Well, at this point in my storyline, my wife and I are married… twice. Once in a courthouse, and once in a church.
We’ve also started our paperwork to change her visa to a permanent resident visa. It’s a long process, and pretty drawn out. We filled out the required paperwork, and sent in the necessary money requirements. We received a letter after a while that said we had to go to Detroit for our meeting with the USCIS God to determine that our marriage was legitimate. We drove there, as most people in this country drive. Plus, there is no way I am going to try to catch 10 different buses to take to downtown Detroit and make an appointment. Parking is easy, as this is a new building with ample outdoor parking, and a parking structure.
We make our way through security, and wait our turn. Our interviewer seems to be more of an IRS type guy. Very pressed suit, and not at all scary. Nothing I pictured. Of course, being in law enforcement, I figured on someone trying to trick us into saying something that might make them think we were married under fraudulent circumstances. The interview lasted about 15 minutes, and we were cleared and on our way. Done. That simple. Almost too good to be true. And, you know what they say about that!
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So, it’s been 2 years and guess what time it is? Time to remove her conditional status on her resident visa. This is like taking off restrictions on a license that says you can/can’t drive at this time of day. Ok.. you’ve been living in the U.S. for two years now, and you haven’t killed anyone, so I guess you’re an upstanding person, and we’d like to have you stick around! LOL!! It just seemed more like a way for the government to get more money from us. We filed our paperwork and paid our fees, and a little extra because they fingerprint you and that definitely should cost another $90USD! It took them less than five minutes to process her fingerprints, and we were, once again, on our way. We flee Detroit as fast as legally possible, and stop only when necessary. Stop signs aren’t safe to stop at during the night. Thankfully, our appointments are during the day.
So, now we sit, waiting for her FINAL Permanent Resident visa card to arrive. And then, after that is done, guess what time it is? U.S. Citizenship!!! YAY!! I know, I sound disgruntled, but I have my reasons. This is where we all come current to where we are now, and why things have changed on our life.
Last year in July I fell down the stairs in our home. Stupid, really. But, I got hurt pretty bad, nonetheless. I went to the doctor within a few hours, and went for numerous tests. Bruising. Bruising? Yes, bruising, but bruising all the way through to my kidneys. That is a hard fall!
So, after about 2 months of complaining to my doctor about the pain, and the pain moving up my back, and losing feeling in my leg, and both hands… more tests were ordered. An MRI of my lower back. It showed some minor damage, but in the hazy gray area in the middle where there wasn’t supposed to be a clear image, the orthopaedic specialist made out something that didn’t look good to him. So, an MRI of my throaic spine (middle spine) was ordered. I’m a big strong guy, that happens to be VERY claustrophobic so it took a while to find a MRI machine that could take me, and would also be able to administer drugs to make me go nappy nap. The MRI lasted two hours. I was awake the entire time, and not OUT like I thought I would be. My right hand went so numb, it was as if it was not there. I could NOT move it. PERIOD. The staff were great and took my arm and massaged life back into it for me, and sent me on my way.
My prognosis came a week or so later. It wasn’t good. There was a fix, but it would require MAJOR surgery, and dangerous to boot. In order to fix my back, they would have to open my chest cavity and get to the discs from the front. The doctor refuses to do it. Too risky. I agree.
So, where does that leave a 40 year old man with a young new wife? Retired! The cold is more painful than anything I have ever endured, and I’ve been through a lot. So, we discussed moving. But, where? Florida? West to Arizona? California? Las Vegas Nevada? I chose the Philippines!!! It was something that my wife didn’t really feel comfortable doing, but agreed for my health reasons.
We agreed to move, and if it didn’t work out, we could always come back to the U.S. But, I think it’s going to be fine and dandy!! I loved the Philippines when I was there. I loved the people. I loved the food. Well, most of the food. And I think that the Philippines is going to love me back and make me feel healthier, and happier. I think it is going to bring me the joys I could not get in the cold climate of Michigan. And, I’ll be able to live a lot better life In this economy.
As promised, I am also including additional photos of our marriages. Both of them. Some from the courthouse, and also the church ceremony. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed being there for them!!!
Until next time, paalam, ingat, and God bless!