Memoirs at 1,600 Miles

Today marks three months from our NOA1, the date that marks the receipt of our fiance visa petition. We’ve raised almost five percent of our goal, and it’s heartwarming to see so much support. June 3, 2015.

* * *

It’s been a few days since our last update because there hasn’t been much to report.

However, I’ve been writing letters to representatives and talking with other visa petitioners, discussing ways we can try to eliminate the processing time delays between service centers. Realistically, our efforts may have no impact on our own timelines, but perhaps we can make the system more equitable for those who follow.

* * *

The past few nights in NC have been stormy and they’ve reminded me of the first time Harel and I met.

On my second day there, we visited a few museums around Mexico City, and after coming out of their Holocaust museum, it began to drizzle, but we kept going through the city to see the park at Chapultepec. We got there just as the gates closed and just as the sky opened. We ran through the downpour until we found a place to eat (sushi) and we shivered all through dinner.

By the time we got home later, we were soaked through to the skin, and after drying up, we watched a movie together before going to bed. It was such an amazing day.

* * *

I first heard about American Authors through the show Glee, but I really got into their music in the weeks and days leading up to my first trip to Mexico, the first time I would see Harel in person.

The upbeat rhythm of “Best Day of My Life” helped push aside my doubts and fears, reassuring me I was making the right decision, but it was their song “Home” that became my personal anthem: Here I was, flying across the continent in the name of love, and for as much as it felt like setting out on a new journey, Harel and I had been together about six months and deep inside I didn’t feel I was meeting him for the first time, but finally going home to the man I love most. I’ve listened to this song before every trip to see him, and as I prepare to fly south again tomorrow, it’s once again blaring through my stereo.

It’s been nearly seven months since we were together last, and although I’m headed to Mexico this time, we’re both ready for Harel to make his final journey home to the United States.

* * *

I’ve been in contact with my members of Congress, asking that they do what they can to fix the problems that have caused the delays in processing fiance visas at the Texas Service Center.

Instead of digging deeper in search of real solutions, both NC Senators have instead opted for generic chain letters about processing times and the USCIS customer service line. It’s rather disappointing when you’re trying to fix a problem that those with influence refuse to even acknowledge it.

So we keep waiting, keep writing, keep hoping this broken system will be fixed–if not for us, then for all the loving couples who will have yet to start this journey.

* * *

The first thing I noticed when my plane landed in Mexico City last night was the familiar air, an aroma unique to every large city I’ve visited. Harel and I shared dinner with his friend Sandra at the airport, and when we finally got back to his apartment, all we wanted to do was sleep. So we slept. And it has been months–almost seven to be precise–since I slept so soundly and rose in the morning feeling truly alive and happy.

As we approach five months since filing, our anticipation of approval draws nearer, as does the urgency of our fundraising. Wouldn’t it be the greatest blessing if our application were approved while Harel and I were together to celebrate?

* * *

Learn more about Harel and me by visiting GoFundMe.com/DarrenHarel. We hope you’ll be able to make a small contribution to our fundraiser and share it with others in your network. The more who know our story, the more power we have to change this system and help all loving couples be together without the unjust and debilitating waiting times that so many have experienced.

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