I feared marriage would take that which what was once a continuous choice to be together and diamond-ring it into an obligation. After all, too often those we love the most we take for granted the most. Being together as boyfriend and girlfriend seemed a more deliberate, thoughtful approach to a long-term relationship than letting tax filing and health care eligibility incarcerate Camelot by gettin’ hitched. But immigration demanded we put a ring on it and so, quite honestly, did some hard-to-define romantic notion we shared. JD and I were wed –beautifully, wonderfully – after 12 happy unofficial years togeth-o under our belt. That marriage license has proved its weight in gold in paragliding JD o’er the border. Progressive as we Americans may seem as the first world leader, we’re really not. Those dozen years spent in love and in dedicated relationship held a twig to the boy scout campfire one piece of marriage license paper wielded.
Turns out, I’m happy to be married to my forever-love. I’m happier that my forever-love is coming in less than a week. Less than six days, Interveb! We had a nonchalant goodbye at the airport, naively believing that immigration would follow the timeline it set forth in its own documents. Now, three and a half months later, I get to really, actually see my husband! Like an overprotective, rifle collecting father, the United States government has deemed my husband worthy of actually being in the same country as me.
Being close is cool. Suddenly I can chat in the evening when it’s also the evening for family and friends gathered together today to celebrate us all being in the U S of Blessed A. Suddenly West Coast chums are watching the sun go down just as I am, even if it’s from California instead of Washington.
I’ve heard before that travel makes the world seem smaller. Maybe it’s my years of travel that make me giddy to be so close with those I love who are still not actually here in my new state.
Last week JD left Vietnam. In many ways it feels like the final curtain call on our time in Da Nang. When I left, it was a certain close of a chapter. But, he carried on our connection to our fun, fancy-free and sometimes (fabulously?) dysfunctional life there. When he left, we really, actually left. And I really, actually moved here.
It’s a bit sad. And a bit happy.
Woohoo to you, America! You let a good one in. I’m grateful and giddy for your decision (really). And you were so gracious and accommodating about the whole process (not). Anyhoo, JD has his Green Card and that’s all that matters for the moment.
And so, what does this bright-eyed, bushy tailed new American resident have to look forward to here in the Pacific Northwest? Let’s find out.
All my energy is spent on New. New students, new environment, new friends. The New is intriguing and necessary. But at this particular moment of lull, it’s the old and taken-for-granted which grabs my interest. In my current obsession with New I don’t want to leave out learning more about that which has become recently Old.
I’m home. Sort of. I’m back to being able to recite the pledge of allegiance, drive on the right side of the road and converse fluently. I’m back in the US of blessed A. And I’m happy. I’m proud this is my country. Perhaps I even feel a bit freer and braver than before. Certainly, the bravery is needed right about now. Read More…
I found this old post I wrote when I thought we’d stick to the original plan and leave after two years in Vietnam. We stayed five. However today I really, actually move on. In re-reading this, I realize how much Vietnam has grown on me in the past few years. I like her even more now than I did when I wrote the “letter” below. Vietnam, it’s been great!
When we met I was overwhelmed by your frenzy. I slapped your mosquitoes, hated your heat and feared your scooters. Time and time again you made me wonder why I’d come. In our two years together I watched from the other side of the world as I lost two of the dearest people in my life in my first few months here and spent half my salary to fly away from you. To put it lightly, we were unlikely friends.
And yet, I will miss you. Our roller coaster ride included so, so many highs. Never again will I see a beach so beautiful and deserted. Never again will I be such an anomaly in my own neighborhood. Never again will my awkwardness and lack of language be so quickly forgiven – and compensated for by those who should resent me. I will never again meet such purely lovely children who want to learn and love school and work to ridiculous extents just to become smarter.
I read somewhere that long-distance couples often fight just before one of them is about to leave. Sort of a self-preservation thing or preference to feeling angry instead of sad. Vietnam and I were doing that, I thought. What with all the cockroaches, cheeky geckos, broken house appliances going on I was sure he was trying to pick a fight. But seems he’s reconsidered his strategy. Now that our departure date nears Vietnam is pulling out all the stops to make sure I miss him.
As if reminding me of his beauty while hosting guests and traveling around weren’t enough, he’s managed to make the weather cooler than normal. I love him all the more. And I’m all the more reminded of how bad I’ve been to him. I moved here to be with him, but I have not done it gracefully.
I am a bad immigrant.
Won’t You Be My Neighbo(u)r?
Hello there, friendly future neighbor! We’re the new immigrants in town. One of us anyway, the other has just been away awhile. We may dress funny. We may talk wrong. We may eat foods with chopsticks and even throw “u”s into your well-established alphabet. But we are just people. We know we’re different. We know we’re not from here. We know we have an accent. Pointing it out is as redundant as saying ATM Machine. So please, help us help you. Want to get to know us? Great! But please actually get to know us as friends, not as a sparkle at your next cocktail (or karaoke) party.
Here are the top 10 questions immigrants are asked (and may be sick of answering):