Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Should Be Working, But...

I am so preoccupied these days. I am here at school and I should be correcting papers, but I need a break to (hopefully) get a bit more focused. At the end of the day yesterday, Mi Amor called me and said, "I need to talk with you about something very seriously right now..." and my heart sank. I'll admit it: we are so close to finally making this move a reality (it's been two years coming--since La Hija was a mere 4 months old!) that part of me is waiting for something to happen to make it impossible. It's not a healthy way to think, and by no means is this a nagging concern, but when he says things like that my entire body tightens in anticipation of the rug being yanked out from under our dreams.

"Te amo mucho," he says.

As much as I dislike that moment of anxiety, a phonecall like that will make my day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No... no it certainly can't be easy!!

So I've been doing my immigration homework (gracias a Dios!) and I've discovered that getting my documents apostilled is not going to be as easy as I'd thought. Of course, lil ol' idealistic me thought: this won't be a problem. I'll get everything together at the beginning of December, send it in together and *poof* I will suddenly have all my documents together in case the immigration officials need them!!

Okay, so my imagined scenario wasn't that ridiculously simplistic, but it came nowhere near to the reality of what I'll have to do.

After a bit of research, I've discovered that documents must be apostilled by the Secretary of State in the state where they originated. Not only that, but they must be notarized by someone in their state of origin as well!

See, I guess the problem is that I had to go and live all over the place instead of just sticking to one general geographical area. I was born in one state, educated in another, and currently reside in yet a third (thank God I don't have to deal with getting La Hija's birth certificate apostilled or we'd be dealing with a fourth)! So, in order to get my birth certificate, college diplomas and police record apostilled, I will have to deal with three different states. Two of these states will be a piece of cake; the third, however, is a bit far away and I have yet to work out exactly how I will deal with getting my documents notarized without having to travel there. I've got time to figure it out.

In other news, I got my CV out to Mi Amor and threw in a picture La Hija colored and a picture collage I put together of the two of them. It always feel really good to check something else off the list of things to get done.

I've gotten two more boxes ready to ship... now I'm just waiting until I can actually afford to send them!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mis preocupaciones

There are any number of things that cause little bouts of anxiety to well up inside of me on a daily basis, it seems. It's not overwhelming as of yet, but I've still got a little less than 4 months before we depart. Here are some of my most frequent and intense concerns:

  • Feeling isolated: we have no shortage of family in El Salvador, and I truly enjoy being around all of them. So what am I worried about then? On every trip down there so far I have experienced a very distinct feeling of isolation because my Spanish skills aren't that wonderful. I understand most of what is said to me, but it takes effort. I can speak on a very basic level (often with the help of El Capitán) and can get past my self-consciousness enough to do so on occasion. My main issue is that I find myself totally tuning everything out around me when in public. It's almost as if I don't bother even trying to listen to my surroundings because I know I will have to concentrate to understand anything—and oh boy! my level of excitement when my ears pick up on English in public is incalculable! I know this will go away given time and an increased exposure to both hearing and speaking Spanish, but I know I will be feeling isolated enough having moved out of the only country I've ever lived in—I know this aspect of the transition will likely be one of the most difficult.
  • Immigration red tape: I have been told and read many different things about what will be required of me as far as documentation is concerned. I have read that I need to get translations done at the ES consulate, but the consulate tells me they don't do translations. I've read that I should have apostilled documents, but I've been told (by the immigration officials in San Salvador via El Capitán) that we can't do anything until I get there and that we can't apply for residency for me until I've lived there for 6 months anyway. As of right now, I'm going to do the basics: get my birth cert and a police record apostilled, bring my diplomas down for translation (since I live in the middle of nowhere and don't know where I can get a translation done), and hopefully my mom (who I will have given Power of Attorney) can help with anything that may come up. The woman I spoke with at the consulate in Chicago told me that I should be able to get my tourist visa extended as needed until we can take care of what we need to take care of. I'm going to keep working on this one slowly but surely, but I have a sneaking suspicion this will bother me for quite a while.
  • Logistics of ending a semester/moving/dealing with the holidays, etc.: it's a lot to deal with all at once. I'm feeling pressured by family obligations (and the desire to spend as much time as I can with everyone) and the need to take care of business. Honestly, I'll be happy when we're on the plane since that part will be over.
  • Not knowing what I'll be doing for work: right now I know that I will have no problem working for an ok (yet small by US standards) wage at a language school. I've been told how much (little) I'll get paid and I can basically dictate my own hours. That's wonderful. There is a possibility that I will be able to continue to teach for the college where I'm currently teaching by taking some online classes. I've also proposed an online tutoring program that my Dept. Head is trying to push through ASAP. That has the possibility to greatly help with our income, and internet is something that I've already said is a requirement once we arrive J. There is also a possibility that I will be able to do some graphic design work for my other current job even after we relocate. My main concern with this is finding ways to make sure that classes are covered and work can get done if the internet goes out. We're going to have to figure out how to make it work.
  • Money: although everything is pointing to us being fine financially, the very existence of the "Not knowing what I'll be doing for work" is cause for this worry. Until the details of Salvadoran life are ironed out for me, this will be constantly on my mind.
  • Our living situation: at present, El Capitán is living in a beautiful home that I would very much love to return to. The problem is we eventually would like to move to a different city. In fact, at some point we will have to move to a different city because La Hija will eventually be going to school and we've already decided she'll be attending one of the private, bilingual schools in the country. We are both torn about when to try to relocate. Additionally, if I am to start working right away, we're going to have to move ASAP as a 45 min daily commute doesn't make sense with gas prices the way they are right now.

Ultimately, all of these things will work themselves out. This move is a lesson in patience and in trusting in the fact that everything always works out. I mean, we've made it this far—almost 2 years of having to live as a family even when thousands of miles apart all while trying to figure out how to bring our family back together—and if we can get through something like that, we made it through most of the battle, haven't we?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Moving (the complicated and annoying way)

The overly complicated nature of this move weighs on me much of the time. I'm a college instructor and our semester doesn't end until the week of December 20th. We fly out 10 days later, and I will be expected to spend every waking (and resting) moment with various clusters of family--especially considering La Hija's presence is coveted by... well, everyone. Such is life with a charming 2 year old.

What complicates matters even more is that I don't live in the same state as the majority of my family--anything I'd like to keep (store) must be moved 8 hrs away, so it's not just a simple matter of vacating our apartment. Then there's the question of whether or not I need to actually change my official residence and get a new license before I head off.

This stuff gives me a headache.

On a positive note, I've officially started mailing boxes of random stuff to El Capitán. Two boxes out so far. Who knows how many will eventually go via mail, as luggage is limited due to excess baggage embargoes. Even if we could bring extra bags, I don't know if I would considering how ridiculously fee-happy airlines are right now. Being the wonderful man that he is, Mi Amor keeps gently reminding me that I don't need to send things that we can replace there, but I'm having difficulty with emerging emotional attachments to the most random things: a blender/food processor combo that my mom had gotten us when I was pregnant, for example. Rationally, I understand that we could get another one; emotionally, I don't care and sent it because I want that one.

Evidently, moving out of the country is turning me even more wonky than I am by nature.