I talk a lot about my work life on this blog, whether it’s an anecdote about the life of a reporter in the Congress, or a fun snapshot of day to day operations in the capitol. One thing I don’t talk about enough, judging by your comments, is my personal life! I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking how I manage my home life with my career, which involves a lot of travel and hectic hours. It’s tricky indeed, so here’s a bit about my home life in the first place, and how I try to balance the two.
Obviously, the demands of reporting on the Congress pretty much demand that I live in the capitol during the week and sometimes during the weekends, which can be pretty hard on my family. Yes, family: I know it’s not a frequent topic here on my blog, but I think it’s probably time to introduce you to Juan, my husband. We’re both from Mexican roots, if you couldn’t tell from the blog address. I grew up in El Paso, while he lived in Mexico until he was 12 and then immigrated to Austin, which is where I met him. We moved around a lot in the first few years we were together, since we both did jobs which were easy to pick up anywhere, and we lived in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada in those first years, and we loved roaming on long road trips for weekends. Once we got married, we settled down in San Jose, which was our favorite place of them all.
My husband is a mechanic, and he has a shop in San Jose which is his pride and joy. He opened it the year we got married, and honestly, I’m really grateful for it as far as our marriage is concerned. I think in a lot of couples’ lives, the partner who stays in one place would get restless, and need to go and find another situation that’s a bit less lonely. But Manuel loves his shop, and it’s enough for him to work during the week and see me on weekends when I fly back. We try to squeeze a few phone calls in during the week, but as you can imagine, a busy garage isn’t exactly the best setting for a nice conversation.
Long distance can be hard, but we do see each other every week, so that definitely takes some of the loneliness out of the equation. I think we’ve also found that we’re both very independent people. We like having the freedom to really do our own things and be our own people, since we have such different careers. Then on the weekends, we come together and have a family again.
That’s not to say we don’t think of each other while we’re apart. We have a really great tradition of giving each other gifts at holidays that we’ll each use while we’re in our own work weeks, which is a really nice way of constantly being reminded of your significant other. I gave him a custom welding helmet with his family’s Mexican crest on it, and he gave me a really wonderful laptop bag that was made by a craftsman in his family’s village. We both treasure each other’s company, and maybe we avoid some of the overexposure that couples experience when they live with each other full-time.
I most certainly wouldn’t say our lifestyle is for everyone, but I find that splitting my time between my two homes makes me appreciate each more, and keeps my travel cravings sated every week. Going home to the shop clears my head, and being back in DC gives me a wonderful rush. It’s really my ideal way to be.