This should have been posted sooner, but we had a trip home and wanted to surprise our families with the news. I don't think anyone was waiting with baited breath, cetrainly not us...
We got our greencards!!!!!!
After eight and a half years, we finally got them. It's been a pretty hard, ugly process for us, but it's now done. At least until 5 years from now when we can apply for citizenship. :) What this means is that we're free. Free to move. Free to work for whomever we want. Free to work a second job (as a Stampin' Up demonstrator for example). Free to buy a house without 25% down (not that it's happening on LI, but I can dream). Closer to being able to adopt a child. Free to get a promotion at work. Just, generally, free.
The trip home was quite the adventure as well. We were approved on Friday the 20th. Planned to go home the next weekend, leaving on Thursday the 26th. As soon as we were approved, our old visas were no good to get us back across the US borders. So we booked the first appointment we could get with USCIS to get our passports stamped. Which was for Thursday the 26th. Packed everything up in our little bumblebee and headed to Hicksville, which is closer to NYC and has much more frequent train service. Caught the 7am train in, then the subway to the office. Waited in one line, then in the big waiting room. At 11:30 we finally were called. And the lady refused to stamp our passports! Because our cards themselves had already been ordered. Even though it could be as much as 90 days before we got them! To explain just how screwed up the process for getting a stamp in our passports actually was, I asked the officer the following:
Me: "So, just to make sure I'm clear on this. In order to have gotten our passports stamped, we would have had to have booked an appointment 4 days before we were approved and could know we would need the appointment, and would have had to have managed to be here during the 6 hour window in which your systems showed we were approved but our cards had not yet been ordered?"
Her: "Well, it sounds bad when you put it like that, but yes"
We left the USCIS office and I was totally brokenhearted. After all we went through to get the !%@$ things, they had to pull this? We cancelled the trip home, which was for my nephew's Christening (Brian and I are godparents) and also coincided with the surprise party plans for Brian's sister's 30th birthday. And we both went into work Friday. While explaining (numerous times) at work what I was doing there, friends encouraged me to go home at lunch and check the mail, just in case. I finally gave in and went.
And the cards were there!
I quickly threw everything back into the car and hurried back to work. Called Brian, had a mini celebration at work, snuck out early and we hit the road that afternoon! It was an insanely short trip home, we arrived Saturday afternoon and left at 5:30 am Monday. The original plan was to leave Sunday evening and make Buffalo to make Monday's drive shorter, but I just couldn't do it. We decided to do the drive back all in one shot on Monday. Ugh, I remember now why we don't like doing that! At least by leaving at 5:30am we only added about an hour onto our drive due to rush hour traffic. Total time back was 12.5 hours. But we made it! And we've got the cards!
Oh, and the car was awesome. No problems with comfort, and the fuel economy can't be beat. Our best tank was 52 mpg. That was distinctly with Brian driving and also with the AC on. Most of my fills ended up in the low 40's which is still nothing to sneeze at! When we hit US Customs in Buffalo, the inspector was funny about it. He asked if we had anything to declare, were we bringing anything back? Well, obviously not much, but he still had to ask! :) It was cute.