Monday, April 07, 2008

Surprise Meeting

You never know who you are going to meet when you go out on my street. Tonight I took the Holga camera and tripod out to see how some long exposures would turn out. Just as I set up a shot across the street, two men came out of a building that took about two years to build across from us. It is a small apartment building with a 2 bedroom apartment on the second and third floors, a one bedroom on the first floor and also a storefront on the first floor. I had never been in it but we were pleased with the finishings and metal they had used on the outside.

One of the men, the older one, spoke some English and wanted to know about the camera. The younger man, who spoke perfect English, told me that his father collected old cameras. So I tried to explain about the Holga camera. I took it off the tripod and gave it to him. You could see the surprise on his face at the light weight of the camera. He looked through the view finder and tried to focus but you can't focus through the viewfinder with a just turn the lens and guess. I think the Father was mystified at the sorry features of the Holga. There was no way I could explain that sometimes it had magic.

They wanted me to see the downstairs apartment which still isn't rented. It was small but nicely done.

We talked. The men are from San Miguel but now live in the United States. The Father is going to retire next year and he plans to come back to San Miguel. The son has been in the United States for 20 years, since he was 17 years old. This is the first time he has returned to his hometown. He is on the Chicago Police force and he would like to buy a place here in San Miguel. I asked him what he thought was different about San Miguel and he immediately said that it was much bigger.

They were very nice and I enjoyed talking with them. But there were a million questions I would have liked to ask. How did they get across the border? How do they feel about the United States now? What has been difficult about the adjustment to living in the USA? Do they think it will be difficult to come back to live in SMA? And on and on.

This chance meeting really has my mind whirling with so many immigration issues on both sides of the border. I'm not sure I can sort them out but if I do, I'll blog about it. But tonight I might find it difficult to go to sleep as I think about their stories.

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