(Quick heads up - I double posted today. Thought I´d warn you all, since it is unusual for me and I don´t want you to miss anything...)
21 days from now I will be in Rochester!! For my first visit home since moving here this past December! I am obviously very excited!
I had not anticipated being able to make a visit home for quite some time, considering our tight budget and all. But a couple of weeks ago, my parents informed me that my dad has enough frequent flyer miles for a free ticket home. Yes, just one - I will be coming alone this trip. But my parents want to gift us with a trip up once the baby is born, for the 3 of us, so that we can introduce our little one to everyone back home. So I´ll be headed up again sometime next winter. All very exciting :)
I´ve been waiting to post about the trip until we settled on some dates. At first it was anytime between now and early August (when I will be too pregnant to make such a trip - airlines actually don´t allow people in their last month or month and a half to get on the plane.). Then we narrowed it down to either mid June or mid July, to work around family plans here and there. Then it looked like we would have a hard time using the free miles in July, and so mid June it would be.
THEN...My husband and I went to immigration on Friday to work on getting all my papers in order for continuing to live here. I currently just have a tourist visa, good for 180 days. Meaning it expires June 7th. So we started asking what we needed to do and working on all the paperwork back in April. Then we didn´t have a car for 2 weeks, and so couldn´t get any errands, etc, done. We got the car back last Tuesday, got the pictures I needed taken done on Wednesday, my love went in Thursday to ask the immigration folks about a couple things we weren´t sure about, and we headed in Friday thinking we had everything in order and ready to go.
Only to have the very immpatient and somewhat annoyed official suddenly start telling us that there are 2 types of visas from which we need to choose, involving different costs, different restrictions, and different outcomes (like the possibility of one day being a permanent resident or citizen here). She explained all of this very quickly, neither of us could quite keep up, forget making a good decision. And to top it off she informed us that we had forgotten one of the papers we needed, and if we didn´t make it back with it same day, it could stall things for 10 days.
Let me just say that one pregnant woman left that office crying.
Well, between the Dr´s appointment we had that morning, my beloved needing to work, and the short hours of the immigration office (they close at 1pm), we weren´t making it back same day. I where before I was slightly nervous about getting all the paperwork done before my trip home, now I was panicked. I begged my family to get some people praying for favor when we took the ´missing´paper in on Monday, as well as asking my Pastor and his wife here to pray. And I worked hard and trusting the Lord and not completely freaking out. I reminded myself that if the Lord could open the door for a trip, He could open the doors for the paperwork as well.
All thanks to the Lord, it turns out there is a very simple, straightfoward process for getting temporary paperwork that will allow me to make my trip, with only a relatively small fee of about $25. So, God willing, I will be in Rochester from June 10th to 25th!
(Umm, I don´t suppose Otrgirl/Jrex, Val, or Becca, or any other out of town friends were planning on stopping in Rochester for those dates...? Just checking....)
At first I was a little hesitant about leaving my husband for very long - we are newlyweds after all, and this will be our first time apart. Plus, he´s gonna have to move home with his mother or something while I am gone, because the man does not cook. But he really wants me to make the most of the opportunity, and it was he who encouraged me to go for at least a week, if not 2. And now my mind is quickly filling the 2 weeks up with all the people I want to see and things I want to do :)
As for the confusion of immigration - please pray. For reasons we do not understand, the immigration office went ahead and started the process for my visa despite missing that one paper and payment, and despite the fact that we never actually determined which we wanted. Of course, they started the paperwork for the other visa, the one we don´t want. So now we have to decide whether to enter into a complicated process of stopping the one and switching to the other, involving re-doing everything.....or going with the flow and waiting till next time around to get the one that puts me on a path to citizenship.
But, at least the door is open for the trip back to Rochester. You all better start blocking out some free time for me ;)