April 28, 2011

Exciting News: AmorandExile.com Goes Live

It's been many years in the making...but I am finally going public and sharing the story behind my move to Mexico with my husband Margarito in the book Amor and Exile—ours is one of several couples' profiled by my coauthor and friend, journalist Nathaniel Hoffman—I'll be contributing several chapters in 1st person. You can find more information about the book, its coauthors, and related stories and links on amorandexile.com, which we're publicly unveiling today!  Looking forward to your feedback!
I began blogging about our impending move in the summer of 2006- chronicled here in the Succulent Seer archives. That said, I first envisioned a memoir book project as early as 2007...around the same time my colleague Nathaniel developed a strong interest in chronicling the stories of other couples in similar situations as ours. Now, Nathaniel and I are committed to creating a powerful journalistic and first-hand treatment of the situation that thousands of couples find themselves in America and abroad- a difficulty (sometimes impossibility) in adjusting the status of the undocumented partner despite the other partner's American citizenship.  
I am very excited about this collaboration and the continued writing process—after all, we have only just begun! Although Succulent Seer will continue to be my personal blog, there will definitely be some cross-pollination between the two sites- I'll have periodic updates about the book project here, and you can also find Amor and Exile on Facebook, where you can follow our latest happenings and comments from others involved in the project.

April 17, 2011

Lying to Ourselves

On the north side of the "Western" Hemisphere there is a trilateral juxtaposition of geopolitical boundaries referred to as Canada, United States, and Mexico-which really is a landmass called North America- perhaps it is most accurately known as Turtle Island, as many First Nation and bioregionalist people have called it....

In any case, for reasons you can find in myriad history books and magazines, the center geographical space in that landmass -the United States- long ago a thriving hub of fairly freely moving indigenous communities and commerce routes for the entire continent, has in 500 years become a magnet for migrants worldwide.  At first this was met with suspicion (then welcome for some) on the part of the indigenous people. It would be outside the scope of my ability to fully summarize the variety of indigenous reactions to the European entry and later violent conquest of their lands.  But suffice it to say that these people remain, for better or for worse, in their ancestral lands, while the "white man" now claims original stake to the country of which it technically, was once merely a guest.

The persons in control of these geopolitical zones, no matter what color their skin, now demand duly stamped pieces of paper to prove a person's right to move autonomously across arbitrary lines determined by "national laws," and "executive powers" and woe to the person who does not, in their eyes, meet the qualifications of someone fit to travel freely across those lines.

Isn't that ironic? It's as if someone came into your home against your will, you tried to be nice to them, but they eventually killed half your family, set up shop in your front yard, and then proceeded to dictate who could come over to party at your house and then acted like you never had anything to do with the situation and that what they were doing was perfectly justified. This might sound like a bit of a weird interpretation of national borders and immigration law to you.  But it's because we, with average lifespans of about 80 years, and our greatly enhanced modern ability to forget the lessons of history, can very easily overlook all that's happened on this corner of the world in the last 500+ years. It's especially easy for us to act as if we are absolutely entitled to those papers and the rights that come with them, especially when it means our right to a Spring Break vacation in Cabo- but not a  Northward vacation for the Southern folks that'll be serving your all-inclusive Brunch.

I might be a little more bitter than most because, although I myself am not restrained in my movement because I hail from the middle latitudes by birth, was lucky enough to experience birth in the brain center of this get rich quick and easy scheme, my husband happened to be born en el otro lado (on the other side) to parents also of el otro lado and for that reason (and many other I have not mentioned nor have space and time to do so here) he is not deemed appropriate for northern travel and instance.  My daughter, oddly, is. That's because although she was also born en el otro lado like her dad, she also hailed from my this middle latitude mother's womb- but I digress.

The reason why I write is because three occurrences converge in space and time in this little person's life that make me reflect on the idiocy of current immigration law:
  1. My husband (who for at least the next 5 years won't be able to begin to apply for a U.S. visa & for that reason can't legally travel there) was denied a Canadian tourist visa earlier this month.  Bottom line results of this small act are; he probably will never see my grandmother again (she is almost 90 and can't come here to Mexico), and I will be forced to travel alone with our infant daughter north so she can meet her great-grandaughter, unless some small miracle happens and some angels come to help me.
  2. A high-profile Dreamer (student immigration rights activist in the U.S.) is being very seriously threatened with deportation http://prernalal.com/2011/04/gw-law-student-prepares-for-the-trial-of-her-life/
  3. A good friend of ours, who has not seen my husband since we moved here to Mexico in 2006, is visiting us for Spring Break.  In reminiscing about what our life used to be up in the U.S., I am forced to remember all the things I miss- but also what makes me most angry about this truly unjust situation.
Honestly, as Americans we have more rights and privileges than we know what to do with.  But despite this, we are probably the #1 complainers in the world. (Do they have stats on that? I am pretty sure we are at least ranked one of the most unhappy cultures)  At what cost do we alienate the rest of the world, convincing our neighbors to do the same, even to our best and brightest, whether they have exactly the right order of stamps on their multiple sheafs of paper.  When will we grow up and see that, playground rules aside, we're not doing ourselves any favors by continuing to lie to ourselves that we're all about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but that what we're really about is getting whatever we want, when we want it, no matter who we have to step on to get it, and that we are exporting that way of life around the world and then wondering why we have so much violence and so many problems?

April 4, 2011

Holding Pattern: in the meantime, 500+ views!

I've been waiting patiently and with much anticipation for the status on several items, both personal and professional, before posting any updates again, but they're taking a while (I guess that means I'm getting impatient)! So in the meantime I thought I would share this exciting little piece of news (well, at least to me): The Succulent Seer has passed 500 pageviews since its inception in January!  It's been a long, interesting ride since I first started my blog in the form of Movimiento Acuario in 2006...but it gives me great satisfaction that this labor of love has not only continued but grown. So with that in mind, I'd like to thank all my readers, both new & faithful.  Happy Spring & here's to the future.