If you have been reading for a while, you know that Claudiu and I were engaged in Venice in April. Since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how we want to live our future married life. Together, we decided to move back to the US.
I love Romania and I love being here. I feel safe here. The landscape is beautiful. I feel like the air is clean and life is simple and good. However, the opportunities here are not so great.
For me, they are very limited. I am (somehow) not qualified to teach in Romanian schools and while making a basic living would not be a problem, it would be a struggle to advance in my field. Claudiu wants to works in IT, and even though Brasov (and Romania, in general) has a lot of IT firms, “breaking in” to the field when you didn’t major in computer science or information systems can be next to impossible. Not to mention, that we have other dreams for the future that require money, which can be difficult to earn in Romania thanks to lower salary levels. These struggles are not unique to us; these are the struggles of almost every Romanian.
We started our fiance visa application in June. It took me a full month to gather all of the necessary papers, fill out the forms, and send them to the US. They arrived to the lock box in Dallas and were received on July 17th.
We knew we had some months of waiting ahead of us. Actually, I thought we’d be waiting about four months. We decided that we would like to wait until after the Christmas holidays to leave Romania.
Ha. So naive.
At some point in late spring, the K1 Visa process slowed down exponentially. A normal wait would be somewhere from 90-120 days.
We waited 202 days.
Since we had prepared to wait a bit, the first part wasn’t difficult. However, once we passed the date that I thought would be our departure date, I began to feel a little stressed.
I downloaded the USCIS app and checked our status daily, just in case. I signed up for informed delivery, so I could stalk my parents’ mail halfway across the globe, like total creeper, just in case the notice came to them and not to us. I began to feel horribly depressed, like we would never get to start our future.
Winter in Romania is very pretty, but it can also be very bleak. Vreme mohorâtă is what they call the typical winter day – overcast, low light, possible precipitation. It means “Sad weather”. An obvious metaphor for how we were feeling during the entire process.
When we were finally approved on February 3rd, it was like a miracle. A huge weight had been lifted. I felt like myself again. Happy. Is it snowing? Again? WHO CARES! We got approved!!
After that, things started to move pretty quickly. Our case was received at the NVC (National Visa Center) and we were assigned a case number. Within a few days, we received information from the Bucharest embassy on how to schedule the medical exam, pay fees, and get an interview appointment.
After completing the medical exam, the embassy set our interview date.
Despite practicing for the interview (incredibly easy questions like, what are your wedding plans?), we were so nervous. I am sure our adjudicator at the interview was like, who are these sweaty people? At any rate, we were approved. I was so happy you could’ve knocked me over with a feather. All that time of waiting and preparing and suddenly it was just…done? Wow.
We got our Visa by courier the following week. It’s just a piece of paper glued into Claudiu’s passport. Just a simple thing that represents so much effort, anxiety, and tears.
Plane tickets have been purchased, work notices have been given, and we set a date with the landlord to move out of our apartment. We’ll be back in America in four weeks.
I’ll still write about Romania on here because we plan on visiting when we can. I loved my time in this country and even after two years, I still think this is a beautiful place and would encourage anyone to come here.