First, let me start by saying this isn’t an entry on Katrina. It should be — like Michelle I’ve been something of a disaster slut. And on a more personal note, I’ve been following a friend as she updates via email her husband’s work for FEMA in Mississippi. I admire the work he’s doing and the sacrifices both of them are making for the the good of others. 🙂 I’m also following notes from the front of professors from LSU and Tulane as they use our academic listserve to try and make sense of the devastation and loss.
But you see, this week is an excellent example of the local overriding the global. I’m worried and stressed because Thursday Paul and I have an appointment at the USCIS (formerly known as the INS) where we need to prove we’re really married and that the last 8 months hasn’t been some sort of green card scam. (The card, by the way, isn’t actually green (it’s pink), but that’s another story.)
On the advice of our attorney, who thankfully will be attending Thursday’s interview with us, we’ve had to put together a wedding album, add Paul to the car title, prove we have joint checking, that we’re both listed on car insurance and the like. There’s a big pile of paper giving evidence of our relationship.
Now, the sane part of me knows that we shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Though we had a somewhat hastily arranged courthouse wedding, the marriage is the result of an over 7 year relationship with numerous visits back and forth. There’s very little about either of us that the other doesn’t know. But that said, this is very stressful for a number of reasons, mostly that the stakes are so high. If it goes badly Paul can’t stay in the US. So neither can I.
What’s hardest for me is that this has taken 9 months — it took 6 just to get his work permit. By contrast, I watched a friend get her fiance visa to move to the UK in a matter of about 5 hours from the Brentwood consulate. Now I know the US is a bigger country, but this is just ridiculous. What bothers me, among other things, is that I feel very naive. I’m a 4th and 6th generation US citizen and have little experience with this soul-less and inefficient agency. What strikes me as especially horrible is trying to imagine what it would be like to do this without a lawyer, without a post-grad education, without English as our first languages and / or if Paul came from a country that isn’t our "closest ally".
It’s going to be okay. (This is my mantra.) And at least I’ll have finally made a wedding album.