But if you look at my hand, it’s missing one engagement ring.
I get to wear my ring when I visit My American in Spokane.
Every time I leave to return to Canada, I take my ring off and put it back in its box, next to the matching wedding band I’ll be wearing in the new year.
I posted on Facebook the sadness I felt the first time I took the ring off and left it behind. Friends rallied to encourage me to “just wear it,” because the border guards “won’t even notice” or even care.
Except for one problem.
They hadn’t been reading the VisaJourney.com stories about other Canadian brides who tried crossing the border with their engagement rings.
The ones who were detained until the border guards could contact their fiances and gain prove of the ring’s value.
The ones who had their rings confiscated and were fined.
The ones who were charged hundreds of dollars in duty. (Ahem … I’m unemployed, remember?)
If I surpass the two months — which I would have done as I await the completion of my visa process — I would have had to pay duties anyway.
And so we decided to leave my ring in Spokane. It’s far better to play by the rules than to attempt circumvention and risk getting caught, right?
The waiting game
I have spent the equivalent of two and a half hours on hold this week with the National Visa Center. That’s five phone calls, averaging a half hour of hold time each, for a two-minute phone call that ends in disappointment.
We received our second Notice of Action from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services on Sept. 25. That meant My American’s petition to sponsor me as a immigration applicant was approved.
The next step is waiting for the California Service Center to send our file to the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, N.H. Once it arrives there, it’s assigned a case number and sent to the U.S. consulate in Vancouver.
Then and only then may I start my application to enter the U.S.
While I’ve read of others with a similar NOA-2 date receiving their case numbers, our case has yet to land in New Hampshire. There’s no rhyme or reason to the delivery of case files, and there’s no way the NVC representatives can answer why my case hasn’t arrived yet.
They give a pat answer that I must wait at least 42 days after my NOA-2.
Sometimes little about this process makes any sense, but these are the necessary steps we take to be together.
These wait times are really only little bumps in the road, though, aren’t they?
After all, how long did I wait to get that beautiful ring on my finger anyway?