5:20 7:20 am I haven’t been to bed.
Vince and I have been on Gmail video for hours discussing visas, immigration, timelines, life plans, etc.
Until a few days ago, our plans for the next year were this: following my 3-month stay in BG this January-March, I would head home to Utah and Vince would stay in Bulgaria working on getting another J1 visa so we could work in Alaska again in the summer. After Alaska, we’d head to the Bulgarian Consulate in Los Angeles and apply for my long-stay visa. Vince would fly home and I would join him once my visa came through around early to mid November. From there we’d look for jobs and settle in.
Well, after some online searching, an email to the U.S. Embassy in Sofia and talking with the agency Vince uses for his J1, we sadly realized that, while not necessarily impossible, getting a J1 now that we are married is going to be tough. REALLY tough.
Because he is married to a U.S. citizen (moi), Vince is now seen as a “potential immigrant” and all attempts to get a student visa would be highly scrutinized. They pretty much assume people are going to commit visa fraud and stay in the U.S. Yeah. Lame.
To their credit, the U.S. Embassy did say that nothing is out of the question and that each visa applicant is handled on a case-by-case basis. Vince would have the opportunity to explain our situation in person during his interview. But still, it seems like a long shot.
I cried. Like I do.
(I’m a sensitive, easily stressed soul)
Tonight/this morning, we ran through about 1,000 scenarios: Roll the dice and apply for the J1 (and lose all the money paid out for school tuition, agency fess, etc)? Me work in Alaska alone (with a big hit to our plans for saving as much money as possible–two paychecks are much better than one, obviously)? Bag the living-in-Bulgaria scenario and just start the immigration process now? Jump off a bridge (thus avoiding any cross-cultural marriage challenges)?
*That last one is a joke. I think.
What did we decide?
Something entirely different and absolutely crazy/exciting/adventurous…
And something we’re not yet ready to share. It’s not official (and may not be for months to come).
We do know this:
- Our ultimate goal is to settle in Bulgaria for as long as it makes sense. Financially and otherwise.
- I want to make it a top priority to learn as much Bulgarian as possible. Being able to speak with Vince’s parents and raising our kids bilingually is not something I am willing to give up on.
- We want to start a family in the next few years, and the decisions we make now need to support that goal.
- We’re young and now is the time to live life to its fullest.
I will be sure to update as our plans become more concrete.
Now I am off to bed!