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Living Together

I’d like to share some reasons why living together with a new spouse is an adventure.  In this case Ryan was outside of his country,  which led to some new and interesting experiences.

Meeting family: Ryan has met almost my entire family and I feel very good about that.  I remember how nervous I felt introducing presenting my husband to them–not because I was ashamed of him, but because I wanted them to get to know this amazing guy and to not think of him as “the American” or any other nationality: just Ryan.  Thankfully they accepted him without a second thought.  The best part is that he was able to communicate with them in Spanish and especially joke with them.  Between parties, birthdays and piñatas he met the Mendoza and the Torres sides of the family. It seemed as if they’d known each other for years.  I loved when my aunts called him sobrino (nephew).  He received tons of attention from everybody.   Oh, and tons of kisses!!!  That’s the way we express or love.

Sharing the tiny space where we lived could be really funny at times.  Let’s start with some information:  Height – my husband is 6′ 1″ (1.82cm)  and I’m 5’4″ (1.53 cm).  Weight – we aren’t even going there.  That’s top-secret.  ;)  Ha ha ha!  You can tell by the numbers that my husband is very tall compared to me.  In my last post I described our Kitchen as as tiny… the bathroom was worse.  It was not designed for someone as tall as Ryan.  The size was perfect for me, but the wall was so close to the toilet that Ryan’s legs wouldn’t fit while sitting down, so he had to sit sideways!  This still makes us laugh.  I promised I would not post pictures of this…

Sports: I noticed that  a lot of people think that because someone is from Latin America–in my case, Mexico–that person should automatically like soccer… as if we are born wearing the family’s favorite team’s jersey or kicking soccer balls around our cribs.  I’m not sure why?  If you ask me my favorite sport, I’ll say, “I don’t like soccer. I love basketball”!!  Growing up I played basketball every afternoon.  I watched NBA games and witnessed magic happen on the court.  My  husband?  He loves soccer–and believe it or not his favorite soccer team is from Mexico.  Yes, Mexico!!!  And it’s not even one of the most popular or recognized teams like the Chivas or the America, it’s the Atlas.  I didn’t believe him until I saw the big flag, the jersey and how he bonded with my aunt and cousins going to Jalisco Stadium to attend soccer games.  I went once and, admittedly, it was pretty cool.  But once was enough for me.  While we lived in Guadalajara, people would always invite him to attend soccer matches.

Ryan’s car: In Mexico the way people drive is very crazy.  Some people might think that makes driving a mess, but it just means you need to learn how to be aggressive and fast.  A lot of people drive very well, like my dad.  But others… my poor husband had 3 accidents in just one year!!!!  And in every case it was not his fault.  I remember Ryan’s frustration. “That’s a stop sign!  Why don’t they stop?”  Good question.  He felt bad for how beat up his car was, but in the end the cool thing was he learned to drive in tiny spaces.  For example, an avenue designed for three lanes but used as four.  The light turned green and the guy in front of you isn’t moving?  Throw your car in reverse, push your way past him, and go!  Blinkers don’t inform people you’re changing lanes, they tell people to speed up and close the gap.  The horn is a multi-use communication device that should be used extensively.  And, most importantly … drive fast, fast, fast.  (For your information he still has that car and he still loves it.)

Ryan was studying and adapting himself to live in Mexico.  I knew he missed his family very badly.  I understand that more now than ever.  So I did my best  to make him happy even though his family was many miles away.  If you think about it independently of our families we were a new family: The Uhrey Mendoza’s.   Like so many others we were trying to be happy and strong.

100_0321 100_0944 100_16341. At an Atlas game

2. Cathedral of GDL

3. Some of the Mendoza Family

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My kitchen

After coming back from our honeymoon, my first memory with Ryan is eating tuna salad “Uhrey/Mendoza’s style,” with  tons of lime juice, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and chipotle.  Preparing food–and especially eating it–is one of my absolute favorite things.

I loved being with my mom in the kitchen, but most of the time I was only the “cutter” and “adder”:  “Cut the tomatoes.” “Cut the onion.”  “Cut the serrano peppers.”  “Add a little bit of salt.”  “Add some water.”  My mom thought I would have a hard time cooking for my husband because the only thing I had ever made at home was soup . . . and only once!!!

Of course, I was nervous too . . . I didn’t want to eat just peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches.  How was I going to do this?  I really wanted to prepared good food for Ryan.  So, there was nothing else I could do but dive in head first.  I invited my parents over to our apartment for lunch and my mom was surprised.  She said, “You can cook!”  Even I was surprised! haha!  She said I have “sazón,” something we say in Spanish for someone who’s got a special talent for cooking things with a lot of flavor.   From there my culinary exploration began.  Finally I was in charge . . . of my own kitchen!!  It wasn’t big or fancy–in fact, it was almost impossible for Ryan and I to both be in there at the same time.  Somehow we managed, but we had to be very, very, close!!  :)

We were trying to be frugal so we decided to go to a special market in Guadalajara called “Central de Abastos.”  It was basically a huge market where the big supermarkets go to supply their stores.  There you can find great prices on  fruits and vegetables.  Our favorite store was “La gallina feliz” (The Happy Hen).  We bought almost everything in bulk: cereal, granola, spices, grains, fruits, veggies, etc.  Then I saw something that made me very excited: dried soy bean.  My mom must have given a million classes at our church on how to use this fantastic bean.  We bought  3 kilos (a little more than 6 Lbs).  The dried soy bean is so light that when the vendor came back with our order it was in a huge plastic bag, almost the size of a medium garbage bag–and all for only $35 pesos!!! (2.75 dollars).  For almost 10 months we almost exclusively ate soy instead off beef, pork, or chicken.  You’d be amazed at how many dishes you can make with soy: entomatado (a typically made with chicken and tomatillos), meatballs, hamburgers, ceviche, picadillo (beef hash) and tacos.  I even made chorizo sausages out of soy–it was so good that I started selling it!

I really miss going to the little markets where the merchants offer FRESH food.  I miss the people chatting with each other about life, sports, and food even though it’s the first time they’ve met.  The bustling crowd; the fruits, veggies, spices, candies, juices; the merchants shouting “paselé, buen precio!!!” (come over here, good prices!!!); all blended together to create a unique symphony of sounds and smells that still play in my memory.  Of course Guadalajara has Costco, Wal-Mart and other big supermarkets, but they can never replace the special feeling of taking a trip to the street markets.  Ryan and I saved a lot of money going to these places, but even more important, we created fond memories by doing so.

Ryan never complained about my food.  There might have been a few–maybe even several occasions -when the food I prepared wasn’t that good, but he never told me.  I’m grateful for that.  I it helped me to not give up and try cooking different things.  So, I pressed on, and was able to not just “cook,” but to create and prepare meals . . . and enjoy doing it there in my tiny, tiny kitchen.


Entomatado Recipie  (At that time this was Ryan’s favorite dish.  Since he’s decided his new favorite is “carne en su jugo”)

1/2 lb of tomatillos sliced and cut into cubes

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1 onion finely sliced

3 chipotle peppers cut into strips

1 tablespoon of chicken stock powder

1/4  lb of chicken or pork already cooked (in pieces or shredded)

In a hot pan add the onions and the garlic.  When the onions look translucent, add the tomatillos and the tablespoon of chicken stock powder.  Make sure to stir everything.  When the tomatillos start to change color, add the chicken or pork. Finally, add the chipotle strips.  Enjoy it with corn tortillas, flour tortillas or tostadas.  If the dish is very acidic (the tomatillos in the United States are much more sour than the ones we used in Mexico) then you can add a little bit of sugar or honey.

100_1375(Picture taken while enjoying our first “official” meal at home as newlyweds: tuna salad)

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Keep in touch

As the saying goes: “All good things must come to an end.”  After Ryan and I met and spent nearly two weeks together, he had to return home and I had to continue on with my life as well.  After a tender goodbye, I gave him my best picture.  I didn’t want him to forget me.  ;)  Oh well . . . Our brief walk in the clouds was over and things returned to how they were “supposed” to be: Yunuen in MEXICO; Ryan in the UNITED STATES. We didn’t know the future but we did know that we wanted to keep in touch.  Every week while I was on my mission I received a letter.

YUNI - Misionera

It was so nice to read his words–about his life, family, school, church. I loved when he shared to me his testimony about Jesus Christ. I really enjoyed writing to my family and to Ryan.  In 2003 and 2004 I was getting to know him through his letters and something started to grow: friendship and then love.  Somehow I was able to read his heart through his letters.



(First letter of many to come)


By the end of 2004, I didn’t write him any more.  The communication between Chihuahua, Mexico and Layton, Utah had stopped.  Don’t ask me why–it’s a long story!!!!  In 2005, Ryan came to Guadalajara to start his Master’s Degree.  Our relationship was very bad.  Surprise!!!  Due to certain circumstances we now hated each other.  That’s what it looked like, but on the inside we were dying to be together.   Like bees, Ryan was the honey to many Mexican girls.  I went out with a lot of guys . . . just ask Ryan.  Still, we saw each other all the time–at church, friends parties, and we lived in the same neighborhood.  He was everywhere!!!!  Our hearts longed to be in touch but accepting that fact was hard.

Finally, after arguments, jealousy and frustration, forgiveness finally took over and our hearts won.  On February 14, 2006, he asked me to be his girlfriend.  May 11, 2006,  with a serenade by my window he asked me to marry him.  August 5, 2006, we married in an LDS temple.

Keeping in touch between distances is head, but when love is real, miracles can happen.

(The drawing says: “There’s only about a centimeter of distance separating us!”)

Una de mis cartas favoritas

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Our story…

When people see Ryan and I speaking Spanish at the store or in the street,  I just think that I am so happy to be able to communicate with the love of my life in my language.

The words “TE AMO” sound powerful and make me smile.  Our marriage is interracial and bicultural.

Life made us cross each others’ path.  I met him in Guadalajara Mexico when he was researching a graduate program. I remember the first week together walking in the busy and crowd avenues; eating tacos; talking about life, music and movies.   I thought, “How about dancing?  Let’s see if my new American friend knows how?” . . .  I asked him: “Can you dance?”  He surprised me by dancing salsa.  “Wow!” I thought, “This american knows how to dance!!!  Oh, I really think I like this guy.”  The funniest part is that by that time I was done with my Bachelors degree in Communications, and guess what Ryan was studying? The same degree.  We had so many things in common, especially our beliefs in God.

So after speding time with him something really sweet started. By that time (2003)  I was preparing to go on my LDS mission to Chihuahua, Mexico and  he had to goback to the United States to continue with school and life.  Even with this separation we were thinking about each other.  For sure this handsome gringo, smart and talented, took a piece of my heart.  The story about this interracial love continues.  With this blog I wish to share the experiences of having a bicultural/interracial marriage.  It is not about color, language or country…

It’s about love.YUNI & RYE 2

(First picture together: Summer 2003)