The title of this one kind of gives the game away here but WHAT A RELIEF!
During the 2 weeks waiting for our answer, every morning James would take a walk to the mailroom to see if any post had arrived for us. I never held out much hope for it coming on time anyway, let alone 5 days early. So when he appeared with a shaky hand holding an envelope marked ‘United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ I almost peed my pants. I had grand plans for this moment… I thought about filming it as a live reaction video but then the thought of it being rejected wasn’t appealing to catch on film so I didn’t.
We previously had a confirmation with instructions saying we would be notified of an approval via email, so when the letter appeared my heart sunk as I assumed it was a rejection. There is literally no way to tell exactly what they are looking for in the application, or what the priority is when considering a petition, plus everyone in the US has been telling us how “they aren’t letting anyone in” at the moment so I wasn’t exactly filled with optimism. Anyway I ripped it open and after a good 10 seconds of trying to decipher what the notice actually said I saw the magic word “APPROVAL”. Wooo hooo!
That morning we had earnest intentions of enjoying a healthy dinner of salmon and vegetables which promptly went out the window in favour of a celebration consisting of live music (obviously) and a very brief experience of 5th Street – affectionately known as ‘Dirty 5th’. It is basically a strip of bars all open to the street, competing with who can sell the cheapest drinks while playing the loudest live music. I was tempted by a bar advertising excellent line dancing but James wasn’t convinced.
Anyway the next steps in terms of finalising the visa is to fill out ANOTHER online form, and book an interview for when we are back in the UK. As I am technically granted the visa, James gets a spousal visa too as long as we can prove we are married, which sounds simple in theory but who knows! As far as my extensive research shows, this part is the straightforward bit so pretty much just going through the motions in order to get the final paperwork.
So, what else have we been up to? We went for a walk up to the top of Mount Bonnell which has an amazing view of the river. Only about a 15 minute drive from us and a short walk up a hundred or so steps and you can see for miles, as well as a glimpse onto (or even into if you are so inclined) some of the priciest houses around. Many of them have their own jetty and boat-garages on the river, they are pretty spectacular. It seems like people just come up here at sunset with a cooler full of beers to watch the sun go down.
Incidentally James seems to have become obsessed with coolers of all shapes and sizes. Bit weird. Slightly concerned.
I discovered a place on instagram called ‘The Cold Cookie Company’ which is a food truck that serves insane ice cream/cookie/sundae combinations so of course we had to investigate…
We also visited McKinney Falls State Park which is local to us (10/15mins drive) – it is a massive park with a waterfall, hiking trails and swimming holes. I can’t quite explain how hot it was but we only managed a 20min walk before we had to retreat to the car. We didn’t take any swimming stuff with us which was a mistake but at one point I put my hand in the water by a little creek to try and cool down and it felt warm like a bath. YUCK!!!! The swimming holes were actually cooler though and people were hanging out for the day there – lots of BBQ grills scattered all over the park for you to use, as well as camping areas and picnic tables.
We went for brunch at a place called ‘Bangers’, which describes itself as a Sausage House. Lots of jokes to be made here but far too low-brow for my sophisticated humour, obvs. It is on Rainey Street which is a previously residential street but with all the houses now converted to restaurants. It is a place the ‘locals’ avoid as it gets so busy on the weekends but I think it’s fun. We decided to get there for 10am when it opened and there was a line down the street to get in!! Fortunately the place is massive so we didn’t have to wait for a table. Again they have live music on the weekends and their brunch is pretty spectacular.
They serve “Manmosas” – a stein filled with champagne and a splash of orange juice. Also if you get a tattoo of their logo (a pint of beer and a sausage arranged in the shape of a cowboy boot) they will pay for it. How about that for a genius marketing strategy?
• Visa petition granted!!! We will be allowed to work in the US for 1 year
• James is proud to announce he now eats scrambled eggs
• Exercise is paying off – I can do one entire pull up
• So far avoided skin burning / melting / heatstroke
• James’ football team seem stuck in a losing streak, plus he is sporting a swollen foot
• Our air conditioning bill
Until next time folks. Next week we embark on our road trip to Nashville and I am EXCITED! J&T x