VIDEO: Love and Country in Portland, Oregon – Jensi & Carmen Build a Life Together for Nearly a Decade and Advocate for an End to DOMA
Carmen and I look like opposites but 9 years ago when we, 2 transplants from afar, met in a local Portland, Oregon language exchange, we realized we had each found our other half. In Spanish, the term is media naranja but in our Salvadoran/Maine/Oregon household, we say we are each other’s media mango. We share a love of great food and strong values of social justice and a deep love and responsibility for our families near and far. Next year will be a decade together, the same year we will celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents.
Over the years, we have loved and supported each other through a lot of hard times and a lot of laughter too. We have happily provided a port in the storm for many family & friends needing temporary refuge during teenage or marital or midlife crises. We always seem to find enough to make ends meet and are grateful that we have enough to share.
Our life together these days is similar to many couples our age – juggling a mortgage, work, old cars and being the caregivers for Carmen’s 85 year old mom. I also share guardianship with my aging parents for my brother with developmental disabilities in Maine.
These are just pieces of who we are for each other and in our family and community life.
At the same time, another painful large piece of our life is that we are a binational couple with mixed immigration status living the consequences of a broken immigration system so every day of our life together here is uncertain and acutely precious.
As we work hard to keep up with payments, legal costs, and to support our family and friends, we dream of a life post-DOMA and post-immigration reform, getting to grow old together in our little house with chickens and lots of flowers and vegetables growing all around.
Watch our video below to learn more about our lived experience as a binational couple, struggling in the era of DOMA and immigration laws that are not inclusive of all families.