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Book Review - Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer, Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life by Alberto Ledesma

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Dr. Ledesma’s graphic novel was an easy read yet cut to the core of my pre American life. It was also timely. I recently removed “the undocumented American experience” from the title of my blog. The reason is that my work, running, family and writing selves were starting to merge in the online space. I changed the title so that this part of my life would be slightly obscured. After all these years, I am still afraid.
This book is a reminder that our stories about having lived an undocumented life need to be told.   I identified with the author’s undocumented beginnings, being told that they were going on vacation and never leaving.

Dr. Ledesma’s family legalized in 1986 with the passing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. He then went on to get his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He worked with an organization within UC Berkeley that assisted immigrant students. The author wrote that not every student was ready to come out publicly. He recognized the pressure to confess wh…

Book Review - Land Of Open Graves by Jason De Leόn

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I finished The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail.  It was a gift from my friend Carolina, creator of My (un)Documented Life blog.  It was written by Jason De Leόn, an anthropologist of Mexican descent, who spent 5 years in the field, in his journey to complete this project.  At its heart, his work depicts the violence faced by border crossers “as they attempt to enter the US without authorization by walking across the vast Sonoran desert of Arizona”. Its focus is on the Prevention through Deterrence (PTD) policy enacted in 1993.
The author explained that when the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed in 1994, the U.S. promised economic prosperity for Mexico if it would open up its ports of entry for inexpensive goods. Shortly thereafter, Mexico was abundant with U.S. subsidized corn that put millions of Mexican farmers out of work
Google gave me some background on NAFTA. Its purpose was to expand the flow of goods between Canada, US and Mexic…

Horse Capital Marathon - Race Report

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I completed the Horse Capital marathon in Lexington this past weekend. My family and I went to Lexington on Friday afternoon. I was already in the zone. I ate mounds of pasta Thursday night so my insides could have a day to settle. Friday night dinner was grilled chicken, baked potatoes and broccoli.
I got up at 4:30am on Saturday to eat and have coffee. I had a chance to listen to music, stare at the wall and wake up. I picked up Kaitlyn at her hotel at 6:15. We got to Fasig Tipton around 6:30. We picked up our bibs and shirts, went to the bathroom and we were off at 7am.
I was obsessive about starting at the 11 min mile pace. My 1st marathon was a learning experience in strategy so I wanted start off slow and make sure I still had something left in the end.

It was a beautiful morning. It was a picture of rolling fields, textured clouds, manicured grass and hedges and well-kept fences. There were barns, homes and sinewy horses surrounding us. We even saw a group of cows.
We met a …

Resolve

It has been 6 months since my last post. Post-election I had to regain my bearings. I did not want to give in to fear and my seasonal affective symptoms. Fear choked the voice out of me. I had fears that haven’t actually come to pass. Not seeing the sun for 15 days over the winter made me feel like the simplest task was difficult. I had to think through each step of the process. This state was not sustainable for me. My solution was to throw myself into being a mom, my job and running. After all, I am all of those things, not just a political byproduct. I bought myself a happy light and found a primary care physician to help manage my symptoms. I also signed up for a marathon. I resolved that a bad experience from my first marathon could be redeemed. It made me think that all decisions could be redeemed. Election results are no different. In this writing journey, I resolve to continue learning, have meaningful conversations, act and ultimately evolve.

Arcadia University Talk

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The first week back from the Philippines as rough. I had a constant headache and my insides were in disorder. I went to bed with my son at 8 pm every night. My husband had to travel for work so I didn’t have help.

I got a text that week from my neighbor across the street. She was in Italy with a class she was co-leading. She asked if I would come speak to the class.
This all came about when we were having wine one night. We got into talking about our backgrounds. I surmised she had always been in contact in one way or another with undocumented immigrants. Me ending up as her neighbor was no exception. She showed me the book she was reading and I talked about Lives in Limbo, reviewed earlier in this blog. I don’t know how it even came up but I got brave with my wine. I told her I would be happy to talk to her class. The class was called “This Sea is Not My Home: Immigration, Migration and Social Justice in the Sicilian Context".  The instructor’s goal in inviting me was to help s…

Home

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I have been literally running around writing this particular post about my trip to the Philippines. I did the tourist thing with my Gemini twin. I did the history thing since my other relatives were kind enough to take me. I ran my first 25k trail race last weekend. This has also been a crazy ass election season. I have been addicted to political news. So danced around this post, my trigger point.  
I knew I would not come back the same person. It was a culmination of my work as a writer and immigrant rights advocate. After the years of self-loathing, self-doubt, and finally self-repair, I made the connection with my family. At first it felt transactional. Then it became something I did not think I could make after 30 years.
The first time I wanted to go my son was too little. I thought it was him that needed me but it was the other way around. It was the longest I had ever been away from him.   
So the morning after my sightseeing adventures I slept in. Later in the morning, my cou…

Rough Trail 25K - Race Report

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As I write this post I am hobbling up and down stairs, aged about 20 years. I completed my first 25K “race” this past Saturday. I say “race” because there were many times there was nobody in front or behind me, which is the nature of trail racing. The longest “race” I had ever done before yesterday was 10 miles at Evansburg State Park in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago. I got back into trail running to heal the pain in my right arch. I also found a great group of women with whom to run. Lastly, I also learned trail running didn’t have to be so messy (I often fell).
I signed up for the Rough Trail in hopes I would find a similar group as we moved ourselves from the Northeast to the Bluegrass (and I did).
My partner Nancy was down with a migraine and stomach flu. I drove to Red River Gorge with another woman from the group. I met her at her hotel in Lexington and we were on the road at 6:30 am.
I learned Kelsey was recruited to do crew for the University of Louisville. She signed up …