My Husband, Permanent Resident

Wednesday the 7th of October has come and gone. As you may remember, that was Andrés’ big fat visa interview day for his “green card”, and as you may know, he was big fat APPROVED!

Our celebratory photo

Our celebratory photo

I had taken the day off, because as I had put together most of his application and gone through the process, I needed to see this thing to fruition. He had had a medical exam in September, and we had to pick up the results and bring it to his interview. So, we got that about 11am and moseyed on over to the embassy. We had an obligatory stop at Starbucks, and moseyed a bit too long there and realized we didn’t really have time for lunch before his 2pm interview.

I’m Amy, so I needed at least a snack to tide myself over, and after that we arrived at the embassy at 1:45. There were 4 people in front of us. At 1:50 the guards started calling us in one by one. The interview itself took all of 10 minutes, but waiting for the four couples in front of us to finish before our interview took an hour.

I had made Andrés drag along the 12-inch thick binder I had put together while submitting his applications months ago, with two originals and two photocopies of every possible document you could ever think of — birth certificates, police records, passport photocopies, and I kid you not, 5 different Victoria’s Secret flyers that were sent to me at my “real” address in the USA…to show them that I “still technically live in the USA even though I’ve actually been in Chile permanently for three years but whatever”. Our entire lives x2 (if you include photocopies) were in that binder. And the first thing the Vice Consul says to us when he sees us, “I actually feel really bad that you brought that big binder along with you because I really will not have to see anything in there.” I was so tempted to ask him if he was 100% positive he didn’t want to at least admire it for 10 seconds because my blood, sweat and tears were put into putting that damn thing together. I did say, well, we weren’t sure if you needed to see originals or more evidence, and he replied, “This is Chile! We’re not in the Philippines or Haiti or some high-fraud country.” Okedoke, got it. It sort of reminded me of when I was so worked up about making sure Joaquin’s US passport photo was going to be acceptable for the Embassy.

He asked us how we met, where we plan to live when we move to the USA and confirmed that we have a daughter (guess Joaquin seems like a girls name?) He looked up at us and said “congratulations, have a great new adventure”. We asked him simultaneously, “that’s it?” And he said, “you’re close in age (10 years is close in age for an immigrant visa I guess), you have a child together and you’ve known each other for several years…there are no red flags here”.

Well, shoot. After that whole long process, that’s what we hear. Now I think that the USA should definitely implement a fast-track immigration process for low fraud countries, because it’s obvious we qualify, but THIS was our timeline** to prove it:

March 17: I-130 packet & $420 application fee mailed to USCIS via DHL

March 19: USCIC received I-130 packet

April 15: I-797 Notice of Action acceptance of I-130 and shipment of packet to NVC

April 29: NVC received I-130 packet from USCIS

May 7: NVC Case # assigned

June 1: DS-261 form completed online

June 4: Affidavit of Support Invoice Paid ($120)

June 11: Andrés is registered as his own agent via DS-261

July 6: Immigration Visa fee available for payment online

July 20: Immigration Visa fee paid ($325)

July 27: DS-260 Immigration Application submitted online

July 28: Affidavit of Support and Immigration Visa evidence packages mailed to the NVC via DHL

July 30: Packages received at NVC

August 20: Notification email received for Case Complete

August 27: Notification email received for interview date

September 16: Original Interview Date (rescheduled because we were in Brazil)

October 7: Rescheduled Interview Date, result: approved

**This is actually a much shorter wait that many other countries.

Now, all that’s left is to pick up Andrés passport with his temporary immigrant visa (hopefully this week) and pay another $165 Immigrant fee (give me a freaking break) and then we are free (no pun intended) to move to the USA. Though, this will not occur until early 2016–for administrative reasons 😉


New Season, New Beginnings

Where do I even start? An entire season has passed and not a word from me. I like to write, but to write while there are so many other things to be done – working, making sure my toddler doesn’t knock over the vase on the table, making dinner, folding clothes, washing dishes, spending time with my husband, washing more dishes (because it is just the most never-ending cycle in the history of time when you don’t have a dishwasher) – writing is 100% of the time put on the side. Writing is pushed into the couch cushions and forgotten, and then when I’m looking for my phone that was hidden from me by a my own personal three-foot human tornado, I find that ‘will to write’ next to the phone and think, oh right, my blog still exists. There are a handful of people that would like to hear from me.

So here I am again.

July and August went by quickly. It was winter here, but winter 2015 in Santiago was balmy. It didn’t rain good and hard until mid-August, so we were stuck with that smog for much longer than we wanted.

Joaquin began saying more words this winter. He says hola, chau, vamos, bravo, mama, zapato (papapo) and some others. His only English word is banana (balala), and that word comes from Spanish, so it’s safe to say that Spanish is his dominant language. Now that he’s saying a bit more, we can see how much more he understands. He understands my commands in English, and the parts of his body in English, like nose, ears, eyes, belly button, teeth, mouth, tongue. But, he also knows where other body parts are in Spanish, like cabeza, manos, brazos y piernas (thanks to a horribly annoying educational Chilean TV show that I detest with all my soul).

He waves goodbye, blows kisses and his new thing is to say chau and wave goodbye to me on the sidewalk and start walking in the other direction like he’s off to his first day of college. He’s always been blindly independent…takes after me.


September was a much more fun month. I only had to work the first week of the month and then I had two weeks vacation. Andrés and I were able to take a mom-and-dad only trip to Brazil, while my mom and Julia manned down the house and had Joaquin all to themselves for a week. Everything worked out pretty perfectly…except for the 8.4 earthquake the night before we were coming back home. We got a message from my mom when we were at dinner to the effect of “Yikes! Earthquake!” and I thought, well, they’ve never felt an earthquake before, so it was probably just a small tremor.  Except not, and it was actually the biggest earthquake recorded worldwide so far for 2015. So, yes, kind of a big deal. Andrés and I were not in Chile for the earthquake in 2010, and now we missed the one in 2015. We feel left out. So unfortunately, my poor mom and sister had no idea what to do (we don’t really need to have earthquake drills in the midwest) and wanted to run out into the street (which is really not what you’re supposed to do). Thankfully our neighbor Manuela calmed them down and told them to just stay put.  

Our trip to Brazil was lovely. We decided not to let the rainy weather bring us down and we were able to see a lot of really beautiful places. We stayed in Cabo Frio, a city 2 hours east of Rio de Janeiro, and visited Buzios and Arraial do Cabo on two separate days. We spent our last day in Rio and were able to go up the Sugarloaf Mountain and spend some time at Copacabana.  


At one of the million beaches we visited that week.



“…At the Copa-Copacabana”


It was a time of rest that we needed, so we came back missing our bubs and excited to spend a few days all together with Julia, Mom and Joaquin.

We are normal, I promise.

Joaquin caption: Is it too late to get out of this family of weirdos??

Sadly on the 21st, reality struck and we went back to ‘routine’ mode. Joaquin wasn’t super excited to return to daycare, though I can’t say I blame him. Spending two weeks with all attention from Grandma and Aunt Juju understandably has that effect on a return to real life. I was equally un-excited to be back at work.

And in upcoming news, Andrés’ visa interview will take place on October 7 at the US Embassy in Santiago. As I’ve told some, it’s more or less a formality to ask him a few questions and be able to issue him his resident visa. We have 6 months to move to the USA, so it’s a real deal!  Freak out mode has not officially begun, but it will probably come round January when we have both left our jobs, have no income and no house and are leaving the place we’ve called home for 3+ years (and many more in Andrés’ case). Yeah, I could pretty easily freak out around then. But God provides. He always has, and He always will. He’s never left us out in the dark, and I know that He won’t now. I’m actually pretty calm about everything right now, probably because I think back on to when my life started in Chile and have seen how amazing God has been to my family. So, 2016 will not be any different.