Nothing happens by chance. Do you believe so yourself? I do.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Roan and I have known each other since we were 14, but we only started “dating” in 2009. He was still in the US Army, and I was in my final year in college. Somewhere between our first and second year together as a couple, we started talking about “our future”.
My parents, most especially my mother, were cynical about our relationship from the beginning, so planning our future back then was a lot like wishful thinking. Every time Roan would sign out from Yahoo! Messenger because of work, he randomly joked about “working for the engagement ring” or “working for the wedding dress”. I thought it was both funny and hopeful.
Two years into our relationship, Roan and I got engaged. He came home twice in 2011, and it was like the golden year in our dating history. I don’t think I have ever mentioned this on the blog before, but our initial plan—Roan’s initial plan rather—was to file a petition for fiancée (K-1 visa). This nonimmigrant visa will allow your alien fiancé(e) to enter the US, and marry your US citizen/lawful permanent resident within 90 days. Sure, it sounded so promising and quick, but I dismissed the idea for a reason.
For one, the best possible way to get married in the US within three months is by civil ceremony. Enter Catholic faith. Being raised as a faithful and practising Christian was probably the biggest influence in my decision. While I don’t have anything against people who got married civilly, it’s my personal preference to wed in church. I don’t remember when I had this programmed in my head, but I was adamant in having a church wedding since God-knows-when. In addition to this, there was little to no chance I’d be granted a three-month break from work. For obvious reasons, quitting altogether at that time wasn’t in our options.
I also took into consideration my parents’ thoughts on this whole thing. Coming from a very conservative and traditional family, I assumed that my parents won’t be too thrilled if I get married within three months since the engagement. Even if they agreed, I’m sure I wouldn’t be too happy about it, and it’s probably going to haunt me forever. I grew up pretty much very family-oriented, so I didn’t want them to think that I was in a hurry to get married. (Side note: My mother married Dad about the same age as I was when I got engaged, but my generation is so much different from theirs.)
Evidently, we ended up getting married in church. This decision gave birth to several other setbacks. Roan wasn’t able to file for the petition papers until February (we got married in December) because we needed to secure a copy of our marriage certificate as supporting document. It could’ve taken longer had we not requested for rush processing.
Fast forward to June. Four months later, we received a letter from the immigration services (USCIS) that our petition had been approved. The news had us rolling, eager to focus and get things done sooner. I quit my job in August in the hopes of dedicating my time in securing all other supporting documents most especially an updated passport reflecting my married name. However, upon learning how tedious and bureaucratic the government system is here in the Philippines, it made me think otherwise. Perhaps in my subconscious, I purposely slacked my game off.
I know I’ve mentioned this several times already in this blog, but for the sake of new readers, I am going to say it again. For the first time in many years, I am enjoying my free time. I didn’t have to worry about getting up early for work. I didn’t have to stress myself on work emails, production schedules, and never-ending issue compilations. I didn’t have to keep tabs on my available leave credit whenever I get sick, when the weather is terrible, or when I’m simply being too lazy to go to work. Most importantly, I didn’t have to deal with people I don’t like on a daily basis.
Almost nine months into this whole process, I am often asked by friends and relatives when I will leave for the US. Why are you still here? How long does it take for everything to get done so you can finally migrate for good? Every time I am asked with the same pressing questions each passing day, I get annoyed with myself. Then again, isn’t this what I wanted in the first place? Church wedding first, then migration.
Often times, when I get overwhelmed by certain issues or situations, I tend to second-guess myself and my decisions in life.
Is it really worth it?
I don’t expect people in general to understand, but I was geared this way. I was raised to make choices in life that will make my family proud or that will not disappoint, to say the least. Don’t get me started with “don’t mind what others would say” because I really don’t. The only views that matter to me are those from my family. I’m not—and never will be—ashamed to admit that most major decisions in my life were greatly affected by them.
To set the record straight—my family didn’t dictate on what I should and should not do. I had the free will to do as I please. I just think that they hold a great part of my life above everyone else, thus they deserve the credit. After all, my brothers and I grew up partaking in every decision or changes that involve the family.
At this point in my life, I don’t seek validation from those who would say that I have to be a certain thing in order to be accepted or to make sense. I hold on to the thought that I may or may not be the only person who made a similar decision for the same reasons. Yes, I do want to be with my husband, and start living our own life as a newlywed couple, but due process exists in this world. Until all this is over, then we just have to wait.
I cannot nor anyone can undo the past, but there’s also this thing called living in the present and hope for the future.
P.S. This is probably the last time (for now) that I’ll be mentioning about the progress of my immigration papers because I’m sure y’all have heard enough. Seriously though, there are other more interesting things to write and talk about in this little space. If, by any chance, you’re eager to know how everything is going on this regard, just ask.
P.P.S. If you reached this point, I’d like to thank you for sticking with me throughout this very long stream of consciousness. Really, thank you.