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.

12 March 2017

52WGC|Week Ten

So, first of all, I owe you an explanation. I've missed 3 weeks of this challenge. I've been insanely busy, more so than usual. I've been working and doing a lot of stuff around the house that needed some attention. The past three weeks of the challenge also encouraged me to be grateful for a friend. Unfortunately, I don't have any friends in my real life that I'm comfortable sharing about publicly. I can talk about myself for years, but I can't share about those around me.  So, I'm moving on to week ten. Week ten invites me to look at myself and find 5 things that I like about myself.

I have suffered from low self-esteem since I knew what self-esteem was. I can easily pick apart my most obvious flaws, obsessing over the physical features or my lack of social skills. Finding a quality, much less five, that I like about myself is a long walk down the path of self-discovery. I have been able to learn to stop second-guessing every compliment, but accepting that there are good things about myself has taken awhile.

1. I am resilient. I have shown myself that I am brave and strong. I didn't move to Mexico right after Hector's deportation because I was afraid. I knew that I would fail. I feared the prospect of starving, of homelessness, of my marriage falling apart. I eventually did come. And it's been hard. I've faced things that I never expected to face, done things I never dreamed of doing, and gave up parts of me that I was clinging to for dear life. But I've met and overcome every challenge that I've come across. 

2. I have a knack for languages. This skill has come in handy more than I could ever imagine. Besides English and Spanish, I also speak Portuguese, and I'm beginning to learn French. I feel that speaking foreign languages is an important part of any education, because English is not theonly language in existence. It takes me about two years of daily study to become proficient in a language that I am not immersed in. When immeresed, it takes much longer for me to learn the language correctly, because I pick up too much local slang.

3. I am awkward. This is not something that love about myself, but it is something that I think I appreciate. I like being at home. I love devouring an amazing book. I am not a fan of crowded places, or being touched, or carrying on conversations with strangers. It's exhausting. Even ordering food is an activity that takes a giant pep-talk. I am perfectly content with the fact that I need to be alone a lot. I have learned that my awkwardness is just part of my personality, the way that God created me.

4. I am loyal. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, the few that thet are, my work, and of course, Hector. I defend them even when they probably don't deserve it by society standards. I stay in jobs for long periods of time, which is unusual in my line of work.

5. I am crafty.  Not cunning, but I enjoy making things. I've kept scrapbooks since 8th grade. I knit. I crochet. I make party decorations. I have an eye for things like that. I try to add a little beauty to the world every day. I have that talent and I'm proud of it. It makes me happy to make things and share them with other people. 

So, there you have it: 5 things about me that I like. As I age I recognize that I am set in my ways by now, and they're not all bad.