Monday, February 1, 2010

Twelve Days Short of Three Years

You might want to grab a fresh cup of coffee for this one.

* waits *

Ibis and I have come to the difficult decision that it's best if I move back to Michigan. If you're a regular reader of this blog, I don't think I need to explain why, but the biggest reasons are the increasing violence and the whole not-having-money thing.

Owen and I will be flying into Chicago on February 23rd, then I'll drive my dad's van to my parents' house in Michigan, where I will become a cliché. Yes, I'm moving into their basement.

I'd rather not get into all the details on the internet, but I'm sure you have a couple obvious questions.

My Marriage
No, we are not getting divorced. We've talked about sending me back to the US to work for well over a year now and I've always resisted (again, for a lot of reasons I'd rather not get into).

A Job
No, I don't have a job yet, but I'm working on it. I've applied to one place (I know…) and I have a list of "industry" folks that I plan to contact. Michigan's economy is among the worst in the US, but that's where my family is.

The good thing is I no longer have the limitations I had by trying to work in Mexico or Canada. As an immigrant you are required work within your field of study -- for me, graphic design -- and there just aren't that many design positions in a struggling economy. Now if I want to wait tables or work at a bookstore (or both), I can.

I've also started writing for Demand Studios -- an online company that supplies articles for eHow, Livestrong, and several other website. I've already had two articles approved, and yes, I'm kicking myself for not doing this two years ago.

Ibis & The US
No, my being in the US will not change anything about Ibis getting into the country. He is facing a ten-year ban for unlawful presence and that ban will not be lifted. Period. The answer we received in September was regarding an extreme-hardship waiver that we filed on my behalf. Appealing that decision or reapplying will only waste more years and more money. He can reapply in seven years. Period.

Travel to Zihua
Yes, I still think it's safe to visit Zihuatanejo. In fact, my dad arrives today for two months and my brother will be here at the beginning of March.

True, the violence helped persuade me to leave, but the dangers I face are because I'm a local. (I'm going to generalize here, so bear with me.) When some locals see me -- a white American who doesn't work -- they assume I have money, or if I don't have money, my family does. After all, we're getting by somehow, right? That puts me in danger, especially when all around us people are struggling to survive. Burglaries and muggings have increased drastically since we moved here three years ago, and you can only avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time for so long.

If you've been here you know that the local police and government takes tourism very seriously and it's very rare for anything bad to happen IF YOU STICK TO THE TOURISTY areas. The Canadians who were shot in mid-January were on a deserted bike path. Another tourist was raped a couple days after that, but again, she was on a fairly isolated beach. (I don't know the details of that attack or I would tell you more.)

Yes, bad things happen, but that's not limited to Zihuatanejo or Mexico. I've decided I've had enough of this place, but that doesn't mean I'll never return to visit.

Okay, now everyone take a deep breath.

* inhales *

* waits for everyone to join in *

* turns blue *

Okay, seriously people. Take a deep breath.

* takes another deep breath but only pretends to hold it and breathes out my nose *

Because I'm leaving Mexico, this blog will no longer make sense. So… I have a new blog:


Go check it out!

* waits *

What do you think? There are still a couple things I'd like to tweak, but for the most part, I'm happy with it. I decided to switch to Wordpress for a couple reasons, number one being I can still keep "melanieavila" as the name.

One question for you fellow Wordpress bloggers: is there a Followers button? I know I can see who's following me, but I like having it displayed on the main page.

A benefit I didn't anticipate is the extra pages Wordpress allows you to set up. As you can see (you looked, right?) I've essentially turned this into my writing/author/whatever website. Some of you may recall I have another website that also has my writing info on it. Well not anymore! I've changed that too:

Melanie Avila

* waits *

This site hasn't changed as much, but I've refreshed a couple things, including the About Me photo. Ibis and I had a mini photo shoot on the roof over the weekend. Didn't he do a great job?

But wait, there's more!

Because designing a five-page Wordpress blog and updating my design site weren't enough, I started yet another blog:

What Am I Doing in Michigan?

* waits with a big smile *

Eh? Eh? What do you think?

I feel bad retiring What Am I Doing in Mexico?, but not bad enough to stay. I'll continue posting here until I leave, then transition to Hoosblog once I get settled in Michigan. Once there, I'll keep this blog online, but I'll probably deactivate comments.

One last favor before I go: Will you please follow my new blogs? I'd really appreciate it. :)

* takes a big sip of coffee *


Anonymous said...

Yes I will follow your new blog. Good luck with all the changes to your life.

Travis Erwin said...

Of course I will follow those. I wish nothing but the best for you and Ibis and Owen.

Talk about memoir material. You have loads. Take care.

Erica Orloff said...

Wow . . . I have a ton of questions . . . will you be able to go back often to visit? What about OWEN? I am sad . . . .

Good luck, though . . . Good luck!

Angie said...

*hugs* I know this decision had to be difficult as hell, but if it makes you safer I'm all for it. Off to bookmark your new blogs now...

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks all.

Travis, the draft I wrote (gah, two years ago now...) needs a major overhaul, but I already have new memoir ideas bouncing around.

Erica, feel free to email. I'd like to be able to visit. A lot will depend on how quickly I can get a job and start saving money.

Anonymous said...

I'll be sure to check out your new digs! I hope the transition is as easy as possible for you. You know you have immense support from all of us writers.

Janna Qualman said...

Of course I will. I wouldn't not follow them.

I'm proud of you. For taking this step, hard as it is, and for finding ways to make the best of it.

My thoughts are with you guys.

Adam said...

I wish you and your hubby nothing but the best of luck with everything, Mel. :)

I'll go follow yer blogs. ;-)


WendyCinNYC said...

Wow, that's big news. I have a zillion questions, but I'll stay tuned as you work it all out. Congrats on your decision. Sounds like it was a tough one to make.

I'll follow your blogs, of course!

Erica said...

Mel - Whoa that's a ton for a Monday, girl! Consider me a follower on all of the above. You know that was the one thing I didn't like about wordpress - I'm sure you remember me teetering between the two, I think there is a plugin for the google friend connect you can download, it didn't work for me, but it might for you! Good luck.

Well, I'm not sure what to say, I'm glad you are getting out of there, but sad that you have to be seperated from Ibis. I'm sure this decision was not made lightly.

I love the new blog, nice and crisp! And Owen's, I mean come on, how cute do you get?

Look me up, we can have coffee or something sometime ;o) Thinking of you.

Have a safe trip :o)

Melanie Avila said...

Aaron, all of you have already been very supportive. :)

Thanks Janna. You especially know how hard this has been.

Thanks Adam. :)

Wendy, I'm amazed I've gotten anything else accomplished in the past week.

Erica, we will definitely have to schedule a play date! Thanks for the tip about the plug-in. I'll see if I can get that to work.

Sara Spock said...

Gigantic hugs for you, Ibis, and Owen. This had to be a difficult and horrible decision to make. We're here for you. And I'm coming to visit, even if you're in the basement. ;-)

mary said...

and I thought I had some tough life choices to make!! Thank you once again for putting things into perspective for me, Mel!

I am book marking the new one's now. Great photos, Ibis is really talented with the camera as are you.

I am sooo going to miss you when we are down in October but glad that you will be back in the US and we will definitely visit with Ibis. I know how hard the past couple of years have been for you there. Great to visit, but wouldn't want to be there full-time either.

Lots of love, Mary

JLC said...

(Hugs) Your other blogs look great, and I am looking forward to sharing the next page in your life.

Stacey Graham said...

Wait, wha? I was busy updating my site with your new blogging goodness. Happy trails, my friend! I know this has been a difficult decision but think of all the fun Owen will have in the snow. ;)

Melanie Avila said...

Sara, you're on my short list of people I MUST meet!

Thanks Mary. It'll be strange not seeing you in October... maybe I can plan a visit then. :) Good luck with your decision too.

*hugs JLC*

Stacey, there are so many things we're wondering how he'll react to -- snow, grass, carpet...

Owen said...


Elana Johnson said...

Okay, going to check out your new blogs! I hope everything goes well with your life changes. :0

LurkerMonkey said...

Wow ... that's a huge thing, and it couldn't have been easy for you and Ibis to make a decision like that. l You're one tough chick—and I mean that in the best possible way (as opposed to an overcooked ... oh, forget it. I'm having a morning like that).

Good luck with the move and say hi to Michigan for me. I'm from there too.

DD~ said...

Melanie, heart goes out to you and Ibis in this tough decision. Best of luck with the transition and job hunt, and I will definitely be checking out your new blogs. Signing here with my vintage-jewelry selling account, but this is Pat~ from AW.

Nadine said...

Beautiful post, really well written. Good luck with the move. I'll be thinking of you!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Elana.

Lurker, chicken is NEVER overcooked when I make it. ;) I'll be sure to give Michigan a big hug from you.

Thanks Pat & Nadine.

Rebecca said...

I just found this blog! Boo. But I will follow you over to the other sites. Good luck with all the transition.

P.S. My sis just got back from Zihuatanejo. She loved it.

Robin said...

(He Robin) Although I'm sad that you and Ibis will be seperated by a lot of miles and a few borders, I can't say I'm sad to see you getting away from the violence that occurs where you live. I've never been deep into Mexico as where you are but I have been to some of the border towns both on the California and Texas borders. The crime rates there were high as well especially for Greengos as they were calling me. Luckily I had coworkers from there to direct me in the safe areas and away from the unsafe.
As I told you recently I worry about your safety often and don't even know you personnally but now I worry about your relationship with Ibis with a seperation of the amount of time you mentioned. I'll be praying for you and him daily and I'll be writing letters to some Congresmen and Senators in your regard. Good luck in all you do and I will be following the new blogs.

Robin said...

Coffee? I needed Valium for that blog. I'm shooting heroine as I write. Wow. I'm with Erica with the questions and the sadness. I miss Ibis and Owen already. I hate our immigration system. I wish I could punch someone. Wait a sec. . .

There. I feel better.

I will faithfully visit all the blogs. I wish I could answer the Wordpress question. I'm clueless.

If you ever want to work in Philly, we have a basement, too. Hell, we have bedrooms. I'd way rather live with you than Kevin and Alex!

Melanie Avila said...

Rebecca, I'm glad you found me!

Thanks (He) Robin. It still amazes me how many friends I have that I've never met. :)

Robin, please punch anyone you'd like on our behalf. :) And I'll keep that offer in mind...

Jen said...

Sorry I'm late to comment, Mel, but good luck with the new situation and all.

And of course I'll follow the new blogs!


Jessica said...

Hey Mel, I just got to reading this... sounds like you have been busy! Of course I am glad you are coming back to the states so we can actually see each other again. Your blogs look awesome! I will tell Milo about Owen's blog and then can become paw pals :)
love ya

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Jen.

Jess, I'm SO excited to see you. I cannot believe it's been three years! Milo might overwhelm Owen at first, but I think he'll be fine. :)

Ray Wong said...

Good luck and LOTS OF HUGS... the immigration would be a tough one... but you will work things through. Be strong. It took me over 20 years to reunite with my family through immigration, but at the end, I think it's worth it. You will have lots of love and support and you will go back to Mexico as often as you can. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. But anyway, good luck and much love. Wishing you and Ibis the best.