On Sunday night, hugging Jorge goodbye at the Merida airport, I wondered, What on earth am I doing?
I love Mexico, and I intensely love many people who live there… especially Jorge. In my hand I held my Mexican and Canadian passports and the boarding passes for two flights that would carry me to the country where I was born. My feelings for Canada and my loved ones there are also strong.
I have a reservation to fly back to Merida on June 30th, and knowing that I will see Jorge then, and that we will have 3 weeks together, is all that kept me from bolting. I felt devastated and I know Jorge did too… yet, I turned towards the security clearance area. My conflicting emotions made me feel as though my heart would tear in two.
I won’t detail my morose mood during the journey to Mexico City, but once I got there, I had to recover my wits, and locate the departure lounge for my red-eye flight. I managed, and shortly after our 01:10 takeoff, I mercifully fell asleep. Then, at 06:22 local time, the plane touched down in Vancouver.
I followed the other groggy passengers through Immigration, baggage claim and Customs. A pair of sliding doors opened, and my sister’s arms embraced me. At that moment, I felt (literally and figuratively) that I had arrived home.
But what and where is home? I left one “home” and now I had arrived in my other “home”… My mind boggled. In 10 hours, I physically travelled so far, yet it will take many days for my mind and my emotions to catch up.
So many times, I have been asked: What is it like to be married to a person from another country?
Truthfully, although Jorge and I have been married for 42 years, it has always been, and still is: complex. On one hand we enrich each other with all our differences, but on the other, those differences sometimes make our life hard to manage. And this is true for our adult children too. They are also living in culturally, emotionally, and geographically mixed worlds.
Maybe we have too many choices? I have the advantage of dual Mexican-Canadian citizenship and residence; to keep my legal status, I must spend 6 months in both countries. I want to do this because both places are important to me in many ways. Jorge is a Mexican citizen but his Canadian permanent residence is in question. Because of his responsibilities at our college in Mexico and his own emotional ties, he cannot spend the required minimum number of days in Canada. The rules say he cannot get a permit to enter Canada unless he finds a way to spend the required amount of time there, so as things stand he cannot come to see me.
Our family is an international one, and as such, I feel that unfettered access to both our countries should be a given. Jorge and I are not asking for any hand-outs from either government; we just want to be together, as we have been for so long. It seems so obvious that we should be free to do this.
We are dealing with a confounding situation; nonetheless, I cannot help but remember the MILLIONS of other families who are separated, and living under conditions far worse than ours. The latest available statistics calculate that there are 100,000,000 homeless people worldwide. I cannot even begin to fathom that. Not only can they not travel to where they want to be; they have no home, no rights, no voice.
This is humbling… We never have to look far to find others who have it so much tougher than we do.
And I feel motivated by this quote from Melody Beattie: Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Indeed life is challenging, but I give thanks for the abundance of love our family has. I pray for the strength and creativity to discover strategies that will resolve our current issues.
We have found unconventional solutions many times in the past, and we will do so again…