Who would have thought?
I've been very quiet for the past few months; I apologize for the silence. I'm finally back, and I have BIIIIIIIIG news. No, it's not a divorce, or a birth, or a career change that brought me a six-figure salary (too bad). But it's certainly life-changing, and I feel a bit like a traitor….
It all started last March. One night I came down the stairs and found Carlos seated at our borrowed, plastic, outdoor, dining room table. He looked perplexed. Then all of a sudden he blurted out, "Let's go!" I thought, where? The supermarket? The video store? So I asked him, "Where do you want to go?"
"TO THE UNITED STATES!"
Was he really serious? What happened to my husband?
If you've been reading my articles from the start, you know by now that I made the move to Mexico with the expectation that I was to remain there forever and ever and ever. Carlos is a lawyer, trained in Mexican and Spanish law. He speaks English, but not enough to practice law even if his degree were valid. In Boston, he'd be far from his family, unable to communicate to his liking, and forbidden from practicing law. Yet he was telling me it no longer mattered. I couldn't believe it.
Overall my experience with Mexico has been a very positive one. I had many ups and downs, periods where I wondered what the hell I was doing in Mexico and days where I wanted to just up and leave. But the vast majority of days were pleasant, the people I met were warm and willing to help me in whatever way they could, and the culture was simply fascinating. I had made such an effort to adapt that it was actually starting to work: I was starting to feel Mexican.
But I can't deny that my heart leapt at the possibility of moving to Boston-with Carlos. Moving back there without him was never an option for me. I am miserable without him no matter where I am. But this would be a chance for me to pursue my career. Teaching in Mexico was great, but it was no where near what I wanted to be doing with my education. Now I could be close to my family and friends, earn decent money for reasonable hours of work, and maybe even have a 401K or other sort of retirement plan! Ooooh! But secretly, the best part of it all was that I would no longer be making the sacrifices. My efforts, and my success, would no longer be taken for granted. Carlos would finally understand what it was like. I guess this was vengeful, and it's not that I wanted him to suffer or go through the heartache of being far from his family, but maybe he'd begin to understand how I felt while I was in Mexico.
Obviously, before deciding to make this move, we had some serious issues to discuss: if he can't practice law, what will he do for work? How will we break the news to his family? Will they kill me right when we tell them or wait until I'm alone and do it? What kind of job do I want now that I have more possibilities open to me? Where would we live in Boston? What would we do with the small house we had just bought in Mexico?
Carlos and I discussed his career options. He said he is willing to work as a paralegal (hopefully in immigration) while he studies to pass the bar exam and make his law degree valid in the US. He would work on his English like crazy in Monterrey and upon arriving in Boston to get up to speed. He was also open to the idea of a career change, although it looks like with a little bit of planning and a lot of effort, it won't be necessary for him to find another profession!
We decided to break the idea of leaving to his parents gently and a little bit at a time. Carlos took complete charge of that issue, as I was afraid they might break my neck. I decided not to be in the room alone with them after we broke the news.
What I would do for work baffled me. I taught in Mexico by default. I decided I would do job searches online and go from there. I did have the idea that I would like to return to a college admissions office. I decided to look for a position in admissions at one of the many universities in Boston.
We solved the problem of where to live by talking to my dad; just last year my dad bought a little cottage in Hull, Massachusetts, to retire to in two or three years. It's an adorable little place, just right for two or a small family, and it's only a block and a half from the beach! Hull is a very down-to-earth working class town, and we decided we would feel at home there and have fun helping my dad fix his new house up. He agreed to rent it to us for at least the next two years.
As for the house we had bought in Mexico, things miraculously fell into place. One day I got an email from a Mexconnect reader who was looking for a small house to rent in Guadalupe. It was too much of a coincidence… I immediately offered him my house. It turns out he had been offered a job about 10 minutes away from where our house is. Monterrey is a big, sprawling city; the odds of our house being right where they were looking were next to nil! We didn't even have to advertise or list the house! A few weeks later, this lovely young couple came to see the house and decided to rent it for a year.
So, after a series of signals, coincidences, omens, whatever you want to call them, we decided to go for it. We would later find out, deciding to move, no matter how hard a choice, is the easy part.
COMING NEXT MONTH: The hard part: the logistics of the move, settling back into post 9/11 America, and living apart from Carlos for three months.