Monday, February 20, 2012
Leaping for Love
One of the biggest leaps I've ever taken was to marry a man from another country. Don't get me wrong. It was a great decision, but it certainly didn't come without its difficulties.
Marrying a man from abroad may sound like a romantic prospect. I certainly thought so. I'd read books like Katie McAlister's Improper English or watch films like The Holiday and assume it was entirely reasonable, even simple, to find a beau from across the pond. Indeed, between email, chat rooms, dating sites, and Skype, meeting and talking to people from around the world is a fairly simple prospect. As for falling in love and making a relationship work when you are separated by oceans, that is where things get a little tricky.
My husband is from Scotland and we talked, emailed, and visited many times before making the decision to marry. Though we were in love and eager to enter into wedded bliss, the practical reality is that marriage is the only option for people from different countries who wish to be together - barring unlimited bank accounts or the ability to get a work visa. Visas are the bane of international love, though an understandable necessity in our bureaucratic world. The normal US visitor visa period for a resident of the United Kingdom or European Union is 90 days. At that point, whether they've found love or even married a US citizen, a UK visitor needs to return to Britain.
Leaping for love was the best decision I ever made, though it was also a difficult process that caused me to grow in unexpected ways. I even learned a bit of patience - not one of my virtues. These days, I usually take a little peek before I leap. I still leap, of course, but now I anticipate the challenges.