There are two kinds of immigrants: the ones who don’t look back, and the ones who spend their lives looking back. Miguel Macias has been both over the course of his life. 

Limbo follows the story of Miguel’s migration journey after moving to the United States from Spain in 2001, when he was 25 years old. As we learn about the struggles that come with remaining connected to the homeland, and the life-long dilemma of whether to return one day, Limbo dives into the ways in which migration and depression interlock. 

The story starts in 2012. That’s when Miguel started taping interviews with friends in Spain for a documentary about the 2008 economic crisis and its aftermath. Slowly, the interviews started to turn more personal, and became a way for Miguel and his friends to know each other better. And a question continued to come up time and time again: Will Miguel ever come back to Spain? 

This seemingly simple question launches us into a journey that spans over 30 years, from the moment Miguel visited the United States for the first time in 1991, through the moment in 2001 when he decided to move to the U.S., and across the many changes in Miguel’s life over his two decades in this country, which shape this deeply emotional personal story.

Limbo is a sound-rich memoir that touches on universal themes, such as the need to belong to a place in the world, the difficulties of keeping ties with the place where you grew up in, the many ways our family relations shape our lives, and above all: the eternal chase for happiness many of us are engaged in. Limbo is a love story, a story about belonging, purpose, achievement, and about the things that matter in life.

Featured image courtesy of Miguel Macias. 

Find the Spanish transcript of “Limbo” here

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5 thoughts on “Limbo

  1. ¡Uf, Miguel! Gracias por publicar esto. Yo también soy de Sevilla, una inmigrante privilegiada con un porrón de años en EEUU y una vida entera con depresión, y me siento dividida entre dos mundos. Siempre he pensado que volvería a España definitivamente, y busco un lugar para mudarme con mi marido desde hace un par de décadas. Pero por más que busque nunca encuentro. No sé si es por la certeza de que volver a España no cambiará nada y el temor de que ya no me quede ninguna esperanza con la que seguir tirando. Los detalles de tu historia son muy diferentes, pero me ha dado la impresión de conocerte como si fueras un amigo de toda la vida. Muchísima suerte con todo.

  2. Hello
    My name is Tomás Esparza
    I’m from Mexico City. I came to Michigan USA in 1985. I like your Miguel Macias story
    I left Mexico because I met my now ex wife Bonnie- She’s From Grand Rapids Michigan- in Mexico while she was visiting on Christmas of 1984. After a few month calling each other over the telephone she returned to Mexico on April of 1985. That’s the time we both agreed to be together and I left Mexico to live In Grand Rapids Mi.
    My father was not happy about me leaving, my mother was happy I did.
    I think I’ve been a successful Mexican living in USA. I’ve a good job at a local manufacturing- Steelcase – I’m at for 35 years now. I’ve a beautiful daughter and a beautiful and wonderful granddaughter
    My daughter is an ultrasound tech
    I divorced Bonnie after 17 years. We grew apart from each other. Now I’m in a real loving relationship for the last 13 years.
    Now after my divorce I’ve been a local blues musician with a successful Blues Band. I perform all across West Michigan and from time to time we go to the east part of the state.
    There has been times when I’ve thought about going back to live in Mexico.
    After my divorce as Miguel mentions in his story I felt lost – not depressed- and didn’t know if I belong I’m an American citizen since 2000 by the way and I did not came to USA illegally
    I always call my family and I’ve visit them once or twice during the year. When CV19 hit I’ve not been back to Mexico. This summer finally I will go visit my family

    It’s not easy being an outsider because no matter how “ Americanized “ you’re, we still are and outsider ! Specially now in this atmosphere of divided country
    I never felt insecure until the last few years, since the Trump administration

    I’ve realized for some time ago I can fit again in Mexico as Miguel mentioned I work in a company where we are on the go all the time. And being in a band you’ve to be in constant go to obtain the gigs and engagements to keep the band working at a steady pace.
    My friends are here and all my love ones as well. When I’m Mexico I feel just an outsider as when I’m in USA.
    What anchor me per say here in USA is not my personal success is the love of my Girlfriend and my daughter and granddaughter and there successfully lives

    Happiness is a momentary time in life in which we are constantly searching for happiness
    Yet the struggle or search for happiness is part of our humanity. Life is happiness and happiness is Life.
    Blues talks about struggles and the quest for happiness
    That’s why I love singing blues music and Mexican music is a form of blues
    Thank you


    Tomas Esparza

  3. Gracias por compartirnos tu historia, Miguel. ¡Qué bueno escucharte! Hacés falta en Brooklyn College.

  4. Miguel, acabo de escuchar Limbo y me ha emocionado muchísimo. Yo también soy de Sevilla y viví en Nueva York entre 2010 y 2019. Ahora estoy viviendo en Madrid. Lo que cuentas me ha resonado mucho. Enhorabuena y gracias por compartir tu historia

  5. Pero… qué profundo, Miguel Macias! So many universal feelings touched on, so many personal revelations shared, so so so many immigrant realities articulated better than ever– splendidly done! Hope to hear this all in Spanish one day; este tipo de contenido es muy importante haber en español, también!

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