After nearly three years and many adventures in the New World, Winnie left today to go visit her family. One catch with marrying a person who lived halfway around the planet; going to visit family takes a lot of planning.
Winnie landed in the US, in Los Angeles, on July 15, 2005 with her K-3 “temporary Residency” visa. As much as she wanted to visit her family sooner, our many adventures and dealing with the USCIS (formerly called INS) made a visit home dicy. We were both concerned about her going back before she had her permanent residency “green card.” USCIS rules allow a non-US citizen to leave and re-enter the US on just a K-3, but since the USCIS is involved we didn’t think that was a particularly good thing to do.
Once Winnie received her permanent residency “green card” last March, we both started planning a visit to her family. I really wanted to go with her both to spend some time with her family, and for the chance to explore more of China. My job at the time granted two weeks annual leave, which would have been enough time for me to go.
However, with my job change(s) these past several months, taking a two week vacation now ended up not in the cards for me. Winnie ended up planning only a 30 day trip as her boss wouldn’t hold her job (unpaid leave of absence) any longer than that. She really wanted to go for a trip longer than 30 days.
We bought her tickets last month, and for the past week Winnie was busy packing. There’s an old song that keeps running through my head as I write this, something about “flying the friendly skies.” I don’t remember who wrote that song, but times sure have changed for flying. The airline Winnie flies to Los Angeles only allows one checked bag of 50 lbs, and one small carry-on. They do allow a second checked bag for $25.00, but Winnie didn’t want to pay that fee (surprise there). So, she managed to stuff all the clothes she needs for a month, and all the gifts she wanted to bring for family, into one large suitcase that ended up coming in right at 47 lbs.
For her carry-on bag, she’s using a rather exotic backpack she brought with her from China back in 2005.
She was lucky enough to get a flight out of Dulles instead of BWI, which made it a whole lot less stressful getting her to the airport. Her flight to Los Angeles left at 8:15 AM this morning. From LA she catches a China Southern into Guangzhou which is where I flew into and out of on my second trip. Most of her family lives in Luchuen which has no commercial airport. So Winnie will be meeting some of her family at the Guangzhou airport after six hours flying from Washington, a six hour layover in LA followed by 13 hours non-stop flying into Guangzhou, and then taking a seven hour train-trip back to Luchuen with them.
She’ll be tired when she gets there.
Meanwhile, back in Virginia, I get to play middle-age bachelor. You know; the swinging life of a single, middle-aged suburbanite American male in the first decade of the 21st century.
Meaning; cooking all my meals, food shopping, doing the laundry, keeping the house reasonably tidy, going to work, tending the yard, gardens and plants, and maybe even finish renovating my boat so I can get some water-time in before Winnie returns.
Wild times are here.
Winnie Returns! : After a long visit back to see her family in China, Winnie returns to her American home.
This and That, Christmas 2017 Edition : Catching up on Christmastime family news.
Welcoming in the Year of the Dog : Welcoming in the Chinese new year of the Dog. Full disclosure – this is Winnie’s Chinese zodiac animal.