Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Decisions made

Limbo is an exceptionally difficult thing - probably one of the most challenging mental states in which a person can find themself. I have been essentially living in limbo for over 7 years. As I approached my graduation from UMass-Amherst in May 2007, I didn't have work lined up, and didn't know where my career would take me. Since then, I have owned 2 businesses, and worked for a number of different companies - national tours, cruise ship, and traveled both all over the U.S.A. and around the world. It has been amazing, but still, difficult because it is limbo and I haven't had a real home since 2010. The other day, the not knowing when my visa would be approved and I could join my husband, especially not knowing if we would be together for our first anniversary, was really getting to me. My friend, Mindi, said, "Why don't you just ask them what would happen if you went to visit - since they said you can visit - and your visa was approved while you were there?" It planted a seed, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. They said 5-12 months for the approval window - so what if I already had my airfare purchased to fly out around the 6 month mark? Could I stay for 3 months and have it be approved and just go visit another country and be good to go? I called Paul and asked him what he thought. His first knee-jerk reaction was "We can't afford it, especially if you're not approved when you get here." Then he started thinking about it, and we decided that worst case scenario, I would be a stay-home writer for 6 months and he'd have to support me (as my sponsor, it's his job! *grin*). We decided that it would be worth it to just go ahead and plan for me to arrive before our first anniversary - so we can have that, Christmas, and New Year's together as it should be. So I am working out the details, but it looks like I will be flying out to my mom around October 7 so we can go to the big hot air balloon festival that week in Albuquerque. Then on November 4, I will likely be flying to Australia to join my husband. The end of September will be the 5-month mark for having filed my visa, so there is actually a fair chance it may be approved before I leave the country in November. So the end is in sight - the light is bright at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to all for your love, support and prayers - and here's hoping the visa comes in before I leave!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Immigration Update

Yes, I know I've been bad and not written for a while. I think of you often, and keep wanting to share what's going on, but the truth is that we're still in limbo right now. Paul is in Australia working away like a busy little bee trying to get our life together. He's got a teeny little flat about 100m from Henley Beach, and works practically every day to save money and pay off debt he discovered his ex-wife ran up into the thousands in his name before she left the country. I'm working 2 jobs trying to pay down my own debt and save money. We are missing each other terribly, and treasure those few moments we get to see each other on Skype 2-3 times a week (the 13.5 hour time difference makes it challenging sometimes). We received a "here is your final checklist" email about a month ago from Immigration, so we're hoping we will hear something soon. When we do, you'll be the first to know! :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Visa Update and other stuff

Wow - I can't believe it has been a month since I posted. How time flies! It has now been exactly 6 months since Paul left for Australia (6 months and 10 days since we wed) - in some ways I can't believe it has been 6 months already, and in other ways it seems so much longer. We filed for my visa 4 weeks ago, and were hoping to hear soon that I have been approved and can go home. In the meantime, I've been busy working, and going through everything and trying to get rid of everything I don't actually need or HAVE to have. Along with scanning all of my DVD's, CD's, and photos into digital form so I can get rid of the physical copies. It is a huge, overwhelming, intimidating, emotional process, and there are days that it is a struggle. I've also started working part time on the weekends pouring wine for wine tastings at a local winery. It's a lot of fun, amazing wine, and I really enjoy chatting with the customers. Paul has been busy working a ton, and finding us an apartment - the one he has found is in the Henley Beach area of Adelaide, about 1 1/2 min walk from the beach! Needless to say, we are wicked excited about that. He's also managed to obtain a loveseat, area rug, bed, microwave, kettle, coffee pot, and refrigerator, so we're pretty much all set with the necessities. On Monday, Paul called the immigration department to check in to see if we could get an idea of processing time for my visa (the last time I checked the website, it was 3 years out of date). When he called a couple months ago to make sure we had all the right forms, he was told it "could be as soon as 4 weeks" - so we've been really hoping it could be any day. What we found out is that the 4 week processing is for people from "high-risk" countries, places where their lives are in danger and they are seeking political asylum. Because I am from a "friendly" country, it puts me to the bottom of the priority list, regardless of the fact that I am married to an Australian citizen (like the U.S.A., they've had a slew of "green-card" sham marriages, and it has ruined it for folks like us who have a genuine relationship). So it is looking like my visa should be approved sometime between September 2014 and April 2015. That's right - we are back to hoping we are able to celebrate our first anniversary together in November. We've been getting a lot of folks asking "why don't you just go over there and wait there?" There's a few reasons why that isn't feasible: 1) I wouldn't be able to work, 2) I would be on a tourist visa and would have to leave for 2 weeks+ every three months, 3) it could be considered "entering the country under false pretenses" and they could deport me and ban me from entering the country for up to 5 years, 4) I don't have enough vacation time accrued at work to go over for more than a few days, 5) I really don't have an extra $2800 for airfare We've also been having a lot of well-meaning folks saying things like "it will go faster than you think" and "it could be worse" - all of which is true. And we appreciate your love and support. But we're also going to ask you to do one more thing for us - pray. Regardless of what your faith path may be, we ask you to join us in asking God/Goddess/Universe/The Great Is - however you choose to call your Divine - to bless us with the gift of being together. Since Feb 22, 2013, Paul and I have spent exactly 6 1/2 weeks together, with no idea of when we will see each other again. All we want is to be together, to be the newlyweds that we are, and to share our life. If you are blessed to be with a partner you love, think about what it is to sleep next to them, to wake together and be able to spend time together sharing meals, talking, and being able to touch each other - to hold hands, embrace, and kiss. If you've every been separated from the one you love - whether for a short time (like a business trip) or a long time (like a military deployment), remember what it was to be apart - how it felt like a huge part of you was missing, and then what it was to feel whole again with them next to you. Think about when you were a newlywed and how much joy you had making your first place a home. Right now, I cannot tell you how much it hurts to be in a store and see something I'd love to get for our apartment that I can't, because it would be too expensive to ship. If you have yet to find your mate, joining with us will put good karma points in your cosmic account! :D And we ask that not only do you say a prayer/light a candle/send energy to/for us, but that you help this go viral. Please tell/ask everyone you know - share the heck out of it on Facebook - and ask them to pray for us that my visa will be approved soon. Please take it to your church groups and faith families and ask to have it included in your prayer circles. All help is appreciated. We;re asking that for the next week at least that you pray for us. That you ask everyone you know to pray for us. There are several folks who have contacted me saying that they wished they had had the means to help when the indiegogo campaign was happening, but couldn't help at that time - well, this is a great way to help us out without costing a penny! Please ask everyone you know to hold us in their hearts and prayers that we will be able to be together soon. All we want is to put love in the world. Thank you for being there for us, and we can't wait to tell you that we're on our way!

Friday, April 25, 2014

One giant leap forward...!

Wow - I can't believe this day is here!! At 10:15pm EST on 25 April 2014, almost exactly 5 months from the day Paul left for Australia, we have now filed for my immigration visa!!!! We cannot thank enough all the folks who contributed to the indiegogo campaign - without you, it probably would have taken us another 6 months at least to save up enough to make it to this point. And for the folks who said they wanted to contribute but didn't make it in time for the deadline, please email me and I will tell you how you can still contribute. So the other update is Paul and I now have a home. Paul has found a (very) small one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Adelaide - and about 100 meters from the ocean! Yes, we can hear the waves when the windows are open!! I'm so excited I'm jealous of myself!! This also means that I have now kicked into high gear my downsizing of everything I own, and am selling almost everything. I'm scanning pictures and DVDs into digital form so I can get rid of hard copies, and backing everything up at least twice. So if you need an all-in-one printer, a rice cooker or a crockpot, let me know! We don't know how long it will take for the approval to come in, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was by the beginning of June. My passport was supposed to take 8-10 weeks, and it took 3. My FBI check was supposed to take 12 weeks, and it took 3. I think I see a pattern here. Some folks have also been making some noise about wanting to have a party before I leave, so I'll keep you all posted on the Western MA blowout. Thanks again for all the love and support - we couldn't do it without you. MUAH!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Monster thank-you's and gratitude

Paul and I want to raise our glass to all those who helped with our "Keep Love Together" campaign. We raised $1,965.60, which after fees, comes to a net total of $1,965.60 toward my visa and moving to Australia expenses. We want to especially thank (in no particular order): Dr. Jen Mahon (and I am so tickled to get to say "Dr." now!!) Denny and Glenn Wagner Tina Tessina Lynn Hineman John & June Clair Faye Omasta Mona Martin Greg Konkol Kristin Horrigan Ann Larson Sharon Gourlay Aidan Heritage Lisa Hawkridge Kristen Roth Jackie Haney Kendra Watsun Tina Howell Skye Belle Pryztas Jaynie Beard Susan Levitan Kelly and James Beckelheimer Wendy Gordon Kirby Fortin Arlene and Damon Gunn Deshira Jean Baxter Melissa Stratton Pandina all of our generous Anonymous donors With special thanks to Tina Tessina, Greg Konkol, and Aidan Heritage for being multiple donors - and Skye Belle Pryztas and Aidan Heritage for being our chief cheerleaders and helping to spread the word! I apologize for this being a bit late in getting out (the campaign ended on March 4th) - but I was a little busy recovering from a fall on the ice.
I'm doing okay, and will have more knowledge about the details of my injuries after Wednesday the 12th March when I see the orthopedist. It has been an interesting couple of months - my fall on the ice, Paul's cancer scare, and several unexpected bills that we're managing to deal with. Needless to say, we can't wait to be together. My name change is now official - I have a new Social Security card and driver's license that proclaims to the world that I am now Mrs. Kat Milner - and thanks to all of you, as soon as I get my new passport with my new name, I can file for my visa!! With luck, Paul and I will be together for our first anniversary, and you will know that YOU HELPED MAKE IT POSSIBLE. Thank you for believing in us, believing in love, and supporting us. Words are not enough to tell you how grateful we are. With love, Kat and Paul

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Last few hours for love campaign

So we're in the last few hours of the campaign, and we hope you will join us. Paul and I have both been working 5 jobs between us to save money - for the visa, the background and medical checks, the flights, and to save for and furnish an apartment for when I get to Australia. Some quotes from some of our contributors: "Kat and Paul have renewed my faith in finding love. I thought the fairy tale ending happened only in the movies. Who wouldn't want to be part of a real life fairy tale ending?" "For Love, With Love." "In our world there is so much hurt and struggle and disease, and with social media there are waves of support daily, through prayer, donations and words of comfort and encouragement. I felt moved by the opportunity to contribute to a positive outcome, Kat & Paul, so clearly committed & in love. Circumstances of life have created the opportunity for their community to rally support to bring them together. $10, $20, $50 does make a difference, it is inspired action. An opportunity to support Love & LOVE WINS!" "well, mainly because that's what friends do. They help each other either emotionally, physically or monitarily as needed. no questions asked. I will miss you, but I would rather you be happy there than miserable here." "I supported your campaign because it was the right thing to do." We hope you will choose to join us, to help spread love into the world. To help to struggling newlyweds be together. Paul left for Australia 10 days after we married, as as of today, March 4, 2014, it has been 97 days since we've seen each other. So many people at the wedding commented that they have rarely seen two people so very much in love - will you help us be together so we can kiss each other goodnight, rather than wave over Skype? Just a few hours left - join us now. www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep-love-together

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Standing on the side of love

As of noon on Sunday, March 2, we have just over 60 hours left in our indiegogo campaign to help raise the money for Paul and I to be together. The only thing that stands between us and keeps us a world apart is money. We realize that there are thousands of incredibly worthy causes out there - starving children, abused women, homeless families, cancer survivors who need surgery...the list is endless. We know that in the great scheme of things, our need isn't anywhere near the top of the list of critical importance in the world. Why then, did we decide to do this campaign? We decided to do this campaign because of one thing and one thing only - LOVE. The day of our wedding, the chapel and the reception was filled to bursting with love - I personally have never felt so much love in one place, and it was amazing to watch everyone fall in love with the very special man that became my husband. Every time I think about that day, I am overcome with feelings of love toward Paul, his son Z, and all of our friends and family that joined us that day in person and in spirit. I listen to the soundtrack from our reception, and it takes me back to dancing in the arms of my beloved, and seeing the joy on so many faces as they celebrated with us. So often it seems that our attention is brought to causes as a result of pain - like the list named above. We thought that people would like the opportunity to step forward and support a cause of joy - to support two people who love each other so much, have committed their lives together, and want nothing more than to be able to hold hands, kiss, and touch and hug each other. So often, when in a relationship, we take these things for granted - sleeping next to our partner, sharing meals, cuddling while watching a movie, or just taking a walk together and talking about nothing over coffee. We thought that people would like the opportunity to look at our real-life fairy tale, and be able to say "I helped make that happen!" when they see the pictures of us crying for joy when we are finally reunited. I mean, how often can you say you had a hand in making a for-real "happily-ever-after" happen? We're down to the wire - we know we won't make our full goal of $6,000, and that is okay. But it would be really wonderful if we could at least say we netted over $2,000, which would mean our friends got us 2/3 of the way to the visa! Won't you go now to www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep-love-together and donate now? Stand on the side of love, be a supporter of joy, and help two newlyweds who have only had 6 1/2 weeks together since February 22, 2013 be able to be together and share their life? Will you be a champion who helps love win out over governmental red tape? Please join us - www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep-love-together And if you haven't seen it yet, there is a video telling our story at: http://youtu.be/80KtlCm5E4k To all those who have already contributed, thank you. To those who have helped to spread the word, thank you. To all of you who continue to spread the word and to help in every way you can - thank you - we cannot do it without you. Thank you for being our love champion. Kat & Paul