Hannah Weyer (HW): What have you and Artemio been doing together and separately to make ends meet since La Boda aired last summer?
Elizabeth Luis de Guerrero (ELG): We have both held a bunch of different jobs. For a while Artemio couldn’t work. He was waiting for his work permit. It was hard on him because he’s always worked and he felt like a prisoner in the house. I worked at a bra factory and then got a job as a bus monitor working with migrant kids. But then, when my mom asked if we wanted to go with the family to California, I decided it would be best because we’d both have work. Last year in California, Artemio worked in the bell peppers, cotton and then the grapes. I worked at the day care center on the migrant camp and then in the grapes with my husband when the day care center closed.
This December (2000) Artemio got work through his cousin in construction. I stayed in Mission and he went to Dallas to work. We were separated for almost 6 months. The reason I had to stay in Mission was for money reasons. Artmenio lived with his cousin and worked to save money but, because he missed me and I missed him, we ended up spending a lot of money on bus transportation and phone calls. He wanted to save money to rent us an apartment but we bought a used car instead. Now we’re headed back to California because we decided we could both be together, both be working and be able to rent a house on the labor camp.
HW: How is your marriage going? Is married life what you expected? Is it harder or easier?
ELG: Married life with Artemio is easier than I expected because Artemio helps me a lot and understands me. We have good communication a nd we joke a lot, laugh a lot and we love each other and that’s why we’re happy. Even when we’re short on money, we don’t let this get us down. I believe in him and he believes in me and that’s how come we trust each other to be apart. I wasn’t expecting to be short on money, but if you’re short on money, you just have to keep going and figure it out. I learned to be patient and not think too much on having a good brand name clothes or things for the house. What I have learned is to just live the life that is before me.
HW: What are some of your hopes for the future, both as an individual and as a married couple?
ELG: Artemio and me, we want to have kids some day but not right now. We waited two years and a half for him to get a car and his driver’s license that he didn’t have. Having a car gives Artemio more options for work and that could make things better for when we have kids. But that’s for later. Right now the goals that we had we got through — Artemio got his papers fixed and he got his driver’s license — and we’re happy for that. Right now we’re just planning on going to California to work this season. We’ll keep migrating until he gets a good job in one location.
HW: Has participating in the making of La Boda changed your life or outlook in any way?
ELG: I think, yes. Back when the movie first came out, I used to think that it didn’t. But now, on watching myself and my family and how I was raised on TV, it makes me want to plan my family and on wanting my children to know more about what I didn’t know then and don’t know now. Especially educating them in one school and not migrating. Also in making the movie, me and Artemio want to keep making movies like this or making movies that are fiction, not just real life. We enjoyed being in a documentary. I was surprised by people recognizing me, coming up to me at the mall or the grocery store, and they say, “Weren’t you on a TV show of a wedding?” and I smile and say “yes it’s me.” It makes me feel proud of what I did and I feel unique to have shared my culture and for people to recognize me, like they would a big movie actor. To think they would only recognize big famous people but then they are noticing me. That makes me feel good.
HW: Are you still traveling the same route annually for work? How are things different?
ELG: We’re going back to the same camp that I lived on when I was growing up but, when we live in the camp, Artemio and I rent our own house. Now we’re not going to be riding with my parents in the van because we have our own car. But I don’t want to do this forever. We’re waiting for Artemio to get a job in one place. Now that Artemio is very interested in learning English, he could better himself and his job opportunity. One thing he wants to do is take English classes at night school in California or study at home some English language video cassettes and books. Since we were apart for close to six months when he was in Dallas, now I just want to be with him even if I have to work in the fields and be his partner.
HG: Tell me little something about what is going on with your family?
ELG: My father is taking English language classes in night school to improve his English. Junior, my younger brother, just graduated from South Texas Community College in Drafting and Computers. Patricia graduated from high school last year and Liliana and Yesenia are in high school and doing well.
HW: Have there been any significant events or changes in your lives since the making of the film?
ELG: There haven’t been and significant changes since the making of the film. Only that I think more on how money is not life. Life is how you live it. That money, it’s not everything nor is brand name clothes. Money is not everything as long as you’re together with your partner, trusting and loving each other.