Packet 3 and Packet 4 – In the home stretch

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So, It has been a while since I have updated. Mostly because nothing has happened in a while.

I got my packet 3 back in June and I have been sitting on it for a while because I don’t want to move until the spring. I have been watching message boards for a while and it is just so frustrating to know that I can’t see how far in advance they are booking interviews… so I decided to send in my application.

It is so confusing to know exactly what to do. Here is what I did:

  1. Receive packet 3
  2. Complete the DS-160 form (this is the actual K-1 visa application)
  3. Submit it and take copies of the application and the bar code
  4. Email the consulate all the items they asked for:
    1. DS-160 confirmation page
    2. Completed and signed check list
  5. Now you wait. For me, I waited 3 business days
  6. Consulate now emails you packet 4 which is similar to packet 3… Just a link to go to the website to book your interview
  7. Go to site: https://usvisa-info.com
  8. Set up an account
  9. Then go to the immigrant visa section and it will walk you through the steps:
    1. set up your loomis location (where you will pick up the completed visa)
    2. Pay
    3. Book an appointment.

The best part? I did not have to actually book, I just logged otu at that point. Super easy! It was confusing at first because when you do the DS-160 form, you have to say you are non-immigrant… when you book your interview, you say you are an immigrant. Make up your mind government!!

Now I know… I need to wait more. Appointments only went to November.. I need Dec/January. Hopefully not too much longer. I just want to know when things are going to happen at this point!

The Purge

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I am starting to come to the realization that I am really going to have to purge my life over the next few months. I have lived in the same apartment for over seven years and I am not a hoarder, but I definitely keep things that I have little to no use for…. My place is forever cluttered. How the hell am I going to get rid of everything before I leave??

It makes me anxious to this about. I know I can sell my furniture or give it away to charity and I know I need to finally part with all the clothing I have that no longer fits and that I never wear. Why do we keep clothes we don’t fit?? It is so bizarre. Even if I ever lost weight and fit things again, I am sure I would use that as an excuse to shop. I wouldn’t creep into the back of my closet to pull out my 5-10 yr t shirts and jeans and say, “Finally, I can wear you!”. Yet, every time I think about starting the purge of clothing, I get scared. What if I need it? What if I can never find anything like this again?

Unfortunately for me, I do this with more than clothes. I do this with kitchen gadgets, make up, accessories, costumes, household goods, sporting goods… this list goes on. I think the only things I don’t collect are furniture and electronics.

Someone gave me a tip that I need to try with clothing – Turn all the hangars around backward and then when you re hang something, you can hang it the right way again. In a month, take a look at what is still hanging backward and you can consider that purgable. I like this idea, but really my hidden clothes that I never wear tend to be in my dressers. I bet I could give away everything in both of my dressers and never really notice…

I think the other thing that really worries me is timing. I procrastinate, so that is already going to be an issue for me, but when do you get rid of your stuff? Do you wait until before you leave (That is in the dead of winter for me, not the best time for a garage sale). Do you pick away at it slowly, over time?

I really wish there was a manual of how to give/throw away your life

This weekend I finally got to cleaning my storage closet out. Honestly, it was not as bad as I thought. Some things I did not even open, Just blindly threw them out… other boxes I knew I had to go through. I originally felt like I needed to sell things and try to make some money off of them, but I have changed my mind. It feels good to donate. The only thing that actually makes me upset is actual throwing out. Especially if in the back of my head, I believe someone could use it. There is still a lot of shit in my closets… but I got a start on things and I think that is most important. I have a long, long way to go though.

My biggest question is, what should I bring? Part of me wants to bring as little as possible. If I am going to start over, why not REALLY start over? Take some clothes and personal items and let the rest go. I know that won’t happen. How can I give up my vitamix? or my antique lamp? It’s all the little things I struggle with and I think that’s what makes this difficult. The furniture I would be fine losing tomorrow… but I can’t really do that until I am close to moving.. I guess I will just keep going, one week at a time until it is all (mostly) gone.

 

NOA2 – Petition Approved!

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It has been a while since I have posted on here. I think about it a lot and the I don’t… but we had good news recently – Our I-129F petition has been approved! It actually got approved a while ago.. I just forgot about writing.

What does this mean?  MORE WAITING! YAY!!

OK, seriously this is big new. Most people wait 5-6 months to get this notice. I think it is actually a little underwhelming for me because it came so quickly. I think I would have been doing a happy dance if I had waited half a year for this moment.

Nothing about our case made it move fast. It seems that the government does not just review in order and depending on where the sponsor lives, you are assigned to different service centres. Sometimes they are fast and sometimes they are slow. Ours, just happened to be fast.

After receiving this notice, I learned of a new problem. We now have four months to secure the actual visa. I was kind of planning for this to take most of the year. I booked a vacation in November, I have work that I am committed to finishing, I made a savings plan that was based on a move date in 2015.

After a lot of discussion and thought, practically it just makes sense to wait if we can. I found out that the government doesn’t seem to mind at all if you delay things. I emailed the consulate and they said we could delay up to a year as long as I write them every 3 months or so to confirm that we are still actively pursuing the visa and to keep the case open.

I struggle every day with making this decision every day though. Ever time something bad happens here, I think.. “Why am I delaying where I want to be?” I feel completely selfish for delaying the move even though it was always our plan. Even worse, I see online people all over the world impatiently waiting for their approval and needing it to happen…

I know it is the right decision… it is just sucks that it means I have 230 days still of waiting to start the rest of my life. At least it also means, I have 230 days to prepare, get rid of my belongings, say good bye, save money, and plan for the future….

 

Notice of Action 1 Received

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Short post. We submitted our petition to sponsor (I-129F) and last wee we received the first notice of action. From reading online, this means that they have our application, they sent it to the appropriate service centre and it is now waiting in some poor person’s pile of work to do.

From this point on we are in the official waiting game with nothing to do. The goal for USCIS is to complete these applications within five months (So long!!). Lately there is a lot of internet buzz that the California service centre (the one I am at) is approving applications in 4-6 weeks. I  have been thinking that this would take a long time, but there is now a possibility that things will speed up more than I imagined. It’s a little scary. I am not ready to move at all.

To pass the time, I am planning to get as informed as I can about how to move my things, and what I may want to sell off before I go. Part of me wants to get rid of everything. Part of me wants to hold on it all. When I travel I pack light. I am completely aware that things can hold you down and they cost a lot to move around, but there is this small part of me that is so nervous about losing all things that have any memory attached to them. Without these things, I feel like I am going to forget and it will just disappear. I don’t know who else has this trouble, but just sitting and waiting while thinking about this is making it so much worse.

I wish I had advice for others that are now at this point. But at least they have the application, the ball is rolling.

The Engagement – It is Official!

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I have had to wait to write this post because apparently there is protocol when announcing engagements. Who knew?? I have now informed everyone I think. Not so easy when you have friends and family across the country!

DSC02288It comes as not a huge surprise — I am engaged and officially submitted our I-129F form over Easter weekend! Tony proved that he can plan a romantic encounter and succeed. Honestly, it would have been perfect if it weren’t for me. I will tell you the romantic tale more from what I experienced, but will try to give some props to Tony and his original plan (Note: failure is extremely likely when planning surprises with instructions for people with ADD!)

On Friday, I packed and hopped a plane to Minneapolis and as normal, texted “I’m here!!” Tony responded, “meet at the usual spot”. I was so excited, I actually stopped to check myself over in a mirror and bought breath mints.. Sadly, our meeting spot is on the opposite end of the airport and all the walkways were out of order. To add to my frustration, I decided this trip I would cram all my stuff in a shoulder bag instead of a regular backpack or suitcase, so it was sliding off my arm and super heavy.

I finally got to the escalator and I made sure I was smiling (I’m known to be a little expressionless). I got to the bottom and no Tony. Then I saw.. his roommate, dressed in a black suit leaning against the wall…. I think I immediately went into a small panic at this point. It is happening. Something is going on here. His roommate takes my bag, comments how it looks kind of like a diaper bag (It really does. I guess I am old). There is a car waiting and inside is my favourite: Mexican coca cola and a Sidral Mundet, a large bottle opener, an Easter egg and a card all in a cute little east basket. The note read:

Hi Cait,

I hope you had a good flight and are ready to have a great weekend. Relax and enjoy the car ride. Once the car reaches its destination, you will have a little work. I need you to search and find all the eggs (like the example in the car) and read the note inside. I will see you when you’re finished. 🙂

P.S. Please use the basket to collect eggs and notes.

Love, Tony

The message that I actually read was: Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Waiting

Tony, waiting and looking like he is getting nervous. I don’t know if it’s because I have messed everything up or I am taking too long to get there…

At first I didn’t bother opening the egg, but luckily his roommates suggested I might want open it…  I asked if there were more eggs and they said no, just the one in the car.

I asked where we were going, and nothing… Sigh. I hate not knowing everything in advance! How am I supposed to make sure his plans go off without a hitch??

Finally, we get to the sculpture garden. I am trying to think why he would have chose here. It was one of the first places he took me on my first visit… I actually thought we were going to the art gallery. Every time we try to go there, it’s closed.

His roommates then kick me out of the car and tell me I better take my basket with me… I get that I am on some sort of an Easter egg hunt. So off I go, looking, and seeing nothing…. I feel immediately like I am doing something wrong. I am also looking for Tony, I know he is there somewhere. I think I was more fixated on knowing what was coming next than the eggs.

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The only egg I found!

I get to the garden and there are two ways to go. I chose left and that was wrong. Finally Tony comes to rescue me. I didn’t see him and he had to yell and wave before I saw where he was. I went off the path to cut across the grass to get to him. Finally we meet in front of the spoon (Kind of the landmark at this place) where he tells me I missed all the eggs. Why am I so bad at things like this??

We walk hand in hand to where the egg hunt was supposed to lead. Tony has set up a huge Easter basket with candy and new shoes and toys. For a second I forgot this was about an engagement…. Until my worst fear, Tony got down on one knee. Inside I was kind of panicking. Apparently Tony was pretty nervous too. He had a whole script planned out and didn’t follow any of it.

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Down on one knee! What a gentleman

Honestly, I don’t remember what he said. Something about we have had a lot of happy memories and he wants to spend his life with me. I am so sorry Tony, I know you said it better than that!

Finally he asked, will you marry me? and I laughed and said, “Of course!” He then tells me to turn and someone takes our picture. Again, I am thinking, “He did NOT hire a photographer!!” Turned out, I am just not observant. It was his roommate’s girlfriend.

 

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And…. the ring! It is so pretty I might just wear it 🙂

The next thing I know his roommates are on their way over, Tony is popping a bottle of champagne and I have a beautiful ring on my finger. It was over in a blur. I am happy to report no one cried. It was all smiles and laughter. We took a stroll to collect all the Easter eggs I missed. That was the best part: reading all the messages Tony put in the eggs. He had moments that I had forgotten about. Things that I never knew (like his feelings before we began dating). I am keeping those for me and him, but I can assure you; it was very thoughtful.

 

Honestly, this is more than I every wanted or expected. It’s tough in our situation. We did not have the luxury of doing things our way because we decided we wanted to live together before we decided that the fiancé visa was how we would make it happen. Even though I never wanted a big deal to be made of this, I am glad he did something. I didn’t need him to do it and I didn’t even really want him to, but I am glad he did. Reminds me that this is more than just paperwork. This is about us and what we want.

Engagement Coming Soon…. Panic, Excitement, Fear, Nerves

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One day away. It has been 60 days since I have last seen Tony. Almost exactly. It doesn’t seem like it has been that long, but it has.. And tomorrow, I will be flying down to Minnesota and visiting. Only this time, it’s different. This time, we are submitting our I-129F and officially starting the clock on me moving to the United States! Continue reading

How do we do it? Perks to an LDR

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Sometimes I fee like I am living a very non-normal life. I get questions all the time on how I do it? Most of the time, I don’t mind questions at all. Even though I hear them a lot, I assume people ask because they genuinely curious. Sometimes I think people ask because they want to know what the secret is.

All the questions I get makes me think, I am lucky to be in a long distance relationship. There is no secret to what we are doing. The pieces that really make an LDR work are the same as a non-distance relationship. Communication, trust, happiness and knowing the deal breakers. The big difference I see is that a non-LDR, you can kind of get away with a relation without these working well for a long time as long as you have distractions (lust, hobbies, kids, etc). In an LDR, you are kind of left with just the fundamentals of a good relationship. There are no distractions. If my boyfriend was an asshole, but the sex was good, I might look the other way for a while. Yes, eventually I will get fed up, but I could probably patiently hope that something will get better for months if not years. If my LDR boyfriend was an asshole, I would be fed up fast… because nothing else is distracting me from seeing his true self.

Does that make sense? In my head it does. It’s funny how long we can sit around saying, this person is perfect, except for this major element… so we sit and hope that we will deal with it, he/she will change or that something will happen to force that one piece that doesn’t fit in the puzzle. Continue reading