It’s been a while since I provided an update. There’s plenty of reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that there is no doubt about getting the visas… they are stuck in our passports right now.
We received our passports back from the consulate just four days after our interview; with the red, white and blue visa stuck on random pages. We also received the mysterious yellow sealed envelopes that we need to bring in our hand luggage when we enter the US.
We can’t open the envelopes (on pain of death apparently) so I have no idea what they contain. But if I were a betting man, I imagine they contain our DS-260s, notes from our interviews and our medicals – so they can be added to our files at the point of entry.
And as for the process of the DV lottery… well that’s it. While technically our visas still refer to us as DV Lottery winners, there’s no difference between us or the many thousands each year who cross the border to begin their lives in the USA.
So that’s where we are up to. For over 12 months now, we have worked towards deadlines set by other people. I saw the process described as “hurry up and wait” and I think that is a perfect summation of what it’s like – long periods of nervous silence, interspersed with moments of craziness.
From panicking about the quality of my passport photo, to the stress of almost failing the medical, to trying to work out which police certificate I needed, throughout all of the ups and downs I was worried about someone else’s opinion and working to someone else’s deadline.
And now, as I sit here today, deadlines now mean nothing (except the fact that I have to activate by the end of March). The decision to move and when to do it is mine, and mine alone. And therein, is the big change.
Previously, I didn’t have to think about the minute details of the whole process. Everything was compartmentalised – I had to apply, I had to be selected, I had to receive my 2NL, I had to get my police clearance and medical, I had to attend the interview. All clear objectives I had to work towards.
But now, with time to plan and think the real questions start hitting us. Can we REALLY afford this? What about the dogs? What will I do for work? Where will I live? What if this doesn’t work out?
These are the questions keeping my awake at night. It’s an opportunity I don’t want to miss out on (and I know I’ll regret it forever if I don’t at least try), but I’m pretty comfortable here in Australia – do I really want to throw it all away?
To try and find some answers, I reached out to a number of Facebook groups set up for Australian’s living in the US. Bad idea.
From what these forums appear, Australians hate living in the US. They are miserable in their marriages, they miss families and friends and they can’t find any familiar foods anywhere. Their desperation has just added another level to my uncertainty.
But I’m sure that decision will be made over the next few months. And I guess no matter what that decision is, I’ll have to respect it for the rest of my life… no matter what that decision is.