2 – London Calling

There is a lump in my throat.

I wake up early and check my alarm… switch it off and decide to get up.

I open the curtains and look out. London.

My beloved London, the place that had a firm grip on my heart. The hustle and business of everyday life. There is always something going on.

I take a deep breath and decide to get set for the day, I have to check all my pockets.. every area where something could of been hidden.

I cannot risk something going wrong today.

No phone, no wallet, no pens – pencils, nothing that could hinder what I was trying to achieve today.

My appointment time starts at 8am, but doesn’t state a set time. First come – first served. I will not be the last – I will not be missed today.

I throw on a smart shirt, tie, ironed jeans, newly polished shoes.

Staring into the bathroom mirror of the room at the Covent Garden Premier Inn that I would call home for the next few days. Deep breath.

Coffee. Do not spill it.

I store my bag at the lockers provided. Nothing extra comes in.

A clear plastic envelope with my life inside it. Everything from passports, to love letters between me and Rachel. My life, our life in a file for the government to judge and deem true.

I get to the embassy and my heart sinks. Hundreds of people – all waiting for the opportunity to be granted a green card.

I join the line and 45 minutes later I am screened, searched and allowed to enter the next waiting area. I am number F1216, I don’t know what this means but it certainly makes me feel like just another digit in the system.

My number is called. My files are taken away, passport, letters… life. I suppose they were scanned and read or put into a file of their own. Two hours pass and I get the files back.

I am sat at the back of the waiting room, no AC, a TV showing news updates on repeat. Man this is exciting.

My number is called again. Files in hand, I get ushered into a different room.

Questions about Rachel were asked. About my boys. Our marriage. The legitimacy of it all.

My heart is pounding with each answer, trying to think before I speak… trying to make sense of what exactly is being asked.

I passed.

I did it.

I got the stamp of approval.

Now the wait for its arrival begins.

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1 – Home is only an ocean away.

Home is where the heart is.

I look at this picture and wonder how our life has managed to be the way it is.

How we survived the distance. The time apart. Not kissing my boys and tucking them in at night. Not hugging my wife when times get tough. Not having her back apart from over Skype or Facetime through the parenting struggles.

It hurt.

How we as a family managed to keep the distance as small as possible whilst still being 5000 miles apart. Trying to reinforce my role as dad in my boys life, reinforce my role as husband to my wife.. but not being able to hold her, kiss her.

April 6th 2016 was the hardest day of my life. The day that I had to say goodbye to my family whilst not knowing if I would get my green card. As confident as I wanted to be, I did not know whether or not I would be allowed to join my family in the US. Seeing them walk through customs without me, I stared at their backs and just wanted to shout, STOP.

My heart broke.

There were times in the two months apart where it seemed like this would never be over and we would never be together again.

Over the next week or so I had to move out all of our remaining possessions.

The house needing to be emptied forced me to re-live all of the memories it held.

This is where we brought our newborn babies home. Where we became parents. Where our boys learned to crawl. Where they said their first words, and on and on.

This little English house was our home.

Pulling away from Carlingford Road in Hucknall, UK the weight of it all overwhelmed me. This move, this call meant parting ways. With friends, a workplace, my British family, a church family, possessions, memories, and more. This wasn’t an easy move.

I vividly remember loading all of  the left over  things (the things we couldn’t give away or didn’t have time to sell) into my friend Dan’s car and heading to the dump. Crying tears as I disposed of my oldest son’s first bed.

Heart break.

This blog is a journey through the process of life up to now in the US. I invite you to journey with me through some of the trials and triumphs of the move and life now.

** Spoiler alert… I get my green card **