So lets start over.
If you Utah friends are wondering why I have become extinct and dropped off the face of the earth, it is because I have. I have been busy finding myself- and living in our most favorite place and time of life that we will ever live in. I have been savoring every single second.
[go ahead and google McAllen, Texas.
We have lived here for a year now. I have had been busy with school, Young Women's Presidency, worked for about 6 months of this last year, and have been keeping in touch with our lovely beach.
It's a hard life.
Mitchell is in the process of studying [okay. madly, madly studying] for the GMAT so he can go to grad school. And of course too much work.
I just want to say something.
If you are married and have the opportunity to move away from your family and place you know as home, I suggest jumping and seizing that opportunity as fast as you can.
There is nothing like being in your own little world with your new husband/wife. Nothing! We got lucky, because we moved to a pretty sweet place [see right sidebar] and basically live in a tropical Mexican heaven.
|Beach at the Island|
[[if you have speakers, i would suggest turning them up now]]
Reasons why I love living here, and never want to move [no order]:
- The weather. It literally doesn't get below 70.
- There are palm trees in my backyard. Wake up to that and try to be grumpy. Seriously.
- Our friends. We have theeee best friends ever here. The ward is like a FAMILY! We hang out like every weekend- and just do family stuff. We all live almost in the same neighborhood too, [crazy, outside of Utah!!!!!] so it is awesome.
- Missionary experiences. I am going to do a whole other post on this one because going out with the missionaries like every week, and visiting the most humble people will make you feel like you are on a mission with THE BEST missionary companion ever.
- Opportunities to push myself- such as sky diving over the ocean! Ya!! Also I have become quite the fisherwoman - we love fishing out at the bay. That is a big deal coming from someone who used to be soo grossed out by fish. I have learned to like eating [some of] it too! We also want to learn to surf. I LOVE learning new things!!!
- The people. It is 99% Hispanic here. That is a legitimate statistic. The reason why that is significant is because ever since I was little, whenever we would go to Mexico with my grandparents, I just would like go around and talk to the people. I learned a lot of Spanish very, very young and lived every year to go to Mexico. My parents thought I was a weirdo. I remember in Mexico one year as a little girl, the Chef sitting me up on the counter and talking to me while making food. I don't know - just a connection with a culture that I love so so dearly. Now I live here. My parents think I was mixed up at the Hospital. Thats fine - these people have adopted me as their own ;) Love you girls at school, church, and AZE!!!
- The music - okay so I grew up dancing my whole life, mostly to LATIN MUSIC! Hello okay so I LOVE THE MUSIC here!! Everything that plays in the car, grocery store, beach, everywhere! It strikes a chord in me. I always feel like dancing.
- The beach. Yes, peeps, I live an hour from the most beautiful island in the world!!! Mitch and I think its our own - even though its clearly not. But its like our thing - our own little place. Another honeymoon every weekend. This will always be our favorite place for the rest of our lives. I think we will always go.
|Our favorite Island restaurant. This makes me want to go tonight- I think we will!|
- Our home - I love it. It is so us and so little and so fitting for this place we live in. It is our mini heaven. Our homes will forever have a 'McAllen/Island' flare I think - no matter where we live.
- Polishing my Spanish - see a few paragraphs down entitled "NO English"
- Our callings- We are both in the Young Men's/Young Women's Presidencies!! YA! It is soo fun!!!!! My Young Women are truly the strongest and most amazing, incredible Young Women I have ever met. Ever! So inspiring.
- The fact that Youth Conference was at the BEACH - ya Utah, ours stunk compared to this.
|Dance on the beach - Youth Conference|
THESE KIDS CAN FREAKING MOVE! They dance for fun like all the time in this culture! It was soo fun!!
- Last but not least - the food!! Again, I might have been secretly adopted by my parents, because I am obsessed with Mexican food. Times that by living on the border- okay uhhh--mazing food. To die for.
But not everyone who lives here think that it is an ideal place to live.
In fact, most of the natives say "...What??? You like living here?" followed by, "Ay, mijita.. you haven't lived here long enough."
Reasons why some think it is not ideal:
- Hot, like REALLY REALLY hot almost year round, minus a couple months of 70's-80's in November-January. Like so hot that like you can't go outside. At all. For 3 months.
- It is two miles from Mexico- that is one large category for many reasons why people don't like it here.
- Extreme poverty level; like, extreme. Really, really crazy living conditions that I had no idea people lived in, in the US (well, we're kinda in the US) literally like some sheet metal houses with no electricity and dirt floors.
- A branch off of extreme poverty level - highest concentrated city of people on government assistance such as welfare, medicaid, and WIC.
- No English. No. English. Okay you almost can't go to the grocery store without being able to speak Spanish. At school for me, a large part of it is in Spanish even though it is supposedly English. Yes, I speak Spanish or I would not be alive right now. But this has been a real struggle for some people I know, it has made it hard for them to adjust. At my job at the dental office, I bet I had to speak around 80% Spanish. It can be hard for Mitch when we go out with the missionaries, because a large number of investigators speak only Spanish.
- It is so far out of the way from everywhere else in the US. For example, the closest Temple is 4 1/2 hours away in San Antonio. Flights are also insane.
- Schools. Some crazy number like 18% of the adult population in San Juan (10 min away) graduated from high school and received some college. It is just not something that is not the norm. [that is where Mitch's job comes in - a two year contract for him to go to a high poverty area with a low graduation rate and see if he can help increase it, by teaching high school for two years before grad school - he is a really cute teacher even though he would never be a teacher for a living] Therefore, why we are living here for 2 years.
- Violence and nearness to the border- yes it is true, we live exactly two miles from the US-Mexico Border.
I have learned two things from living in different places throughout my life:
1) There will be really crappy and bad things about every single place you live. Every single one.
2) I have also learned that there are 3 months of bad weather anywhere you live. Anywhere.
Knowing that, why bother focusing on it? PEOPLE - life will suck if that is what your thoughts and attitudes revolve around. You can't always choose your situation or where you will live. Rarely is that in your control. So why not roll with it, and grow?
Develop your relationship.
Make new friends.
Learn about, accept, and learn to love other cultures- make them adopt you as their own!
Push yourself and do hard things.
Actually find out what you like and don't like, instead of assuming what you like and don't like, and thinking that for the rest of your life. Because you really don't know until you have experienced it.
That is how you become happy. That is how you live!!