I’ve had a few people request that I do an open-ended “ask me anything” series on Wholefully. So, here it is! You’ll see me answering a reader question each week. Submit your questions by e-mailing me or commenting on this post. If you want to be identified in my answer, include your name and website (if applicable).
Literally, ask me anything. I’ll answer anything!*
*Okay, maybe not anything, but almost anything.
You can see previous AMA responses here.
As immigration day drew closer, the storm forecast became even more menacing and unavoidable. The meteorologists were saying phrases like “storm of the century” and “prepare for the worst”. I had all but resigned to the fact that our blissful reunion was going to be delayed indefinitely.
But, with no control over Mother Nature, we continued on as planned. On immigration day, ignoring the impending doom, Babyface said good-bye to his family and hopped aboard a plane to Toronto for his connection to Indy. Because his flight didn’t get in until that evening, I went to work as usual. Only it wasn’t usual at all. I was more anxious and excited than I’d ever been in my life. I’m not sure I got a lick of work done that day.
Later in the afternoon, Babyface called me at work to tell me he had safely landed in Toronto and gotten through immigration (at the larger Canadian airports, you actually go through U.S. immigration before you ever hit U.S. soil). While he was excited, I could quickly tell he was upset, anxious and not himself. When he started to explain why, I realized it was because the U.S. government just had to get in one last blow.
Naively, we both thought that since we had done months (and thousands of dollars worth) of pre-work, that the actual traveling part of immigration would be a breeze. Wrong. If you’ve ever crossed onto American soil, you know that there is a certain level of harassment that comes with being screened by customs. The harassment can get so bad that many immigration websites even have a “harassment index” to help those immigrating know which ports-of-entry to avoid. We should have looked up the harassment index of the Toronto airport.
Other than just general rudeness, Babyface was met with a particular anti-marriage bloke that actually questioned his desire to get married. He told him marriage was a terrible, horrible idea and that he should turn around and head home because it’ll obviously end in divorce. Then, later, when Babyface asked for a pen to fill out his entry form, he was told he “obviously wasn’t mature enough to be married” if he couldn’t remember to bring a pen with him. There was a lot more, but eventually, Babyface waded through the crapstorm and got through Customs and on his way to his new home.
After work, I drove straight to the airport, dodging clouds and freezing rain. By now, we were supposed to be under a 1/2 inch of ice, but the roads (and more importantly, runways!) were dry and clear. I parked in short-term parking, and nervously made my way to the terminal where we were to meet.
It was only 10 minutes, but the wait felt like an eternity. I had my eyes glued to the Arrivals board and let out a little squeal when the status of Babyface’s flight changed from “On Time” to “Landed”. It still didn’t feel real. Mentally, I knew he was in the same building as me. The same state. The same country. But I had been duped so many times on this journey that I refused to believe it with my heart until I could see him and touch him.
And there he was. With a giant suitcase and an even bigger smile. I expected a marching band to step out from behind the baggage claim and confetti and balloons to drop from the ceiling—it would have matched how I felt. He skipped up to me, hugged me tight and said, “Let’s go home.”
And so we did.
There wasn’t a single drop of ice on the hour drive home. We got inside our apartment, dropped his bags and immediately heard the sound of a million ice pellets on the building—the storm started almost the second we got home. Mother Nature must have really wanted us to be together. I’ll never question her again.
The next few weeks were pretty much everything I expected—totally blissed out. It helped that the first two days of us living together were uninterrupted by outside forces thanks to the blanket of ice. You are probably expecting me to say that we struggled living together and it wasn’t perfect. Not the case. We were (are) so completely compatible. Living together was easy and smooth. No arguments. No annoying traits. Just completely content in existing together. I got excited about the silliest things. I liked it when he stayed up late and would come in and wrap his arm around me when he finally came to bed. I liked that I had someone to cook for. I liked that he would hug me so tight it made it hard to breathe. I loved his smell. I loved his clothes hanging in the closet. I loved living the life we had worked so hard for in the past year.
During this time, he also met my parents for the first time. Yup, that’s right, he met my parents for the first time 3 weeks before our wedding. He met all of my siblings only 2 weeks before our wedding. I know it sounds crazy, but in all honesty, it didn’t matter what any of them thought. I knew what I was doing.
All along, I said that our wedding was just a formality, and it was. The day that was worth celebrating was that day when I picked him up from the airport. Our wedding was small, just the two of us, my parents and the justice of the peace in the atrium of City Hall. The weather was freezing cold. I wore a black dress. We recited our vows and suddenly I found myself crying. Crying not because of the wedding exactly, but crying because I think our wedding day was finally the day it hit me. We did it. We conquered all of this crap and made it here. We are stronger together and now no one could tear us apart. I cried because even though we’d been through hell and back, I felt like the luckiest girl on Earth.
Our “reception” was an amazing meal at a local restaurant with my parents. We drank and ate food and laughed in an empty restaurant in the middle of a Saturday. It was nothing I had imagined when I thought of my wedding as a little girl. But it was perfect.
Of course, we wanted to include all of our friends and family, so we planned a renewal of our vows six months later with the big white dress and a DJ and champagne toasts. That night was fun and something I’ll never forget. Both of our “weddings” are special in their own, totally different ways. But our tiny wedding in City Hall is the one that fills my heart with the most joy (and is the one we celebrate as our anniversary).
Life since then has been continually blissful. We have been through a bunch more immigration work and Babyface is a bone fide permanent resident, which means we get harassed a lot less at the border. Next up, we file for his U.S. citizenship.
Babyface has fallen into step with my family like he was always meant to be there. Whatever trepidation my parents had about their daughter marrying a stranger was erased when they saw us together. My Dad’s toast at our vow renewal was all about how skeptical he was at first, but how impressed he was, 6 months later, with the strength and integrity of our relationship.
Babyface is. . . more than I can even put into words. I’m not sure what my spiritual beliefs are, but I am sure that there was some force at work that put us together. Our relationship is enough to make me believe in some sort of higher power. Marriage is a lot of work (and obviously from this 2 1/2 month-long story, us even getting to marriage was a lot of work) but I also feel like there was something in the universe at work to pull us together, keep us together, keep us strong. We were both so different, so dramatically opposite and yet both so completely lost and unfulfilled in our separate lives. Now, we are solid and strong and laser-focused on getting what we want out of our life together. We truly are better together than apart. I love him more everyday. And just as importantly, I love who I am with him.