Mata-what?

Ma-ta-mo-ros. Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I. It’s not exactly the first destination that comes to mind when most people think of Mexico. At the top of the list are usually Mexico City, Cancún, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Guadalajara… certainly not Matamoros. Definitely not Matamoros.

Imagine driving through Texas, from north to south. You pass through the popular destinations- Dallas, Austin, San Antonio… then you reach Corpus Christi, and then you keep going. And going. And going. You know you are not far from the coast, but all you can see before you is a seemingly endless stretch of flat, dry nothingness. It is a no-man’s land, and gives you the feeling that you are driving to the end of the earth. Finally, you reach Brownsville, a sprawling web of strip malls, fast food restaurants, used car lots, and residential neighborhoods. Brownsville is the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley and the last city at the very southern tip of Texas before you enter Mexico. Most tourists travel this far south to vacation at South Padre Island… but not me. Not this time. About three weeks ago, I made that drive through no-man’s land, through Brownsville, and continued on across the border into Matamoros, Mexico. I live here now.

My husband works for the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. He adjudicates non-immigrant visa applications for Mexican citizens who want to come to the United States. For the most part, people want to cross the border into Brownsville to go shopping. Sometimes they make the 45-minute journey to McAllen, where there is an outlet mall. Some people have other destinations in mind… to work, go to school, or visit relatives. Others still have less honorable intentions. It is my husband’s job to determine whether or not to grant the applicants a visa. Every morning, he interviews anywhere from fifty to eighty of the 250 or so applicants who come through the U.S. Consulate here in Matamoros each day. He’s been here for about nine months.

We married at the end of March. I spent the following month packing up my house and wrapping up my job in Des Moines in preparation for my move to Matamoros at the beginning of May. Since I arrived, I have spent my time adjusting to my new home, unpacking, getting to know my new neighborhood, and enrolling in a Spanish class. And running. Of course, running.

As I begin a new journey in life, I also begin a new journey in writing. It seemed only fitting to change the name and focus of my blog accordingly. My previous blog, Six Months to 100K, served a purpose for a different chapter in my life. That chapter has ended, and it’s time for a new one. I hope you will join me as I record my adventures in living and running abroad.

Thank you for reading!

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