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?


Kadmiel said...

I hope you contiune your blog this is great that you are shareing your advices with your adventures i fin it facinateing becuase i to would like to move back with my family.. and being of little english unlike my wife it can be a scary process.. i look forward to reading more about your travel keep it up !!! :)

aighmeigh said...

Kadmiel, I'm glad that you stumbled upon this place and that you can identify with it in some way. Thanks!! :)

Laurie said...

I think you are worrying too much. I have been living in Honduras for over a year, and for the most part, I love it! I am single, older, and my Spanish is quite basic, too. However, God has been with me. I don't mean that as a platitude or a religious crutch. Give yourself permission to fail, even miserably at times! You can do this!

aighmeigh said...

Laurie, I agree--I know I'm worrying too much! Worrying is one of those things that I've always done too much, especially when on the brink of something very new. I was a total mess before I went to college, and that was only 800 miles away from home! :) Went through the same thing when I moved from Boston to Los Angeles. Sometimes I think I worry just to give myself something to do... I'm pushing through it. :)

Thank you for the encouragement. It's always nice to hear from people who took the plunge--not only to have proof that it's doable, but to remind me that I'm not alone in this experience!

Honduras Sprout said...

The biggest adjustment issue I've had is loss of independence (due to the language barrier) and mobility. (We shared a car before and now my husband only has a work truck that I cannot drive) The side effect of this is feeling isolated at times.

For example, I want to ask questions at a store, at a bank, at a restaurant, I want to understand what is going on or being said at the time it is being said. Not hear it as a translation after the conversation has taken place. I hate standing on the sidelines waiting for my translation. My poor husband has to take care of so much too and I hate feeling so helpless when I've lived independently for so long.

So language has probably been my biggest frustration factor. Hopefully taking some language classes will change this.

My Spanish is like a 2 year olds. I understand some, but it has to be clear, proper and straight forward. People here speak not very clear (broken or cut off words), fast and "improper" spanish at times so I lose content and meaning.

aighmeigh said...

Boy, oh boy do I understand what you mean, Mama Sprout!! With respect to getting out of the house, I have been at the mercy of El Capitán's schedule during all of our time in El Salvador. For a visit that's not so bad, but I have already expressed my inability to deal with that as a lifestyle. First of all, I will be working--I'm not mentally suited to be home all the time. We tried it. I got depressed. So, even if it's just teaching part time, I've got to get out on a regular basis. It looks as though we may have found a good family car (right now he just has his work truck as well, which is fine but not for me to drive)--I just hope it's still around when we can afford to buy it!!

I've got to take some classes too... I keep trying to speak it, and El Capitán is very proud of me for trying, but I still seriously lack confidence.