Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Week to Appointment

There's one week left until Jose's waiver appointment in Ciudad Juarez on June 7th.

At the appointment, Jose will drop off the waiver packet the attorney has made that proves the hardship I will suffer if Jose is not allowed into the U.S. for 10 years.  The hardship comes either from me being in the U.S. without Jose, or from me moving to Mexico for 10 years to be with Jose.  There are 14 categories of hardship that the consulate accepts, and we have focused on the medical, educational, and financial hardships.  It seems that the medical hardship is strongest, because of my Celiac Disease and ulcers from stress.  I've also been diagnosed with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from living in Mexico, the violence I've seen in Mexico and being separated from Jose.  Basically, the less healthy I appear, the better Jose's case, and I'm not looking healthy.   For the education hardship we have focused on how being separated from Jose affected me in school last year, and how my future educational goals would be harmed by him not coming home.  My professors wrote letters about how my participation changed after Jose was attacked in April and how I am a promising student who would not be able to succeed academically in Mexico.  I don't contribute very much to the financial hardship since I am a student, instead that is mostly hardship on my dad.  Since he has had to pay for everything, he wrote a letter saying that he cannot afford to continue supporting us in Mexico.   The waiver packet has come together really well, and we are all feeling good.  The paralegal at the attorney's office told my dad she thinks this is the strongest case they have ever had.  That's promising, considering that the attorney has had 11 cases since January and 9 of them were approved.  Of course, everything comes down to who looks at our packet and how they feel about us.

We have been collecting documents for the waiver packet for the last few weeks.  I spent dead week before finals driving from Berkeley to Santa Rosa for lots of appointments, once even twice in the same day.  I didn't get much studying done.  I've been in Mexico for two weeks, and many of our days have been spent on the waiver.  We are ready to be done with it. Luckily, we are close.  The attorney is sending the packet to Ciudad Juarez on Thursday and Jose will pick it up on Monday before the appointment.

At the appointment, Jose just pays a fee, leaves his passport, and drops off the packet.  We don't hear if he is approved until a week or two after the appointment.  It will probably be the most stressful one to two weeks we've ever experienced.  When he is notified that his decision has been made, and he will go to the DHL office in Ciudad Juarez to pick up the decision.  His passport will be in the envelope either with or without a visa.  We're hoping for a visa.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Waiver Packet and Appointment

For the last 2 weeks we have been working on getting together all of the new supporting documents we need for our hardship waiver packet.  Now that we are getting closer to our appointment on June 7th, our lawyer has given us a checklist of all of the documents she needs to update and put together our final waiver packet.  Most of the things on the list are things she needs from Emma in order to show the hardship she has gone through and how being away from me has affected her.  Emma had to get together recent medical records, doctor letters, psychologist letter, work letter, volunteering letter, and letters from friends and family about how these past 2 years have affected her.  Getting this list from our lawyer was very exciting because it reminded us of how close our appointment is but at the same time very stressful.  When we got the list Emma was in the middle of papers and getting ready for finals, so it was very bitter-sweet for her.  Like always, Emma took on another project on top of school and work, and was able to manage working on all three things at once.  The week before finals Emma spent most of the time traveling from Berkeley to Healdsburg and back.  Monday she had a doctors appointment at UC Berkeley, on Tuesday a doctors appointment in Healdsburg, and then Thursday night an appointment with a psychologist in Santa Rosa.  I am pretty sure she spent the majority of that week at doctors appointments and in her car.  She managed all of that while sending emails to professors and volunteer supervisors asking for letters, working, and studying for finals.  WOW, I get exhausted just writing and thinking of all those tasks at once, I can't imagine the stress Emma felt.  That is the list of things Emma had to get together before she came down to Mexico this Friday.  There are smaller and much easier things that we still need to get together.  The majority of the stuff left on the list we already have and will just have to get together or print them out.  My tasks are getting a few documents together that I already have and finding proof of the conditions in Mexico and how dangerous it is.  I have been focusing on finding proof of violence in the places we have lived. Monterrey and Chimalhuacan were a piece of cake and Coyoacan was surprisingly not that difficult.  Of course the incidents I found did not occur in the colonia we live in, but luckily what is considered Coyoacan has many colonias, and a few of them are not all that safe.  I am also having people I have met in Mexico write letters about my good moral character.  Once we get all of those things together, which is nothing compared to all the things Emma had to get on her own, we will be ready for our waiver appointment.

At the appointment I will pay the fee for review of our waiver and drop off the waiver packet.  This appointment is pretty straight forward and quick.  I will first pay and turn in the packet at the same time and then will be asked to see a consular official.  The interview with the officer is just to verify that what we are including in our packet is accurate and true.  Once the packet is turned in and I take the oath, we will be one step closer to me coming home.  After the waiver appointment it can take up to 2 weeks to hear back from the consulate about  the decision they have made.  Our lawyer mentioned that it has been taking 7-10 days for her other clients who have recently gone through this part to get the visa in their hands if they are approved.  We are hoping for a fast approval so we can get the visa and come home as soon as possible.  If we are to get approved in 7-10 days we will be able to come home before my birthday on June 19 which would be the best birthday present.  If it takes 2 weeks for us to get the visa, which would not allow us to come home before my birthday, it would still be the best present ever.

For now we work on the last few things for our packet, then wait and cross our fingers for good news.  Hopefully we will be seeing you back in California very soon.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Adios Monterrey

I am back in Mexico City.  My professors have been really supportive during the last month and have done everything they could to help me after I was robbed.  Their first concern was my safety and well being.  Right away they let me know that I should take off as much time as I needed to get better.  Having so much support from my professors was really nice for me because at the time I was convinced that everything that had to do with Monterrey was working against me or just hands down terrible.  Although I had no desire to go back to Monterrey, I got myself back to school a week ago.  It was really weird and stressful being back in Monterrey and the 100+ degree weather was not helping in making my return pleasant.  My first night back I was welcomed with gunshots which made me really question my decision to go back to Monterrey.  Unless I had class, the weather and danger of Monterrey kept me locked in my apartment.  Luckily after talking with my professors, they gave me two options: stay on campus in the dorms for free so I could be completely safe, or leave Monterrey and finish my school work online.  Of course I decided to get out of Monterrey ASAP.  So here I am, happily back in Mexico City with Anna and Benjamin, the best hosts in the world.  IIn the few days that I have been back in Mexico City, I have rented an apartment for a month in Coyoacan for Emma and I, and been here with Anna when she found out she got into UC Berkeley.