After weeks and weeks of client photos, it’s time for a different sort of post…
Up until two weeks ago, if you had told me that you’d completed a half-inch of paperwork, I would’ve looked back at you, about as impressed as a child is by quantum physics.
However, last Thursday, I stuck a stack of said height into an envelope and shipped it off to some unknown, unnamed office in Mississauga and I now appreciate the meaning behind a half-inch stack of paper. My travel, my finances, my life choices and my marriage will now be judged by someone who has never met me or my husband and has no idea how I choose to live my life or what I value, apart from how we managed to present ourselves in a meagre half-inch stack of forms and photographs.
That stack of paper represents sleepless nights; innumerable tears; a few moments of sheer, unadulterated panic; and twenty-one months of a husband and wife living 5000+kms apart. It represents devotion, commitment, family, an extended support network, adventure and exploration. Hard to believe that eight years of my life can be summed up in such an unremarkable little stack of paper.
That stack represents the end of a six month struggle to come to terms with what the application means; it represents contact with governments, doctors and police forces in three different countries; it represents everything that is ridiculous about the state of current immigration policies and the abuse of these policies. “Was I introduced to my husband by a third party?” No. “Were gifts exchanged before we met?” No. “Did we have a wedding?” Did we ever! Why else would my friends now know what it’s like to shovel snow in July? “Has he met my family and have I met his?” I’ve lost count as to how many times I could answer ‘yes’. The subtext: “Are you an internet bride?” Uhhhh… No. “Is this an arranged marriage for immigration purposes?” Absolutely not.
These forms meant putting my dignity aside and answering questions – indeed, being forced to “prove the genuine and lasting nature of our relationship” – to someone who is not likely ever going to speak to me. So, while I affixed correct postage to the package, I also readjusted my pride and sense of self. And then sent it all packing while I wait to hear if my love for my husband is ‘genuine’ and ‘lasting’ enough to get approval.
Those who know me or who have read some of my personal posts on this blog know that Rich and I are currently living a trans-Atlantic marriage. It’s not ideal – it was never going to be – and it has been excruciatingly difficult at times – it was always bound to be. But it’s almost over. Two months from tomorrow, we will no longer be in a commuter marriage. Eleven months from now, we hope to have heard back from the person who was responsible for passing judgement on whether we are genuine or not – and who will, as a result, pass judgement on our future.