Tag Archives: family

Modern Day Marias–Cali, the nomad

In Bethlehem, and later in Egypt, how did Maria manage household affairs?  Did the merchants take advantage of her youth, her inexperience, her foreignness?  Did she long for family?  We know that after the threat King Herod presented ended with his death, Jose moved his family back to Nazareth, where both he and Maria were from originally.  Did Maria  “considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard”? (Proverbs 31:16)  

Today’s Modern Day Maria, Cali, is still searching out a home and community.  Unless you too have left everything behind to start out on this journey of finding home you can not understand the incredible effort such an undertaking requires.  


In 2010, my husband was arrested for a crime he committed 8 years prior.  He went to prison for 2 years and then was deported with a ban for life in 2012.  I sold all of my possessions and left for Mexico with our 2-year-old.  We have been here 5 years this coming May.

Coming from a life of parenting alone for 2 years in the US due to my husband’s incarceration, I had already been living a life without family support and often felt alone.  Since moving to Chihuahua, Chihuahua we have experienced a ton of support and love from my husband’s family. For many of them, it was the first time meeting me. There’s not a lot of activities for kids here and the city is most definitely not the prettiest, well, not in my eyes anyway,  but I love the family unity I found.  They help give me strength to make it day by day.

Although I’m improving, I continue to struggle to speak Spanish which means I don’t socialize much. The people seem nice and often approach us to make conversation. Although I will say that when going to places to buy things, we are usually asked to pay more what they would offer the same service or product to a Mexican.

Since realizing that we will not be returning to the US, we are no longer tying ourselves down to this city but spreading our wings and adventuring to another city called Puerto Penasco. It is my dream to live near an ocean. Also, there is a large mix of Mexicans and Americans there and I look forward to socializing more with them.



Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Blogger Adventures

Growing old



Mama Sofia in front of her home.

Over the holidays, we were able to visit with Mama Sofia, my husband’s grandmother, and her husband, Tio Felipe. Mama Sofia holds a special place in my husband’s heart. When he was homeless at the age of 12, she took him in. The two times he was deported with nowhere else to go, she opened her home to him. How could he not love her? How could we not love her?

We try to get to Cerano every month or so, but sometimes daily life gets in the way and we aren’t able to visit as much as we would like.


Mama Sofia with 2 of her 4 children, Pepe and Caro.

We were delighted to see that Mama Sofia’s daughter, Caro, was also visiting from Zamora. She’s quite a lively lady, gets it from her mother I expect. The first time I met Mama Sofia, she was just arriving home with a 10 pound sack of planting soil slung over her shoulder. When my husband tried to take it from her, she got angry.

This time, we were sad to see the decline in Mama Sofia as old age takes its due. She is 97 (or 95 or 92 no one is quite sure least of all Mama Sofia herself) or so and life is hard after all.

Mama Sofia is not able to get around to do her shopping, attend mass, or visit with friends, most of who have long since died anyway. Her balance is precarious and she often falls and injures herself in her own home. Her great-grandniece looks in on her daily and brings her the tortillas that Mama Sofia can no longer make. Vendors know to stop by with geletina, gorditas or tacos de canasta. There is a little bitty market right across the street and the owner brings over cooking oil, rice, tuna and pasta. The priest walks over from the church after Sunday mass to give Mama Sofia communion. All these activities keep her mind from stagnating, but there are hours and hours of daylight left to occupy.

Mama Sofia is still able to straighten her rooms, make the beds, sweep the floors and heat some soup.  Her plants are lovely.  The fruit trees provide guayabas, granadas, limones and nisperos.  She doesn’t haul planting dirt anymore, nor does Tio Felipe plant corn.

Both Tio Felipe and Mama Sofia receive a dispensa (government welfare) box every few months for the tercer edad (senior citizen). It has cooking oil, rice, beans, pasta and soap. Picking it up, however, requires a trip to Yuriria, which is nearly too much for Mama Sofia these days. Doctor visits are also pretty much out of the question. The walk to the newly built clinic is long and full of uneven ground. The wait to see a doctor is interminable. When Mama Sofia is ill, the ladies of the family in Cerano take turns caring for her until it passes. Sometimes Caro is able to come and stay awhile. Sometimes she can’t. Life is hard in Zamora too.


Toasting peanuts on the comal.

The day of our visit was mild and we sat outside with Mama Sofia on the cemented step. She didn’t say much, just enjoyed the pleasure of having company. Tio Felipe made himself useful and toasted peanuts on the comal. My husband went and bought some chicken and we had a veritable feast.

Too soon, we had to say our goodbyes. The animals need attending to. The roads aren’t safe to drive after dark. There are things that need to be done before we retire for the night. We left, knowing that the days we will be able to visit with Mama Sofia are numbered and promise ourselves that next week, or the week after, we’ll make the time to visit again.




Filed under Cultural Challenges, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms