13 April 2017

A New Beginning's End

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" - Semisonic, Closing Time

Hello readers. I've been MIA on this blog for a couple of months, but I simply haven't the time or the energy to write. This was started as a blog post for the April SOTB blog hop, but I simply didn't have the energy or heart to finish the post, or to write anything else.

In the beginning of April, I suffered a very personal tragedy- I had a miscarriage. It was a very early miscarriage of a surprise pregnancy, but it was still a miscarriage. A very tiny person, who never even saw the light of day, died in the one place that she was supposed to be safe. I've had miscarriages before, this is only the most recent in a list I've been compiling over my adult life. However, this miscarriage affected me rather hard, knocking me down into a world of depression and sadness that I could not brave myself for.

I know that I did not cause myself to lose this little baby. Early miscarriages happen frequently. Hector and I were not even trying to get pregnant; in fact, we were using natural family planning to avoid pregnancy. Adding another child to our family would have been a great difficulty emotionally and financially. Leo is barely a year old and still nurses frequently. As Hector is the main caregiver for our children, two under two would have been extremely stressful for him. Logically, I know these reasons to be true and rational. However, they do not numb the pain and they seem like poor excuses compared to the tiny life that grew inside of me, even if only for a couple of weeks.

My emotional life has not been the healthiest lately, and my life-long battle with depression and anxiety has been waging rather violently in the past few months. I was already battling thoughts of unworthiness and misery before all of this happened. Losing a baby just added fuel of the fire burning in my brain. 

My personal motto is simple: "life goes on". Even when my world crashed down on top of me, I knew that I have to keep going. I don't have time to stop because my family depends on me. First, I named the baby. As Catholics, we believe that the saints in heaven have the ability to pray for us, as our brothers and sisters in Christ, because they are alive in heaven. This child went straight to heaven, and is there and can pray for our family. We don't change into angels in heaven- they are their own beings. We become
saints. I can ask this tiny saint to pray for our family. But she needed a name. I've named all of my tiny saints. Secondly, I force myself to carry on. The day after I started to miscarry, I went to the gym, per my normal routine. I did a light work out, but I knew if I did not persist in my regular routine, I would get stuck in the endless cycle of tears and exhaustion. I sat on the stationary bike and read articles about miscarriage and recovering. I went to work. I carried on, day after day until I gained enough momentum to continue living without forcing myself to.

I really don't know what the life lesson is supposed to be. I sometimes think there isn't one. It's so hard to understand how much grief is possible over someone who was a surprise to her parents, then left so soon. It's comforting to think of my baby in heaven being held by Mama Mary, but I still wish I could have held her here. I've learned by now that life is not about getting what you want and that it is unfair to the extreme. If that is the lesson that should be learned, someone please send a memo to life: you are unfair, I get it; I do not need so many reminders.

20 March 2017

Playas de Tijuana

I had a day off. I get these weekly, like most people, but my days off are usually just as busy, or busier than the days that I go to work. I finally needed to get some air, so I decided that we should go walking on the boardwalk at the beach here in Tijuana. It turns out, the boardwalk, and the adjoining city park that butts up against the border fence is a vibrant and alive place full of art.

First of all, last year there were some very high tides that erroded a huge chunk of the beach away, exposing muddy cliffs. People have taken advantage of this medium to make some amazing sculptures in the cliff faces:
So much love

The sun and the moon

Horses in love

The greatest love story ever told

Love the planet

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the artists. I didn't even know these were here until I followed Cecilia aross the pebbled beach looking to see if any tide pool/sea gardens have started growing in the rubble from last winter's storms (they haven't). The walk is pretty inaccessible for anyone unsteady on their feet, and in located directly under the cliff at the southern end of the boardwalk, down by the firefighters/lifeguards.

Heading north on the boardwalk means that you run right into the ugly border fence, However, Tijuana is a city with an exploding art scence, and the world is the canvas of these artists. They've managed to take something as ugly as the giant fence and turn it into something that causes people to think about its underlying meanings.
Isn't it already high enough?

At least it's trying to blend in

Looking up

Mexico is putting these metal signs all over. I love them.

In distress.

The northen-most limit of the Republic


In Memoriam

Two sides of the same wall

I liked this whale. 

Tabasco is an Eden.

I posted this last picture on my Instagram account. Hector had never really been here to the park before, and I had only come this close to the fence a couple of times on my own. We never talk much about the fence, but I thought this image of Hector was rather powerful. There is a life we lived before, and a life we live now. He was glancing through the fence, something I don't ever recall him doing, back at a life that we will never live again. 

Playas de Tijuana is a great, inexpensive escape for the people of Tijuana. Yes, we could drive further south to Rosarito or Ensenada, but Playas is a 15 minute drive, and it doesn't have a lot of the extras geared to tourists. It's a place for picknicking and being with family. Most of our Playas trips are just fun days at the beach. On this particular day, our trip was full of surprises and emotions that we had tried not to feel for some time. 

17 March 2017

52WGC|Week Eleven

So, welcome back to the 52 week gratitude challenge. I have been struggling to keep up with the challenge, but I'm trucking right along. Week eleven's post is a little late, and it asks me to focus on a person who inspires me. I wrote in the intro to my last 52WGC post that I do not like writing about people other than my immediate family, as it is rude and intrusive to their privacy, but today I am writing about someone who has made my life in Mexico a bit more liveable. Hopefully, she'll forgive me and get over it.

My sister-in-law Corrina picked up and moved to Mexico almost right after her husband was deported. She loaded down her car and her kids and moved into the world's crappiest apartment. She didn't speak the language that well. She didn't have a job. She sold almost all of her belongings and said good-bye to Oregon. Her first year in Mexico was probably worse for her than mine was for me. She didn't hesitate to come like I had. It's true our situations of our previous lives were different, but at the end of the day, she was braver than I was. She inspired me to take the plunge and come. Seeing her survive made me realize that maybe I could survive.

I think she might wish that I had a different picture for this post,
but it was in my phone. Ill take another soon, I promise.
When I first came, we lived with her in her apartment. We shared food and tried to make our lives work. We butted heads a lot. It's difficult when ten people are shoved into one house. We moved out and have been pretty solitary since, but Corrina and I still always depend on each other. Sometimes, it's a simple thing, like needing a ride to work when a car breaks down or picking a kid up from school. Other times it's something serious, like being at the ER when the other is too sick to drive, and our husband's can't cross. Sometimes Mexico is not a fun, happy, colorful place. Sometimes homesickness gets the best of us, and there's no one else who can rally relate. Sometimes the culture shock still gets to you, and you have to talk to someone who really understands the sacrifices that you've made.

Corrina is that person for me. We have not always seen eye to eye. In fact, sometimes I wonder if we really even like each other. We are very different people with very different backgrounds and experiences. Her bubbly personality is sometimes more than my poor introverted self can handle. But she is always there when I truly need her. She is family, and that is a precious jewel to hang on to when you've completely uprooted your entire life.

Oh yes, she also inspires me to get off my butt and head to the gym. She'll keep me from premature death that way, I suppose. Thanks for looking out.