Welcome to the United States

rita There’s no shortage of movies and television shows perpetuating the myth of ‘marrying for a greencard’ in the United States. But what happens when you actually meet, fall in love with, and marry an American citizen? The answer is far more complicated and less glamorous than popular culture likes to portray.

The reality for us is a 3 year journey of financial and emotional challenges that we are happy to see the end of.  The first year of our marriage was spent in different countries and after some invasive screening (in more than one way), a conditional visa was granted for a period of 2 years. The burden to prove a ‘bona-fide’ marriage then fell to us after the initial request to waive conditions was rejected.
The indicators of a real marriage as outlined to me  seemed to be tilted towards a certain class of living and by showing your pursuit of ‘the american dream’, one finds a stronger audience (in my opinion). But I digress.  IMG_20150929_152020_803

I am feeling very fortunate that I did not need to go through an appeal process or to be deported for any length of time. The fact is that we are in a legitimate marriage and we have finally found the end of trying to prove it is a huge weight lifted. I am officially a ‘lawful permanent resident of the United States’!

In about a year’s time, and any time after that before my greencard is up for renewal, I have the option to take the naturalization test and apply for citizenship. I will cross that bridge when I get there, if it seems like the right thing for me to do.

Suffice it to say I am thrilled to be a legal and lawful permanent resident, where in the years of long distance courtship, long distance marriage, and constant concern about the stream of documentation being sent to USCIS , are at an end.  We have a decade ahead of us where we may work together towards our goals in marriage, family, and life without this added pressure.

With all of this work towards being allowed to live and work in the United States, I have not been without concern and longing for the people and family at home. I’ve not been home since Christmas of last year and I am due for a visit.

When the culture shock of American society is thick, I find myself a little more homesick than most days. This is also true when family or friends fall ill, are in need, or when I skype with my young niece and feel selfish for choosing a life at a distance.

I find myself ready to celebrate my new status and, while slow to make friendships in Texas, I am extending myself to those whose acquaintance I value to celebrate with me.  While it may seem like ‘small potatoes’ to some, this is a very big deal for me; It concludes a big decision I made about my life quite some time ago and signifies a new chapter and an ongoing adventure.

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