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Melrose Plant

Life in the USA for a new Vietnamese Immigrant

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
Timeline

People have posted they are interested to hear about what life is like for Mai and I these first few weeks, so I guess I will keep a diary or sorts until I get tired of writing or you get tired of reading, whichever comes first. I hope that this may help make someone's life a little easier in some way, even if that means getting a laugh from our experiences.

Last night I cooked our first "real" dinner. It was a hit! Thank goodness for that. Those of you who have been following our story will know that Mai has been nonplussed with the food here in the USA so far. I made a beef stir fry with snow peas and bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. I called this a "Chinese style" meal--not true Chinese of course. Mai had some doubts as I was cooking this because I am now cooking with an electric stove that I am not used to (I have always used gas before), and the first batch of meat produced a LOT of smoke (I had the heat maybe a tad high). "Don't panic," I said, "Everything's under control. Không có vấn đề gì (no problem)." And, as it turned out, I didn't do any real damage. She told me that this is the first meal she's had since she's been here that made her feel truly wonderful. That makes a fellow feel good, let me tell you. She was also very impressed that I can cook rice properly. She didn't see me do it. It was as if rice appeared magically out of thin air, which is what happens on a daily basis in Asia, right?

I am very happy I have the opportunity to stay home for a few weeks to take care of her. I know not everyone has that chance, and I feel truly blessed for that. She has been so tired. This morning I made breakfast for her, and now that I know what she likes, it brings a smile to her face, which is all I really want in life.

Today we had to take the dog to the vet. She (the dog, not Mai) has been having trouble in her "nether regions." Evidently, the cure required anesthesia, and we had to wait for a couple of hours. So we went shopping for cosmetics, namely, nail polish and lipstick, stuff we elected to leave behind. Suddenly, I felt a little ill-at-ease. I felt a little awkward saying, "Hello, I'm James, and this is my wife Mai, this is her 3rd day in the U.S., and we need help, because I don't know too much about this make-up stuff....." But I did it, and now everybody's happy. Everyone was very friendly and helpful to us.

Now Mai is sleeping (again), and we sneaked the dog into our apartment to rest for a while because I really didn't want to leave her alone at my ex-wife's house (dogs aren't allowed in our apartment building). Later this afternoon, we will go to pick up my son from horse camp, and he will stay with us for the first time tonight. Lots of excitement for us today, again!

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cute story! much happiness to you and good luck!


ROC Timeline

18 NOV 2010 Sent 1.8lb packet to USCIS in Laguna Niguel (day 1)

19 NOV 2010 Package signed for V SEMEGI (day 2)

24 NOV 2010 Package returned because USC didn't sign petition (day 6)

calendar reset

26 NOV 2010 Package sent out again (day 1)

29 NOV 2010 Package signed for by V SEMEGI (day 3)

29 NOV 2010 NOA1 issued (day 3)

03 DEC 2010 Hardcopy of NOA received (day 7)

07 JAN 2011 Successful walk in biometrics (day 42) original date 1 FEB

01 MAR 2011 Date on Approval notice (although it arrived after the card did) (day 94)

03 MAR 2011 Card received (day 96)

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
Timeline

Things are settling down a little bit for us. Mai is still sleeping 12+ hours a day, but that's understandable. I'm doing MUCH better this time than last time I came back. Probably because I'm not staying up until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning talking to Mai! Now I can do that at a much more reasonable hour, and in person, I'm still thanking the Lord.

Speaking of the Lord, we need to go see the preacher this week and talk to her about our upcoming wedding. We didn't make church yesterday because Mai was feeling under the weather. Plus, it was Annual Conference and both the pastors were there and not here.

Through the grapevine (OK, through my mom), a family acquaintance heard that Mai was coming, and his son is married to a Vietnamese. They called us on the phone, and they took us to an Asian supermarket in Des Moines. It was nice for Mai to be able to buy the things she wants, and to be able to speak Vietnamese with someone in person. So last night we had phở gà for dinner (though not phở gà chọi, which is my favorite). Mai vacuumed that stuff right down.

Then the tornado siren went off. I flipped on the TV, and sure enough, there was a tornado (albeit not on the ground) about 5 miles away from our place. Down to the basement, quick! We brought laundry with us and hung out with our neighbor down there for a while. Nothing scary happened. I hope Mai doesn't think the weather in Iowa is this crazy all the time. We've had a really bad year for weather so far.

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