Monday, 14 November 2011

If it hadn't been for love

I feel the need to write a bit of a ranty (yes, it's now a word) post about how much stuff there has been to do over the past five weeks. Tomorrow at 3:30PM EST, it will have been 35 days since I arrived in NC and, while words cannot express my happiness and gratitude at finally being able to be here, for good, I have to say it isn't as easy as all that, at least in terms of how much there is still to be done.

Usually I hate to write anything negative on here - I mean, why read a blog that whines on about the negative when there's so much good in life, or one filled with the rhetoric, first-world whinging that some people feel almost duty-bound to share with the anyone who will listen? But for today, I am just going to keep a short record of one main thing, for the purposes of honesty and openness when considering a K-1 journey:

I am exhausted. 

We are exhausted. Ben and I found today, chatting on our way to get coffee after a delightful morning at the DMV on N. Tryon,  that we might have ever so slightly reached the limit as to how much we can do in the three short weeks before the wedding from now on; how much we are able to give to organising everything beyond that; and all the paperwork that comes with the next few months. We're tired. Not in a thorough way; not lacking in energy due to one big expenditure; it's just the repeated trips to do one-little-thing-at-a-time, almost every day, and it culminates in a sense of no time, no togetherness, and no control.

As well as the administrative tasks that are inevitably synonymous with a visa process, we are also blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives, and amazing opportunities, that "couple time" has been a rare phenomenon over the last month or so. In checking my Filofax, it seems we've had two, maybe three days together where Ben hasn't been working, I haven't been working, Ben hasn't had class, we haven't done anything specific for the visa/wedding, and we haven't seen other people, either - what I would class as actual "us" time. Madness! Now, I am not for a second suggesting this is something I should complain about per se; people have gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome, and to show their love for me and Ben as a couple. We have also been lucky in that, even though it's taken time to get documents processed, official visa items checked off, and wedding arrangements finalised, none of it has been more complicated than simply getting it done. We haven't - touch wood - encountered any unexpected obstacles. But, weirdly, I miss him, and I don't like seeing the impact all the drip-drip-drip process of getting everything checked off is having on him in particular.

Just to give you an indication of what we've done so far, partly to try to reassure myself that we're so much further forward than I keep thinking, and partly just to give an example of what a K-1 might entail post-move, here are some lists of what we have accomplished:

  • Social Security Card
  • Bank accounts
  • Applied for marriage license
  • State ID
  • Booked driving test
  • Preparing passport application for name change

Moving in
  • Registered with apartment administration office
  • Received and unpacked shipping
  • Been to IKEA and unpacked everything else into furniture purchased there!

  • Visited venue and finalised details
  • Booked hairdresser
  • Arranged the rehearsal dinner
  • Chosen, bought, and put together wedding favours
  • Chosen and arranged bridal party flowers/decorations
  • Met with our officiant and started to write out ceremony order
  • Unpacked dress and arranged for it to be steamed (with great thanks to my M.I.L.!)
  • Chosen and arranged music for ceremony 
  • Dealt with wedding photographer changes!
  • Been to the reception venue to finalise details
  • Discussed in-law meeting plans pre-wedding day 
  • Started purchasing drinks for the day event

  • Ben works 2-3 shifts every week, varying between 8 and 12 hours a time
  • Ben also works as an editorial assistant, which he does from home
  • Ben has class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, and has assignments to do in the meantime 
  • My internship has started (which is AMAZING! There will be a separate, gushing blog post for that!) and takes place between 10 and 3, Tues-Thurs inclusive
  • I have homework to do from my internship, which includes assignments for photos, online research, and developing the MOL business
  • I have learned where and how to catch the bus to uptown, and to walk from the bus depot to the studio

  • Welcome drinks
  • Welcome dinner 
  • Crepe brunch
  • Trip to Waxhaw
  • Trip to Concord
  • 2 weddings
  • Seeing 'The Tempest' production, as part of Ben's studies
  • My gorgeous surprise bachelorette
  • 2 birthdays
  • Bonfire Night
  • Various trips to the diner to do trivia night most Thursdays
  • Several attempts to go to the gym

So there you have it. Admittedly a lot of that is stuff we should be (and are) happy about - the "social" list is the longest, so that is partly down to us and our choices, and the wedding faff for our big day is inevitable, too. But I hope that gives an idea of what to expect after travelling to the States on this visa, and also might explain to friends back home why I have been so uncharacteristically tardy in responding to emails. Still to come on the list of things to do, sticking just to after-wedding things now, are:
  1. Change name on SSC
  2. Change name on passport (circa £300 to do this)
  3. AOS application ($1080)
  4. Apply for car insurance ($?), study for and take NC driving test (change name on ID at the same time) 
  5. Get EAD (comes during the AOS proces) and AP, and then hopefully a green card soon after
  6. Job hunt and then actually work if I am fortunate enough to find a position. 

Easy as 1, 2, 3... 

Here is a picture of a happy duckling, for those of you who stuck with me through that list-tastic tirade.
My sincere apologies.


  1. You are much more diligent than I was. Use your excuse of "I'm new here" and get some much-needed rest when you can!

  2. Heh heh, we will do - after the wedding! :)


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