Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Brother from Mexico Has Arrived

Esteban's Arrival
Esteban arrived on Monday night at 11PM at the local airport. I recognized him from far off because he really does look like my wife, only he was born a boy not a girl. Oddly, given that description, he's quite handsome. He also speaks great English for someone taught by English courses. Maria, my 10yo, was with me to greet him.

Esteban got stopped and questioned by INS three different times, basically every stop but the last, each time he said he could tell they were comparing notes from the interview before, even though it was different people in different airports and cities. I'm not sure why the US has taken such a horrible turn against immigrants that aren't Canadians, but they have. Being Hispanic can't be confused with being Muslim, but Hispanics are definitely not "in". It's basically open season. He didn't mind, he just realized what they were trying to do - catch him at a different answer.

Esteban is like...
Esteban is quiet and thoughtful, hardworking and observant. He's a good cook. He says that if the choice for his father is getting his daughters Magdalena, Gabriella or Marisol to cook for him, dad will ask them to fetch Esteban. I ate way too much of his cooking at lunch on Tuesday.

Mighty Tuesday
I took the day off from work on Tuesday and took my extended family to the Salvation Army, where we bought Esteban more clothes than the one suitcase he brought. Esteban told me that he's studied psychology, philosophy, theology, Mexican history (as opposed to world history), and trained incoming workers how to put together computers at an IBM factory.

We dropped by Perfection Auto and saw Mr. Nuñez, our mechanic who runs his own shop. Mr. Nuñez spoke with Esteban in Spanish. He gave Esteban his card and said in English "Call me as soon as you get your papers sorted out." Mr. Nuñez has a specific way of talking and emphasizing things.

I asked Esteban, realizing what I thought just transpired (he just got offered a job, tentatively) "Do you know how to fix cars?"

Esteban smiled lightly and nodded "Sure, yeah."

My mom hit the issue a bit more clearly: my great grandfather, who went on to become the Governor of Colorado, hit the train tracks as a hobo for a year. Got his head straight, saw the country, carried around Shakespeare with him. My mom said "Back then, this was an excepted thing to do - often you'd find hobos were really just men seeing the country, not homeless or drug addicts like today."

When Esteban lost his job at IBM (first in, first out, and Mexico has felt the same small downturn we have in the last year) there was just no reason to not come here. Clearly, it was not for lack of education or the ability to walk into another job, which I knew already, but I didn't know how many things Esteban knew.

At any rate, since I've returned my 32" TV, I've asked Esteban for help considering what to do - buy computer parts for $300 and have him build one (with me helping), or buy wood working equipment so he can have fun with that, or something else, or just put it back into savings.

Jose Francisco Meets His Uncle, Esteban
So Jose, my 2yo boy, woke up early on Tuesday and came out into the living room to find someone sleeping on the couch (transformed into bed-mode). He decides it is appropriate to wake up this person and show him his toy Matchbox cars. Then, tired, he gets into the bed and naps with his Uncle until 7AM. They'd never met until this moment, and nobody else was around.

Other than feeling the jealousy of there being another man in the house, this has been how they relate ever since. Esteban and Jose Francisco took turns following each other around in the stores and places we hit. Jose quickly found that Esteban just ignores him when he whines about something, and tells him no when he tries to do something he shouldn't.

My mom told Esteban that it must have been the pheromones that Jose Francisco recognized - he knew Esteban was blood the moment he met him.

Esteban Meets the Wii
(WiiSports) He enjoyed Bowling and didn't understand Tennis any better than real life. He loved Boxing, and hunkered down and jabbed and hooked like he was really there, practicing on some tethered ball in front of him. He still lost because he couldn't figure out how the controllers wanted to be held to block. He laughed a lot, which is something the Wii brings out given the game you play.

So we're all happy Esteban has come to live with us. He has no return ticket to Mexico, which might be another reason INS was so interested in him. I'm just as happy as can be. The van fits everyone, exactly, even when the little ones grow. My wife is happy that her youngest brother is here and he's happy to be here. My kids love him and he's quickly seen what he expected: we are as Mom has told him and as we've represented ourselves on the phone. I don't think he had any surprises, even Wal-Mart didn't seem to surprise him.

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