.

That is who I want to be. I chose love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The same story over and over, Immigration laws SINCE 1996 causing family separations

Couples separated by false assumptions

Some binational spouses unable to return to U.S.

By Leslie Berestein

The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 28, 2009

While in San Diego on a tourist visa, Gabriela Campos married her long-distance beau, Ben Maidhof, in a civil ceremony last fall. The couple then flew to Costa Rica with friends and family for a church wedding.

Walking down the aisle with her American-citizen groom, she could hardly have imagined that eventually she would be locked up in a detention cell.

When the couple flew back to the United States, Campos-Maidhof learned a painful lesson — one that millions of other binational spouses have encountered because they didn't do enough research on immigration laws, assumed that certain requirements didn't apply to them or tried their best to follow the rules but received bad advice.

Campos-Maidhof discovered that her tourist visa became invalid when she married a U.S. citizen. During a January meeting with immigration officials in San Diego, she was taken into custody, detained for three weeks and then deported.

'This has been the most traumatic situation I've experienced in my life,' Campos-Maidhof, 31, said by phone from Costa Rica.

The road to married bliss for binational couples can be paved with legal land mines. People frequently — and wrongly — presume that when one person is a U.S. citizen, it's easy for the foreign-born bride or groom to obtain permanent legal status.

'Every week there is a couple that calls and says, ‘We met here, we want to get married and have our honeymoon (abroad) and then do the paperwork,’ ' said Jonathan Montag, an immigration attorney in San Diego. 'I tell them the worst thing you can do is show up at the border with your new spouse.'

Some common pitfalls occur after the paperwork is filed. Foreign nationals in the process of adjusting their immigration status must obtain permission — called advance parole — to leave the United States. They need to file an application, and approval can take three months.

In a typical scenario, a foreign-born spouse will travel abroad for a family emergency, then discover that he or she can't come back immediately.

'Leaving the country without permission can affect your ability to return to the United States, because it is considered abandoning your residency,' said Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Many people in that circumstance aren't allowed back into the United States, Rhatigan said. They must stay in their native country and seek an immigrant visa through their spouse, a process that can take a year or more.

For most binational couples, separations caused by immigration mix-ups aren't indefinite.

In Campos-Maidhof's case, her husband hired an attorney and her deportation order was rescinded, allowing her to apply for an immigrant visa. She awaits an interview at the U.S. consulate in Costa Rica.

But there's no simple solution when U.S. citizens marry illegal immigrants, especially those who have stayed in the country without permission for more than six months.

When U.S.-born Yesenia Figueroa married in 2006, she never envisioned the barriers she would face in trying to obtain legal status for her husband. He was a Mexican citizen living illegally in the United States, but the same situation had not stopped her parents: Her father, born in Mexico, obtained legal status with relative ease after marrying her mother, a U.S. citizen.

At the time, illegal immigrants tying the knot with U.S. citizens would make a brief trip to their native country and undergo an interview with U.S. consular officials there. The applicants would secure a permanent resident visa fairly easily unless they had a criminal record.

Much has changed since.

A 1996 immigration law established stiffer penalties for unlawful presence. Today, if an illegal immigrant leaves the United States after a known stay of at least six months, he or she is barred from returning legally for three years. If the stay was more than a year, the ban stretches to a decade.

Illegal immigrants who travel abroad without permission while applying for legal status also are subject to this penalty.

'Sometimes people call me and . . . say, ‘I want to marry my boyfriend.’ I ask them, ‘Will your marriage survive if he can't become legal? Will your marriage survive if he is sent away?’ ' said San Diego immigration attorney Lilia Velasquez. 'I feel I have a moral obligation to tell someone what could happen.'

Figueroa, who gave only her maiden name to protect her husband's identity, said the couple applied to adjust his residency status right after their wedding. They were waiting to hear about an interview with the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez when they learned that if he travels out of the United States, there's a good chance he can't come back for years.

'We're trying to do the right thing, we really are,' said Figueroa, 35.

The couple, who have an infant son, aren't sure what to do. Individuals can apply for a waiver of unlawful presence, but obtaining approval is difficult. Couples must prove that marital separation causes extreme hardship — finances, health or otherwise — for the spouse who is a U.S. citizen.

The standard is set very high, immigration experts said.

'It is not based on hardship to the person who has been barred, even though they are missing their kids and the kids are missing their parents,' said Dede Hollowell, director of immigrant services for Catholic Charities in San Diego.

She estimates that families affected by the unlawful-presence regulation now number in the millions. '(It) has been one of the most onerous pieces of legislation ever for family unity,' Hollowell said.

Couples hoping to obtain a waiver often wind up in long-term separation, with one partner in the United States and the other abroad. Some become desperate.

One young man born and raised in San Diego County tried to maintain two households after his Mexican-born wife applied for an unlawful-presence waiver in Ciudad Juarez in fall 2006. As the couple waited for a reply, he rented an apartment in Tijuana for his wife and their two small children, both U.S. citizens, while he stayed close to his workplace in North County.

The U.S. government rejected the waiver application a year later. By then, the wife — a native of central Mexico — had become terrified of the shootings, beheadings and other drug-related violence sweeping across Tijuana.

Early this year, she crossed back into the United States illegally.

'I tried to do it the legal way, (but) I didn't know any more options,' said her husband, 34, who didn't give his name because of his wife's illegal status. 'Now we are living a really scary life.'

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Crossing Over - Immigration movie

I recently watched "Crossing Over" The movie with Harrison Ford. Afterward I had mixed feelings and I felt stired up inside. This is what I wrote immediately following:

Inspired as I was when I first saw sunshine,
Lauging at the rain as it fell,
I weeped the tears of an infant,
swelling inside my mind,
no water fell,
it was inside my heart,
and with me I must surrender,
the passion of a life and experience that has dwindled to nothing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Positive spin....weeds out the truth? updated

First off this is coming up because of a very innocent comment on a previous post

Wow, It made me realize that I've been so busy trying to inspire and be positive that I am actually giving an untrue impression. Look... there are great things about Mexico ... for a visit, and if you have tons of money to spend. But sometimes I leave out negative opinions because...well it is not a postive role model.

It strikes me as very strange that I gave the impression that I love Mexico.

The thing is: I'm not in Mexico because I want to be. I am in Mexico because I HAVE to be. Therefore, as a survival instinct I find the things that keep me positive and I focus on those. Who wants to hear about bad luck and depressing crappy stuff all the time?

Somehow now I am wondering..........


I suppose the bad stuff has a purpose for people considering moving to Mexico. And if some people are using my blog as a lesson to base their decision of whether to move or not the negatives have a use.

Ok, I'm going to list some negatives, and I pray I get no karmic whiplash. Already today just contemplating writing this, my ipod stopped working, I lost internet for awhile, and the bank forced us out of 900 pesos. Assholes.

Ok, Again a forewarning, here are some negative things. But I don't like to dwell on this stuff. For truth in my own private journalism I'm going to write it...

-Misleading business practices, and flat out lies. And no recourse to solve it but to pay what they demand.

-Police and Military standing around and driving by with semi automatic rifles everywhere you go. (also security guards everywhere you go with rifles)

-Racial Profiling = Travellers, Americans, Canadians, and Non Spanish speaking people pay more for everything


-Corruption - in all levels of Government, especially the police. It's called a Mordida. When you get pulled over you pay a bribe to the police officer. Normal Business as usual.

-Medical - If you have a cold in Mexico it's great you can go to the doctor for $3 dollars, but if you have a serious illness, you are purely SOL unless you have the cash in your hands. When I had my kidneystone surgery (in Puerto Vallarta), we had to put 1000 dollars down to begin the operation, and the hospital held me ransom until we paid the bill. In many cases they will not do anything without pre-payment. Not to mention the doctor never told me how to do follow up care or even that he placed a stint inside my body.

-The language, this seems like an obvious one, but if you are not fully fluent, YOU ARE ISOLATED.

-Dust -Everywhere you go in this entire country, exept perhaps on a resort where you never leave. There is an unbelievable amount of dust. It is because construction is done with sand and gravel. It is extremely rare to find a house built out of wood and sheetrock.

-Small town gossip and ignorance, to be american in a Mexican Small Town is to be a sort of Green Alien. I am judged on the craziest things and very normal things to the town people to me are horific. Such as the horses drinking out of the same water the dishes are washed with. Being judged for letting my daughter wear her hair down. Farm Animals all throughout the house. Hand washing clothes? Being judged for wanting to buy toys for the kids

-Wages -people in different regions make different amounts but usually it is about $20 dollars per day more or less, and the cost of food is almost the same. Produce is cheaper. Meat is cheaper. But Shampoo and toilet paper are the same, sometimes more.

-Welfare of the people -people begging for money in the intersections. -people trying to sell stuff everywhere you go. Almost NO social services. Now days there is more than before but it is nearly nothing. Whole families living in makeshift shelters.

-Culture a Belief in suffering, life is hard and so it is.

I could go on but to sum it up:

There are many beautiful things about Mexico and in my personal opinion I believe every single American should spend atleast 2 months in Mexico or another underdeveloped country. The reason is not because it is so wonderful. The reason is because they will learn that the whole world doesn't evolve around the USA in the way we are brought up to think.

Also because once you get back to the USA you will see with new eyes our beloved country and the privledges that we have. This knowledge also carries a burden and that is that you can see how spoiled and distracted many Americans are, and that they are taking all of it for granted.

God bless you, and God Bless America

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

an Ordinary day in back country Mexico

Here we are at the doctors office.

Imagine having 4 people seen at the doctor - prescriptions included and it only costing 22 dollars without using health insurance of anykind.

Imagine waking in the middle of the night and having to go outside to get to the bathroom.

Imagine no large groceries stores for about 10 miles and having to buy your groceries in a flea market/farmers market.

Imagine the sewer backing up and the towns people responsible to fix it themself. The nice part is all the towns people come out to check on the issue and to help.

Imagine turkeys and chickens walking around everywhere.

Imagine horse back riding with no sadle.

Imagine swinging in a hammock and watching the day go by.

This is not my imagination it is what it is like here in El Rancho.

Monday, July 20, 2009

5 years ago I visualized .... a lot of travelling

I think it is so cool that my Creative visualizations are coming to fruition. About 5-7 years ago I visualized frequent travel around the world. And now I've been to Puerto Vallarta (to live), Ciudad Juarez, Mexico City, and my hometown Portland, Oregon. And soon we will visit Canada to check it out.

Here we are on the plane with our cheesy smiles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

He's not taking it well

My love is not taking it well. He is watching his plans and world fall down around him. I am saying don't lose faith. But he is lost.

This photo is about 2 hours after he got back from the appointment.

Yesterday we went to the Basilica, which is the big famous church in Mexico City where the Pope goes when he is in Mexico. Here is a picture of us by one of the famous Virgen of Guadalupe paintings. He seemed to do better yesterday, I guess because we were busy.

You see we had a plan A, B, C, and D. You don't want to know what D is. Or should I say I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

Plan A was we get a miracle and they hand over the visa and we cross immediately.

Plan B was they offer us the option for a waiver and we go to the US once the waiver is approved. Because I am certain I can prove hardship.

Plan C was they give him a 10 year 9c ban and we go to Vancouver, BC, Canada and Enrique stays there and works while I travel back and forth from Portland to visit him. While we wait for the work that is doing to save us.

Plan D... well we already talked about that

In my eyes whether we have a 10 year or a lifetime ban it's still plan C.

Last Wednesday I was a nervous wreck. I was scared and heartbroken because E was so adorable when he came back from his medical exam. He seemed so sure that he was going to get his visa right away. It tore me apart, because I knew the chances were slim.

And now.... well, the words the immigration officer said are ringing in his head and I am making it worse.

Because... I'm going back to Portland, regardless.

You see I'VE ALREADY LIVED IN MEXICO 2 YEARS. I lived in Puerto Vallarta which is a pretty awesome and American city (sort of) . I went back to Portland exactly 2 years to the day that we moved to Mexico - April 8, 2009. While I was in Portland I decided to go forward with my life goal. Some of you may know that I want to be a professional writer, well....... drumroll please.......... I applied for financial aid and got admitted to The Art Institute of Portland I've already got all my financing set up. I've been accepted. , My start date is October 5, 2009. Also June is enrolled in school for first grade, and Jimi is signed up for Headstart.

No right now I am not devastated, I am hopeful. I have faith that the laws are going to be fixed. I believe. I've been working on my course in Miracles for months. Our situation right now is NOTHING as terrible as being in mexico with no money, no food, and no way to get health care. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. We can only go up from there.

I believe. Thank you god.