Why Don’t They Just Apply for Citizenship?

This post is based on question posed to me by a white person I know.

Mario and I came to the United States last March. We had spent the last year and a half in an immigration limbo, not sure of where we would be from one month to the next. When we got here, I was really excited to show Mario what life in the U.S. was like. I was not thinking about the state of our country or potential political problems. I was really excited!11008793_714451911831_8719257411067050066_n.jpg

This election has shattered what was left of my bubble. I am from a small town, but I had lived for years in Spain and moved to a blue bubble in a red state. I was surrounded by people who were affirming my views that Donald Trump was not the right person to lead our country. I did not think it would happen. The whole time, I was not seeing or hearing how scared people of color, immigrants, refugees, LBGTQ people were. My whiteness allowed me to skirt by those issues. I was not actively ignoring it, but I still was not hearing it. That all changed on November 9. I have had to engage with a country I now know is deeply racist. Most of all, white people—white women, even—voted for a racist, sexist, homophobic person instead of thinking about others. What they said to marginalized people was, “I just don’t care about you.”

With Trump’s announcement that he plans to deport 3 million “illegals,” I have begun to reflect on the whole process of immigration. Mario, a white European, had many great advantages in his immigration process: he is married to me, he’s white, he’s Western European, he has a university degree, etc. I thought then that the process would be relatively easy and straightforward.

It wasn’t. It took us a year and a half and over $3,000 to do it all—and that’s without the help of lawyer. I am a native English speaker and I’m pretty good at researching things on the Internet. I also have a university degree.

It wasn’t “easy” for us. But it wasn’t necessary either. We chose to get married, we chose to live in Spain, and we chose to come back to the U.S. There was no necessity; we were not in danger in any way. For most of the immigrants and refugees in the U.S., especially the undocumented, there is no “choice.” They move to protect their families, to seek a country that will allow them to enough money to support themselves or their families, or some other reason.

In some small ways, I understand the struggle of immigration. However, I will never understand what my colleague with an undocumented mother is going through. Right now, she is fearful that, one day, she will go home to find her mother gone, never to return. I am frightened for the future of our country, the country to which we decided to move in January of 2014. I wonder sometimes if, had we known about Trump’s victory, would we have moved here? Maybe not. But then, we always had a choice.

When You Take the Spaniard Out of Spain…

…What happens? Good question! It’s been over a year now that we’ve been back in the U.S. It feels like a long time ago—and yet not so long after—that we packed our bags, said farewell to Madrid, and hopped on that Iberia flight. In fact, we were back last October to celebrate my brother-in-law’s wedding, held at a lovely vineyard outside of Toro. (If you know Spanish wine, you’ll know Toro.)12072657_1079134052119176_3561953440773035576_n.jpg12079607_1079133222119259_5287088477159378538_n.jpg

It was a whirlwind visit, leaving on a Tuesday and coming home on Monday (or something like that, my memory’s a bit of a blur), but it was wonderful to have our families reunited again. And, of course, there was a bit of wine, a bit of cheese, and lots of wine to wash it all down.

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As for life in the U.S.? Mario’s certainly loving his new job as a paralegal; it’s all the lawer-y stuff without the stress of, you know, being an actual lawyer. He gets fun perks like open-bar office Christmas parties, tickets to the Indianapolis Colts preseason games (a suite!), and dinners with clients from time to time in one of Indy’s hip downtown neighborhoods.

Me? I’m back at school, earning my teaching license so I can continue to work with the little ones. Teaching was not always where I thought I would end up, but turns out that 1) I love it, and 2) I’m pretty good at it.

I’m going to try to update you on more things about our lives, because I just miss sharing from time to time, and who knows, maybe someone out there is still reading.

For more frequent updates, check out my Instagram or Twitter, and please email me if you have any visa questions, because I’VE BEEN THERE. I can help. In the meantime, here are some more photos from the past, I dunno, year.

12311217_1104834589549122_2608573002887634341_n.jpgMy birthday in Colorado

11219211_10204866573890883_3551021181150555088_n.jpgTrying to hang with college kids at IU

13239899_751658045441_5869220025959680603_n.jpgMy beloved alma mater

13226834_10205995948684547_3516197461533359556_n.jpgFriends drinking beer13001331_746465805731_3787332545559420883_n.jpg13043658_746465750841_5760597765504128516_n.jpgMario ran his first-half marathon in the U.S. in 1:29

See you soon (I hope)!

Back to the Start

Hey guys … Remember me? I’ve not been posting much lately, have I? Well, there’s a reason for that. A big one.

Mario and I have moved to the U.S.!

As you can imagine, we’re both really excited to see what this new stage in our life together has in store for us. The past year has been filled with bureaucracy. You thought Spanish bureaucracy was bad? I got news for you: you have no idea.

I’ll have more details soon, including our spousal visa timeline, but I would just like to thank all of you for reading. I kept the news on the down low for work reasons, although many people figured it out. And I promise, this blog isn’t ending! Just changing a bit. Mario might have some funny observations for you in the future.

St Patricks Day Spain USA

Celebrating his first St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. by wearing a goofy beaded green tie.

Shout out to Betsy Transatlantically and C’est Moi, Sara Louise for their blog entries about visas and all the frustrations that go along with them—you really helped me out!

Old West Style—My 2014 Summer Vacation

Hey guys! So it turns out I decided to go on vacation and not post at all (!!). Nope, I didn’t schedule any posts, and I care absolutely nothing about it. I’m not the world’s most-dedicated blogger, even if I do occasionally find myself loving it. Where did I go?

I headed out west to visit my brother and his wife, who live in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. An idyllic place to live, wouldn’t you say? Yep, yep, it was pretty idyllic. Except that it was cold and rainy on our last day, but other than that, the West (with a capital W) treated us pretty darn well. Here are some of my photos, all taken on my iPhone.

Mount Tallac HikeThe beginning of a long, arduous hike up Mount Tallac

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