Tropical Storm Pepeng has passed, and the rebuilding and cleanup is well on it’s way, but it doesn’t really make me feel any better. At this point I am stressing about losing her in some other freak event before getting her here to the U.S. My concern/paranoia is in full effect. Not to mention, I have yet to hear from the USCIS any more at this point. So, I decide to call the hotline number to get a status. I make the phone call, only to be told I am not giving the correct information for my soon-to-be-wife. “What do you mean”, I ask. That is not her birth date. Yes sir, it is. I am looking at a copy of the form I sent in. “Well, that’s not what we have in the system”, they say. Well, this isn’t going to be good. I know the government, and trying to convince them that they made a mistake is not going to be easy. So, after faxing a USCIS letter and a copy of her birth certificate to the number provided, I receive a response only month later. Only one month! And, it’s just about the same time I receive a letter stating that she is scheduled for her medical evaluation at the ONLY hospital permitted, which is in Manila.
Now, those of you that live there know what it is like to get things done in Manila. And I am praying for a simple day of testing, and approval. This, of course, does not happen. She was told that she would need to come back in a week to get the results. This doesn’t make sense to me, and I start asking questions. I find out, that they were told she could come back in a week to get the required shots in a week and could also get the results at the same time, or, get the results and get the shots required after coming to the U.S. At first, I thought this was a bad thing, but as it turns out, it is a good thing. I would recommend that your wives do this. WHY, you ask? Because if your fiancée comes here to get the shots required by law for immigration it can’t simply be done by your own physician. It MUST be done by an accredited Government Doctor, and they can charge whatever they want. I made some calls, and every one of them wanted upwards of $400 for them. It cost me another $50 for them to do it there, and they were all accepted here, because it was done by their doctors. Blessings, do come in disguises sometimes.
Not too long after her medical clearance is received, a letter arrives stating that I needed to call to arrange her interview date. So, this is calling the Philippines. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Handled pretty quickly in fact. What’s the first date available? December 7, 2009. Easy to remember… the Day Pearl Harbor was attacked. So, I then start to calculate… how can I get her here FAST?!
The first thing I find out if that the interview date will give her a notification verbally upon the interview if she passed or not, and will be receiving the visa to come here. Next, it will arrive by carrier, within I believe ten business days. I’m thinking I’m good to have her here by the end of the year, maybe even for Christmas!!!
What’s that you say? She also must take a class to leave the country, which is required by Philippines law? Crap. So, I get online, and setup a day that I am PRAYING she will have her visa, because it is required for the class/lecture, whatever it is at the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. It is a simple class in which they tell the women that they may be treated badly, and tell horror stories of women being murdered by American men. Now, I’m all for telling the truth, but an exaggeration like that isn’t making me feel all warm and fuzzy. I have heard of some horror stories of women traveling overseas for employment, and there’s always going to be an occasional murder. It is, after all, the real world. A world where bad things sometimes happens to good people. But, I think this made her a little more afraid to come here. After all, how much does she really know me? It’s not like we’ve dated for a couple of years, had a lot of interaction in person, and families from both sides have been met! She’s flying 8,000 miles to marry someone she PRAYS is the same as the guy she chatted with for just under a year. That’s a lot of trust! A LOT!
Everything works out as planned. She gets her visa paperwork in time for the class. She takes the class, in Manila again of course, and is waiting for her flight. She arrived here in the United States on December 24, 2009 at 12:00pm. Well, after much immigration questions and locating her luggage, she walked through the doors… to be greeted by me, my mom, my sister, one brother, nieces, nephews, and friends with my god-daughters. I brought with me a new coat I bought for her. A wool dress coat to keep her warm. I gave it to her, and she looked at me like I was crazy… until she walked out into the weather. There was actually snow on the ground that day, and it was C O L D!!!
We all went to my moms house where a small feast was arranged to welcome her here. The trip wore her out, and she realized just how far it is from the Philippines to Michigan. After a brief party, we retired to our home, where I showed her around, she unpacked, showered, and took a nap.
I got the best Christmas present I could have EVER received, and I got it early. My wife was finally with me again! (I say wife, because since our engagement party, I considered her to be my wife)
Until next time, paalam, ingat, and God bless!