Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Settled In

We are getting settled in the "new house" as Liliana calls it.  We have been here since Thursday.  It was a crazy weekend, but we have made it through.  Liliana has adjusted REALLY well.  I can't tell you how happy I am about this.  The new house seems to be made for Liliana.  I have often found myself thinking how perfect it is for Liliana, Eduardo and I!!  Someday we will have a house like this.  I love that the kitchen looks out onto the backyard so I can see Liliana if she is out there or if she's on the porch.  She seems to be sleeping MUCH better in this house for some reason.  Even for me, it feels really good to be out of that big old house.  This one feels so much cozier and homelike.  

My mom and step-dad are going out of town this weekend.  I'm looking forward to the weekend alone with Liliana (and the dogs) and we will be busy making Cultured Veggies as I am getting really low on stock.  I'm not sure who is going to watch Liliana during my market on Saturday, but I'm sure it will work out.  

The markets are going well.  I started my new Abundant Life Farmers Market on Thursday amongst the move.  It rained sideways and blew my tent away.  But besides that it was successful.  Then my Saturday market was a HUGE hit.  Almost record-breaking sales for me.  I sold over 2 dozen jars of veggies and lots of jewelry and artisan stuff too.  We were blessed with beautiful weather for the day :)  I'm looking forward to this Saturday coming up!  

So the stress of what might happen in the new house was definitely more than how it is.  We are all doing great so far!  I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Big Move

About a week before we decided Liliana and I would spend the summer in Indianapolis, my parents put their big house up for sale and it sold within a couple of days.  I wasn't very happy about this at first for selfish reasons I will admit.  I was nervous about living in a much smaller house with all of us and about where I would make my Cultured Veggies and store everything.  I was sad because I have felt that my mom's house is the only stable thing Liliana knows in Indiana.  Her life is already so crazy and I have been feeling bad taking that from her.

Well moving day is upon us.  We are officially moving tomorrow, but started taking all our personal items and fragile belongings with us today.  I have been taking Liliana over to the new house and preparing her and talking with her about it.  I don't think she quite comprehends the major life change that is going to happen tomorrow though.  She has been sad watching the big red couch go away on the truck to my aunt's house and she seemed confused when the big dining room table was just gone one day.  She and the dogs are on edge.

But it broke my heart today.  I knew it might be confusing when she saw me packing our suitcases.  Every time I have done that we either go to El Salvador or to Indianapolis.  Well all the way to the house she kept saying "go mami's house, go mami's house."  I asked her where mami's house was and she said "in El Salvador."  It was so sad.  I asked her if she wanted to go home to El Salvador and she said "si, mami."  The way home wasn't any easier.  She saw us leave our bags at the new house, but I don't think she understood.  We called papi on the way home and she told him again how she wanted to go home to El Salvador.  It was hard to explain to her that we have to stay here a little while longer.  She has been doing so well and I think once Eduardo gets his computer fixed and we can Skype it will be a lot easier for her.

But I'm also excited about the move as well.  There are a lot of negative memories in this house for me so it feels like it will be a fresh start.  There is a pool in the neighborhood and a park across the street.  I think it will be good.  We will find out soon...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extreme Hardships

One of the biggest reasons for returning to the States for a longer period of time right now is because of our lack of "extreme hardships" in our visa waiver application.  After I got the fortune of meeting with the woman who approves and denies the waivers in El Salvador, she informed me that by living in E.S. with my husband, it was showing that I have no hardships.

For those of you not familiar with what I am talking about, I will break it down for you:


I–601 waivers may be granted for a variety of reasons, and apply to different types of entry visas. The condition for obtaining such a waiver is if the visa applicant can demonstrate that failure to grant the visa will result in an “extreme hardship” to the United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) spouse or parent of an I–601 waiver applicant.
There is no set formula for obtaining a waiver; instead, the granting or denying of a waiver is at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The “extreme hardship” requirements are very stringent. First, applicants must bear in mind that the “hardship” in question refers only to the United States citizen or LPR who is residing in the United States, and not to the applicant. The applicant for the waiver must demonstrate that the hardship to the United States resident (a spouse or parent of the applicant) will occur not only if the applicant is not admitted to the United States, but that it will also occur if that spouse or parent relocates to the country in which the I–601 applicant resides. (which I can now prove first-hand why we cannot live in E.S.)
Further, the applicant must support the claim of hardship by documentary proof, or by a sufficiently detailed explanation of the purported hardship with adequate evidence to support the explanation. (this is the hard part!)


Naturally, a child or spouse of a United States resident who is barred from visiting their parent or spouse may find the separation emotionally trying or may find that it creates some financial difficulties. However, these difficulties, by themselves, do not suffice to meet the definition of an “extreme hardship” for purposes of an I–601 waiver regardless of how close the relationship is between the separated parties; neither are speculative or perceived harms enough. (how screwed up is that!??)
Instead, in order to overcome the disqualification imposed by the condition or conditions that led to inadmissibility, the I–601 waiver applicant must generally document some other factor which demonstrates hardship, such as an ongoing medical condition that requires special care or treatment; financial hardships created by caring for an elderly, infirm, or special needs parent or child; or other factors that suggest that the separation presents special and extraordinary difficulties that amount to an extreme hardship."
So as you can see from reading that, I sometimes feel as though I am screwed.  But no matter how much I feel we lack "extreme hardships", I have hope and faith and believe with all my heart we will be approved.  But, it doesn't come without a lot of work on my part.
Being back here in Indiana, I have three main goals:
1.  To re-write my hardship letter and gather as much evidence as possible as to why Eduardo should be allowed to come back here.
2.  To make money for our family in El Salvador to survive and for us to survive.
3.  To improve the physical and emotional health of Liliana and myself.
I started writing my new letter tonight and it feels good to even have started.  It's such a daunting task.  Now I get to be creative and find ways to prove that I am in desperate need to have my love back here.  I promise I won't let my family down!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Farmers Market Fun!

Last weekend I started my season of Farmers Markets here in Indy.  Last week I did the Binford Market Craft Day which they hold once a week.  I took all of my artisan stuff from El Salvador and Guatemala.  I did well and had a blast.  This week I took my Cultured Veggies and a small amount of jewelry.  It went really well despite the rain that creeped in at times.  I talked for about 3 hours straight about cultured foods and the importance of them in our diets.  I also got to share about my beautiful beadwork out of Guatemala that everyone seems to love!  The market master, Jane, even commented at the end of the day how impressed she was by the amount of people and interest at my tent :)

I had forgotten how much I really love to do Farmers Markets.  I used to do the Trader's Point Market before we left for El Salvador.  I'm not doing that one anymore, but am loving the ones I'm doing.  It is a lot of work and I always get nervous that I won't remember to take everything, but it always ends up different and great no matter what happens.  I LOVE getting to chat and share with people and make new acquaintences.  Although I'm working, I feel like what I'm really doing is sharing my passions.  And now at the Binford Market on Saturdays they are letting me share BOTH my passions and I am so grateful for that.

This Thursday I will be starting the Abundant Life Farmers Market off of 82nd and Hague just east of Castleton.  It seems like a really good market and I'm looking forward to it.  I will just be selling my Cultured Veggies there, but may ask about bringing some jewelry as well.  We will see.

I have also started a Facebook page this week for Kelsey's Cultured Foods that you can find here.  And I also have my Esperanza Imports page you can find here.  I will be updating the pages with new products and locations I will be with various events.  I'm really excited.

Farmers Market season is in high gear, so get out there wherever you may live and support your local farmers and artisans.  There's something about buying from the small businesses that may you feel better than buying all the commercial foods.  If you've never been to a Farmers Market, than what are you waiting for?  Get out there and check em' out.  It's heaps of fun :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Last night Liliana and I were able to attend our monthly Home Birth Support Group here in Indy.  We used to go every month when we were here all the time and of course it fell away when we moved.  I always enjoyed those meetings and have formed a lot of meaningful connections and friendships through the group.  Last night was an extra special treat as one of our midwives from Liliana's birth was there doing a presentation on nutrition. Afterwards she gave us a ride home and we got to spend a lot of time together talking and laughing and sharing.  It was really special and much needed on my part.  I met some new people at the group as well and also got to re-connect with others I hadn't seen in a long time, but people that are big supporters of mine online.  Another great friend gave us a ride to the meeting and it was really great to connect with her in that time as well.

This all made me realize how much I love meeting and chatting with other like-minded women and how much that just nurtures my soul.  I'm thankful for groups like these in the area here and hope to form more connections in our stay in Indianapolis for the summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do I Make You Uncomfortable?

This is what I feel like saying to people a lot lately.  I get so many "oh, how are you doing" sayings from people that sometimes I just want to puke.  I mean seriously, unless you REALLY want to know and actually care, then why ask?!  Because when I say "oh, we're great", everything is fine and the conversation moves on.  But if I hesitate and say "oh, things are okay" in a way that really states that they are not so great, the conversation then tends to move to an uncomfortable place.

I'm sorry if my lack of enthusiasm for our situation is uncomfortable for you.  I certaintly do not sit around feeling sorry for myself or being depressed.  I'm WAY too busy keeping myself busy for that.  BUT, I'm also sick of feeling the need to pretend that I'm fine and that everything in my life is fine.  Because it's not.  It just isn't.  I'm not okay with the fact that I am constantly worrying that my husband may be killed at any moment because everyone seems to be in our small town in El Salvador.  I'm not okay with being completely broke and having to rely on other people for money and owing people money.  I'm not okay with living with my parents and having other people judging every move I make as a parent to my own daughter all the time.  And I'm not going to pretend I am.

I'm sorry if my having a bad day makes you uncomfortable.  I'm human.  There's only so much of the day I can fill with keeping my mind occupied.  There's only so much I can do to pretend my situation is a blessing to me and how one day it will all be better.  Some days it just doesn't feel like it will.

Today is one of those days.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

Before arriving in the States, we took a brief trip to Guatemala.  We booked our tickets out of Guatemala City instead of San Salvador so we decided to go the day before and stay in Antigua for the night.  We have visited Antigua before and it's one of our favorite little places.

The last time we went it had taken about 5 hours to get there.   I did some research online and found people seemed to be getting there a lot faster than that.  Eduardo and I decided to take a different route and sure enough!  We got there in about 3 1/2 hours from our house to Antigua.  That was awesome.

We took Eduardo's mom and his Tia Dominga and her husband, Don Nacho.  It was a good drive and we were all so excited to get there.  We got a hotel right away so we could park the car and unload our bags.

Eduardo and I then went straight to the place where we have bought bulk jewelry in the past and we met with the shop owner again.  Liliana went with my MIL and the others to a church down the street, leaving Eduardo and I the freedom to shop until we dropped!  Ha!  It's so fun to pick out all the beautiful jewelry, but it's also overwhelming.  I got a nice different assortment of stuff than the last trip to bring back to the States and sell.  I know it was a risk investing more money when it was the last of the money we have, but I'm confident we will make a good profit.

After the shopping, Eduardo and I made an impromptu stop at a little tequila bar and shared a drink.  That was a rare experience and it was exciting to be spontaneous again.

We then met up with everyone else and tooled around the town.  We did more shopping and eating and before we knew it, it was the end of the day.  We went back to the hotel and relaxed a bit.  I figured out how I would fit everything in my suitcases ;)

Then in the evening, Eduardo, Liliana and I took a stroll to see the town at night.  We came across another bead shop that had just opened up with some spectacular things I couldn't resist.  We will definitely be going back there again!  Liliana finally passed out in our arms and we continued back to the hotel after picking up some food to go.  Eduardo and I got to spend some alone time while Liliana slept and it was a great last night together.
In the morning we headed into Guatemala City to the airport.  It didn't take as long as we thought and we were there really early.  Liliana and I had to wait by ourselves a LONG time as no person other than the ones flying are even allowed in that airport.  I would have waited outside, but Liliana was anxious to see the airplane.  Had she known the plane would be an hour late, she probably would have opted for staying outside too.

It was a sad goodbye.  Eduardo had told me not to cry, but as I walked away from him, I couldn't hold back.  The tears quickly flowed down my face as we entered the airport.  I tried not to let him see me, but couldn't resist one more look back.  It was a lot harder than I had expected the goodbye to be.  Just thinking about it makes me tear up again.

But anyway, Antigua was a great time again.  I can't wait until our next visit!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Single Parent Family

I hope and pray that what I am experiencing is the closest I will ever get to being a single parent family.  One of my best friends is a single parent and I see how hard it can be.  My mother was a single parent for most of my life and God knows our life was hell at times and she had a very hard time.

Being away from my husband for extended periods of time is like being a single parent.  I think any other mother going through the immigration process with her family can understand this feeling.  Most families I know choose to split up, with one of the parents going away to their home country.  It's usually the father.  I have spent many days thinking about the women I know that have gone months and years without their husbands in their lives and the lives of their children.  This thought always breaks my heart.

We made the choice as a family not to break us apart.  We knew that no matter how hard it would be, we would do what we could do stay together, no matter what country it would end up.  Now our lives seem to have taken a turn and God knows for what reason.  I never would have chose this for my family.  Nobody chooses to be a single parent.  It's a whole set of circumstances that get you to that point.

And it's not fair to the children.  Forget about me.  I know how to be strong and carry on and do what I must.  But what about the poor children that fall victim to immigration laws.  What about the children who's parents get deported and are left with nothing?  How can the government think this is okay?!  How can the government think it's better than I have to put myself and my daughter on Medicaid to get our medical needs met?  How can it be that I have wait in the same line and the people getting food stamps and realized I'm not any better off than they are right now.  I guess the only difference is that I have a family that is being very supportive and helping us out in this moment.  And for that I am grateful.

So my hat goes off to all the single mamas out there struggling to get by.  It's not an easy job.  And for those mamas waiting for their husbands to return back to them from some far off country, don't give up!  We have to remember why we are doing what we do and keep on going.  We will all make it in the end.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our New Doctor

Most of you will be pleased to hear after the post Damn Doctors!, that we have a new doctor here in Indy that I absolutely adore.  She has actually been a patient of my mom in the past and is very open to my birthing and vaccination choices.  She even went as far as to go home and look up the hispanic girl growth charts so she could see if there was a difference with Liliana on those scales.  And there was!  It's not a significant difference.  She is still very little, but at least she is on the chart, where as the American charts she does not get on to the chart at all.

Because of our incident with CPS, which I don't think I openly talked about on the blog, but did on Facebook, our new doctor is taking special precausions with us.  She was shocked when she read our past doctor called CPS on me for child neglect.  She knows our family personally and also knows our old doctor personally and felt as though it was completely uncalled for.  Unfortunately for me though, because it's in the system, I have to do everything by the book.  Our new doctor, Dr. Fox, wasn't originally too concerned with Liliana's weight until she say the past notes and is now having us get a bunch of testing done.  I feel annoyed about it, but it's mostly because I have an issue with authority figures and people telling me I have to do something makes me feel rebellious ;)  I can't help it!

Anyway, so she is having us get more blood work done for childhood allergies and lead poisoning.  I also get the lucky job of collecting poop and pee samples for parasite testing and some other things.  Despite my annoyance by it, I'm actually very glad to be getting these specific things tested.  They are the type of things I would want to have done as opposed to a bunch of unnecessary testing.

We also have to go see a dentist here in the States and she gave me a name of one to see if they take Medicaid.  She said even if we have the work done in El Salvador, we at least need to show we have been seeing someone here.  So that's on the agenda as well.

I just love that I feel comfortable now with our health care provider.  Everyone got rather upset with me after the previous post on doctors because I didn't feel finding a good one was possible.  Well now I know it's possible and am very pleased.  If only we had gone to Dr. Fox in the first place!