One step closer

Today I got the hard copy of our NOA2 in the mail! Our petition for the K-1 visa has been approved! Now I have to figure out exactly what the next step is. I know Martin will have to go for his medical and an interview at the US Embassy in London, but I’m not sure what materials he needs to have prepared. I’m planning to go with him, which I’m excited about (for some reason).

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I’m in still in Atlanta (here until the end of November), and we’re trying to plan his 2 week trip to visit here in October.
Ja jsem šťastná!

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Standby aka Heathrow Purgatory

Hello! I am currently on day two of my attempt to fly standby. During the busy season. From London to Atlanta (via Newark). Maybe not the best plan. But I’ll be saving money! I have to admit, it never occurred to me that there may be multiple people trying to fly standby as well (over 50). So we have a large pool of people that drifts from terminal to terminal as we get rejected from flights five times a day. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting out of here today. After the last flight at 6pm, I’ll go through customs again, get my passport stamped unnecessarily, get my bags, go home, and come back to try it again in the morning. I slept at the airport last night, but it seems stupid to do it again. If I don’t get on a flight tomorrow (it’s looking slightly better tomorrow but that could change), I’ll just have to book a flight home.

Just a few more hours..

Hanka a Tonča Domů

I’ve been following (loose term since there is very little news on the subject) a story about two Czech girls that were kidnapped in Pakistan this past March. It’s really sad. Almost five months now and people don’t seem to know anything. There was one video released, and they’re asking for Aafia Siddiqui to be exchanged for the girls. Aafia Siddiqui is being held in a US prison and is supposedly connected to al-Qaida, so I’d say it’s pretty unlikely that’s going to happen.
You never know, something like this could have happened to me and Nicole when we were on our round the world trip last year. The girls were on their way from Iran to India through Pakistan. Personally, you couldn’t pay me to go to Pakistan or Iran right now, but there were some times in India that we both felt a little unsafe (like when our driver got dragged out of his car and beaten up in front of us). It’s really scary to think about what COULD happen, and what HAS happened in some of these places. For some reason there’s a lot of desperate psychopaths out there.
Anyways, I really really hope these girls make it home really really soon. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be in their situation. I wonder if more media coverage would help things to move along or make things more complicated? Well, Martin and I are thinking of you girls.

Bergen

This weekend we took a quick trip to Bergen, Norway. Really really beautiful place, though we didn’t have the best weather while we were there. There was light rain on and off and it was pretty chilly up in the mountains. Not the best environment for camping, but we made the most of it! I would love to go back when it’s sunny, it would be gorgeous.
Those two 12oz local beers were $12 each! Norway is super expensive, they seem to be living in their own economically superior bubble there. I wonder how much photographers make there..
After roaming around the city center we took the gondola up to the top of Fløibanen and started hiking from one gondola to the next (supposed to be around a 5 hour hike). It was really rocky and muddy thanks to the rain, so a bit difficult. By the time we were ready to set up our tent we were pretty soaked. Since it was cold out we never really dried off. I had to wear a pair of pants on my head to keep warm. We didn’t bring any camping silverware, so we got to “drink” our can of beans. Despite the cold weather and the fact that the sun doesn’t fully set, we got plenty of sleep and continued the hike the next morning.
In other news, today marks one year that Martin and I have been together! We met a little over a year ago, but we became “official” in Germany this time last year 🙂 We’ll probably grill out in the garden tonight since it’s such nice weather right now. And, we received our NOA1 in the mail from the Department of Homeland Security, so that is exciting!
Last night we spent some time conversing in Czech, and Martin taught me a few new words. It’s obvious to me that making yourself speak in the language whenever you can is the best way to learn. In three weeks I return to Atlanta to work for a few months and I hope I’ll find time to practice..

We have officially mailed our K-1 visa to the US! I’m really really hoping that everything was filled out correctly and that we don’t receive any RFEs (request for evidence) that would slow down what is already a very long process. Now, we have months of waiting and hoops to jump through to look forward to. In about a month I’ll be returning to Atlanta for a few months to work and regain the social life I once had while Martin stays here with his job. These trips home are always bittersweet.
This weekend we went to Hever Castle…but since we got there too late we didn’t get to go in. Instead we had a picnic near the parking lot and then went to a really cute pub. The weather has been nice the last few days!

We are waiting for our potatoes to grow so we can make bramboracky (potato pancakes). Right now they aren’t quite ready..

Hopefully they won’t take too much longer!

Little life decisions..

Today is the day that I buckle down and officially start our “visa journey.” I can honestly say that right now I have no idea where Martin and I will be one year from now. I had no idea one year ago that I would be here in London with him. And we have about a thousand obstacles in our way to get him to the US, but I have to be honest and say that right now, life in the States sounds easier than life in Europe. Both of us could earn a decent living, where as in Europe a lot of the economies are doing pretty poorly and don’t pay vets or photographers very much. The cost of living in the cities we would be interested in is not astronomical (unlike London). I have friends and family in the US, which is more important that I realized. The downside is that poor Martin isn’t from America and doesn’t have family (though he likes quite a few of my friends). And getting him there is proving to be a really difficult process. As far as the visa is concerned, I’m very thankful for VisaJourney. Lots of good info, referred to me by a friend that just went through this exact process.
The other major hurdle is getting Martin’s Veterinarian License valid in the US. We recently discovered that he will have to take and pass a 3 step exam process (the CPE) to be approved by the ECFVG to get approval to take and pass the NAVLE and then the state board exam for whatever state we would choose to live in. Sound confusing? It is. And did I mention that all of it will cost thousands of dollars? It does. And these exams will not be easy. If the first test doesn’t go well it’s $7000 out the door. So, maybe it would be best to wait and do some serious studying…which would put him behind in the whole career advancement thing. Frustrating to say the least.
So, that is where we’re at as of right now. If anyone with experience should happen to magically stumble upon this blog advice is welcome.
In more positive news, we recently got to go to Hawaii for me to shoot a friend’s wedding. Here are a few photos from the trip.
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I have to admit that sadly my Czech classes have fallen behind with the traveling and decision making, but I’ll be back at it ASAP. Who knows, maybe we’ll wind up in Czech Republic for a while and I can really study. Na shledanou!