May 6, 2011


Precisely ten years ago yesterday was when I first fell for my husband, and yes, it was connected to a Cinco de Mayo party—which yours truly happened to throw.  At the time, we both lived in a small coastal town in Northern California, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It was a "friends of friends" kind of encounter, the way our lives overlapped. One of those friends had a portrait hanging on her kitchen wall with a quote: "wherever you go, there you are." Something a young woman far from home was well advised to contemplate: I was 23 years old—I never would have imagined where I'd be ten years later. 

Needless to say much has transpired since then—a very long engagement, a cross-country trip for both of us to meet the parents, a wedding, lots of jobs and bouncing around residences looking for cheap rent in a pricey zone, a Masters' degree, disillusionment with the prospects for adjusting Margo's immigration status in the U.S., a move down south, a period living with the in-laws, a home built, "starting over" lifestyle-wise and financially, pining for the U.S., several false starts at numerous odd jobs, plenty of dabbling in creative projects, perhaps most notably a lovely baby, and now, coauthoring a book about why and how I got here.

Writing the book is a monumental process for me that represents a lot of aspirations on many levels. One of the interesting things that comes out of it is for me to be able to stand back and reflect how many lives have touched mine and whose I have touched along the way in these last ten years. Numerous family members and friends have helped me keep me from drowning, limp along, and sometimes even soar above the challenges that I've faced with having to leave my native country and make it in another land. For them I am grateful. The one who's been there all along, is that same guy I fell for 10 years ago—the very reason I am here.  Sometimes I'm amazed we're still together considering what we've been through but when I think of what first captivated me, none of that has changed. I shouted it out on Facebook yesterday although I knew he wouldn't read it- he doesn't use a computer. I wanted to celebrate in some way, but he was exhausted and asleep before I could catch up with him last night.

Tonight, I want to keep that promise to celebrate, but a wave of inspiration at what feels like an auspicious time cannot be ignored. Earlier this afternoon. I wrote to a friend, "Love is a blessing no matter where it is found." It wasn't about me, though—it was in support of her own decision to follow her heart's desire to a southern land, a pull that took her all the way to Central America.  I just heard from her today.  She was a former student of mine back in the Bay Area. I logged on to her Facebook page and saw an array of photos portraying a beautiful couple, on wave-swept beaches, a smiling face in a wedding dress, just exuding with love. The pictures reminded me of our early days as a couple, then when I first went to Mexico, those who were optimistic told me it'd be amazing. And how those who were from there told me I'd probably have a hard time. How she probably has friends who think, ah, life in Costa Rica—what could be wrong with that? But she too had to deal with painful issues that come with such distance, both culturally and geographically.

I was just stunned, after hearing her story. The thought, "careful what you wish for, you just might get it" entered my mind. How just a few days ago, I had hoped for more individuals in my life who could demonstrate a true empathy, a real understanding of what I was going through in living in another land that I can't always voluntarily break away from. And here she was, certainly not the person I'd imagined, but a kindred spirit in all senses of the word. I happened to notice on her FB page that it was her birthday. I sent her a well wish asking how old she was. She replied, "23- crazy, huh?" Girl, you have no idea.

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