Archive for February, 2013

Love is… translating pay slips

It’s time for us to send in what, in visa terms is the AOS package. Not AOS – Adjustment of Status, but AOS – Affidavit of Support, aslo known as form I-864.

This means giving the immigration authorities an in-depth look at income, assets and tax status of the US citizen. Seeing as that he has worked abroad for a long time now, that means foreign bank accounts, foreign annual statements and foreign pay slips. Not to mention a tax return the size of a decent novel.

All of which needs to be copied at least twice and, whenever not in English, it needs to be translated. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Has anyone taken a good look at their pay slip lately? Could you, even in your mother tongue, give a layperson an explanation of what each item means? No? Neither can I. Still, there were six of them that needed to be made understandable to English speakers. I think I did a decent job. Not stellar, because whenever there was an English term on the pay slip, I did not check to see if the cultural or financial referent of said term was fully equivalent, but close enough.

I really hope they’ll let us pay the bill for the Immigrant Visa package soon, too. After that, a ‘Case complete’  should not be far behind..

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Destination: Known

Photo courtesy of Dear Edward, under a Creative Commons License.

Ah! At last, an answer to the most-asked question to all emigrants ever: where will you go?

Since our NOA2 date, we’ve been busily exchanging e-mail with the National Visa Center, hoping to get the green card sorted asap. However, we had no idea where we’d end up yet, which made the whole ‘we will be moving-plan’  feel very shaky and somewhat unreal.

Until yesterday.

Beloved had signed up for three grad school programs. In order of his preference, those are located on the West Coast, on the East Coast and one in-the-middle-but-really-in-the-West.

Yesterday we heard that he has been admitted into his preferred program. Which means that – no matter what the other schools say: we’re going to California. California, baby! I mean, wow… It has jobs, it has public transit, it has diversity, culture and an ethic that (as far as I can see, at least) agrees with us. Not to mention food, national parks, lively communities for alternative lifestyles and the Best Excuse Ever for all the friends and family we leave behind to come visit us frequently.

Please excuse me while I am very proud of Beloved for being an Officially Recognized Smartypants and Generally Awesome Badass and while I have weird domestic daydreams about Pendleton blankets. Because that’s the one big thing I want when we establish US residency. I want to sleep under Pendleton blankets. Everything else I’ll thrift, dumpster dive (if no bedbugs, of course) or otherwise scrounge up, but a Pendleton blanket shall decorate our bed.

Liebster award

I’m all excited! The sweet Amanda from Poppies and Ice-Cream nominated me for an award which encourages learning about small blogs. Also, it allows you to talk about yourself in a way that is fun, and who doesn’t love a little narcissism, right? Thank you, Amanda!

The award comes with a bunch of  ‘elevens’  you have to follow.

One: share eleven things about yourself.

Two: answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Three: nominate eleven small blogs.

Four: write eleven questions for the people you’ve nominated.

Continue reading ‘Liebster award’

In Style

Dragonfly radiator in our living room. Creation and picture both fully copyrighted by Winold from winold.com

Our house has been for sale for 10 weeks or so. And, as perhaps to be expected in this market, interest has been virtually non-existent. Beloved and I had hoped that a competitive price would bring in people who would put some love into this house, but the one potential buyer that has come to look at the house so far, only expressed disappointment about how they felt the house was not move-in ready.

Eh. The house is well over a century old. It is structurally sound and has been updated to contain modern amenities,such as central heating, running water on all stories and a full bathroom with jacuzzi alongside the standard ‘three-quarter bath’ that houses of this sort typically have. It is currently inhabited by book-loving minimalists who, while maintaining the house well, do have a penchant for painting walls bright green or deep purple and for commissioning things such as a four-feet-high dragon fly-shaped radiator to stick on the wall of the living room. Yes, they also brought in an artist friend to outfit one bedroom in such a way that it resembles a hobbit house more than a 21st century human dwelling. Yes, they have a collection of 1200 books (or so) that need shelving by language, by subject or genre and by name of the author.

This is supposedly an objection when you want to sell a house. Apparently one sells a house by making it look like an Ikea catalogue. Our realtor cautioned us about this, recommended we priced the house competitively (we did) and, when things stayed quiet and no potential buyers came to view the house, she recommended we hire a stylist in order to have new pictures taken. So, we did that too.

The stylist showed up, cracked a few (ha? haha? ehhh..) jokes about minimalists, then started pointing out things to paint, things that needed removing or replacing, things that needed suches or so-es or.. well.. Things to turn our home into a catalogue-esque dwelling. Hence, these last few weeks, when not been picking up dog poop or hosing down kennels, I’ve been painting woodwork and walls (white, mind you), taking down Russian propaganda posters, and boxing up books. 200 books have been donated to charity. Another 300 have been sent to live in someone’s attic. The remaining ones have been crammed into fewer bookshelves. I even bought a plant. Which died. And got replaced. And replaced again. Three plants in three weeks. There were certain recommendations of this stylist that I did not have the time or willpower to follow up on, but I’ve only felt moderately guilty about not obeying all orders. Go me.

After all that, the stylist came back and brought in an intern and six boxes full of.. things. Thank (deity of choice) that she brought plastic plants, because all this rotting/drying/otherwise disintegrating vegetation was getting on my nerves. Without exaggeration, our house now contains the following additional materials:

one white, fluffy carpet (.. because.. you know.. it really ties the room together);

three white, fluffy throw rugs;

one white fluffy bathmat plus additional decorative white fluffy towel;

ten (!!) white, fluffy throw pillows (to complement the six other-coloured ones we already had);

four large pots with a total of 8 plastic plants;

ten additional plastic plants (green and white only), strewn around in a whimsical fashion (have I ever talked about my deep, seething hatred for the word ‘whimsical’? No? Try planning a wedding.. You’ll see what I mean);

two large glass vases, to be used empty;

four small glass containers, to be used empty or with candles;

one small serving tray.

It also contains a very disgruntled Beloved and me. Have you ever tried sitting (let alone snuggling or comfortably gaming) on a couch that has nine throw pillows on it, half of which are only rented and need to be returned in pristine condition? No? Go try. You’d be disgruntled too.

I know this post needs before and after needs pictures. I don’t have any ‘afters’, right now, but I happen to have two photo’s that our artist friend took when he first built the awesomeness into our house.

Our bedroom. Creation and picture fully copyrighted by Winold from winold.com