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.