This post is dedicated to the Kriewalls, who were instrumental in ensuring my attendance at Duke this fall.
In spite of the international strike for Canada’s immigration workers, I received a Tourist Visa about two weeks ago, which will allow me to enter Ontario, which is necessary for me to interview for the proper Visa to re-enter the States and begin my coursework at Duke this fall. My other alternative, in lieu of going to Canada, was to go back to China for the same type of interview, but that would have almost certainly prevented my timely start at Duke this fall. Granted, I could be stopped crossing the borders, or I could be denied a U.S. Visa in Toronto, but at least this is one very large step forward in a series of giant steps sideways. I scheduled my appointment to interview at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto and I will be moving down to Durham shortly, then driving to Toronto later in August.
So I am squashing my life into boxes again, and saying goodbyes without really using that exact word, again.
A few weeks ago I seriously considered not going to Duke, and to take my measly savings and trek around the world, but I don’t have a Plan B after that. I could have said with the bravado of twenty-somethings that I will make up plans as I go but that’s not quite my style. And it’s humbling to see where things have progressed. I always thought I was the little-Hannah-who-could, the independent Amazonian, the transient. Yet the older I get and the more I pay attention to what happens, of all that I can control and all the more that I cannot, the more I realize how much I need people and kindness and I hate being in need.
So this is a giant and saccharine Thank You to all of you who have helped me along. I try not to gush sentimental in person or writing, about kindness and belonging to each other and glitter and rainbows, since growing up in my household, sentiment was indoctrinated as virulent as the bubonic plague. But I’m learning that being in need isn’t always a shameful affair, and when my needs have been fulfilled, I want to thank in particular, these noteworthy people :
Dave and Judy Kriewall, to whom this post is dedicated. Thank you for taking away my excuse to be an international traveling bum.
My parents, for not saying all of the true-but-not-helpful things, who just listened.
My friends Katie, Julia, and Tom, who kept me sane with our insane texting. Rabies, I will see you soon.
Melana, who helms her traveling blog. I think she is one of my most spontaneous but rewarding friend-made-via-social-media. Between the two of us we might set some border-crossing record. See you in the Triangle.
My letter-buddies. It feels good to rant to someone on paper with lots of exclamation marks and appear normal to the bystander and not as a blustering lunatic. Jesse, I believe someone said that your handwriting is good enough to be a reason for marriage. Beware.
My roommates for putting up with my metastatic mess of papers on the kitchen table and the fabrics in the living room and listening to me express my opinions very loudly in a language they cannot understand. And for the tree.
To my friends and their families, and my professors and mentors, for their prayers and encouragements and commiseration and reassurance. You make me feel like I belong somewhere, even when I am convinced I don’t.
For non-angry immigration officials with whom I spoke on the phone. It’s amazing the difference a sympathetic voice can make. And people both in the Midwest and down in Dur’m for helping me through the immigration process and what to expect.
My Big Sib, Mollie. I know you couldn’t fix the immigration system for me, but just knowing you were there for whatever I happen to need, and that you’d try your best to help me out, was all I needed to make it through. I am so stoked to meet you!
My moving buddy. I am really glad for the forty-ish minutes, instead of who-knows-how-many hours.
And people who let me squeeze their kitties because my arms were emptied of mine.
Merci beaucoup. 多谢。