Paul

Going Back in Time – Immigration Interview

Paul went to the Licence Commissioner’s office today to get his driver’s licence address changed to the new rental address. This office is incredibly efficient, and usually has you out the door within 10 minutes, so it’s the preferred place to go for replacements, address changes, and anything that doesn’t require a road test. Only it turns out, he couldn’t get his changed there, and was instead directed to the larger, much more crowded office a few miles away. Why? He’s a foreign national. He’s been a legal permanent resident since 2012, but for whatever reason this became relevant again, and he had to go sit there for a couple of hours for them to do the same thing he could have done at the first office if he’d been a US citizen.

It’s rare that this even comes up for us, but every so often he gets an annoying bit of red tape thrown at him, and we are thinking it may be time to start looking at getting that process started, just so it won’t be an issue anymore. Plus, we are kind of looking forward to throwing this damn dirty liberal foreigner into the conservative Alabama voting pool!

I went to print out the N-400 paperwork, and decided to check the guide on VisaJourney since they were so helpful when we were doing the Adjustment of Status process. Did you know the application for citizenship is 21 pages long? Costs aside, the sheer volume of paperwork associated with anything involving the USCIS is insane. Anyhow, as I printed forms and document lists, I kind of fell down the rabbit hole of reading over old posts from when we were going through his immigration stuff, and stumbled on the post I made regarding our interview. Posting it here so I don’t lose it, and for anyone curious what an immigration interview is like. (May sound odd I named the interviewer, there were others interviewing at that time so we usually shared who we interviewed with.)

Our interview experience, FINALLY! It’s been such a crazy week with the kids and Paul starting his new job! πŸ™‚

We got to the Atlanta USCIS building in Atlanta at 7:20, our interview was scheduled for 8am. Only a couple of people in line for security, and it was JUST like going through for airline security. Checked in downstairs, and they sent us to the 3rd floor waiting room.

There were about 6-8 other couples in there with us, only one of them had a lawyer with them, another had one show up who introduced herself to the couple, must have been someone else from the firm they used. Two couples seemed to have their whole family with them(5+ people sitting together). Some people were in jeans and tshirts, a few in suits, most in business-casual type stuff(think church clothes). Couples were being called back pretty steadily, and we got called somewhere around 8:05.

Our officer was an African-American man in his 40’s(?) last name Singleton. He was VERY stern and serious, and stayed that way pretty much the entire time. It made me nervous, because I am used to people who are more personable, and this guy never really smiled at all.

He told us our interview would be in two parts, one for the marriage and one for the i-485. He took our ID’s and Paul’s i-94. He asked me to confirm my name, address, and daytime phone number. He asked Paul his full name, daytime phone number, and asked why he didn’t have a driver’s licence yet(AL won’t allow since he is out of status). He then asked for anything additional we’d brought with us to prove the marriage. He made a comment about ‘but I’ve already made up my mind about you two’ that I was curious about, but let slide because I was so nervous. We handed over the joint bank statements, statement showing him as a non-driver on my insurance, father’s day cards from my kids, and an envelope of pictures. He really just kind of glanced over most of it, and started flipping through the pictures. Then he did the standard yes/no’s, sort of pausing and clairfying about Paul’s weapons training(he was in the Irish army for a few years) but it wasn’t an issue.

He then told us he wanted to approve our case, BUT…He needed a new translation of Paul’s divorce papers because he’d done them himself. You guys know LOADS of people on VJ have done their own and had no problems, but for whatever reason they were not ok with this there. He said it could even be done through Google Translate(the person doing it didn’t have to speak Danish) but they just needed someone else’s signature on the papers other than ours. He reccomended going next door to an immigrant services office that had set up there, they did translations, notary, etc, and gave us until 3pm that day to get it back to him, otherwise we’d have to mail it in.

He mentioned again how if it were up to him we’d be approved on the spot, and said again how he’d already made up his mind about us. I was making a joke and said ‘Oh, don’t believe everything you hear!’, and he said no, it was the pictures of the tattoos. About a year ago he and I had gone and gotten similar themed tattoos together with each other’s names, our wedding date, and his family motto. I ended up sending pictures of those in because I figured it has to be pretty sure proof we are really in a relationship, right? Paul now says it was the best $500 we ever spent…LOL. The officer asked were we drinking when we did it(no), and said he thought it was crazy, but it definitly convinced him. We just needed the translated doc and we’d be approved.

We went to the place next door, and once we explained what we needed, they got us fixed up pretty quick. Paul ended up re-typing his divorce document because of all the weird Danish characters, and the guy working there just ran it through Google Translate for us and put it on their letterhead and signed it and we went back to USCIS.(Yes, we did get charged $20 instead of $30 since Paul did most of the work! LOL!)

We checked in downstairs again, and she had us sit and wait while they tried to get hold of our officer so he could come down and get the documents. We waited a bit, and then realized it was 10:40, and checkout at the hotel was 11, so Paul said why don’t you run back over(hotel was literally around the corner, 45 second drive away) and get us checked out and come back. So ran and did that, and as I was leaving the hotel again, Paul called me. It’s done! Approved! LOL! I missed the whole thing because I had to go check us out of the hotel! He said the guy was nice and more relaxed and almost smiled even, so I’m really sorry I missed that part πŸ™‚ I picked him up outside the building and we headed back the 6 hours to Mobile πŸ™‚

If This is 35, I Think I Like It

I woke up this morning and realized this is it – I’ve turned 35. Happy birthday Sara, you are officially old.

As a kid I remember my mother hitting some point in her mid-30’s and telling me she never expected to live that long. She’d lived recklessly, not in a good way, and basically expected to die any time. As long as I can remember she said she never expected to live this long, and she knew she wouldn’t live to be old. It seemed to me like she was living her life just waiting to die, and I suppose in some way that made me fear reaching that age. 35 seemed to me like the peak, and it would only be downhill from there. To reach that point myself kind of scared me.

I don’t know what I expected today, but I woke up to a beautiful card from Paul, along with a really cool TARDIS journal. He offered to make me breakfast, but I didn’t want to bother him with it, and I was having a hard time waking up, so I was running late from the start.

Late for work? Yep, but I didn’t give a damn when I walked in and saw what my coworkers had done to my cube.

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What you can’t see in that pic is the shiny confetti all over the desk, and the cupcake banner thing hanging off the back of the chair. I love it so much I told them I wanted to keep it that way all year long. I know they do this for everyone, but I can’t put into words how special it made me feel. Totally made going into work worth it for the few hours I was there.

At noon I left work and went home, grabbed Paul, and we went to lunch at my favorite restaurant, Felix’s Fish Camp. I got to try turtle soup for the first time(which has actual turtle in it, we Googled it!), and I had my favorite crab bisque. I got the crabcakes, and Paul had fried shrimp. Amazing food as always, though the waiter was very chatty. The view was gorgeous, and I’ve totally decided that we are bringing my best friend there when she comes to visit next month. No one should come to Mobile and not try Felix’s.

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From there we went to Foley and hit the Tanger Outlets. Initially my plan was to replace the watch I lost last Thanksgiving weekend when we were in Birmingham. I’d picked it out at the Seiko outlet when I took Paul’s mom and sister to Foley, and have spent the last year being upset that I lost it. It was a *really* nice watch.

I didn’t find one just like it, but I found another I liked enough, and then went back and forth between that and a second one. Being an outlet store they were cheap, and Paul said it’s your birthday, get both. Then he found one he liked, and I made him get that one, and then he decided with it being my birthday, I should get another one that I kept noticing. A trip for one watch turned into three(plus his), and it was WAY overboard, but he was pretty insistent. I’ll never have to worry about losing a watch again!

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We picked up a hoodie for me in Old Navy, and a couple of pajama sets for Malcolm, and then grabbed drinks at Starbucks and headed home.

I loved spending the afternoon just the two of us, but I missed Malcolm too, and was glad to get home. (I tried calling the big kids on the way home but got the answering machine, boo! I can’t wait for the day they get old enough to realize maybe they should be calling me on days like this.) Β He seemed a bit warm, but not quite running a fever, something I’d been commenting on for several days now. When Ashley left he continued to become more agitated, and I checked his gums under the light, though surely at 3 months old he couldn’t be teething yet, right?

Wrong.

They haven’t broken through yet, but looking closely I could see the two tell-tale lines on his bottom gum. Mickey Moo is teething at 3 months old. Wth?? None of my older kids got teeth this early! I’m glad to at least know now why he’s been so cranky and warm the last few days, but teething? Already? Yuck.

I got him calmed down and he fell asleep pretty quickly, right before Paul came home with the curry and my favorite cheap wine. Barefoot Sweet Red for the win y’all!

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Overall I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend the day. This has been hands-down the best birthday I have ever had, and there is so much to look forward to in the next year I can’t imagine how I ever thought 35 would be scary.

I have an amazing husband who goes so above and beyond every day to make me happy. I have kids that I love so much I can’t even put it into words. I have great friends, awesome coworkers, and a job that doesn’t suck.

They always say life is what you make of it, and I believe that. I surround myself with love and laughter and people I adore, and that makes me happy. My marriage is strong, and I am so much more confident in myself than I used to be. If this is any indication of what being 35 is like, I’ll take it.

Life just keeps getting better.

He Ate the Whole Thing!

Paul and I met up with the local Twitter contingency this weekend for the monthly Mobile, AL Tweetup (#mobilealtweetup). Aside from the usual suspects, we had a couple of people who hadn’t been able to make one in awhile, so we were thrilled to get to see them again(yes Alli and Hope, I mean you!). The restaurant we went to was pretty tiny, so even though there wasn’t a lot of us, we kind of took over the place.

The Hungry Owl turned out to have some pretty amazing food, I can’t believe I’d never been there before! I had the asian style tuna, and Paul had the Ultimate Tony Burger, which turned out to be the most massive burger I’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing puts 5 Guys to shame! I don’t remember what all was on it, but I know there was sausage, 2 hamburger patties, and a fried egg involved. I had a bite, and I’m convinced the fried egg is the best thing to ever happen to a burger since..well, anything. Ever. The biggest surprise was that not only did Paul eat the whole thing, he said he could have quite easily downed a 2nd one. I don’t call him the human garbage disposal for nothing!

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