Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Reunion on Hold

I had to cancel our flights to NY, call everyone back east and tell them the bad news, and reschedule many appointments here in California. We still don't know when (or if) Andre will get the visa. It's so frustrating because he's done nothing wrong and we gave them everything they wanted.

The U.S. consul asked Andre if he ever lost a passport. He said no. The consul pointed out that the new passport says it replaces passport #RD 1576534, but his expired passport is #RD 1608238. He applied for his new passport last January in Santo Domingo. The Haitian embassy sends them to the U.S. to be made. We had hoped to visit Haiti together in March 2007, but his passport didn't arrive in time. Later, they informed him that FedEx lost 900 passports, but eventually he received his replacement and we were able to travel abroad.

Andre forgot about this incident when he said he'd never lost a passport. Now he's worried they'll think he was lying. But he isn't the one who lost his passport. I'm wondered if he's a victim of identity theft. Luckily, I made sure that every hotel receipt had both our names on them, so we can prove where we've been since his passport was lost (or stolen). Maybe someone posing as Andre Cherer got deported from the U.S. We don't know.

Yesterday, Andre went to the Haitian embassy and asked for an explanation. That's when he was reminded of the FedEx fiasco. He requested a letter to the U.S. Consulate explaining that it wasn't his fault. The letter they gave him is kind of vague and definitely doesn't take responsibility for anything, but maybe it'll help our case. He dropped it off this morning at the U.S. Consulate and gave them his case number. He was hoping the consul would call him today, but he didn't. Now we have to wait until Monday to hear anything.

Both Andre and I are bummed about this delay, but at least it hasn't cost me too much. I paid $40 to cancel my round-trip flight to NY, but his ticket has no penalty for changes. I picked April 11-21 in NY for him, but I won't book a flight for myself until I know he has the visa. I have several things planned for late April here in Santa Cruz which I'd prefer not to miss, like hosting my writers' group and also a sing-along/potluck at my house. My tenants will be moving out in a week or so. I'm anxious to be home again and start fixing it up for Andre's arrival.

Wednesday, April 2, is my 51st birthday, which I won't be celebrating with Andre in New York City at the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Building) as I had hoped. I'm not sure what I'll be doing. I have an invite to stay with my friend Linda in Berkeley. We just celebrated her 70th birthday here in Santa Cruz, so maybe that would be appropriate. I met Linda when she sublet our house while Maya and I were in Asia in 2005. Linda and I were planning a Passover seder at my house on April 20, but now I'm not sure what's happening.

Poor Andre sounded pretty depressed when I spoke to him tonight. I can't say I'm feeling much better, but at least I'm not in the Third World, in the dark, with nothing to do. I also think he's tired from having to get up so early to go to the consulates. I admire him for being so diligent with all this. I'm going to see if there's anything I can do from here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not Such Good News

I spent the day with my junior high and high school friend Debbie Cave, her husband Alan, and daughter Devon who are visiting from Colorado. Debbie and I hadn't seen each other since graduating in 1975, but she hadn't changed a bit. We drove down the coast to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I let them go in by themselves, while I did email and worked on my 2007 photo greeting card. I was also anxiously waiting for Andre to call.

He had to be at the US Consulate in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at 6:00 a.m. today. They called his name at 8:00 a.m. to turn in the documents they'd requested. Then they called him again to do his digital fingerprints. Finally, at 3:00 they called him in for the interview. They asked him lots of questions like how we met, do I have a daughter, what language do we speak to each other. Andre said that when he showed the young American consul our photo album, he got very excited to learn that we'd traveled together to five countries in South America.

Then he told Andre to sit down and wait again. When he called him back he told him that everything was fine except there was one doubt about his Haitian passport. He asked if Andre had ever lost his passport. He said no. He had one that expired and his current one. He had both with him, so I'm not sure what the problem is. They said they would have to email the consulate in Haiti for confirmation. But they instructed him to pay the $14 for courier delivery of the visa, so that part looks good.

I never imagined there would be a problem with Andre's Haitian passport. I had worried about my affidavit of support since my tax returns show a negative income, due to a real estate loss in 2003. I was afraid they would try and say that I couldn't support Andre. But from what Andre told me today, that wasn't an issue.

Hopefully, he will get the visa. We just don't know when. He's thinking just an extra week or two. But they told him not to make a flight reservation. I have to cancel the reservations I made to meet in New York on April 1-9. He reminded them that my birthday is April 2, but the consul said there was nothing he could do about it.

Needless to say, I'm bummed. I'm bummed because I still don't know 100% that he'll get the visa; I'm bummed because we have to wait even longer to be together again; and I'm bummed because my whole calendar is worked out around the April 1-9 trip to New York that isn't going to happen now. I could skip the whole idea of meeting in NY first and just reschedule him to fly straight through to San Francisco. But I was really looking forward to introducing him to all my friends and family in NY and NJ first. He also has an aunt in Brooklyn who he's never met and she's very anxious to meet him.

Debbie and her family leave early tomorrow morning to fly back to Colorado. I'll spend a good part of the day canceling and rescheduling everything. Then I go back to playing the waiting game.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fun with Photo Booth

Only five more days until Andre's interview at the US Consulate in Santo Domingo. Fingers are still crossed that he gets the visa. I went to my friend Nancy Rosenberg's house and we posed in her kitchen together. Her son Sage made funny faces. I also posted a few older Photo Booth shots, one of three-eyed Daniel and me, and another of Andre and me when we visited my cousin Zack and his Chilean girlfriend Soraya in Puerto Montt, Chile.

I've been busy working out every day. Monday, Wednesday, Fridays I swim laps for an hour at the Boys and Girls Club with the Silver Dolphins. You have to be 50 and over to join. I barely qualify, but there's one woman who's 88 and a man who's 91, so I feel like a kid again. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take Zumba dance class. It's like Jazzercize to Latin music. I also play racquetball 3 or 4 times a week and will be entering some tournaments soon.

At Daniel's suggestion, I went through an intense program called The Landmark Forum. No, I didn't get brainwashed, but I did get tired of sitting 13 hours a day, three days in a row, indoors under fluorescent lights. I'm learning how to transform my life, create new possibilities, and have breakthroughs in my communication. If I can just stop trying to prove I'm right, it will be a major improvement in my relationship with Andre. The problem is, I AM always right and he just needs to accept that.

My house is still rented out, so Daniel's been nice enough to let me crash in his garage. By the time Andre and I come back from New York on April 9, my tenants should be all moved into their new place, so we can start creating Andre's new life in the U.S...just in time for the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression. But I'm sure he'll be able to find a job, as smart as he is, and being quad-lingual.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I'm back in Santa Cruz and Andre's enjoying himself at L'Oase Racquetball and Hotel near Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. His interview at the U.S. Consulate in Santo Domingo is scheduled for 6 a.m. on March 25. On that day we should find out whether he gets the fiance visa or not. The only thing I'm worried about is my Affidavit of Support because I'm still carrying a loss on my tax returns. As far as proving our relationship, he has tons of photos and receipts from our travels together.

If all goes well, we'll meet in NYC on April 1, travel around to meet family and friends, then back to Santa Cruz on April 9. We have to marry within 90 days of his arrival in the U.S. or he has to go back.