Friday, July 22, 2016

2 Months to Mayhem

When I think of September 23rd, 2016.. a wave of emotions sweep over me. Excitement, anxiety, fear of unknowns, and love all overwhelm me simultaneously.

And it's no wonder why- that day will mark my future for the rest of time. I leave behind my single life, my single goals, and enter a long lasting, permanent relationship with my one true love.

Planning this day has been stressful, frustrating, enjoyable, rewarding, and surreal. And yes, something can be both enjoyable and stressful. Remember when I ranted about big weddings and my opposition to pompous celebrations? I stand by that. Thanks to keeping my event simple and classic, with the help of a ton of friends, my stress levels have virtually disappeared. Every week I accomplish two or three things, and prepare for the week ahead.

If it wasn't for my amazing supportive friends, I'm not sure how I would have handled this entire journey on my own. Of course, I have the unending support of my fiance, but with his address being in another continent, the bulk of the legwork has to be done in the place where I live. Nonetheless, I've seen how through the months little details have begun to come together.

My invitations go out this week and the next, a labor of love.. And soon I will start finalizing accommodations for our friends and family travelling from afar to attend our wedding.

And once mid September rolls around, it will be a blur of craziness I look forward to with pleasure.

The K1 Journey- Part II

I have to admit.. I haven't been as regular in tracking this journey on my blog as I had originally intended. The responsibilities of life, however, a planning a wedding with a groom 6,000 miles away can be incredibly time consuming. Who would've thought?

In any case, I am happy to report that my fiance will have his interview at the consulate August 1st, 2016. I'm confident things will go smoothly.. after all we've checked our t's and dotted our i's. After the first mountain of paperwork I sent, the second batch was a lot less complicated to gather. It included a written statement from a bank officer detailing how much I have in my bank accounts, as well as other financial evidence of support.. Because I'm a contractor, that meant for me sending copies of my tax return, checks and bank statements, and of course- more love letters and proof of relationship.

I enjoyed that phase... writing cute little notes and attaching photos of what I've been up to in my nook of the world made me feel like my relationship transported to the early 1900s. Surely, a long distance relationship would have been a lot more complicated back then. Before the instant world of messaging, skype, FaceTime, snapchat.. etc, merely sending a few words through mail must have been a feat. Alas, receiving a letter today is just as exciting as it was back then, now that it's more of a rarity.

So we're less than two weeks away from the day that decides it all. And I have to say, if you follow the steps carefully (and I strongly recommend Visa Journey website as well, link in previous K1 Journey post) it's not complicated. Careful reading, double checking all the information is filled out and providing ample evidence are key.

After my fiance's interview, I'll write my final blog post on this K1 Journey.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Journey of Growth

Everyone (who has a shred of a functioning brain) alive today can concur on one thing: Nobody's perfect. But.. yet.. when we are placed face to face with one of our own ugly imperfections, it's like we're instantly blind!

Why is it so hard to hear our own faults hashed out but yet simultaneously so easy to pick apart everyone else's around us? I mean, we get legitimately heated when we're wronged-we're even capable of rationalizing the why and how of people's actions,what childhood they must have had, and all of a sudden we're Sigmund Freud over here.

It's like sitting on a couch, watching a show about home improvement while your own house is being consumed with termites.

Wouldn't it be easier if we used that amazing capability to analyze ourselves? If only we could do that, without getting distracted by everyone else's shortcomings. It's like I walk around thinking I'm a twinkie and everyone loves me. (The Twinkie of old, the original Hostess twinkie, not the shrunken, less calorie, sad cake of now.) Deep in my psyche, I know I'm imperfect and have flaws but, man! I'm so glad I'm not as headstrong as so and so over there. No wait, that's not where I was going with this.

The point is, personal growth is seriously deterred when we keep turning the mirror around and using it to blind people with sun-rays of truth. Instead, when we find ourselves pulling out a magnifying glass and tweezers, we need to STOP, offer the same allowances (namely, the same convenient blindness) for other's shortcomings,

and remember: we're no deep fried Twinkie.

Your liver and friends will thank you in the years to come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The K1 Journey - Part I

Some words of advice: If at all possible, try to avoid falling in love with someone who lives farther than 500 miles from you. 500 miles is still driveable, a short flight away, and chances are the laws and regulations are not too much different from yours. 

On a hot summer day in August, I met a guy.. who somehow without my permission found the handle to my heart and picked it until he opened it, and occupied every available space. Without going too mushy here, we decided to get married- at some point later this year. But of course, there's one, small, little detail. 

He's in Argentina. And I'm here in glorious New England. 

So, after weighing out our options and hearing truckloads of horror stories, we decided to apply for the K1 visa. All of you who have found international love, and know the plights of long distance relationships, can relate to the intricacies, specifics, and minutia of filling out the insurmountable paperwork. 

These K1 Journey posts will document our odyssey to ultimately having this visa approved and my future husband living here, in the US.

It's like a scrapbook project, except, if you get a failing grade, you lose the chance of being married to the love of your life, in your country and surrounded by friends and family. So yeah, no pressure.

A friend of a friend offered guidance and help during this stressful and nerve-wrecking process, and she showed me this very useful tool, which I will now pass on to those of you who may be in a similar scenario. It's the Step by Step visa journey site, which guides you literally as the name implies to properly fill out and conquer this task. 

For the link, click here.

It took me about a month to gather all the necessary information, copies of letters, photographs, plane tickets, passports.. And as a side effect..made me nostalgic to think how our lives collided, and how close we were to having not met each other at all. 

Anyway, today I marched into Staples, with the application and supporting documents in hand, and made painstaking copies of everything, for my fiance and for myself.

Then, I heroically arrived at the Post Office, gigantic pile of papers in hand, and sent that baby on its way. Not before realizing that I had left the single most important thing on the copier, at Staples. The check. I drove back like a civil maniac, retained said check, and then retook the mailing portion of the journey.

I hope and pray whomever opens it up on the other side has a good sense of humor (I know, I'm asking for a lot), and is at once impressed and annoyed by the ridiculous amount of photographs and proof that we are indeed, a legitimate couple. I decided to document this journey for various reasons. One, it's going to be interesting for sure, and I think some of you may get a kick out of it. Two, there will probably be moments where I do something wrong and get annoyed or irritated and will have to rant about it, and inversely, receive some support, and three, if it helps another couple out on this very same journey, than that's reason enough for me. :) You may have heard lots of horror stories. So I offer my journey, from the very beginning, and in contrast hope it's a happy ending! 

The package is due to arrive Friday, and this is the first phase of documentation, the I129-F, along with a G325 filled from both of us. 

Soon I should receive a notification that they have received my documents are in the reviewing process. Stay tuned for Part II! 

Nina vs Wedding Ideals

If you're reading this, I have to thank you. I haven't been a regular blogger, and the theme and style of this here blog has run the gamut from being obnoxious and snarky to introspective and gloomy. I guess that's what happens when you start blogging at 19 and keep up ( in the loosest meaning of the term) blogging at age 25. 

Irregardless (it's actually a word now..) despite popular belief, about a month ago, a very wonderful and special man asked me to be his wife. As I type those words, they still feel unreal. Yours truly, the snarky horse, the people observer and explorer of worlds, is settling down. That doesn't mean I have to do it without a fight, of course. And we all know how keen I am at being against something.

Lucky for me, as soon as that ring was placed on my ring finger, an entire universe of things to be against blossomed into a lush garden.  The question was inevitably asked, at least three hundred sixty two million times. "When's the wedding?" And subsequently, "What colors are you choosing?" and then, "Have you started planning yet?". 

I'm a girl, so the answer is "Oh, just about since I was 5." 

However, this girl grew up and became a woman, in a country dragging out of a recession and working part time. And after sitting at my share of wedded bliss receptions and ceremonies, I decided (surprise!) I don't want a traditional wedding. And no, it's not because I'm a hipster and decided to rent an airplane hanger where I hire indie bands as entertainment to strum shoe box guitars and cry into a tuba. I'm also not about having kegs as chairs and stalks of corn as centerpieces just to be "different".. 

It's because I cringe at the amount of money that people willingly pour into a wedding. And I already have an added layer of complexity thanks to having a fiance in South America.

Tell me, why do you have to have 500 people at your reception? Ten years from now, will you even still be around these people? Will you still even live in the same area? And why does everyone have to be fed a 50 course meal by a posh set of hands? I just don't get it. The average bride & groom drop a nice 25-30 G's on a wedding. That's enough for a lovely down payment for a home, or to feed a number of villages in East Africa. 

Anyway- to each their own, right? If you want to spend a fortune on a few hours, it's your world. I just never heard anyone say, "Wow, remember Angie's wedding 20 years ago? That five layer cake was delicious!" 

Maybe I just don't hang in those circles, which is fine by me. 

I happen to see something lovely in the simple union of two people who love each other, and may not have a lot to impress hoards of strangers, but have two key ingredients: a lot of love and creativity, and the mutual understanding that an entire future of days is waiting to be lived together, bound by love and an absence of wedding day debt.

Sure, a wedding day should be special, and it should be a marked occasion, a day different from the rest. But it's also at the end of such day, simply the beginning. And despite the entire industry targeted at making me feel bad if I can't afford $500,000 worth of flowers- I will refuse to conform to those ideals. 

I will, however, finagle, bargain, and DIY until I die.