Saturday, July 26, 2008

We're getting married August 12 -- Gulp!

We found out when Andre went to the DMV, that he couldn't take the written portion of his driver's test because it was too close to August 22, the date his fiance visa will expire unless we get married. Sure enough, we looked at his California ID card and it expires August 22.

I had planned on waiting until the last minute to get married, but then we had to figure out when to go back east. Since Andre is enjoying his ESL classes at Santa Cruz Adult School, we decided to travel between summer and fall sessions, August 14 - September 3.

We'll fly first to Pittsburgh, PA where my cousin Steffi lives. She and her husband Larry -- affectionately nicknamed by Daniel as "Hercules" due to his size -- invited us to take a canoeing trip on the Allegheny River with them that weekend.

Then we'll ride the train to Washington, DC (6 hours) where Steffi's parents and sister Julie live. We'll just miss Julie's daughter Gannon as she heads off for her first year of college. Andre and I enjoyed hanging out with Gannon in Buenos Aires last fall.

We'll visit with Julie, Gannon's brother Martin who will begin his last year of high in the fall, and my Aunt Joan and Uncle Art. There are numerous sites in DC that I hope we'll have time to see, like the Native American museum, the Holocaust Museum, the war memorials and the monuments, the Smithsonian. I know Andre will love it all.

Next Andre and I will take the train (3 hours) into New York City. We'll have about a week and a half to visit a ton of friends and family there. Most important for Andre will be meeting his Aunt Rosette. She's a sister of the father he never knew. When he called her for the first time from the Dominican Republic several months ago, she cried for 10 minutes before she could speak. She said she'd been wondering about him all these years. Now we try to call her every weekend. Rosette is very friendly and excited to meet us. It sounds like she struggles as a single mother and immigrant in this country, but would never think about going back to Haiti.

I'm hoping we'll get to visit with our friend Hubert in Plainfield, New Jersey, my cousins on my dad's side in Hacketstown and Princeton, NJ, my grandma Leslie's cousin Janet in Fort Lee, NJ, my Pakistani friends in Long Island, Julie's son Jason and his wife Jessica (whose wedding Maya and I attended in Puerto Rico the day before we met Andre in Santo Domingo) in Long Island City, my travel friend Priya in Brooklyn, Robin and her family in upstate NY....well, I guess you could say we'll be on the move the whole time.

Don't forget, we also have to go to the Top of the Rockefeller building, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ground Zero for Sept. 11, Central Park, Times Square, take the harbor cruise around Manhattan, etc.

....I got so excited about our travel plans, I almost forgot about the wedding. Due to the rush, we'll just go to the courthouse on August 12, so we can apply for his U.S. residency on August 13 and fly back east on August 14. At the moment, I'm busy preparing a prenuptial agreement, which our friend and housemate Gabriel is translating into Spanish, so we can each sign it in a language that we fully understand. We're also looking for rings, probably simple white gold bands, or I might find an antique one I like even better.

As far as parties and wedding receptions, we have no time to even think about that now. Probably when we get back from our "honeymoon" in New York. And then we'll do another one in Haiti after Andre gets his residency/permission to travel outside the U.S. It'd be great if that could happen in December, but not likely to be that soon.

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