Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Today I am sad. I am sad because of immigration. There was a huge raid in six states, where workers were arrested for using fake or stolen documents. One of these plants is in Hyrum, Utah.
I have met people who work in that plant. One of my roommates when I was at USU taught an adult English class in Logan, and she asked me to come and help them practice their English. So I did. It was very interesting. I remember them telling me about their work, and I was surprised at how brutual the working conditions were. They did not seem to mind. They said they were living much better than they did back in their home countries.
I know that breaking the law is wrong. I know that it would be horrible to have your identity stolen. However, I think it was horrible to stage this raid right before Christmas. The news said that some of the workers children were left in school wondering what happened to their parents. I hate that the laws of this country tear families apart.
I do not know what it is like to be truly poor. I sometimes struggle with money, as we all do, but I am sure I will never starve. My child will not starve. I love my daughter so much. I can understand why these parents would want to make their children's lives better.
Most illegal immigrants I have met want to be legal. The process is horrible. My husband and I have been through it. We had to spend lots of time, money, and sleepless nights. Some people just don't have that money. It is so sad.
I have no solution. I don't know of a way to make it better. I feel the US has made immigration what it is. People don't want people here illegally, but don't make realistic ways for people to get here legally. We all want things cheaper, but are not willing to accept that the cheapness is at the expense of illegalness.
Mostly, it is horrible to let people work and live here for years, pretending that you don't know they are illegal, and then one day come in and ruin their world. Will I sleep better knowing that the government is finally "doing something" about immigration? No. I will sleep worse. I will sleep worse because This raid has left children alone with out the adults in their lives. I will sleep worse because of the news report that people with light skin and white skin were quickly released while all the ones with dark skin were retained. My husband is here legally. My daughter is an American Citizen. How soon do I have to expect questioning for them, because they "look" illegal?
Why do we think we are so much better because we happen to be born here? I am so lucky that I can travel where I want, when I want. I can see and talk to my family any time. My husband does not have the same blessings as me. But I would venture to say he is a better, more righteous, law abiding person than me. However, I have more rights than him, because of my accident of birth. Politicians say they are protecting me, by keeping illegal immigrants out. Stricter screening processes protect me. Stricter screening processes also keep my daughter from meeting her Grandmother, because the US feels there is not enough evidence that her Grandmother would go home after the visit. It hurts. It really hurts, and I do not think I will ever understand it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Being a Working Mom

First I must say that I love being a mom. I am actually surprised at how much I love being a mom. I do not mind changing diapers, I do not mind being spit up on. My darling little girl has a fussy period where she screams for at least an hour every evening. Not just crying, but screaming so loud that I sometimes worry that the neighbors will call DCFS. However, I find the crying cute. I sit and hold her and laugh at her personality. See, we have discovered she does not cry from hunger, or needing a diaper change, or anything like that. She cries because she is tired and does not want to sleep. She is so mad that she feels tired. Then she completely crashes into a deep sleep.
Now, having said that, being a working mom in Utah seems to be very difficult. I really want to know if this is a general experience for Utah, mormon moms everywhere, or moms in general. When I was in New York I worked with many moms who did not seem to have the problems I am having.
First, let me say I love my job. I do not like getting up in the morning, and I am right out the door when my day is done. None of this lingering too long. But when I am here, I enjoy my job. I love working with clients, meeting people, helping people, etc. I also enjoy going home and being with my precious baby. She is taken care of in the day by my mother, so I figure I have the best of all worlds.
So, where is the problem? The judging. For good and bad I am judged everywhere I go. Some people at work mention things like "don't you just cry when coming to work?" "How can you be happy away from your baby?" At church "I would never work and have a child. My husband would work three jobs rather than send me to work." "Women who work are just selfish and do not know how to live on a budget." "You do not need to work. You can have medical insurance through Medicaid."
I also get the women who say "I wish I could have a good job and get out of the house". "You are so lucky. If my mom would watch my baby, I would work, too."
I know I do not need to justify myself, but I feel like I do. My husband and I do not work for luxuries. I would love to see how people handle it on one income, but as a teacher (my husband) and a Rehabilitation Counselor (myself) we do not make a fortune. Yes, we do live comfortably. We are getting a nice starter home next month thanks to my husbands saving skills. I have a good education. In fact, my job is paying me to take an online Master's Degree program. Why not take advantage of that? If I have to work, why not let it be something I enjoy? I had another working mom tell me "I have to work, but at least I hate it. At least I know that I would never choose this!" I think that is kind of stupid!
I guess I do feel guilt. But it is guilt about not feeling guilt! Isn't that stupid? People tell me my feelings will change as I miss more and more of her "firsts". Perhaps. But knowing that my family is taken care of, and that my husband's family in the Philippines is taken care of, I feel good about my life. We have our struggles, but I love that we have educations and that we can provide together for our family.
We are moving into a new ward. I am worried about being looked down upon. I know I shouldn't care, but I do care about what people think of me. Call me weak.
Anyway, I write this because I hope to find others out there who have to work, but make the best of it. Those who know that God leads their lives and do not feel guilt about it. Is anyone with me on this?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Just had to show off the cutest baby in the entire world. I know, everyone thinks that about their own child, but I just can't help but be proud. SHe is 4 days old in this picture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

This World Makes me Sad

I have been pretty emotional lately, what with my belly constantly getting bigger and my emotions getting out of control. Having said that, I have to say that the news and the world makes me so sad.
It is horrible that people plot to blow other people up. It is horrible that people destroy towns and homes under the assumption that they are doing so to protect themselves and their families.
What I find most horrible is the comments that come after such things. At a play recently, one of the audience members was discussing recent events, and he said "Just watch out for anyone in a turban!". I have met plenty of people who wear turbans that are fine, wonderful people. I have met middle and upper class white Americans that I do not trust. A person cannot judge solely on race.
A friend heard someone comment that everyone from Lebanon is evil. Everyone? How can we possibly think this way.
Last night my husband and I watched a documentary on the Chinese in America. In the 1880's laws were passed to prohibit Chinese who had immigrated legally from getting their spouses into the country. This would insure that the Chinese could not procreate and take over. How sad that the fear of a race can and does keep families apart. I wish I could say that is all in the past, but laws still keep families apart. I have still not met my inlaws. My mother-in-law cannot come to the US to meet her grandchild, because we cannot offer any proof that she will return to the Philippines beside our word. (She has no job, because she is in her sixties, and spends her days taking care of grandchildren, etc. She does not have a lot of money, because that is the Filipino way of life. Because of this, travel visa's are denied for her, even if my husband and myself pay for her flights, and insure she returns.) I was unable to travel to the Philippines with my husband this summer because of my pregnancy. My husband was unable to leave the US last summer because of immigration. He was separated from his family for three years, and from his wife for two months. All because he wanted to offer a better life for his family. Yes, yes, I know the price one has to pay for the privilege of living in America.
What price did I pay for the privilege of living here? Nothing. I was lucky enough to be born here. What price did you pay? Not what your ancestors did, or even your parents? What did you do?
Here in Utah, lately a news story has brought up the conversation of the "right" to edited movies. The right? I do not consider edited movies a right. Watching movies at all, eating at restaurants, having TV's, cars, etc are all privileges. Throughout the world, in the US and without, people still hope for the right to vote, the right to earn a living, the right to bring food home, the right to see their families. And here, we have the arrogance to complain about the right to watch edited entertainment. I have the privilege to watch movies. I have an even greater privilege to choose which movies I watch. Most of all, I have the privilege of an "edited" life, where at least for now the horrors of war, destruction, tragedy, starvation, violence, etc, are limited to the screen, and if I do not approve, I can turn it off. How many children in Lebanon wish they could turn off the bombs in their neighborhood as quickly as we could turn off an offensive show. It is not a right to have edited movies. It is a privilege to have entertainment, and to choose what we watch.
I believe our ancestors, whom we lovingly speak of in church, may in fact be ashamed of us. The things they suffered to give us the privilege of a good life are now seen as essentials. TV's, big houses, cars, etc are not rights. We can allow our government to remove dental and visual care for the disabled and the elderly, those of whom cannot care for themselves, but we become up in arms when "Clean Flicks" has to close. What did our ancestors seek a place where we could worship freely for? So that we could decide on what our "rights" are while ignoring the needy around us? Those of Mormon ancestory have people in their family trees who were forced to leave the United States and reside uninvited in Mexico. Yet the minute we hear of an illegal immigrant we jump to the conclusion that they are awful people stealing our jobs, our health care, selling us drugs, and making our lives horrible. Yes the person picking onions in the farm twelve hours a day, living in fear that they may get caught, therefore never seeing a doctor, sending almost all their wages home, living in a place with 20 or 30 other people, is a big harm to me. Because their labor is so cheap, I have to pay less for my onion than if it had been picked by an American, who would demand a union, benefits, pensions, etc, all of which would be reflected in the cost of my onion.
It is a good thing that not many read my blog. I imagine most people disagree with me, and have what they feel are valid complaints. I know that there are illegal immigrants that bring harm to this country. However, if we want to go on that witch hunt, can we also get rid of all the citizens who bring harm to this country? What about the politicians whose policies truly hurt this country? What about the rich who do not help the poor? What about so many others? We as Americans created this world. We want cheap labor. We want cheap food, hotels, etc. Therefore, circumstances dictate reality. Okay, I will stop for now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What is up now!

I was asked today if I had given up blogging. It is not so much blogging, I have just given up most normal pursuits of daily life for sleep.
One word of advice, do not get pregnant when you will be 7 1/2 months pregnant during the hottest weeks of summer ever on record. I have been passing out at Doctor appointments, loosing weight instead of gaining, because I eat, but sweat all of it away.
My Doctor assures me the baby is fine. Looks like she is getting all the nutrients and leaving me feeling weak. I try to stay in the air conditioned office and house as much as possible, and thank my lucky stars that right now I am staying with my mom and her Nordic temperatures.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Commenting in Church

So, in church last Sunday I definitely had too much to say. I think the ladies in Relief Society got pretty sick of me. Maybe I say too much, however I just can't sit back and enjoy a sugary sweet lesson anymore. Life is not sugary sweet. I am sorry. I hate playing it safe, and bringing up little examples of the perfect life, the perfect prayer, etc. I understand that some people pray so that they will not think negative thoughts while driving. I have never prayed for that. Not that I do not think negative thoughts while driving. It is just that I have so many real sins and problems in my life, that the day I graduate to "Please bless me to be kind to the stranger who cut me off" will be the day I expect a ticket straight to the Celestial Kingdom. I look at a room full of women from different walks of life, and I think "You can't all be thinking these things! Don't any of you still struggle to know the truth of the gospel? Doesn't anyone have serious family problems? What about addictions? Doesn't anyone hover on inactivity? What about depression? What about financial problems? School? Career?" These are the things I imagine people pray about. Am I wrong? Or are we all just so set on looking the Mormon part that we cannot be honest with ourselves about our struggles? I really wish Relief Society could be a place that women could truly express their worries and needs without judgment. I am not saying we should reveal every little sin, but can we be real? Can we discuss real issues.
I feel so sad to admit that we can't. I know for a fact that a woman would be looked down upon if she raised her hand and said she prays to overcome sexual desires, addiction, or other things that are just not mentioned at church. Why not? When a person is trying to live the gospel, they should be supported, no matter what the sin. I wish, hope, and pray for that world.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The pre-missionary look

The other night I went to my sisters Drama Club closing social. She is a theater teacher, and she needed me to do some last minute piano playing. It is to be expected with my sister. She is very good at utilizing her resources, and couldn't let me rest for more than a week before using my talents. Not that I mind, it is just funny.
Sitting there watching the kids perform, get their awards, etc, it struck me that most of the guys had the "pre-missionary" look. Like they are clean cut and dressed ready to open the mission call.
I guess there is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that everyone looked THE SAME!! There was no difference. No personality, it seems. I am sure these kids all have individual personalities, they just seemed masked by the need to look the same.
The girls were not much better. They had more variety in colors, of course, but they still all looked the same.
The part that was the saddest for me was realizing that I was just like them! When I was in high school, I looked just like the rest of them. I would like to think that I had a unique personality, that I somehow stood out from the crowd, but deep down I know that I was just as dull and boring as the rest of them. I went to seminary every day, went to church, did my hair the way my friends did, ate what they ate, sang what they sang, etc.
My other question is "Am I really any different now?" Have I changed that much, because I have been away for so long? Well, back in New York, most of my friends were not Mormon. Most of my friends were not white. I was different. It was great. However, I feel I have entered into the sameness again. I have blond hair and blue eyes, just like everyone else in my neighborhood. I am pregnant, just like 20 other women I seem to see every where I go. My only difference is that I have lived in the "world" or the "mission field" or "hell" or any number of other names people have for the city.
Well, I loved "the world". I loved being with people who did not believe the way I did. I hope that I will always feel that way. I know there is diversity somewhere in Utah, and I am determined to find it. Just as I am sure there have to be stores that sell clothes that look more like the styles I began to love in New York. There has to be more people who feel like me.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Fish out of Water!

Last night after work, I was to meet my father at the Layton Hills Mall, so we could buy me some maternity clothes as a late birthday present. So I picked up Rebecca, and we went to look around while waiting for my Dad, who would get off about an hour later.
At first, the weirdness was the uncrowded atmosphere of the mall. Where are all the people? How do the stores make enough money to stay open? Rebecca and I kept seeing signs for "help wanted" and Rebecca's comment was "What for? Who would they sell to?"
The second weirdness was that we slowly strolled through some stores and no sales person came up to us. Do they not need their commission? We were not just quickly walking through. We stopped and gawked at the prices, hardly believing the stores could make money at such cheap prices. Of course, Rebecca is used to seeing the price tags at Bloomingdales. The only person who tried to sell us anything was the guy at T-Mobile. Maybe he is hurting for some extra cash. Who knows.
The weirdest part of the night for me was Deseret Book. I have been to Deseret Book several times in my life, but this time it felt different. Surreal, actually. As if this was a strange new planet. There really was a book on the shelf called "What Da Vinci Didn't Know-an LDS Perspective on the Da Vinci Code". Do people really think they could know what Da Vinci did or did not know? I don't even think Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, claimed to "know" what Da Vinci knew. I think he was writing a book of fiction. Maybe I am wrong.
The store itself was wide, with bright lights shining. The music quiet. Almost to inspire a "heaven-like" atmosphere, I guess. It was strange to me to see the comercialization of mormonism. In New York, I had gotten used to the church as a church. I am now back where the church is a big business. "Sell me the Spirit!" Now, I know there are worthwhile books, and I own many of them myself. Perhaps I have just become too worldly to enter into the likes of Deseret Book. I also heard a commercial for a bank, talking about a loan rate, and mentioning a fathers son on a mission. Not only strange, but doesn't the prophet counsel us against debt?
So begins my life in Utah.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've made it!

We came into Utah on Sunday afternoon, and I promptly started work on Monday. Everyone has warned me over and over again about traffic, so I have left extra prepared. However, I just end up at work early. So in the few minutes before my actual shift starts, I just thought I would let everyone know that we are here. Of course, Arwin is still in New York, which is not the happiest thing, but he seems to be doing okay. My new office is very nice. In Utah they have more space to create office buildings I guess. It is exciting to have my own office, my own computer, my own secretary, etc. Makes me feel very grown up.
The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for the fact that I HATE WYOMING!!!! I am sorry if I offend anyone who lives there. Jackson Hole is nice, but driving through Wyoming is awful. I did not enjoy it at all. I think it is the acne of mother nature. Just a personal opinion.
Well, hopefully after I get settled I will be able to write something more exciting.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Perpetual Pennsylvania

We are now in Toledo, Ohio. How nice that the hotel has computer access. Rebecca was more excited about the waffle maker at the free breakfast. In a few moments we will begin again.
The trip has not been exciting. This is because Pennsylvania feels like it goes on for an eternity. It does not help that it is impossible to speed with a moving truck. I almost cried when we hit the Ohio state line, because we were finally in another state.
Rebecca and her father have been the commanders of the truck. More power to them. I rode with Rebecca in the truck for a little while, and knew that I could not drive that thing. I think I would be so panicked that I would tip the whole thing over. However, Rebecca thinks it makes her feel tough.
Well, we better get on the road again. Wish us luck. Nebraska is worse than Pennsylvania, so I hope I do not loose my mind!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Passionate Prayers

Today at work we had a memorial service for a young man who died at the residence where I work. It was very moving, very passionate. The people speaking, saying the prayers, etc, were so touching. They truly loved this little boy, and believed he had gone to a better place.
The nicest part was the diversity of reliogion found in that room. We had Jewish, we had baptist, we had catholic, myself(LDS), etc, etc, etc. We all came together to honor a life well lived, and put aside our differences. Every one put their own beliefs into their words, and respected those who believed different than they do. I felt so happy seeing everyone respect one another.
We (Arwin, Rebecca, and I) enjoy watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" every week on Sundays. This week there was a Hindu family in Queens. I was so impressed how the crew of the show honored this families religion, and prepared a home in that honor.
I wish we could all have that respect for each others beliefs. I wish we could all get together and celebrate life, rather than thinking "my way is better than your way". I wish there were no wars and no contentions over religion. I think God was proud of the service we had today. I don't see any reason why my prayers would be heard more than anyone else's in the room. What a great moment today was.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hidden Blessings of Piano Lessons

It is no secret that being clumsy runs in my family. My mother was very thrilled when she finally made it through a whole trip to New York not falling down (only to trip at the very end in the drug store at the bottom of the Empire State building.)
Well, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. I am consistently falling, dropping things, breaking things. Glass objects do not seem to last long in my apartment.
Yesterday I was walking up the steps of the CUNY Graduate center when I lost my balance and began to fall. I was a little nervous because I was falling toward my stomach, and people say that can be a danger to the baby. So my only thought was to stop my fall. However, I only had my right hand free. So I placed out my right hand to catch my entire body.
It worked! It was amazing. I held my body up sideways by one hand. There was a sharp shooting pain in my wrist, and I was worried that I could have broken it. However, I could move it right away, and a day later there is still no swelling.
Only one thing could have provided me with a wrist that strong. Years and years of piano lessons. What a great lesson to learn. Have your kids take piano lessons, it can help them avoid nasty falls and save wrists from breaking. Thanks Mom and Dad for your willingness to help me get strong wrists!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Okay, so last night I went to what is most likely my last Broadway play for awhile. Not ever, because I will be back frequently. Once you become part of the city, you can't really leave it behind.
Of course, we saw Wicked again. Yes, I have seen this show too many times, but each time I love it just the same. However, Arwin and I were very sad, because the reason we got these tickets (purchased way back in February) was to see one of our favorite actresses, Eden Espinosa. We unfortunately saw the understudy.
The understudy was fabulous. We really enjoyed the show. It is just sad when you really hope to see someone else. I know I cannot complain. I did get to see the original cast several times. Instead, I want to take a moment to say that I think being an understudy would be a very hard job. The woman playing Elphaba, Saycon Sengbloh, seemed a little nervous at first, but by the end was breathtaking. As a person who as spent the last few years learning a new job in short amount of time (I have been averaging six months in between promotions) I know that being put on the spot can be nerve racking. I can't imagine going to work, expecting to play a chorus person, and being told, "Well, paint yourself green, you are on in three hours." What a challenge it must be to focus and prepare for such a performance. Besides knowing that many people will be disappointed that you are the one they are seeing, not the star they paid for.
So, considering all of that, Saycon was very talented. I have seen three women play Elphaba, and she was a close second best. Of course, people always tend to favor the original, so Idina will always be my favorite.

How can I leave?

So the time has come to return to Utah. I am 27 years old, and I have been living in the New York City area for almost three years. I started in Manhattan, then had a brief stay in Queens, and settled for the long haul in Brooklyn. When I came to New York I was a 24 year old single woman who had just barely graduated from college. I am now a 27 year old married, pregnant professional. I dreamt of living in the big city all my life. I had it in my head "If I could make it here, I could make it anywhere!" And, not to brag, but I did pretty well. I had several promotions in my company, was able to take a year long masters certificate program at the City University of New York on full scholarship, and do something I really never found possible in Utah, find a husband!
So, why then, am I leaving? Mainly because my mother has cancer, and I feel that it is time to move home and be with her. Other strong factors: As much as I love the city, I want my baby to have a backyard to play in. I want my baby to have cousins to hang out with. I want to be able to afford the cost of living, and not pay a full paycheck toward a roach infested shoebox of an apartment. I want to have a separation between work and home. I do not want to spend my entire life sitting on the subway.
Reactions from friends and co-workers are usually of two separate minds. There are those who are appalled that I would go back to the "country" after experiencing what "real life" has to offer. Others, when they see the cost of living, and think of their own tired lives, ask me if a Jewish woman would be able to find friends in Utah, because they want to come along. I even had a Physical Therapist at my work wonder out loud if he could commute by plane from SLC to NYC when he saw the cost of houses. He said the plane ride daily may end up cheaper than his current condo payment.
So, how do I feel? I admit that my emotions are very mixed. I will limit my emotions to three catergories: What I will miss, What I will not miss, and What I am scared of.
What I will miss: Culture. I will miss the fact that the people I work with are from ten different countries, rather than just serving missions there. I will miss the smells of lunch at work, where someone is eating a dish from the West Indies, while another is eating a Kosher Sandwich, someone else has Halal meat, while I am eating left over Filippino food. I will miss the fact that people have so many different religions and beliefs, and that we can discuss and share all of them. I will miss being different from everyone else in a good way (because in Utah I am seen as different from the "Mormon" norm in a bad way.) I will miss the ocean. Oh, will I miss the ocean so much! I will miss the members of my ward, and the fact that the majority are converts, and the majority do not speak English as their first language. I will miss shopping at Shop-Rite on Friday night, when the lines are extremely short because of the Shabbat. I will miss the food at ward parties. I will miss seeing people at church in pants, with tatoos, and any other number of "scandalous" attire. I will miss being able to sing louder than the congregation. I will miss Broadway, of course. I will miss fruit stands. I will miss tax free food and clothing. I will miss the people I work with. I will miss being needed in the ward rather than being a number. The list could go on and on.
What I will not miss: I will not miss the smells of the subway. I will not miss seeing someone throw up on the subway. I will not miss riding the train while pregnant. I will not miss the laundromat. I will not miss my high car insurance payment. I will not miss the high price of gas. I will not miss needing to ride the subway for half an hour just to enjoy a patch of grass. I will not miss alternate side of the street parking. I will not miss parallel parking. I will not miss the elevated cost of a burger at Wendy's. I will not miss the fact that it takes over an hour to get just about anywhere! I will not miss paying over ten dollars to see a movie. I will not miss humidity. Although I will miss the sisters of my ward, I will not miss the pressure of being RS president. I will not miss tolls on tunnels, bridges, roads, etc. I will not miss hearing about family activies rather than attending them. Again, this list could also go forever.
What I am scared of: Going to church. I am not looking forward to returning to a Utah ward where everyone looks, dresses, and acts the same. I am scared that I have developed a lot of impatience, and I will snap at the perky person bagging my groceries, or honk at every person who slows down in front of me. I am scared to death of enrichment activities that include glue guns and scrapbooking and any number of "crafty" activities. I am scared of having conversations with people who think of Anita Stansfield as a best seller and Michael McClean as a hit record. I am scared of the judging looks I will get as I continue to work after my baby is born, and even continue to work on a Master's degree. I am scared of the pointing fingers and judgmental attitudes that made me want to leave Utah in the first place. I am scared of being separated from my husband while he finishes the school year. (It was the best way to work everything out, for me to take a job in Utah now, and for him to finish teaching here in Brooklyn for the school year.)
Maybe I am irrational. I hope to find people who I can bond with. I have always had friends in Utah in the past, and I know there is diversity there if you look close enough. In some ways I hope my worries are unfounded, but unfortunately I imagine some of them will be right on the nail.