11 August 2013
Americans in Monterrey
Occasionally we meet Americans during a temple shift. Most of them live here, but some are just passing through. Last week it was a woman from Layton. She was here in Monterrey with her two young daughters to visit her husband, who is Mexican. In spite of the fact that he had lived in the US for many years, spoke near-perfect English, and had a thriving business in Layton, he was not a legal resident. He wanted to correct the situation and become legal. The only way to do so was to leave his family and business and return to Mexico to apply for legal entry and await an interview with the consul. After an extended period of time, he had just received notice that an appointment for an interview had been set. The family was jubilant at the prospect that they would be soon be reunited.
Saturday, an American woman came up to me in the temple and asked if she could be of help in the laundry. She and her husband came with their ward up near the border and she had an hour to kill until the bus left. What a surprise to hear that her Mexican husband had also just received an appointment with the Consulate for a "permanent visa" interview. It is impossible to describe with words the joy and gratitude that filled her soul. They have been living in Monclova for the last 18 months. She has been working across the border in Texas to support the family while they navigated the legal problems facing her husband. At least they have been together, but it was obvious that it had been a long, hard slog. When asked about that she said, "Well, I am finally learning some pretty good Spanish!"
There is another American woman who often comes to the temple. She is very tall (about six feet), about 30 years old, and stunningly beautiful. She fits right in with the tall beautiful women here in Monterrey. When I asked her why she was here, she said that she was married to a "Norteño" (a person from Monterrey). She teaches English in a junior high school here.
There used to be hundreds of Americans working here in Monterrey, but most of the population left during the height of the drug wars. The main stake in the south-west part of Monterrey still has an American presiding as stake president and an American bishop in that stake just moved to Dallas. One Saturday I heard English in one of the rooms and went in to investigate. There sat two women about 24 years old talking like best friends. They had just met, but were so excited to be able to communicate in their native languages with one another. One was living here--her husband manages a bunch of posh exercise gyms for women here in Monterrey-- and the other was from the colonies in Mexico, where her husband is studying to be a doctor. He was here for an internship and they were getting ready to head back to Chihuahua to finish his studies closer to family.