Archive | July, 2009

Get in the Game

27 Jul

While we’re pretty much set for Issue No.3, we’re unbelievably interested in what you’ve got for Issue Nos. 4 & 5.

Issue No.4 is going to be focused on immigration. We’ve already talked with educators, students,  and volunteers. We know of other possible stories that we’re going to track down soon. What we don’t know is what else may be out there, lurking in your life or in the life of someone you know. If you have a story that cuts to the humanity, the heart of immigration issues (be that our nearby border with Mexico or father-away borders with farther-away nations), we are interested in hearing it. Shoot us an email at We’ll talk.

Issue No.5 may just end up being a photo issue. The idea is an envelope full of original photography from the 520. If you’re a photographer, your photos could be in that envelope. You can send us an email, as well (same address, nothing fancy:


Letters from Juarez: “This might be my last letter. I’m not sure.”

21 Jul

This may or may not be the last we hear from Lupe. She’s relocating temporarily, and by the time that temporary move is up, she may be relocating back to Tucson. We shall wait and see. Until then: reliving the cycle, separating the family, everyone has a story, finishing grandpa’s beans, more, more–

July 9, 2009

The last month and a half has been both difficult and fun at the same time. It has been difficult because I am away from my husband and my kids. They are my entire life and being away from them has been the most difficult thing I have ever done.

In many ways, I’m in the situation that I never wanted to be in. When my brother and I were very little, my mom left us to go to the US to work to be able to support us. She left us with my grandparents, who were also caring for their youngest daughter and another grandson.

For awhile I was upset with my mom for making that choice. Now, being in my situation, I have learned that sometimes God puts us in situations that we might not like or understand. He always has a reason to do what he does. I now know how my mom must have felt when she left us. Although being here isn’t by choice, it still hurts.

Right now my kids are with my mom. She is caring for them like her parents cared for my brother and I many years ago. We are reliving the cycle. People say that we should not judge our parents because one day we might turn out to be like them. I’m not like my mom in many ways, but in others I am. I can no longer judge her for the choice she had to make. Not now. I know how heartbreaking it is to be away from those you love.

My time in Juarez has been difficult for our entire family. When I first called my son Andy, when I was told I had to stay in Mexico, he said something that really got to me. He said, “Mommy, why are you separating our family even more?” He lives in California and I don’t get to see him often, so the simple fact that he couldn’t spend time in Tucson with us this summer like previous summers, and me being even further away, made him feel that way. I know he didn’t mean anything mean by it, but his words stayed with me.

I’ve asked God that same question. “Why has he done this?” “Why is our family separate?” “What is the purpose?” I don’t ask these things in anger. I just want to understand. The answers still haven’t arrived but I’m sure he’s working on them. Or he might be showing me and I just haven’t been paying enough attention.

It breaks my heart to hear that my daughter is sad or having a bad day. That she’s asking when I’m coming home. I received some drawings that the kids made for me, and one of them was of me holding a suitcase, going home.

It also breaks my heart to hear that Tommy, my other son, is having a difficult time. That he’s crying or sad. No mom, no parent likes to hear that. So I ask again, “Why are you doing this to our family?” I can’t blame anyone. The situation is what it is.

Even though it has been hard, I know we are doing the best we can. We are in communication everyday. My family here has been very generous. My aunt and uncle have opened the doors of their home to me and made me feel comfortable. It’s been nice to get the chance to get to know my cousins and their families again.

I have a big family, and they all have a story to tell. My aunt in El Paso had to relocate her family from one day to the next because of threats they were getting. One of my cousins just left last week for a small town south of Juarez where he got a job after almost a year of looking, leaving his wife and daughter here. Another cousin’s husband lost his job a long time ago and now makes a living doing odd jobs. He built their house from the ground up with his own two hands.

My other aunt, whose husband is in jail (I still don’t know why) has her daughter, son and granddaughter living in her house, and she hasn’t been able to get a job since she got laid off months ago. I would have told you all their stories in depth, but they are not mine to tell. I didn’t feel like it was right.

My grandparents are wonderful. Whenever we go over to their house, it feels like I’m walking into my own home. There’s always a hug waiting and food smelling yummy. A few weeks ago, I spent the night at their house and it reminded me of when I lived with them. When I was little, I would sit next to my grandpa at meals. Whatever he didn’t finish eating, I would be happy to finish for him.

When I was there recently, we were having breakfast. He was eating eggs and beans. He didn’t finish his beans and without thinking about it, I took his plate and finished up. I looked up at him and he was staring at me like he remembered it, too.

That evening we had cereal for dinner, and I served it. That was also something I used to do as a child. It was my job to serve the cereal for him. Not exactly a job, just something I liked to do because I would steal Frosted Flakes from him. It’s those little moments that I will treasure about being here.

This weekend I’m heading to my grandparents house to stay. Marco will join me there next week when he arrives. I’m heading over there early because my grandma got really sick last week. She had to be taken to the hospital to get an IV connected. I’ve never seen her so bad in my life. It was scary.

She’s okay now, still on bed rest. Her diabetes was acting up and she has some problems with her heart. One of her doctors took away a medicine that was causing her body to react, so she is stuck in bed now and can’t be given any news that will make her stress out.

She needs 24-hour care. My aunts and uncles are organizing themselves to care for her during the day, but I will be going to care for them while I’m here. Right now, one of my aunts is with her, but she’s leaving Saturday to go back to her home in Parral. I’m going to go take over. Maybe that is the reason God has me here. Who knows?

This might be my last letter. I’m not sure. I’m going to stay at my grandparents’ house from this weekend until my waiver appointment. They don’t have an Internet connection, so I won’t be able to sign on and send my letters.

Once again, thank you to everyone for the prayers, help and support. Especially thank you to my husband who has been the one who has been holding everything together. If it weren’t for him, I think we would have gone nuts. Thanks, honey, for all that you have done.

God bless, and I hope to see you all soon,


Letters from Juarez: “It not only affects the person who is given or not given a visa,”

14 Jul

Lupe isn’t the only one effected by her stay in Mexico. Her husband Marco, a US citizen, has been working feverishly on the required paperwork for the upcoming waiver appointment, as well as functioning as a single dad (with the help of family and friends). He took some time to write a letter from the perspective of the one still in the states, the one trying to manage life minus the other, the one trying to trust, the one trying, trying–

July 7, 2009

There have been a handful of people who have asked me to share how I feel. They think that I may provide some insight to the experience of the thousands who are petitioning for a spouse and have also been separated by the immigration process. I asked God to please help me in my words, that in some way they may help someone that will be or is currently in this situation.

Continue reading

I Cycle 520

13 Jul

I Cycle 520

If you ride a bike here in Tucson, you should be interested in this upcoming shirt from Reflective Collective.

The Old Pueblo did not make GOOD’s shortlist of the best burgeoning bicycle scenes in North America (not just the US because Montreal made the list), but that doesn’t mean Tucson’s cycling community is not healthy and active, both literally as individuals and figuratively as a whole.

We here at D&S hope to dig into the cycling culture in the 520 in the future. We know about a place where you can work on the bike’s of others in order to build your own, the Tuesday Night Bike Ride, cycling clubs, mountain bike trails, and tales of stolen cycles, so we’ll hopefully find out a little more about all things two-wheeled in Tucson.

cycle white

cycle gold

Letters from Juarez: “We’re not just locked up at home all the time.”

8 Jul

Juarez is not all fun and games, but there is fun to be had, even in the midst of violence and uncertainty. There are pool parties and graduations. There is the color guard. There are movie theaters showing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in Spanish. See? Si.

July 1, 2009


I’ve officially been living in Juarez for a month now. It’s amazing how time flies. Really, the days are just stuck together. Maybe it’s because I try not to think about them. I have only 3 weeks until my appointment, and it’s going to come quick.

Life around here has been pretty busy. The night before Father’s Day, my aunt, uncle, their three kids and I went to have dinner, to celebrate both Father’s Day for my uncle and my birthday. We went to Las Alitas, a laid back wings place in the Misiones Mall. I kept laughing because all I heard on the sound system was American pop music. They kept laughing at me because I kept singing every song it played. It’s not my fault I know English. What did they expect?

Dinner was something we did because it was a special occasion. We don’t go out much, but we do once in awhile. From what I’ve seen, most people try to carry one with life as normal, but with caution. The mall is full of security everywhere. I think they have undercover people, but I’m not 100% positive.

On Father’s Day, we baked two cakes and made food for a get-together at my grandparents’ house. That day was great. We saw how everyone admires my grandpa. He is one extraordinary man. He worked in the gold and silver mines in Santa Barbara, Chihuahua, Mexico. He could tell you loads about the history of Mexico. He can also tell you about old Mexican movies, and the cowboy ones from America. I think he knows more about Gene Autry than I ever will.

That day I got to meet so many nieces and nephews. I keep telling the family that we could fill up a school with our kids alone.

On Monday, for my birthday, we went to the movies. My little cousin Peanut Butter and Jelly (PBJ)* and I went to see 17 Again, and the rest of the family saw Up. I swear I’m only ever watching movies in Mexico. We paid 35 pesos for 5 tickets at the grocery store and then spent 120 pesos for popcorn and drinks. That’s less than 20 bucks!

The following week was nuts. PBJ was getting ready to graduate from elementary school, my cousin Chapito** was getting ready to graduate from kindergarten, and my cousin Caritas*** was preparing for his First Communion, so my aunt was busy with details. I changed my name to Nanny Lupe because that’s all I did that week.

When we went to a party for PBJ’s classmates, I got stuck watching a bunch 12- and 13-year-olds at the pool. Oh, to be that age again. Sleep overs, and no worries about violence. They live in their own little magical world. I’m serious. They really do. I was talking with PBJ about it the other day. She said they know what is going on around them, but they choose to think about happy things.

We had a triple celebration on Saturday, June 27 for PBJ, Chapito, and Caritas. My relatives say it’s the season for First Communions and graduations. I didn’t go to the communion because I was being Nanny Lupe and babysitting at my other cousin Chuche’s house, and because we didn’t all fit in the car. I did hear about the communion at the celebration. Apparently, Caritas was still tired from spending the day before at the pool because he kept falling asleep. My aunt kept waking him up.

First Communion

They told me that the priest told the parents that often kids learn by what they see. If kids don’t see their parents involved in the church or actively reading the Bible, then kids won’t follow suit. If the kids see their parents complaining and avoiding church, times of prayer, or worship, then they shouldn’t judge their kids for not wanting to go to church or do those things. They’re just doing what they’re being taught. I found that very interesting and very true.

Older Graduates

The graduation was hot but nice. They held the graduations for the kindergarten, elementary, and junior high all at once. They all wore their green and yellow cap and gowns. The ceremony started with the presenting of colors, the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance and an introduction of the teachers. PBJ is part of the color guard. They won a competition a few months ago but didn’t receive their awards until graduation day.

Kindergarten Grads

PBJ's Color Guard

After the introduction, a little kindergarten girl went up and gave a cute speech. She made everyone cry. After her speech, the kindergartners got their diplomas, followed by the elementary and then junior high students. The school my cousins go to is a private school. They take half of their classes in Spanish and other half in English. Most schools around here are private. Apparently, those are the best. My aunt and uncle told me that kids don’t get the same education in public schools. Most of the public schools are far behind.

I know my last letters weren’t fun. I want you all to know that we do have fun, that we’re not just locked up at home all the time. Yesterday, we went to see Transformers in Spanish. My family kept laughing at me because I kept saying the words in English and kept yelling at the screen. Now they have a story to tell about their nutty cousin who yells at movie screens in English.

I hope you are all doing well. I miss my family, my friends, my community, everyone.

Take care,


*That’s not her real name, but it is her real nickname.

**See previous footnote.

***Again, see first footnote. Protecting the innocent and all that.

Preview: Issue No.2 {Nobody Wants to Be a Sucker}

3 Jul