Daily Archives: February 10, 2009

The marriage question


Some people have noticed that on the far right of my blog I have started to follow my K-1 visa process.  (Thanks for noticing Andre).K-1 is the visa needed to bring a foreigner to America to get married.  You may also notice– go on, look over so you can notice– that there are no dates. It is blank.

The marriage question is one that has loomed over me for 10 months now.  When? Where? How? Guests? Party? Nothing but a piece of paper?

Everything is complicated by the fact that S is Chilean and I am American.  Everything is complicated by me not having a job and not being sure where our family will be.  Everything is complicated by the fact that getting married in the US is not an easy thing to do– legally.

The problem is that the visa is very expensive (and takes around 6 months to get).  It also really only matters if we want to live and work in the US. If I get a job someone else, then getting married here makes little difference.  We would be somewhere else. We could just have a celebratory party here.

We could have gotten married in Chile; but we agreed to do it in the US.  We don’t want the hassle of a huge party in Chile, but I want my US family and friends the chance to meet S.  I want a wedding cake.

We have learned that you can’t get married on a tourist visa. We don’t want to break any laws or hurt the chances of S getting visas later.  Or now, if I get a job now.

See how this is difficult?

So, we decided in December to suck it up and just do it (like the Nike commercial, only I don’t endorse Nike, and I hope that this isn’t copy right infringement.  Lawyers out there– do I need to delete this sentence?)

And so we assembled paperwork.  S had to sign things and send passport photos.  When I left on my unexpected trip to Chile, I left my mom in charge of receiving the package and sending everything off.  But…. she heard a hesitancy in my voice when the package arrived, so she waited.  After all, it was only one more week!

When I arrived, we realized that it was the wrong package.  His papers had never come.  His papers had never arrived and I didn’t know, so I didn’t bring new ones home. We would have to send them again.

After lots of arranging, I found another wonderful American to bring them home with her and send them to me from New York.  Once arrangements were made, of course, the originals arrived.


I have all the paperwork. It is sitting on my desk. Right now, I can see it sitting on my desk in an addressed envelope. But I am now not sure if I should send them off.  What if I get either of the two jobs overseas that I might get? What if I don’t get a job at all and end up moving back to Chile to be a housewife? (is everyone who knows me in real life now rolling on the floor laughing, imagining me cooking and cleaning with 8 kids in tow?) What if this is all a waste?

So…. I sit here, papers in hand, empty spaces next to each step of the process on my blog, in limbo.  The same way I have been for 10 months.

However, despite this all, the deepest sorrow, which I carry with me always, is the knowledge that if S were a woman, this would not be a choice.  If he were a woman, we couldn’t get married.  I couldn’t sponsor his(her) visa.  Life in the states wouldn’t be much of an option.

That is the reality for so many friends of mine. It could have been mine. It is a privilege that now that I see, I cannot look away from. It is freedom to marry week?  Have you taken the time to think about the privilege you have or lack this week?