This week is it! We’re finally moving into our house, it’s perfect and wonderful, a lick of paint and it’ll be amazing. We have no couch so may be sitting on the floor for a while but I can deal with that. Along with the house we can finally pick up Mack and bring him home. This is everything we’ve been waiting for!
So once again my consistency has failed me. Few updates on life at the moment:
- All green card/employment paperwork was sent off, properly this time with the money, which homeland security are surprisingly very picky about. Should be hearing back about my employment authorisation some time in May, hopefully before, so I can be a regular person with employment and the ability to legally drive.
- I got a social security number, that counts for at least 3 grown up points.
- We are buying a house, the process was painful. It consisted of looking at buildings with ‘character’ shall we say, basically falling to the ground. Luckily our realtor Kim is a total bad ass, this barely 5 foot woman is my hero. She would flat out tell us, this house is a wreck, no way. Then one day she saved my soul from looking at any more wrecks and informed us that a family were going to put their house on the market but no one else knew about it yet but it was exactly where we wanted and in our price range. So we went for a viewing and BOOM that was it. I’m in love, it has everything we want and barely any problems, minimal things that we (Allen) can fix easily in some lovely Michigan Summer sunshine. I say this hopefully as spring has not fully sprung here yet, more like came for a day and gave up, however we have had several days in almost double figures, slight shock to the system.
- Finally, Allen’s favourite news, we’re getting a dog. Of course we are, we always knew we would once we had a house but it seems like Mr S can no longer wait and is already sending me links to shelters we’re going to visit. Bare in mind we don’t move for at least 4 weeks and we still need a little bit of time to organise the house. This fact however seems to have slipped Mr S’s mind and he’s convinced the minute we have the keys we’re driving to a shelter. We’ll see how that works out.
In other news I am currently having a slight break down that while I know I need a job I really have no clue of what I’m going to do. My current list includes: Glastonbury organiser, tambourine/Bez character (Brits will be the only ones to understand this reference) in a band, freelance writer, movie producer, CBGBs venue manager, own a music label or music journalist. So we’ll see how that goes in south west Michigan.
So recently I have been MIA at updating this blog, but there is a reason. After our wedding we sent off all the paperwork necessary for my employment authorisation and green card, however forgot to add the cheque so this paperwork will be rejected and now I have to wait for them to return it, adding another 3 weeks to my waiting time. I was so deflated adding more time to my ‘killing time’ period as I like to call it. With no driving licence or employment authorisation I’ve been stuck.
However, we are currently looking for houses which is exciting so hopefully by summer we can find something for our own home. We’re mainly excited about the possibility of a dog more than anything.
For the time being we’ve been having some fun weekend times, watched the Super Bowl (YES Tom Brady for that crazy game) and exploring Grand Mere State Park, even after hunting for a toilet for the first half hour for Allen to poop, it was hilarious for me.
In the mean time, I’ll be here panicking about immigration and waiting for a house.
Well the day came and went…almost 3 weeks ago, but it’s better late than never. That day, well the whole couple of weeks really is kind of a blur of being busy and meeting people. However I definitely remember being on a beach in some very cold rain for pictures in wedges and inappropriate clothes, but hell at least the pictures came out great.
So we’re back to reality, all the family have left, Allen is back to work and I’m still waiting for immigration, finally I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to be a regular grown up with a car and a job and a house, what a strange new years resolution. Hopefully this will be a big year for the new Sibarani family.
This time next week our day will be underway, with everything booked and hopefully no last minute nightmares, the only thing left to do is deal with the bedlam of our families descending on us.
So this weekend turned out to be a joyous one, I don’t know what I was expecting but each day was a joy.
Last Thursday we headed out after Allen finished work early and went to the beach in St Joseph, it was covered in snow and ice but was beautiful and incredibly fun to play on snowy sand. I also discovered my future husband was a sheepdog in a past life by the way he runs in circles on the sand. Odd. However walking around all cozy in the winter sunshine was wonderful.
Friday, we met with our wedding photographer to go over the day and I am very excited about his plans for the wedding and I’m so excited to get the pictures done. After that we hit the road and went up to Grand Rapids. We immediately went to get food, obviously, we went to BOB and had amazing sandwiches followed by a look around the art museum and a wander around. However due to the grey day I feel like we didn’t fully see GR but liked it just the same. We also got Starbucks on the way home, yes to Christmas
Saturday was a day of food and drink, obviously, it was Christmas eve after all. We had breakfast at Nikki’s, a cafe down on Main Street, with pancakes, eggs, bacon and good coffee, what more does a girl need on a Saturday morning. We then went hoe, snuggled on the couch, watched NFL and Christmas movies until we decided we must move once more. So we went for a beer in a cute bar in St J, followed by very good curry with many leftovers brought home. For future Jen and Allen, don’t order the bread basket when just the 2 of you are eating.
Christmas was an early start from an excited Allen who was awake at 5am asking to open presents. After getting up at 6, opening presents, making a fry up breakfast once again, we organised our wedding invitations we headed off to Allen’s auntie’s for the day. It was a lovely day with lots of good food, lovely people, sledging, new puppies and generally Christmassy vibes. Christmas night, back home, I discovered that Dance Central for the Xbox is not my forte however Xbox bowling is my jam.
Finally, Monday brought with it unusually warm weather. We started our day at the movies with Rogue One, which I highly recommend, especially as today it has been announced that Carrie Fisher has died, I feel happy that this new movie has kept up the high standards that her legacy has left behind. We then wandered around St J, with hot chocolate and drove around the wonder of South West Michigan in the sunshine. Not a bad day all in all.
Weekends like this make me so happy to be where I am with the person I’m with, although we’re far from family, I’m so glad we have the opportunity to be happy in this great place (the sunsets prove it’s greatness).
Tomorrow will make it 3 weeks I have been Stateside, which seems insane. It took no time at all for us to fall into a comfortable routine together. A major concern that was voiced by many was the fact we had never lived together before and now I was risking everything to just up and move to a new place. I’m happy to say that, although we do annoy each other on little things (he is terrible at washing dishes and is so weird about folding clothes a particular way) these things will never be the factors in a divorce case.
Now, with me not being able to work thanks to my visa as well as not being able to get a drivers licence, my days are pretty quiet. However with getting married in 3 and half weeks, there are enough things for me to be sorting out. Especially before both our families arrive and all hell breaks loose.
My event planning degree has helped in the fact I’m not greatly panicking about our wedding, in fact some points have even been fun. Last night we sat in bed and compiled our wedding spotify playlist. While some take this very seriously, ours ended up a 10 hour playlist including lots of 90’s RnB and the pokemon theme song. It’s safe to say that it may need to be edited before the big day. I’ll put it on one of the many to do lists.
So with Christmas upon us, consisting of a weekend of brownie making, new family visiting and cozy blanket days, it’s starting to sink in how far we are from friends and family. Now although this obviously makes me sad, it’s also nice to know that when we see each other in a few weeks it’ll be even more special.
So here I am… Michigan has welcomed me with open arms, as well as snow and Christmas trees. Things are getting set up slowly but surely, although I still have nowhere to put my clothes thanks to Allen’s mountain of old t-shirts. However so far, so good with no hitches. Next up, phones, banks and driving licences to organise, oh the joy.
So it’s a Saturday, however after this week it seems so different.
Going through this process of gaining my visa, I was determined to record each stage as it came, however, thanks to many external influences, it took much longer than anticipated. Whether this was the ludicrous hoops I was forced to jump through in Singapore to get a police certificate, or the 6 week wait for my embassy interview thanks to a presidential election that humanity will be talking about for the next few centuries I am sure, it was long.
However, the end came nigh when on Thursday November 10th I sat in a large room in the US embassy in London, surrounded by what I imagine was a slightly larger security crew than usual, thanks to the previous couple of days. I sat for 3 hours after I had submitted all of the required documentation, significantly less than I was prepared for, waiting for my number I918 to be called for the dreaded interview. However, as I headed back as one of only 4 people left waiting in the embassy, I was stood at a window with a very friendly American woman who asked me 2 simple questions, ‘Where did you guys meet? Oh Singapore? That sounds amazing’. After 3 minutes of conversation, maybe less, I was handed back my documentation with a ‘Thankyou, that’s you done’.
After these 9 months of worrying and waiting, it happened, with no parade or musical interval, I was told I could pick up my documents in 2 weeks and I could be off. Just like that. So my flight is booked and I’m in the process of trying to figure how to haul what little of my belongings I have left with me.
So America, with new president and all, here I come on December 2nd.
Some significant moments are so quiet and understated they can be seen as insignificant. Our case for my US Visa reached the US Embassy in London. The letter arrived today, with no exclamation marks or flashy headings, just a simple letter outlining it was now waiting at the embassy.
When in reality this is the day I have been dreaming of since the first week of April when we sent off our petition application. The wait is now in my hands, as fast as I can gather the mountains of paperwork and official copies and passport pictures of different creeds and varieties, I can get my medical completed in London, which leads to the all important interview being booked (remind me to buy sensible shoes to look like a grown up).
Today for the first time I can see the end in sight, well, the end and the beginning at the same time. Now the most important step…to think of all the people to mention in the obligitory facebook status essay that must happen to inform the near-strangers from school and nights out past of my movements in the world.