In case you’ve just stumbled upon us, my husband is British and I am American. This means he can be both delightfully charming and disgustingly crass all with a sexy accent. It also means he’d never heard of biscuits and gravy, and had never eaten pb&j before meeting me. We met and eventually got married in Taiwan. There are so many wonderfully amazing things about being married to a true Englishman. But all of this charming foreignness also means that he can’t legally live and work in America. So this morning we were in Taipei filing a petition for application for a conditional immigrant visa so that my husband and I can move to Hawaii together this summer.
The America in Taiwan office, not technically an embassy since Taiwan isn’t considered a sovereign nation by the US, is located in Taipei. They have no branch in the city where I live. And they are only open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm or something like that. Furthermore, they are closed the first of every month, plus all the Taiwan national holidays AND all the American ones. Any time I have to do business at the AIT office, I have to take time off work. Not to mention that whatever I’m doing there usually costs a hefty fee. Oh, and then there’s the bus fare there and back and the MRT fare to get around town and eating out in Taipei. It’s pretty much the antithesis of convenience.
So Geoff and I headed up to Taipei yesterday afternoon, stayed with a friend Sunday night, and then got up and went to the office at 8 am as soon as they opened. I was surprised to see huge lines and crowds of Taiwanese people apparently seeking visitors’ visas. I had no idea so many people would be trying to visit the US. It was so strange. I wasn’t wearing my watch, so when I had to hand over my phone and iPod upon entry, time became a mystery as there seem to be no clocks in any of the waiting areas.
After going through security, we headed up to the third floor with our stack of documents. For some reason I was incredibly anxious. I’m not sure what could have gone wrong, but I was worried that while they were checking through our papers they’d come out and say something was wrong, and my husband and I would have to be separated. This is my worst nightmare. In fact, I actually had a dream the night before that my husband had a real girlfriend back in England and our marriage was actually a sham. I remember being so confused in the dream because I knew that I loved him, and yet he was encouraging me to see other people. So strange.
Anyway, after handing over our passports, ARCs, my divorce certificate from my first marriage, our Taiwan marriage certificate, and about four pages of paperwork we had to fill out, marching down stairs to the cashier to pay over $400, then back upstairs to wait for a half hour while watching monkeys ransack an Indian village on TV, a man, the third one to help us that day, finally returned our documents and told us everything was in order.
Now we just have to wait while they do some sort of clearance for me, and then we can fill out more paperwork, and collect even more documents for Geoff’s actual visa application. Oh yeah, and we have to pay even more money. What a racket. I feel like my husband should be able to go wherever I go without having to pay a bunch of money and have our lives picked through. So much for a free society. But I suppose this isn’t the time to be questioning the government, when there’s something I need from them so desperately.
I don’t know what we’ll do if this doesn’t work. I’m so scared that there will be some crazy hitch and they’ll deny us the visa. I guess so many years of hearing bad news just has me conditioned to expect the worst. But my husband is worth every morsel of hassle this has been. I’d walk through fire for him, and I know he feels the same way. Love is worth fighting for, and I’m not going anywhere without him. I just hope the government won’t try to stand in our way. I have dreams to fulfill people. Kindly stand aside and let me get on with it.