There is nothing like the feeling of uncertainty that accompanies being "in limbo" in terms of immigration status.
And finally... after an almost "epic" journey of being in the US for 9 years, two rounds of graduate school and one phase of full-time employment in between... I am now officially a permanent resident!!!!
Whew. A. and I. had a very pleasant surprise (to put it mildly) on February 28th, when we checked our case status online:
|screenshot of our case status online (receipt number removed)|
"Card/Document Production". YEAH!!!!!!!!!
I literally burst into tears. Who knew those three words could be so sweet. I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but this truly has felt like an epic journey of uncertainty. Those of you whom I talk to on a fairly regular basis know the stressful moments (and yes, the tears) that come with not knowing. Every change, every transition, every major decision (e.g., change in jobs, leaving a job for full-time studies, etc) brings about new paperwork, rules, and waiting. I'm not complaining; this has just been our reality. This is the life we chose. And so we deal with it. Life has to go on... and it did. And I'd say I lived my last 9 years of "in limbo" to the fullest - for the most part, at least. Then finally... after all that uncertainty, we have one pretty major resolution.
But we didn't tell anyone except both our parents until we received the actual physical cards. So we had to contain our excitement, not knowing if our cards could take 3 days or 30 to reach us, as the information above indicated. And then last Saturday... I saw two identical express-mail envelopes in the mail, and as I felt the stiff credit-card size object inside, I knew... but A. wasn't home yet, and since I had a good feeling about what was inside those envelopes, I wanted to open it with him. And true enough... we are no longer nonresident legal aliens, but now officially card-carrying permanent residents!!!
At the risk of making this sound like an Oscar award acceptance speech (pretty timely too, isn't it), I am just so thankful for everyone I left behind who supported me and cheered me on, the amazing friends I met along the way whom I now consider family, and everyone who has been with me in this 9-year journey. It has been one wild ride.