Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer Vacation Saves All


You know, the one thing I've learned from this whole, horrendous, drawn out visa process, is that focusing on the positive is imperative. I've always been a glass-half full kind of gal anyway, but now, I'm a glass three quarters full, because let's face it if I wasn't, I'd probably be locked away in the loony bin somewhere. That said, while Gregory's visa denial was beyond dreadful, the timing, was actually pretty good.

(Since I mentioned it, I feel like now is a good time to drop this fun fact on y'all - while Gregory was notified of his visa denial when the embassy returned his unstamped passport to him, I still have yet to be. That's right, I'm the petitioner, and as such should have received notification, but someone cocked up and I still haven't gotten a letter or email to let me know. Way to go America, way to go. My lawyer is on it.)

We got the bad news three days before I was due to fly to Dublin to kick off our summer vacation. You're probably wondering how that could possibly be good timing but here it is; we had a couple of days to process the news, and make a plan (of course that initial plan was defunct about 312 plans ago, but still, we had a plan), and for the shock to wear off, so by the time I was on a plane that Saturday morning in May, we were ready to focus on us, and fun, and to enjoy ourselves. All talk of visas, waiting times, separations, or oh my God what are we going to do, was banned.

So I set off from San Antonio for a few days with my family in Dublin, before reuniting with Gregory in France to return to my old stomping grounds, and my French crew for a three week break from the bull$@*#. There would be laughter, and joy, and South of France sunshine, and goats cheese salads, and Zara, and by God, there would be Rosé. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Unexpected

{this will be me, a lot}

I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile, like, a long while, but I was waiting for things to settle down a bit and for us to have an actual plan in place, and now we do.

So here's the deal; Gregory didn't get his green card, as in denied, denied, denied. That's right kids, D E N I E D. Feel free to take a moment to shout expletives, I know I did. This is what went down and why.

Way back in 2003, Gregory was working as a bouncer at a club. There was a drunk guy who was harassing other patrons and Gregory asked him to leave. He wouldn't and his behavior escalated, shouting abuse at Gregory and the people standing in line waiting to get in. Gregory's boss urged Gregory to get him to go. After many verbal attempts, with zero success, Gregory shoved the guy. The guy fell, got up, and left. That's it.

But then, for what I can only guess was an attempt to get money, the guy brought charges against Gregory and the club. As you can imagine, they were quite surprised. But then, the drunk guy came to his senses and decided not to show up to court, and his lawyer stated that he wanted to drop the charges because he knew he was drunk and at fault. But here's the kicker, Gregory was in court already, so the judge said to Gregory that while he was only doing his job, he was young and needed to learn how to do it better, and he gave him 100 hours of community service. And that was that.

Fast forward nine years to life in Le Petit Village. Remember this post when I said that some stuff had gone down and we needed to get away for a bit? Well here's why... At the village festival, which also happened to be Gregory's birthday, there was an incident.

It was the end of the evening, and the village square which had been closed to traffic had just been reopened, but people were still milling about. A car came speeding through, almost hitting Gregory and his friends. Gregory hit his hand on the hood of the car and then waved his hand in a 'slow down' motion (I know this because I was across the street and saw the whole thing). The driver shouted, "go eff yourself," but in French and not as polite as that. I'm sorry to say that Gregory did not react very gentlemanly like to that, and a fight ensued.

It was a mess, but it was a fight, a dumb, boys being boys fight. Our evening came to end and we all moved on, or so I thought.

A week later, the police showed up at our door to question Gregory because check this out... the guy who Gregory got into a fight with pressed charges and said that it was a racially motivated attack. W H A T ? ! This guy said that he was innocently driving through the village and big Aryan looking Gregory saw him and ran after the car with a baseball bat (where did the bat come from???) shouting for the [insert racially charged words] to get the [insert bad words] out of his village.

That didn't happen.

The case went to court, the racist charges were dropped because the judge wasn't an idiot and saw through that one, and then he ruled that it was a mutual altercation, as in a fight, that's it, not assault, certainly not a hate crime, but a fight, between a couple of idiots. And that was that.

Or so I thought, because Gregory's Green Card was denied on the basis of Moral Turpitude.

P O P P Y C O C K! I wrote to the Embassy and requested another interview because surely they were misinterpreting the court records but get this, the consular officer told me that it's not what happened, or what the outcome was, it's that the charges that were brought against Gregory, COULD have resulted in bigger convictions. Feel free to take a moment to shout expletives, I know I did.

So here we are now, beginning the fun-filled waiver process. The process is expected to take six to seven months, and in the meantime, I'm in Texas, and Gregory is in Dublin (he's working there at the moment and long story short - it makes more financial sense for him to be there right now instead of France).

But here's the kicker, when Gregory's Green Card was denied, his ESTA was revoked (for those who don't know, and ESTA is the visa waiver that people in numerous countries use to travel to the U.S.) so he can't even enter the U.S.! That's right, Gregory has become persona non grata on U.S. soil because he shoved a guy in 2003 and got into a fight in 2012. Feel free to take a moment to shout expletives, I know I did.

#$@&%*! #$@&%*! #$@&%*!

I'm sorry for taking so long to tell you guys what's been going on, but I just haven't had it in me. These past few months have been rough with a capital R. But I do miss y'all, and I think about you often, and maybe now that I've broken the ice again, I might make it back here from time to time.

P.S. Fifty says hi.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

encore


Here I am again, alone after saying goodbye to Gregory. (Well not technically alone... I do live at my mother's house after all, and of course there's Fifty too). But unlike the last few goodbyes, this time we can truly say that the end is near. (Please, please, please, oh pretty please!)

So this is where we're at... Gregory flew to Dublin today and will arrive early tomorrow morning. After a night out with my brother, he'll fly on to Marseille Thursday morning. (There is a logic to this Dublin trip, trust me.)

Once he gets to France he'll check in with the crew; The Croupier, Honey Jr, a very pregnant Honey's Honey, and of course, his Bumder. Then in a few weeks, the big show... the Green Card interview in Paris... DUN DUN DUN! (I felt like that required a DUN DUN DUN.)

All going well (please, please, please, oh pretty please), he'll have his Green Card by the end of the month. Can you believe it? I mean really, can you? It's been like a million, zillion, years (not really, but seventeen months is an awful long time when you're thinking it's going to be like, nine).

OK, then it's May and Gregory is going to stay put in France tying up loose ends and what not and at the end of the month, I'm going to fly to Dublin (Dublin again... stay with me). On my second night in the Fair City, I'll be meeting my Auntie Ilene (who if you remember is not my real Aunt but an awesome honorary one) and her cohorts for dinner and to give them a quick tour of my old stomping grounds since they'll be visiting for a few days. And then, the next morning, bright and early, I'll be flying to France and finally meeting up with Gregory (it will only be seven weeks apart this time, we can do seven weeks on our heads).

So we'll have one week together in France vacationing and celebrating. I'm thinking a nice stroll around Aix with the obligatory glass of pink, a quick trip to Avignon because I love it so, lunch at Bonaparte's in Cassis, Toulon to meet up with my old sidekick, Mrs. London, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Les Baux-de-Provence because why not, and of course Le Petit Village. Sounds like a plan. (ATTN: France, you might want to stock up on the Rosé).

After a week living it up à la Française, we'll be flying together to Dublin (there it is) and spending a few days hanging out with my family and catching up with friends before returning to the U.S. together to begin (finally begin) our American life together.

So that's where we're at. Still not there yet, but almost. Please, please, please, oh pretty please!

What about you? Where are you at?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

ALL the good juju

It happened guys, it finally happen... WE HAVE A DATE FOR GREGORY'S GREEN CARD INTERVIEW! Cue singing: Hallelujah Hallelujah Ha-ll-e-lu-jah.

I have been dreaming of this moment for so long and in my head it went like this: I would reach my hand into the mailbox and pull out a letter from the NVC, I'd open the letter, and immediately start shrieking with joy and doing a happy dance before running into the house where the celebratory joy would continue. There would be laughter and cheerful tears and hugs.

This is what actually happened: the other afternoon I checked my email and there was one from the NVC (which honestly usually makes me panic now more than happy... it's a Pavlov's response kind of thing at this point), I held my breath before clicking it open. After scrolling through the standard blah blah who cares that they write in all of their letters, I finally got to the important part... Gregory's interview had been scheduled!

There was no jumping up and down, no shrieking, no celebratory dancing, instead, Gregory and I just kept looking at the email in a state of shock. Sure we were excited (are excited), but we've been waiting so long that we couldn't believe it. We just kind of sat there, staring at the email. (Way to go NVC, you've broken us, clearly we no longer have the ability to feel joy).

Bottom line though, we have an interview date! Cue golden trumpets. And bonus, it's much earlier than we thought it would be, as in it's next month. Next month! Can you believe it? We can't. It's almost over! Oh my goodness, it's almost over!

Now, I know that this is going to sound a little nutty, but you guys know I'm a little nutty so indulge me please, I don't want to say the exact date in case of some weird jinxy-ju thing happening. But, it is in April, and I would appreciate it if you guys could start throwing some good juju our way in a few weeks. Every bit helps you know, so give me your juju please. Thank you. I love you guys. Cue the virtual hugs. 

But listen to this coincidence... because nothing in my life is ever straightforward, and the universe does like to give me the occasional spanking every now and then just to keep me on my toes... the interview date has been scheduled on the very same day that Gregory was going to be flying home. The very same day... what are the odds? HA, thanks universe, you're so funny! No worries, we'll just buy another plane ticket because that's what we do, we buy plane tickets. Cue my wallet weeping

Friday, March 6, 2015

Did you know?


Did you know that I started a new job? I did, and I love it; love it, love it, love it. But did you know that sometimes when you start a new job that you love, it can kind of consume you. It's true, not in a bad way, but in a good way, and when your brain is thinking of all of this amazing new job stuff, you're not thinking about other stuff, like oh I don't know... blogging. Oops.

Did you know that I'm blonde now? Not blonde-blonde, but kind of sort of blonde, and it's long, a bit too long, so I'm thinking of cutting it like that girl in that show, Allegiance. (Speaking of Allegiance, I haven't made my mind up about it yet, have you?)

Did you know that Broadchurch is an awesome show? Not the American one, the English one. (In fairness, I've never seen the American one so I can't say if it's awesome or not, but why would I watch the American one anyway, if I watch the English one? Same show, different accents. Dumb.)

Did you know that I celebrated my birthday for the first in America in like, eleven years? I did last month, and I celebrated with a Raclette. Of course I did.

Did you know that they make Red Velvet ice cream? They do, and it's delicious! I can pretty much kiss bikini season goodbye for like ever (but who am I kidding, at my age it should really be maillot season anyway).

Did you know that they're making Rosé in the Texas Hill Country now? They are, and it's pretty darn good. It's not exactly the same as South of France Rosé, but it's tasty none the less. Santé y'all!

Did you know that Honey Jr and Honey's Honey's little Baby Honey is due next month? It's true. We're all more than a little excited about this arrival. Cannot wait to see that little honey face!

Did you know that Gregory has been here for three weeks? Three weeks. I can't tell if it flew by or not. When he gets here, we snap back into married life routine right quick, except we're not in our own home with our own stuff and that blows. Boo.

Did you know that our five year wedding anniversary is in two weeks? Now that did fly by!

Did you know that we're do for a Green Card update from the National Visa Center this week? We are, but the week is almost over so.... HURRY THE EFF UP NVC! Please and thank you.

Did you know that as of this week I've been back in the U.S. for exactly one year? I'm not going to delve into the thoughts I have about the fact that it's been a year and where I thought we'd be by now, verse where we actually are because I'm choosing to focus on the positive, but #$@%*! And breathe.

Did you know that I miss you? I do, every single one of you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

boom


Something strange happened last week, a house behind mine blew up. IT BLEW UP, like BOOM.

It was late Tuesday morning and I was busying myself with work and getting ready for Gregory's arrival the next day. I walked into the laundry room and turned on the washing machine, and as I stood there measuring out the detergent, a loud bang rumbled through the house shaking me and the room. I steadied myself to catch my breath. I had no idea what had happened, but whatever it was, I had felt it through me.

A couple of seconds later and I was running down the stairs, I was sure a large truck had caused the bang by ramming into the front of the house. But thankfully no, the house was intact, and my mother and Fifty were OK. Pulling on my shoes, I ran outside and looked around. From behind house a few doors down, I could see a large cloud of black smoke began to billow into the sky.

It wasn't a normal house fire, it had been an explosion.

The next few minutes were manic; a few of my neighbors came out onto the street and the police arrived, and then miraculously, the survivor of the explosion made his way onto our street. He was walking and lucid but a reddish-black color and his clothes had been blown off of him and were hanging in shreds. He said that all he had done was turn his television on. GAS!

The police said that those of us on my side of the street needed to clear out. Another woman and I made our way down the street banging on doors urging people to leave their homes, no answer, no answer, no answer. And as I ran back into my house to grab Fifty, I was terrified and holding my breath.

Soon police were positioned in our neighborhood blocking off entrances and sirens were heard all over. The smoke cloud changed from black to white, and we were allowed to return home.

It had only been an hour. How had it only been an hour? In only one hour, a house directly behind mine and only three doors down had exploded so ferociously, that it blew out the windows of one house next door, and completely destroyed the other, the police had come, the ambulance had come, Air Life had flown in, the gas company had come (THANKFULLY), and then we were back inside to carry on our day.

And we're all OK; the poor man is doing well, recovering in the hospital with burns covering 80% of his body, Fifty is fine, Gregory arrived, and other than randomly panicking because I constantly think I smell gas, I'm alright.

So here it is, you never know what a day will bring so use them wisely. Use them wisely.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

le deuxième


// Did you know crayons can burn like a candle for twenty minutes? Yeah, me either. But apparently they do and in case of some blackout emergency, you can use crayons to replace candles in a pinch. My mother informed me of this the other day and after she told me, I said, "but we don't have crayons", so she said, "maybe you should buy some", and then I said, "maybe I should just buy candles." These are the conversations you have when you move back home as an adult.

// Back in December I saw Night At The Museum 3. It was cute, and sweet, and funny, and at the end when it was Robin William's last scene as Teddy Roosevelt, I bawled like a baby. Tears upon tears rolled down my face like I was a distressed infant #ohcaptainmycaptain

// At the movie theater, there were all of these empty seats around us, like loads of them. But guess where a family of five chose to sit? You guessed it, all up in my grill, as in the seat right next to mine. Who does that?! Why do people do this?! Those people bug. I don't like those people.

// My friend Amy is having a baby next month. It's a boy and we're all completely over the moon. She hasn't picked out a name yet but I'm doing everything in my power to get her to name him Fraser, as in Jamie Fraser. She totally should, shouldn't she? Of course she should.

// Is anybody on Poshmark? I am. Just thought I should tell someone.

// There's this viagra commercial on TV here with a Cindy Crawford ripoff in a blue dress who just walks around this empty house brushing her hair and staring at herself in the mirror or out the windows. It's weird and it totally skeeves me out. Does it skeeve you out too? Please say it's not only me.

// Confession: I don't like Target. There, I said it. (Pretty please don't tell the Blogger Police I said that.)

// Tomorrow's my birthday (aka: International Day of Awesomeness), and despite Gregory's and my best efforts, he will not be here for it. Unfortunately he has something in France that he simply cannot get out of on the 10th, but, he will be here on the 11th, so yay. That also means that I get to stretch out my celebrations to another week. Yay, again.

// At a party a few weeks back, an old school chum said how much she envied myself and another friend because we chose a different path, that, traveling/ expat/ gypsy path, and she wishes that she had gotten to experience all of the things that we did. I smiled and told her that yes, experiencing different cultures was wonderful, and I wouldn't trade my life choices for anything, but (and this is a big ol' but), it's a trade off, and I pointed to her kids running around the backyard and the beautiful home that she and her husband have made. You see, we don't have that, we have experiences, and they've been amazing, but, we don't have anything concrete, and as another birthday looms, I can honestly say that that blows (RE: HURRY THE EFF UP NVC). So I'm really, really looking forward to Gregory getting here permanently so we can start to pour some foundation and build something concrete.    
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