The visa interview. The last step in getting a green card to the US. For us, that interview was last week at the US Consulate in Jerusalem.
I was pretty bummed out when we arrived and I wasn’t allowed to go in. It hurt a lot to not be by his side. Instead I sat outside anxiously waiting. I walked around a bit, up and down near by streets but, I couldn’t enjoy it, I was too occupied. I wandered for only ten minutes at a time because I was determined to be there when he came out. After an hour and a half I decided to stop wandering, so I camped out near the entrance. I sat against a big white wall in the shade of a tree and tried to read. I read about one sentence at a time until my mind drifted back to Ram. I hoped he wasn’t still waiting (because he read some people wait for hours) and I hoped he wasn’t too stressed or nervous. I wanted so much to be with him, to squeeze his hand and give him a kiss on the temple.
My heart jumped and I followed when I saw him exit the building. “How did it go?!” I asked eagerly. “It went really good. My green card was approved” he answered in a very cool manner. “Wahoo! That’s awesome!” I said smiling from ear to ear.
During the interview Ram was issued an immigration visa. The immigration visa allows him to enter the US to get his green card. It’s validity is based on the medical exam he had last week. The medical exam is valid for six months. So by getting the immigration visa now he is obligated to fly to the US by October 17th. As you know, Ram was planning on staying in Israel for a year to work, but he isn’t under a contract. He was hired to make the company more efficient and he’s sure he can by October. The green card approval last for a year, so he could have waited to get the visa but, he’d need another medical exam which cost about 400 dollars.
I hope that all makes sense?
In the end, after waiting eight months for this Ram couldn’t say “um… no thanks I’ll take it later” to the IMMIGRATION VISA! So with a leap of faith he gave the Consulate his passport. In about two weeks it will show up in the mail with the visa in it.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s actually happened. Ram can move to the US!!!
Here’s a picture of the Consulate.
Now on to some sight seeing!
We went back to the Old City. We started at the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations are. While walking to the gate of the garden I took a couple pictures from the street. My phone was at 89% so I was good to go… or so I thought. As soon as I walked into the garden and tried to take my first picture of the beautiful roses and old olive trees, my phone was black! Completely dead! DEAD! HOW?! UGH!!! I was pretty pissed. “It’s a sign!” I declared to Ram. A sign of what? I don’t know, but I do know that twice my phone has mysteriously died as soon as I entered a holy place. Maybe my phone is evil? Luckily Ram swooped in and saved the day with his phone.
After the Mount of Olives we entered the Old City through the Lion’s Gate (which I thought was appropriate). It was already afternoon and we were starved, so we wondered around the old alleys until we found a place to eat. It just so happened we found Abu Shukry, a famous hummus restaurant. The place was completely packed wall to wall. As we waited for our food a group who was just leaving handed us a bag of bread they didn’t eat. It was similar to pita bread but the size of an elephant ear, super soft and with a lot of spices. It was scrumptious! We ate it with hummus, salad and falafel. Their hummus was really different, it was full of lemon and parsley. Some women at the next table said it’s Jerusalem style. I don’t know if she’s right, but it was really good.
Relaxed and ready to take on the crowds we headed to the Western Wall. As we approached Ram explained that it’s segregated by sex. I didn’t believe him until I was standing next to a washing fountain (where you’re supposed to wash your hands before approaching the wall) and was completely surrounded by men. Apparently at the Western Wall there’s a men’s side and a women’s side. Even the fountains are separate. So I followed the tradition and went to the women’s side. I washed my hands in the cool refreshing water of the fountain, then slowly made my way towards the wall. I tried to take it all in. Women in head scarves, women reading scripture, women praying and bowing, and the big white stone wall in front of us. I couldn’t even get close to the wall with all the women packed in. I noticed I could peak over the wall between the two sides. So I got on my tip toes and looked for Ram. As I peeked over the fence I noticed so much empty wall, where as my side was all five women deep. The men’s side was at least six times longer and THAT was only of the wall I could see. The men’s wall keeps going into a tunnel! Why would they do that?! Do they think that many more men visit the wall than women? I was very surprised and a little pissed off. We deserve as much wall as the men!
If you want to know more about the Western Wall I found a cool website. You can read about the wall (the Kotel), see a real time camera by going to the Kotel Camera tab, or even send a note or a prayer to the wall. If you send a note they promise that someone will physically put the note in the wall for you.
It was another great visit to Jerusalem; a very successful one :). Ram got his green card approved and I got to see more awesome places.
It’s hard to believe that waiting for the green card approval is over! I’m so grateful! The wall is gone. It’s very liberating and scary. One year ago we couldn’t imagine the day Ram would be free to move to the states. It’s a great feeling. I know we’ll find our place, together, anywhere.
“I’m looking forward to the future and feeling grateful for the past.”
Here are pictures I promised. Thanks to Ram!
The Church of all Nations
Inside the Church (sorry its blurry)
The Lion’s Gate
Shops in the alleys.
More alleys, with Israeli flags and a church in the distance.
The Western Wall
Ram took a video of the men’s side of the Western Wall