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Carmen Marie Mullen

Memorial for Carmen Marie Mullen

Born in Cebu, Phillippines on Sep. 23, 1975
Departed on Dec. 6, 2009 and resided in Leander, TX.
Visitation: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Service: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009
12 pm
Cemetery: Assumption Cemetery
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Carmen Marie (Marichu) Muller, lovingly known as Carmie, Pumpkin and Freckle, was born on September 23, 1975 in Cebu, Philippines. Three and one-half months later she was adopted by Ed and Mary Mullen and came to live in Guam with her new parents and brothers Sean (8) and Richard (6).

The family moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1976 where Carmen spent her next four years becoming a little "Aussie" with accent and all. Her favorite time of the year was when the family would leave the comfortable suburbs of Melbourne and camp for three weeks on the Murray River in New South Wales. There she would play on the beach or swim (usually naked) with her little Australian friend who was as white as Carmen was dark. We all called them "Salt" and "Pepper".

In 1980, Carmen moved with the family to the United States where she settled in the suburb of Cleveland, Ohio near her adoptive Aunt Jan and Uncle Bob and cousins Zachary and Margot. There she started elementary school and proudly took her oath of allegiance as an American citizen. After than, when people were curious about her background, she would give them a stern look and say, "I'm an American".

After a year in kindergarten and first grade, she and the family moved to Kenya, East Africa, where she attended the International School of Kenya from grades two through seven. Kenya became her home, and still is at times, because it was the longest place she had lived and because she felt comfortable among the 38 other nationalities who attended her school. Her passion was camping in the big game parks where she could hear lions roaring as she laid in her cot at night or where she could roam the park in search of game while driving our VW kombi van. (She was a good little driver at 10-12 years). I never told her that the black mamba snake that entered our tent (while we were gone on a game drive; not sleeping with us) was under her cot and, not mine, as I told her.

During her years in Kenya, her brother, Sean, stayed behind at a boarding school in Massachusetts; joining her three times each year. Two years later her brother, Richard, would join Sean at boarding school and Carmen would look forward to their visits. The summer visit was the longest and the best because the family would camp at the game parks and rent a cottage at the coast near Mombasa. Carmen was always ready to camp or swim.

After six years in Kenya, the family moved to Beaumont, Texas where she enrolled in an American middle school, and for the first time in her life, confronted racial prejudice. Since it was a racially mixed school, the other students expected her to declare herself by asking her, "Are you Black or are you White?" But she was just Carmen.

A year of that was enough. By grade nine, she was in a boarding school in Massachusetts where her two closest friends were from the African nations of Lesotho and Swaziland. She was very happy to be reconnected to Africa; however, her friends returned home after one year and things were never the same after that. By the spring of her sophomore year we brought her home where she enrolled at Anderson High School in Austin. During her first year at boarding school, her family moved from Beaumont to Austin.

After high school, Carmen decided to go to work rather than to college. Like many high school students, she was not happy socially, and believed college would be much the same. However, after four years of low paying jobs, she completed four years of study at Austin Community College and Texas State University, graduating at 27 with a degree of International Studies. Her dream was to live and work overseas, but she started working locally at whatever she could find. For the past seven years that usually meant working in the area where she had the most marketable skills; that is, office work. She always started out as the receptionist, but finished as the manager of the office. She had a strong work ethic [at least at work :)], could multi-task and could manage people.

During her college and working years, she made many friends and looked forward to her weekends when she could get together with her friends to listen to a band, play poker, dance, go to a movie or, when there was more time, camp and travel. Traveling was in her blood, and she took every opportunity to travel when time and money allowed. Thirteen months ago, when the economy was at its lowest, the vacation time-share company she worked for went out of business, Carmen went home to her parents until she could find work again. It was during that time the diabetes that she had been living with for the past sixteen years destroyed her kidneys. But she played a big role in managing her own condition, and was recovering with the help of thrice weekly dialysis treatments and the offer of a kidney from her stepmother, Lina.

Carmen didn't allow her diabetes to stop her. Over the past six months, she and her boyfriend, Chris, drove to Colorado in her Mazda Miata (her dream car) to visit her brother Richard and his wife Barbara, and their son, George. In October she flew to Portland, Oregon to visit her best friend from Kenya, Sharifa Roach, and, only two weeks ago, she flew with her parents to visit her brother, Sean, and his wife Lara, and their children Jonathan and Andrew, in Cleveland. She was also making plans to visit her mother, Mary, in Washington, DC.

Recently, she seemed driven to visit family and friends, despite her health, and had been talking about how important her family was to her and how we need to have a family reunion, soon. Carmen, you had your wish.

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