My stomach was in knots all morning as I waited for my appointment with the immigration lawyer. Dan and I carefully prepared every document down to the very last detail. We had copies of passports, birth certificates, emails, letters, photographs, cards from loved ones, tax forms - you name it, I was ready with it all this morning.
"There is nothing to be nervous about," Dan kept telling me in his ever-calm and logical tone, "They are working for us."
Us. Yes. Working for us. That's right. WE are paying THEM. Our dollar is just as good there as it is anywhere else. By the time I arrived at the office of my newly appointed lawyer, I felt confident and ready to hand her any and every document she asked for. Names of family members? Got it. History and proof of you as a couple? No problemo. Criminal history? None. Nada. Zilch.
"Now, we cannot guarantee that this will be a successful process as that is left in the hands of the government, but from what I can tell so far, this is going to be a pretty straightforward case," the lawyer told me while she swiped the credit card.
"Great," I replied, relieved and at ease, " I was so nervous you wouldn't say that."
Paperwork was filled out. Questions answered. Contracts signed. As I realized that we were getting close to the end of the session, I quickly opened up my notebook that contained some carefully prepared questions.
"I do have one question," I interjected.
The lawyer looked up at me as I had distracted her from writing.
"If he were to come and visit me in August, would this be a problem?"
Before I had even finished my sentence, I realized that she was slowly shaking her head. Why was she shaking her head? Uh oh. Not a good sign.
"Uhm - I actually very strongly advise against that, " she replied, "If he were to visit here on a tourist visa being engaged to an American, that would send up some red flags at customs and they would almost definitely send him back on the next plane out of America."
Uhhh....what? Como? Comment? Repetez s'il vous plait? No - this was definitely not good. Images of us doing wedding planning and having picnics at the Rose Garden on warm Oregon summer nights flashed through my head. No. No. NO!
"Uhm, so, are we not supposed to see each other for 8 months?" I managed to utter while simultaneously clenching my teeth, fighting back the tears that I knew were packing their bags for an extended vacation on my face.
"Well, I know it is not what you wanted to hear, but I strongly advise against it. You can visit him, but he cannot come here."
The last few minutes of our meeting was a montage of the lawyer telling me the next steps of the immigration process with me nodding on the outside but trying to keep my shit together on the inside. As soon as I left the office I called Dan. As is often the case with me and news I hate, I started crying before I could even tell him.
"You can't come to America until we have the visa," I managed to blurt out.
"What?" he said. Gee - I wonder why he couldn't understand me. I repeated the message.
He heard it this time.
As is usually the case with this amazing, diplomatic, wise and undeniably logical man that I have fallen in love with, he had a great attitude about it.
"Okay, so we make a new plan now, " he said. God I love him and his ability to rationally cope, unlike myself who so quickly feels the walls of the world crumbling around me. "This is going to be okay."
As Dan and I ended our conversation, I felt calmed by his confident and assured manner. Going back to my desk at work I was left with an hour and a half to get worked back up again, which I did - ever so grandly. (Thanks pooks)
It is now 7:37pm and I am sitting on my porch, drinking a glass of pinot gris and mulling over the advice I have received from friends and family in the last few hours. No, this is not what we wanted. Not by a long-shot. But, it is what it is. We have to follow the rules. We have to play the game. Nothing in my life has ever been more important to me or more worth my time. We will take this day, and tomorrow, and the next like we have every other - one day at a time. This is yet another example of how life sometimes has other plans and how we must adapt, conform and head back to the drawing table. With that said, I am still not happy about it, but I have no other choice but to keep moving forward.
In the words of one of my favorite heroines, Scarlett O'Hara, "And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all...tomorrow is another day."