Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 42: 6 Weeks in Exile

In the beginning, I thought I would have all of this free time and I'd write in my journal every day and keep track of every little thing that happened on this journey of ours. Right now I don't even know where I placed my damn journal and I'm weeks behind. I hope you'll bear with me as this first post has got to be the hardest post. I'm a scrapbooker so I have taken a thousand pictures along the way so that is how I'll share the journey down here until I get some kind of groove going on.

On the outside, I look calm, cool, and collected. I've had 40 years to perfect the image so if I don't have it down pat by now, chances are it will never happen. Inside, I'm a roller coaster that goes from panic attacks where I'm hugging concrete walls in tears to relaxing on my bed beside my husband and I feel content. You just can't predict this life and I'm not going to try. Don't sweat the small stuff, right? After leaving the snow in Central Oregon, all I've been doing is sweating here!

First off, I do not want anyone's pity for our situation. My husband was NOT deported, we left voluntarily. If you are just joining my story, I'll give you the cliff notes. I served my country for 9 years, 9 months, and 22 days in the Oregon Army National Guard. I left behind my infant 4 month old daughter to serve in Iraq for a year in 2003. I sacrificed for my country and never asked why. I was patriotic and I wanted to serve and protect my family. Fast forward 10 years and I am still suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Loud noises like firecrackers and backfires give me panic attacks, I fight depression and suicide by trying to be a positive person and travel the world and scrapbook; these are my forms of personal therapy because the VA drugs scare me. I use them but I don't want to be dependent on them for the rest of my life. I have been blessed with three very beautiful daughters who mean the world to me (all mothers say that right? I hope so!) My oldest daughter has stayed behind in Oregon with my family as she is now a grown adult who will be 21 years in just a few weeks. I am accompanied here by my daughter Erika 11 and our daughter Mia 6. I met my husband Jose in 2006, we married in 2009, and began this immigration journey in 2010. I'll explain more about our legal journey as we go along.

My husband Jose left the United States on Monday January 6th and flew to Ciudad Juarez so he could attend his consular appointment on January 9th, 2014. He has a 10 year immigration ban due to current immigration law but he is eligible to apply for the I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Once this waiver has been submitted and the $585 fee is paid, it is a waiting game for approximately 6-8 months while you wait in limbo to find out if you will get to go home or not. I sacrificed one year of my life without my family in Iraq, I won't do it again. There is no way to go back and make up for all that missed time. I don't judge those who aren't able to accompany their spouses because we are all on our own journey. So I quit my nice cushy state job that I really liked, gave up the security we had, packed up the house and stored everything in the garage, and found family to house-sit while we are gone.

So here I find myself, sitting beside my husband while he watches f├║tbol on the TV and the girls play on their Kindles while I surf around on Facebook. On the surface, it feels just like home. Except in the background you can hear the sounds of the four other people you live with now, your internet creeps at a snail's pace and costs you twice as much as back home, your floor is a rough concrete slab, and the neighbors behind you are holding band practice again, just like every night this week. You're together though and that is all that matters.

8 comments:

  1. awe...now I see the whole picture. Good for you for sticking together...I look forward to watching your journey.

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  2. Oh Krystal- so many long-distance hugs to you. I've been watching your journey via FB, dreading my own that I will have to undertake. I know that you can't get back all of the lost time, and that sentence gives me hope. Praying for you guys always, Andrea.

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  3. Great post Krystal-you are still a soldier-strong and brave! Just for a different cause,and a far more worthy one-family!

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  4. I love that you are doing this to keep your family together. I am so sorry the USA does not have more welcoming immigration policies. You have found a brilliant solution and I wish you all the best.

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  5. Mil abrazos kristal, el amor todo lo puede la prueba eres tu..!!! Que dios te bendiga a ti y toda tu familia.... Se te quiere besos.

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  6. Krystal you are missed here in the states but you are where you should be. You are a great inspiration to a lot of people. I agree with Linda that you are a still a solider-strong and brave. You are tackling this situation head on (lets face it we all know you're hard headed.hehehe) and the beat way you can. I am very proud of your choices. Hopefully the immigration laws will change so you all can come back to you family in the states. Sending big hugs and happy thoughts your way.

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  7. American woman so strong. Show the world how we roll.
    (you make me crave fresh tortillas and salsa)

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  8. I would do the same, as we are in our own immigration battle. You give us hope that if the system fails us, then we can make it as long as we stick together and keep God #1 in our lives. We are praying for you and your family. May God bless you and keep you. P.S. thanks for your service and dedication to our country.

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