Around 3:00 a.m. on Monday morning, I woke up. My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour, but I just kept twisting and turning in the dark. My dog side-eyed me to make sure I didn’t wake him up just yet. I grabbed my phone to pass the time.
In just an hour, it would be time for me to get ready to head to the airport to pick up Gustavo.
Last month in Rio, he got approved for his CR-1 (Conditional Resident) visa to the US. We started the process in May of last year (actually, exactly one year ago today). To finish in under a year was unexpected, for me. Gustavo, on the other hand, remains exceedingly more confident than me in all matters. Either way, we’re excited.
Once he was approved, we booked him a one-way ticket to Newark. I insisted that he go through Newark as his port of entry (POE) because it’s where everyone else in my family went through when they immigrated from Italy years ago. I felt like we needed a little bit of tradition. I also did not want to have to pick him up from JFK because that is no way to begin our journey in the US together.
Once he arrived, he had to go through a special line at the airport. I was waiting outside with my mom, nervous. What if there was a problem? How long would it take? Would there be more questions?
It was much simpler than I ever would have imagined. The agent at the border took him aside to a separate line and took his documents and biometrics. They then walked over to another agent who reviewed his documents once more and stamped his passport. Done!
While walking from one section to another, the agent asked him how long the process took. When he said about a year, Gustavo responded to his surprise by saying, “My wife is very meticulous.”
Once Gustavo got through Customs, my mom and I were waiting outside for him. We tried to film him walking through, but failed on the camera front. Oh well, we got pictures!
Afterward, we had a big breakfast at my favorite diner and drove home to my mom’s house where we’re staying for a few days. After that, we’ll head down to Philadelphia to stay in an Airbnb while we look for apartments in the area.
We’re both excited to start this new chapter. Every now and then, while we’re driving, Gustavo will look at me and say, “It’s so surreal that I don’t have to go back there.” We’re starting to share pictures of furniture and apartments that we like. We’re working on our budget together. We’re, quite simply, building our life in one, single country. It’s exciting!