Both of us enjoy writing, reading, singing, playing music, movies, quality television, outdoor activities, Cubs baseball, Peoria Chiefs baseball, hiking, our dog Maddie, our cat Sammy, and spending time with family.
Place benefits filed at
Nebraska Service Center
Jim (Taunton, U.K.) and I (Tremont, IL) began emailing each other on June 11, 2001, and to our surprise and delight immediately struck up a profound friendship. So much so, that in September 2001 I invited Jim to come stay with me for 6 months, both to experience life in the U.S., and to continue our friendship in a more 'real world' form. Again to our surprise - and even more to our delight! - we soon realised that our friendship had become something more - we had fallen in love. :) Thanks to the generosity of Jim's parents financially, and the INS in granting Jim two extensions of stay on his B-2 tourist visa, we spent every day together during the next 18 months, which proved, up to that time, to be the best 18 months of our lives.
Inevitably, this led to one of the worst days. By March 2003 we knew for sure that we wanted to spend our lives together, so the arrival of the day that meant being apart again was hard to face. On March 23, 2003 Jim returned to the U.K. to work, and save money for our future, and I was left to do the same, and officially dissolve my previous marriage. Thankfully, we didn't know it at the time, but it would be two years before we would meet again in person.
Cynics, cliche-fans, or those lucky enough never to have had to be apart from their partner will tell you that long-distance relationships 'never work' or are 'doomed to failure'. Neither of us would deny that being apart IS a huge strain on a relationship, but it is one which love, and faith (and willingness to pay some telephone bills!) CAN overcome. When the underpinning love you have for that person is deep and not forgotten, and if two people are willing to sacrifice temporarily some personal happiness while the dream waits, then LOVE SURVIVES. We look at it this way: we often wished during our time apart that we could have been together from day one, forever, and realised how many people never have to submit their love to the kind of tests with which time and distance tried ours. But then, they may never be fortunate enough to know the true strength of what they have. We feel so proud of the fact that our love for each other was so strong that it not only survived, but grew during our time apart.
On June 1, 2005, Jim landed in Chicago (wahoo!) to spend three weeks with me in my (our!) new home. We shared most of our tantalisingly fleeting three weeks between joyful rediscovery of actually BEING WITH each other once more, and the careful gathering and preparation of materials for our K1 Visa application. Finally we were able to do what we had waited so long for when, on June 19 2005, Jim proposed to me, and we became officially engaged. Another tearful, but hopefully final parting occured on June 21 2005 in Chicago, as Jim returned home once more. On June 22, after many checks, and last-checks, I mailed our K1 package to Nebraska.
~June 11, 2001 First email between Jim and Amy
~Sept 30, 2001 Jim came to U.S., stayed for 18 months
~Mar 23, 2003 Jim returned to U.K. :(
~June 01, 2005 Jim came back for three weeks!
~June 19, 2005 Officially engaged
~June 22, 2005 Sent K-1 Application to Nebraska Service
~July 5, 2005 Receipt of NOA1 by Amy at
approximately 1:20 p.m. (took it directly
from the mailman as he drove up!)
~Sept 15, 2005 Received RFE, simply asking us to amend
two photocopied signatures - they needed
~Sept 30, 2005 Notice of receipt of our amended forms.
~Oct 13, 2005 APPROVED CASE shipped to Dept. of State
for visa processing!! We're on to the next
~Oct 25, 2005 Case sent to US Embassy, London
~Nov 9, 2005 Jim receives packet 3 from US Embassy
~Nov 25, 2005 Medical at Birmingham Nuffield, 10:40am
- way nicer than expected!
~Dec 05, 2005 Packet 3 checklist returned
~Jan 12, 2006 Packet 4 received! Wahoooo!
~Feb 06, 2006 Interview @ 10:30am - APPROVED!
~Feb 16, 2006 Jim arrives in Chicago - together again!
~Mar 03, 2006 SSN applied for
~Mar 14, 2006 SSN card arrives in mail
~Apr 07, 2006 Wedding day!
~May 05, 2006 AOS/EAD package sent
~May 14, 2006 NOA1
~May 24, 2006 Biometrics appt. letter received
~May 31, 2006 Biometrics Appt. in Naperville, IL 8am
~June 3, 2006 I-765, I-485 touched
~June 28, 2006 I-765, I-485 touched
~July 11, 2006 EAD APPROVED
~July 22, 2006 EAD arrives in mail!
~July 26, 2006 NOA calling us for initial AOS interview
~July 28, 2006 Jim gets drivers' license!
~Aug 8, 2006 Jim starts first job in U.S.!
~Sept 7, 2006 AOS interview in Chicago, 10:39am - CANCELED BY USCIS
~Oct 17, 2006 Rescheduled AOS interview, Chicago, 11:00am - approved pending FBI name-check