It's all in the details, apparently.

December 26th. Pre-arctic conditions.

The first thing that almost every friend and family member said to me over the holidays was, "So you're married? Congratulations!" And almost every friend and family member followed this up with, "So where is your other half?" Now, I know that people are just interested and want to know what's going on with me, but after the first couple of times of explaining the situation it started to get a little exhausting. Between the wedding plans, the visas, and our future, I must have gone over every tiny detail more than a hundred times. At one point I actually considered writing one of those yearly update letters that people send out to their families, (Jimmy won the spelling bee this year!) just so I didn't have to repeat the conversation one more time. At one family gathering, my aunt commented that people would know what was going on if they just read my blog. I replied that this was true, but that I actually hadn't written much about it on my blog, because I didn't want to bore people with the petty details, to which my cousin chimed in, "About your relationship? But that's the most interesting part!"

Fair enough.

As weird as it is, even though I have this blog, I actually dislike talking about my everyday life. I just never really think that there's anything that interesting happening and I don't want to bore anyone. I see this blog more as a space to share interesting experiences, like fun trips or things that I think other people might be interested in seeing or doing, as well as a place to share what I have been thinking about with anyone who cares to read it. When it comes to the complexities of the visa application process, or our hypothetical plans for a future that is too far away to really even be tangible, however, I just don't see the appeal. I guess I have just had to go over the details so many times myself, that it's all become a little tedious.

But this isn't fair, I know, because everyone else is just curious and I am happy for people to know what's going on. Plus the reason that I started this blog was to keep those close to me in-the-loop, so it is only fair to give updates when people are asking for them. So, here it is:

1) In case you missed it, my "better half" and I were legally wed on August 29th, 2014 in the United Kingdom. My original intention was for the day to be an intimate one, mainly focused on the proceedings, with only a few, very close, attendees, but our family and friends had other ideas and (with very little effort on our part) the day turned into a low-key, but beautiful celebration with a lot of wonderful people.

2) The job that I had last year - at a school in a Detroit suburb - ended at the end of the 2013-2014 school year, so I made the decision to extend my stay in the UK to spend time with my husband and to help him with the beginning of the visa application process.

3) I returned to the United States just before Thanksgiving a) to finish planning the wedding that we had always intended to have this coming summer, b) to begin laying the foundations for our life in this country, and c) because my temporary visa didn't allow me to work in the UK.

4) The green card.... *sigh* This is the most complicated bit, but I will try to explain it as best as I can. The marriage certificate that we received in the UK on August 29th is legally binding and is aknowledged and upheld by the United States. Despite this Owen cannot legally just get on a plane and start living in this country without some sort of government permission. The main way for him to do this (the only way really) is for him to apply for a green card - a document which will allow him to live and work in the United States for an extended period of time. We submitted our application back in October, but this can be a long process (due to the volume of applications that are submitted every day) and we are not expecting to even hear anything until at least March. We expect that the next thing we will hear is some sort of summons to a meeting where he will submit further paperwork and be interviewed. After that we will just have to wait until a decision is reached and (hopefully) a green card issued.

5) We are applying for a green card because our intention is to stay in the United States - at least for the foreseeable future. Our plan for the next year is to work and save, have our wedding, hopefully do some traveling, and to start thinking about where we want to settle - for a while anyway :)

Answers to some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1) Are you moving back to the UK? 
The point of applying for the US green card is to move my husband to the states, so that is our current plan.

2) Would it be easier if you just moved to the UK?
If I wanted to move the UK I would have to go through a very similar application process. Very similarly, this process would also involve the intense scrutiny of our relationship, travel history, and finances. So either way, there is no quick or easy answer to actually physically being together. It's all about time and paperwork.

3) Why is the process so difficult?!
I don't know. I didn't make it up. But think about it. People already get married for the purpose of obtaining a green card, and if it was any easier we would just have more of this. Also, people complain about the complexity of the process, but if it was any easier they would just complain about that. So it's kind of lose-lose.

4) So after all of this will he be a US citizen?
No. Obtaining citizenship (in either country) is an even more complicated process, which can only be started after living in that country for many years.

5) So...didn't you already have a wedding?
Well, kind of. Yes, we had a small and very low-key ceremony that involved a certificate signing, a 'repeat-after-me' type vow exchange, and the words "I do" or "will" or whatever it is we said. Honestly can't remember. We were also treated to a wonderful dinner and a garden party by our loved ones. It was a lovely and intimate day, but it was most definitely not complete as far as weddings go. There was no ring exchange, no walking down the aisle, no first dance or wedding dress. As grateful as I am for the day that we had (it was far more than I could have ever imagined) there were definitely some important pieces missing that we will be making up for this summer.

5) Who will be officiating your wedding this summer?
As previously stated, our marriage certificate is LEGALLY binding. We are considered legally wed by both of our home countries, so our wedding this coming summer will be focused on the symbolic and the ceremonial. This means we will not be have a certified officiant at our wedding. We can't. We don't need to. We're married. We can't get married again.

6) Where do you think you'll end up? idea. Right now our plan is to explore our options in the United States. We spent three-and-a-half fantastic years together in the UK and now we want to try something different. We are taking the step that makes the most sense to us at this point in our lives, but there is really no way to know what will make the most sense in one, five, or ten years. We will always have family and friends on both sides of the pond and we may be called to one country or another for many different reasons. Who knows? Maybe we will never even live in one country for more than a few years at a time. There is just no way to predict this now, and this is something that we both had to consider very seriously before we made the decision to get married. We both had to be comfortable with the idea that we might have to live in either country at some point in time.

Sometime in January. Post-arctic apocalypse.

So there you go. All of the information that I can think to possibly give you about the status of my relationship (which is definitely too complicated for Facebook) in as few words as possible. Okay, fine. I could probably reduce the word count, but this is my writing style. You should know that by now. Feel free to message me with any questions that I haven't addressed. Lord knows I've probably forgotten something.

The last question that a lot of people have been asking me is in regards to what I am doing now. For a month-and-a-half the answer to this was "nothing." Well, not nothing, I guess, it was actually "Christmas and wedding", which was plenty on its own, but in terms of employment....well, I had only been home for a month-and-a-half.

I am very excited to say, however, that I have just finished my first week of nannying for an adorable little four-year-old and her very lovely family. Yay! Nannying is something that I have considered in the past, but being that both times that I have returned to the US, I have only been able to promise availability for a few months, I was hesitant about entering into a partnership with a family seeking stability, when I knew that I couldn't really provide that.

But as luck would have it (or fate or good karma for my honesty or whatever), just after Christmas I was contacted by a family who were seeking someone with autism experience to finish out the school year. Nothing could have been more perfect and I am already falling in love with this gorgeous little girl whose hobbies mainly involve watching Frozen on the iPad, singing "Let It Go", while wearing her Anna (from Frozen) dress, and acting out scenes from Frozen down to the last, intricate detail (think slamming doors and perfected facial expressions). Check, check, and check.



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