Monsters in My Pocket

Sometimes we’ve got a weight on our shoulders, keeping us down and preventing us from moving forward, and sometimes it’s more of a weight in our pockets–we feel it, and it’s not going anywhere, but we’ve got to carry it forward until we’re able to let it go.

Letting go isn’t always an option in our control. Right now the monstrous weight in my pocket is the wait to marry the man I love, just to see him again: we’re a binational couple going through the immigration process, and even though this burden grows heavier every day, we can do nothing to set it down any sooner–it’s in the hands of someone else.

So we do what we can to pass the time. This is how I’ve carried these pocket monsters.

On July 26, 2015, I posted on Facebook: So I think if our visa application goes past 150 days (the advertised processing time), I’ll flood Facebook with pictures of Pokemon until we’re approved (starting with Mew, of course, the first First Pokemon).

And then, on August 3–Day 151 of waiting–the real fun began: I said I’d start flooding Facebook with pictures of Pokemon, so here’s #151, Mew. Delightfully cute and pink, it might even draw more “Awwws” from the crowd than a picture of me and Harel.

I didn’t want to simply share a bunch of video game pictures without reason, so I tried to share something about me, or Harel and I, every day, and while I’ve been told by one friend “Enough with all the Pokemon,” others have told me they enjoy this daily glimpse into our lives, and I hope in sharing all these moments here with you, that you may do the same.

Day #152. Chikorita’s name includes the Spanish diminutive “-ita,” which almost everybody knows means “small,” but did you know there’s a diminutive that also means “big”? So when this one evolves, I shall call her Chikorota.

#153. Chikorota, also known as Bayleef. Bayleefs are tasty in pasta sauces, but since they’re not edible, be sure to remove them prior to serving.

#154. Meganium. The flower at the base of its neck resembles a hibiscus, or in Spanish, jamaica. In Mexico, the flowers are brewed into tea, making a common beverage served both hot or cold.

Pokemon 151-186

All 36 Pokemon featured in this post (as seen on my phone). Pics by Nintendo, used with good intentions.

#155 Cyndaquil. This little guy was my Johto starter, and I loved him so much. Timid, but fiery. Just like me.

#156. Quilava. The fiery weasel Pokemon. It can start fires. And my lack of sleep, in traveling back to North Carolina, is apparent in my lack of creativity.

#157 Typhlosion. The Volcano Pokemon. Based on a honey badger, Typhlosion just don’t care. But I care, Typhlosion, I care.

#158 Totodile. This little guy was very nearly my starter in Pokemon Silver, but then I fell in love with Cyndaquil. While it’s not uncommon to find crocodile or alligator on menus in North Carolina, I’ve never seen any Totodile on the menus in Mexico.

#159 Croconaw. The Caveman Alligator Pokemon. This is precisely how I modeled my new haircut (which isn’t exactly new anymore–I changed it up in April). Anyways, should I dye my ‘hawk red for the full effect?

#160 Feraligatr. This Pokemon would probably be called Feraligator if not for the ten-character limit on Pokemon names when it was released. Still wondering, though, if I should dye my hair red to get the full Feraligatr look.

#161 Sentret. The Scout Pokemon. I think I shot a few of these in archery class. Their markings make for great target practice.

So what’s with all the Pokemon? Today is the 161st day since Harel and I filed our petition for a fiance visa to come to the U.S. (today is also the one year anniversary of our being engaged), so I’m posting a Pokemon every day until our application is approved.

If you’re able to lend a hand, we’re also fundraising to help cover the immigration costs. You can find out more (and make a donation) at GoFundMe.com/DarrenHarel.

#162 Furret. I missed this one yesterday because I was moving back to Raleigh. But that’s ok. I loved Sentret until it evolved, and then I swapped it out.

#163 Hoothoot and #164 Noctowl. Among my favorite flying types, it is especially fitting Day 164 should fall on the first Monday of the new semester, as owls commonly represent wisdom and learning. Additionally, it is said Hoothoot have an uncanny ability to count time, such as how posting these pictures everyday is a way for me to literally count the days until our approval.

#165 Ledyba. Based on lady bugs, a sign of good luck if they land on you, we’re hoping this Pokemon landing on our page will help our fundraiser.

#166 Ledian. Luck blossoms: I slept through my alarm this morning but was only six minutes late to class. However, that’s still not as close as Harel and I cut it the first THREE times we went to the airport for my flight back. (This last time we were so early my flight didn’t even have a gate assigned to it yet.)

I’ve fallen a little behind due to school starting, but allow me to introduce Pokemon #167-169, Spinarak, Ariados (whose name is derived from the Spanish word for “two”), and Crobat. This last trip was the first time I saw a spider in Mexico, so clearly, I want it to be one of my last to the country. Furthermore, while I haven’t directly seen a bat while in Mexico, the Spanish word for bat is “murciélago,” and should anyone buy me a Murciélago, you will forever have my love and devotion.

#170 and 171, Chinchou and Lanturn. When Pokemon Silver came out, these Water-Electric types were my favorite aquatic Pokemon. Ironically, during my last visit to Mexico, Harel’s apartment briefly had neither running water nor electricity. I really wish we had one of these on hand.

#172 Pichu. This cutie is the pre-evolved form of the most iconic Pokemon, #25 Pikachu. Almost as adorable as Harel and I, we hope Pichu will inspire you to make a donation to help us finally be together.

Yesterday was Day #173, so here’s Cleffa. Associated with the moon, stars, and wishes, when Harel saw its picture, he said, “Ooh, I love that one.” It’s not always easy to remember someone’s voice when you can’t hear it every day, but memories like this one help hold it together.

Yesterday was #174 Igglybuff. Funny story: Harel and I once went into a video game store and they had a plush Kirby. He picked it up and said, “This one is Jigglypuff, right?”

#175 and 176, Togepi and Togetic. Togepi was not only the first Gen. II Pokemon to be revealed, but also the first to be hatched from an egg and the first to evolve through happiness–so it’s not surprising Togetic is called the Happiness Pokemon. I love these two in particular because not only do they bring me back to the days of my youth when I first played Pokemon Silver and had them in my party, but they also remind me of the things that make me most happy–like being with Harel. <3

#177 Natu. Standing at only eight inches, Natu was the smallest Pokemon until Gen. V introduced Joltik. But I know how this Tiny Bird feels: it’s easy believing you stand the shortest in a world as endless and harsh as our own.

#178 Xatu. Inspired by the indigenous people of the Americas, Xatu practices a form of meditation called sun gazing that was known to the Aztecs and Maya, who were especially prolific in the area now known as Mexico.

#179 Mareep. This electric sheep Pokemon is known for its low speed, which is why it took me so long to post it today.

#180 Flaaffy. These Electric-type Pokemon were inspired by the static produced by wool fibers. The nights in Mexico can get cold, so Harel and I used a thick wool blanket to stay warm…but it was woven so tightly we never got shocked. :)

#181 Ampharos. The Lighthouse Pokemon. Always one of my favorites, hopefully its light will lead us all forward to happier days.

#182 Bellossom. If Harel were a Pokemon Trainer, I would not be surprised if this Flower Pokemon were part of his team, but don’t ask me why.

(Harel later replied, “Just because it is pretty.”)

#183 Marill. Rumors abounded before this Pokemon’s release that if you got Bluchu on your game pack, it would slowly release all the Pokemon in your Pokedex. Luckily, in the real world, we have a government to do this for you.

#184 Azumarill. There is nothing interesting about this Pokemon.

#185 Sudowoodo. The Fake Tree Pokemon. If Gen. II were released today, perhaps we’d have Sudodudo, the Fake Tinder Pokemon.

Don’t be confused, though: this fundraiser is totally legit.

#186 Politoed. Because “Ethically Non-monogamous Frog” exceeded the ten-character name limit. I also wonder if I kissed him, would he turn into a prince? And then if he turns into a prince, would he make a donation?

And, finally, if you’re able to contribute a few dollars, please visit GoFundMe.com/DarrenHarel to learn more or make a donation.

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