Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moving Forward.

Sometimes I forget exactly what this blog is supposed to be.... a personal, emotional release? an expat blog? a social network? or maybe just a self-gratifying, 'haha' look at me type of blog?

Well, today it's gonna be all of the above.

Alot of things have been bugging me lately, and instead of finding the time to blog and vent about it, it's all been building up inside.  Occasionally, emotions build and I might have an emotional outburst... not directed at anyone in particular, although my dear hubby usually takes the fall. This time, as the dominoes began to fall, and I scrambled to realign them.... a friend stepped in, made a few wise suggestions.... and I let the dominoes fall.

what will be will be.

A friend of ours (from back home)  and his brother have a similar situation with INS as my husband. They've been deported, come back, do prison time, and get deported again. Hubby called his brother the other day, and let's call him Juan, happened to be there. They hadn't talked in about 2 years, since hubby got deported and Juan was already deported in TJ. Hubby had offered for him to join him in GDL for a bit, until they both got back on track. Juan declined and after another close call with INS, managed to make it across. Hubby didn't even have a chance to say what's up, before Juan began with, I'm scared, dog."  He had made the choice, like many deported immigrants do, to return to what they consider their home. Juan began to tell hubby how scared he is, every day when he wakes up, goes out, or goes to bed. His brother, the same. Why put yourself through that fear? I'm sure, if we really tried hard enough, we could make it back... and make it work. But, what if? You will go away for a really long time, and is it worth it? What is really there in the States that you can't find here in Mexico? (bad example, but you get the point.) If hubby decided to go back  now, I'd be angry. His selfishness would override the need for his children to have a father in their lives. By taking that chance, he would limit himself and his kids on future experiences together. At least here in Mexico, they have their father. All the time. With no fear of being picked up, harrassed, and deported without any guarantees.  I feel bad for Juan and his brother. I remember the fear that I know plagued my husband, even if he didn't show it. I remember that weight and the day it was lifted when I picked him up in TJ.

That fear has never returned.

My son is now six and oh-so inquisitive. The other day, he asked daddy, "How come you went to prison?" What??? "I didn't go to prison baby." "Yes you did. When they took you from us. I visited you in the window." "That wasn't prison (it was immigration @ county jail.)." We had told Little One, who was 3 at the time, that Daddy went to tattoo school and he was behind the glass because he had ink all over him and they don't want to get us dirty. I know, kinda dumb... but it worked. "I was in tattoo school."  "Yeah, whatever... why did they take you?  Daddy had to explain how he hurt someone a long time ago and the consequences for your actions will follow you a lifetime... which is WHY we don't hurt people and think of others.... because everything he had done, affected his kids as well.

Everything happens for a reason and while hubby's past and immigration ordeal sucked, we're here in Mexico and we're here together. I keep saying over and over, that since we've moved to Mexico, while it was the hardest decision and toughest battle, we've grown closer as a family. And I think we only got to that conclusion, by letting what happened....  just be. For the first year or so, I was really angry... in denial... I still might be sometimes... not accepting that this is where I will spend the rest of my life with my husband. Most days, I don't even think about it and try to make the most out of whatever the day brings me. I think we've done pretty good so far. One door closes and before you know it, another opens....

Assuming you have the key.

Hubby had a guy "working"  for us at the shop, that, well, really wasn't on the same page as the rest of us. We brought "Sonoma" on, not so much because of his portfolio, but because we hadn't found anyone with the same work ethic that we have, here in Mexico. AND FINALLY. Someone from the States.... someone like us!!!  We blew off all the warning signs and took him on. Gradually, he began to wear on my nerves. Hubby appeared to be oblivious, but knew deep down what was going on... and recently, we had a blowout. Truth was untold... and low and behold, after nearly a year and no improvement, when he was asked to take some responsibility, Sonoma no longer works for us. Shit. Great for me... sucky to do the apprentice work. We were down and out. Who could we take on? We've got a full plate this year, expos and what not... and need to keep the shop open. Can't find nor trust anyone local in this industry. Well, we're just gonna have to make it work. Right when the door is gonna hit you in the ass, another opportunity arose. Same day, in walks in Tattoo Artist from Mexico City.. chill guy, family, kickass portfolio, amazing painter... just moved to GDL. He was interested in hopefully doing a guest spot with hubby. The key appeared. "Santo" is going to travel and tie off some ends and would be honored to join us in March

I think we can hold the fort down until then.

"Santo" would be an amazing addition to our shop. Right now, I'm still learning, and while I can hold my own on nautical stars and what not, I still lack the talent of my hubby..... and Sonoma wasn't any better. We need another strong artist, one who is reliable, relaxed and  has the desire to succeed and improve his art. Hopefully, things will work out with Santo and our shop will continue to grow. 2010 will be an amazing year, and hopefully with the choices that we've made, new doors will continue to open.
And for the tee-hee-look-at-me segment of my blog, I haven't posted any of my tattoos in awhile, so I hope you like.  Client came in with a crappy koi and we made it beautiful!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Officially Integrated.

Who would believe that this could blind you?

Or maybe it was mixing pomegrante, walnuts and 100% RUBBING ALCOHOL that would do it.

Somehow I feel that I have been officially integrated into the mexican cultura. We headed out to Pueblo Magico, Tapalpa, on Sunday to meet up with some friends from San Jose. It's funny to think how many friendships GREW by us leaving the States and how many new ones we have made. The family and I were greeted by Jesus and his family.... with Tapalpa treat. I've heard you can lose an eye from this punch, so I was a bit weary. Ponche de Granada.  Pomegrante juice, some nuts, and straight rubbing alcohol. I had always heard stories from back in the day, that rancheros here used to drink rubbing alcohol... so common that you could buy it from any mercado. Ahhh... the old drunken stories, campesinos couldn't live without it and passed out from it on the ranch.... The stories from the viejitos. And now, I get to try it....from a plastic gallon jug. 

We stopped in a little restaurant that had been recently built by a friend of Jesus... who was from Texas and recently released from the Army. He joined our dinner and we had a blast. or maybe it was the booze catching up with us... but we definitely found a place to visit when we return to Tapalpa. (I'll post the name when I find the card!)Time passes quickly when you're having fun, and as the sun was setting, we had to  head out to see the toros and the charreadas.

I love small towns. Here in GDL, everything is so modernized that sometimes it's hard to imagine that you're in Mexico. Ohhhh... but in Tapalpa, you remembered quickly. The Bull Arena was half-built, or half-finished, with the ramps in place, but no rails, pipes and rebar unfinished, and random holes in the concrete... but it had a full Marachi band playing on surround sound!!! No one cared. Everyone had smuggled in their OWN ponche and were drinking, dancing and enjoying the show. Or what you could see of the show. There were lighting fixtures all over the arena, but only one was working. The paramedics turned on their lights to help light the arena. It turned into hide and seek with the bull after sunset. When it was no longer possible to see and the bull had the upper hand, the show had ended. Everyone was happy. Moosecake was chummin with Krystal, Little One was dancing with his new friends, and we, were feelin good..... Tapalpa was awesome.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We're tourists again.

Everytime my parents come to visit, we become tourists again. We explore the city, check out all the tourist hot spots and forget the usual daily grind.
 We started out our adventure by heading BACK to Tonala, an artisan paradise on the outskirts of Guadalajara. You can find beautiful vajillas, paintings, glassware, crafts, floral arrangements, and other unique pieces of art within a reasonable price range. And check out the glass blowing artisans while you're there!

Tlaquepaque came next, which has similar items to Tonala, but presented a more bourgeois and directed towards foreigners. It is a little pricer, but there are little treasures to be found. The food there, is AMAZING. Casa Fuerte has always been our go-to restaurant. Chicken with Huitlacoche and the "El Dorado" medallion are favorites. An artisan community accented by pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and some of the finest art in Guadalajara. Sites to see include Sergio Bustamante's gallery, The Parian with daily mariachi shows, and  Museo de Ceramica.

We also visited  El Triunfo, a gallery of some sort, displaying many "unique" pieces. Midwesterner From Mexico  mentioned this store a while back in Mexico City and after seeing one right here in Guadalajara, it became a featured destination. Like Julie had mentioned, there were a few "diamond in the rough" pieces, but more, Galerias El Truinfo was an overpriced side show.

If you live near one of these other locations, please feel free to add some of your own unique finds!


Indoor Fireworks and Tamales Galore.

2009 ended wonderfully and the new year started off with a bang. We spent Christmas at hubby's family's house in San Francisco de Rincon with  the largest nacimiento known to mankind. The kids took part in creating the room-size display, adding Spiderman and a few Bakugans to watch over Mother Mary. At midnight, rocking baby Jesus was followed by the Mexican tradition of throwing confetti and lighting fireworks indoors. And then the party officially began.

Hubby wasn't messin around!!!  The mexican version of Christmas is waaaay cool. Guests began to arrive at midnight, spiked ponche passed around, and tamales galore. Kids were running everywhere.... falling asleep in random places. And the grownups? They weren't finished till about 6 am. And EVERYONE showed up with a bottle.

Christmas Day was the best. It was the first Christmas that I've ever spent without some kind of obligation. Usually, it was a day of hustle... rushing to different houses to spend a few hours and some Xmas cheer. By the end of the day, we were always exhausted. It was never a day to really relax.  This year was different. We finally went to bed at 7 am.... the kids woke up late and spent the day in their pjs playing with toys.... and we relaxed the ENTIRE day. It was wonderful.

I hope everyone's Christmas was perfect. :)

About Me

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I've been living in Mexico now for about a two years with my hubby and 2 kids. Not exactly by choice, but we're here nonetheless. Luckily, I live with quite a few of the accomodations that i was used to in the states. In spite of those convienences, we also have a water tank with asbestos, outdated electricity, massive amounts of dust, caterpillars that burn your skin, and thousands of windshield washers on every street corner. My kiddos and I are learning to speak spanish and adjust to life away from our family and friends in the States.


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