Dreams and Broken Promises

A year ago I mailed our application for a fiance visa to the U.S. government. I had thought by now my fiance would be my husband, that we would we living together, figuring out how to live together, while I finished my master’s degree.

I was wrong.

We were sitting in the bus last August, shuttling from terminal one to terminal two, and we promised it would never again be a full six months apart from each other.

We were wrong.

I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to spend sixty percent of your relationship just trying to be able to live together in the same country, in the same house. But “difficult” isn’t even the right word–the paperwork is overwhelming, but after a few dozen hours of reading, it’s more time-consuming than anything else. The bulk of the process has been given to waiting, which is annoying, but you get used to it.

For a long time I was burdened by generalized anxiety disorder without diagnosis. It took three different prescription medications to make me realize what it’s like not to constantly be under high levels of physical distress. I was used to the tightness, the racing thoughts, numb to the unmanageable excess of stress I experienced.

Numb like I’ve become numb to the distance between us. Sometimes two weeks pass and we don’t say a word to each other beyond liking statuses on Facebook. We’re so accustomed to thin lines of communication that when life demands homework and research papers and teaching hours and travel times, there isn’t time left for each other.

At least if we lived in the same house, hell, even just the same timezone, the overlap in our schedules would be easier to manage. I don’t even know what it’ll feel like waking up next to him, saying goodbye before we part ways to go to work and school or whatever, without that counter in my mind ticking down and telling me I need to hold on, I can’t let him go, because there’s only a handful of days before we’re apart again.

There was a time when I thought Harel would be moving up here last August rather than me flying back from visiting him. There was a time when I thought he’d be here for New Years, or at least before classes began. There was a time I thought he’d be here by spring break, but now I’m not even sure if he’ll be here before summer begins.

But who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.

GFM sidebar

Harel and I are fundraising to help cover some of the costs of his coming to the US. With my being in graduate school and the moving costs to join Teach for America later this year, the financial demands of this journey have been no small burden, and we are grateful for any support you’re able to offer.

Please make a donation and share our GoFundMe page or these TBT posts to help.

Picture Perfect

My phone is Harel’s when we’re together: He has an eye for angles and alignment more than I ever will. He snapped this picture in a plaza in Queretaro, and it’s still one of my favorite photos of all times–the color balance, the simplicity, its subtle complexity.

He also has a fondness for statuary. We once went to a natural history museum and he wandered off while I tried to read a lengthy description of Greek and Roman deities (it was in Spanish, but my familiarity with Greco-Roman mythology allowed me to piece together its meaning). By the time we drifted back together, he had taken pictures of literally every statue in the exhibition hall. Seriously. Each and every one of them.

I have a bad habit of taking too many pictures to remember something and then realizing later, as I look at my pictures, that they don’t really, can’t ever capture the moment like I had wanted them too, and instead of living it more fully, I had lost myself in the momentum of trying to catch it in pixels.

When Harel takes my camera, it’s hard to get lost in something I can’t have–somehow it frees me to be more present in the moment. And when I finally look back through my camera roll, I get to glimpse the experience through his eyes–what were the things that caught his attention, that drew his gaze, that made it memorable for him?

Even now, looking at the pictures he took for me, for us, it makes me feel closer to him.

GFM sidebar

TBT: A Marriage in Heaven

Lately I’ve been using Thursdays as a way to remember special moments with my fiance in our journey together toward marriage and the relationship we’ll be able to build on the other side of our immigration journey.

But tonight there’s another couple I want to remember.

Continue reading

TBT: Sacred Space

They say that home is where the heart is, but it’s an empty saying without articulating what we mean when we say the heart. Is it the space where our bodies physically rest, or the space we feel most embraced, or is it something less tangible, more spiritual?

The synagogue pictured above is the oldest in Mexico, literally known as the Historic Synagogue. We went to visit it our first day together, but it was closed, so we went back the next day. We went upstairs and ogled at a temporary exhibit from the Palafoxiana Library (the oldest library in North America), and we were amazed by the stunning architecture, how small and perhaps insignificant I felt inside this place.

But also how expansive, how endless, how holy.

Outside these doors, after signing the guest book, we walked away wondering what we’d write if we were married, one last name, or two? Hyphenated, his first, or mine?

It was inside these doors, five months later, when we exchanged engagement rings.

I don’t always know where home is–or if there’s only one. Home is with my family, and in Raleigh, and in Hoonah and Punta Gorda and San Francisco and in Mexico, in the guest house where we spent our first night together, in Queretaro where we bought our rings, in Puebla where we kissed inside a volcano, in Mexico City where we met and embraced and kissed for the first time.

Home is in each of these places, because in each of them, my heart grew.

GFM sidebar

TBT: Subway Robbery

 

All times aren’t good times.

Heading into the subway at the start of our day, I was pickpocketed and we lost all the money we had on us, with barely enough to get back home.

All our plans were ruined, and I had to worry about ID theft the day before Christmas.

We were angry, frustrated, stressed, and pissed off. But we were together. So we allowed ourselves time to vent, to let it out of us, and then we walked around the city, stopping at places where we could explore without paying–like walking through an antique bookstore, a Judaica shop, and an art gallery.

Shitty things happened, and they always will, but we made it through.

GFM sidebar

Throwback Thursday

The year began with promise: We’d have our visa interview and then my fiance would fly up to the US and we’d be married.

Instead we found a clerical error on his passport, and the whole process came to a grinding (albeit temporary) halt.

So in the mean time, it’s my goal to dedicate every Thursday of this year until we have our visa interview to looking back at some of the moments he and I have shared.

Continue reading

The Inertia of Holding On

My fiance and I are a binational couple and we’re entrenched in the process of obtaining a visa so he can come to the US (can you lend us your support?), but it’s a long process–mostly because of mismanagement (because if there’s any other reason why one USCIS service center can do the same job as the other in a tenth of the time, they haven’t told us what it is), so–me given the advocate I am–it seems an awesome place to start a movement.

So I did.

Continue reading

A Moment of Gratitude

Aside

Today I’m grateful to be in love with a man who I support unconditionally and who supports me just the same. I’m thankful to live in a country that recognizes our relationship and allows us to obtain a visa so he can move here and we can live together. And I’m thankful for the small number of amazing people who have donated to help us cover these costs.

Will you take a moment to make a small contribution? Just click here.

Bittersweet Birthday

In math we study functions of time: a system in so many dimensions dependent upon another for change, growth, dynamic behavior. Life is one such function of time, but no mathematics yet known is enough to model it. Life escapes the linear, falls squarely into the chaotic, and leaves us all wondering and questioning in every moment.

Yet some things are certain, and these equilibrium points change everything.

Continue reading