Saturday, May 14, 2011

the all other passport holders line

Moving overseas is hard.  Compacting whole lives into 4 suitcases, saying goodbye, dropping everything, starting over, being both happy and sad at the very same time-hard.  At times I am so excited I can hardly wait another day to board the plane.  Other times I am so incredibly sad to say goodbye to Jason's family and the beautiful paradise they call home.  How exactly do you say goodbye to one life and start over in an entirely new one?
This is how I feel right now.

When I was dating Jason and weighing the decision of marriage carefully in my mind, I did consider these very obstacles.  Though it is notable that I really did not know how these obstacles would affect me.  Would I be able to live away from home permanently or temporarily, as in 10,000 miles away, 13 hour plane ride, and another country away?  Would I be willing to take on board a whole new culture?  Would I be prepared to say goodbye to my family, and in this case, Jason's family, not knowing the next time I would see them?  Whether here or there, did I really understand that one of us would ALWAYS be so far away from our family?  

I had a very clear answer back then, and now.  In the grand scheme of things, it is nothing more than geography.  We can build a righteous family here in the South Pacific, or in the high desert of Arizona.  I also knew in my heart that a commitment of that degree would strengthen our marriage relationship.  There have been plenty of occasions where I have needed my mom, my sisters (especially my sisters), my friends, an American... but, I didn't have any of these people.  I had Jason.  I learned to turn to him.  It has been wonderful.  I can say with surety that I could live anywhere on this blue green earth thanks to him.  

Make yours @
This map gives a good impression of just how far our lives/hearts/cultures are being stretched.  New Zealand barely even makes the map in the right hand corner.   

Immigration is a paragraph all its own.  Who would have thought how painstaking immigration can be?  I certainly did not think of that one back then.  I ended up turning down New Zealand permanent residency after  too many months and too many dollars.  Jason did get his green card and though the process was a bust, it was nothing compared to my New Zealand experience.  

The only good thing I can say about immigration is that we will be standing in the same line for the first time on this trip.  U.S. citizens are ushered through relatively quick lines while an immigration officer offers a "Welcome Home" to all us Americans.  While I am loving life in the American fast lane, Jason is being prodded and pushed through the cattle corral that is the "All Other Passport Holders" line.  Everyone is holding different coloured passports from places that I may or may not be able to point to on a map.  Jason tells me that the immigration officers pretty much assume everyone is a terrorist and act as such.  Accordingly, Jason's first impressions on American soil will ever remain negative.  

However, this time he will walk side by side with his American wife and hear the "Welcome Home" in the U.S. Citizen line.  It should be noted that when we travel to New Zealand I am the one in the "All Other Passport Holders" line being pushed and prodded while Jason hears a pleasant "Cheers Mate" from a fellow Kiwi.  Again, parts of our lives that we never foresaw.  

I guess what I am trying to convey is that the obstacles I have faced in the last 2 Kiwi years were profound for me in many ways.  I have learned to not waste my time worrying about little things in our marriage.  I have learned a completely new culture-different from pretty much everything I ever experienced.  I have learned that socialised medicine is actually awesome.  I have learned that drying laundry outside is actually a really smart idea.  I have learned that big family get togethers every week makes for a really strong extended family.  I have learned how America is viewed for an outsider looking in (a whole story in and of itself).  I have learned to rely on my husband, solely and truly.  

I am nervous.  I admit it.  We have been living like Kiwis and now we are going to be eating Lucky Charms, using private insurance, and standing for the National Anthem at T-ball games.  Is it weird that I think it is weird that we will be doing that now?  

as long as I'm with this guy



Amber said...

Can I just burst out in song,

"And I'm proud to be an American, for at least I know I'm Free!! And I won't forget the man who died, who gave that right to me...."

Welcome home Larissa. Welcome home!!

McKenna said...

I just love reading about your adventures! Things I would have never considered, like the passport lines... totally fascinating. I am excited for you to come home! We love you!!!

Brittany said...

You're great. I'm excited for you and all that life has in store for you guys. No matter where "home" is it's really all about the person standing at your side. :) Welcome home! We miss you! We'll come visit if you'll let us!

{kim} said...

You're a grand ole flag...

Tell Jason in less than a week he can have all the cinnamon toast crunch he wants.

Jeff and Whitney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff and Whitney said...

You are a talented writer, my friend. I so enjoy reading about your adventures and your reflections on life. What amazing experiences you two have already had! I love that you recognize the strength that it has given to your marriage. I echo McKenna...there are things you mention that I never would have considered. As hard and bittersweet as it is, we are so excited for you!! Love you!

Kerri said...

That whole learning to cling to your husband thing is really easy when you have nothing else to get a hold of, Brad says that we had to live away from family so that I would learn that HE'S my family. But, it never stopped me from wishing and hoping for a dear sister or mother to hold my hand at times. I'm glad that you had his family there and your family in AZ, I have yet to have any the places we live. Extended family is in my "someday" along with a house and a yard.

P.S. you two make such a cute couple, I'm so happy that you two found each other, despite that big ol' ocean!