Reset Button

ImageBy this time next Tuesday my husband will have walked through the gates at the San Francisco International Airport.

The reality is that my heart will believe it when I hug him on U.S. soil. But the plan on paper is that he’s here by next Tuesday at this time.

I jump and swerve between two extremes. On the one hand, I’m psyched out of my head that my husband’s coming. On the other hand, I’m freaking out about hitting the reset button.

Let me backtrack a minute to explain.

I had a Skype call with Picasso this past Sunday. It was a wee bit all over the place, both messy and straightforward. It was a long walk in the conversational woods about about money issues, future jobs, politics and art, with a big analysis about Mexico’s National Soccer team possibly not making it to the World Cup.

I was talking with Mr. Vulcan afterwards about the conversation. I shared with him the tensions around money and future jobs. At one point, Mr. Vulcan said this:

“Look, this is naturally an extremely intense and overwhelming time for the two of you. It’s as if you’re hitting the reset button. Your life as you knew here in the U.S. as a couple stopped twelve years ago.”

Through hot and silent tears I said, “Yeah, that’s it.”

A large part of me is hesitant to blog about what comes up post-visa approval, I’m hesitant because there are so many of us out there in immigration situations who’d kill to be having these post-visa approval issues. I understand the deep and real privilege inherent in the emotions I’m grappling with right now.

The decision to continue to speak up and out is everyone’s personal choice. But I know that I really do want to talk about life post-visa approval. One big reason is that there are so few of us out there with the means and the desire to talk about what happens after.

So while there’s a lot running through my jumpy and swerving mind, the thoughts that are the most insistent are these:

While my husband was deported for the second time from the U.S. in 2001, and that act in itself was quite violent, the pre-9/11 U.S. that my husband knew is so truly and very different now. This militarized, Patriot-Act-wielding, Internet-and-cellphone-humping, Big-Brother-is-watching United States of America takes some getting used to.

The impending permanent move that we’re planning in the next few months for Picasso and our two cats is going to cost some serious hard-core cash.

And the thought that cartwheels through my mind the most?

We’ve been in a long-distance relationship for the past two and a half years, i.e, me here in the U.S., Picasso in Mexico, with a two-hour time difference between us. We both sleep alone in our beds for months on end, with the exception of my visits. We both have our ways of meeting the morning and ending the day that don’t involve one another.

So this reset situation?

Yeah. When an elevator is slow, and I’m in a rush, I’m one of those people that stabs the up/down buttons with my index finger like I’m tapping out a morse code message.

Picasso isn’t like that.

I’m counting on him to hold my hand so that I don’t break my index finger.


15 thoughts on “Reset Button

  1. Giselle, I think it’s brave and important that you continue to share about your journey. Your story can bring hope to others, and also the reminder that when one challenge is overcome, there are usually others waiting. Your situation reminds me a little of when an addict finds recovery. At first, there is just the joy and relief that a loved one won’t be drinking/high/whatever anymore. But then, the family needs to rebuild trust, figure out what their new life will be and look like, and how to fit together in a new way. In both situations, support from others who know what you’re going through will help. I’m glad you seem to have a support system to help.y


    1. Hi Julie, thank you for your support. I do want to honor people’s recoveries from addiction – and I feel that there is a big difference between a family going through recovery with a loved on who is an addict and families that are reunited after deportation. However, I do get where you are coming from and hte point that you are making. And I am grateful for the support system that I do have, including this blog. Thanks for stopping by. Sincerely, Giselle


  2. I’m positive that I will not be prepared for the transition when/if we are ever able to go back, and we haven’t spent more than 2 months apart in this journey! For us, I think the difficulty is going to be finding ourselves again. Our American selves. Honestly, the idea scares me quite a bit. I know that sounds insane. I don’t say it often, but I know that you know what I mean. The fear finds me any time there’s a glimmer of hope for reform. It’s the most unsettling feeling. It’s weird.

    I am so glad that you are going to continue to write because there are so many people out there who can benefit, grow, learn, laugh from your story post Visa. I know I can’t wait to read it!


    1. Ms. Emily, I do know what you mean! (I’m doing the point at my eyes, point at your eyes thing!) Unsettling is a great word. I’ve lived for so long in our relationship one way-it is so very strange to switch gears powerfully. I hear you about the fear and weirdness.

      Thank you , thank you, thank you for your kind and supportive words about continuing to write. I’ll hold them close to my heart, especially when I’m having a day of doubt. Love Always, G


  3. This is something I don’t think a lot of people think about…the transition. I think a lot people are so excited that the immigration mess is finally over that they miss judge the after affect of it all. When the day come for hubby and I to be approved I will be prepared!


    1. Hi Ourlife, thanks for coming by. I think that each couple handles “The Transition” and other transitions differently, and that all responses are valid. My guess would be that financial/emotional/physical exhaustion often comes into play in a big way when a couple’s immigration situation has been resolved. And in my opinion, its not so much the misjudging but the fact that a person “doesn’t even know what they don’t even know” until the moment comes. I hear you about being prepared as possible for when your husband is approved (and I do hope that day comes soon.) However, I’d also gently suggest that along with other major events in life you can be as prepared as possible, but there’s still going to be an unexpected element of the unknown. And as prepared as you may be, there’s also the individual respsonse/reactions from your spouse/partner that can be different from your own. Sincerely, Giselle


      1. I think you are right when you say that you can’t be prepared 100%, which is scary. I have heard some people even compare the return of an immigrant spouse to the return of a military spouse with similarities such as PTSD, displacement, not knowing how to “reset”, ect…I think that it is awesome that your husband is open and honest with you about coming home and what the future holds. Even though we never know what may come,especially after such a long separation, I think that you are on the right track of being aware and ready. Please keep us posted on his return home!:)


  4. The reset button is a scary thing for all of us who have gone through immigration disaster. After years of this, facing down reset buttons of our own in our situation, although I rejoice so much with you that the immigration obstacle is finally coming down, I certainly don’t envy the difficulty of picking up pieces and reconstructing a life together in the US. In many ways, that’s what scares us the most about maybe seeing our miracle come someday. I think there’s an expectation that once that immigration obstacle is cleared, life is supposed to just start steadily improving and we all know that realistically, it really just signals the start of brand new challenges. There can be a lot of disappointment. The dreams we had back in the day are not always possible, after 7,10,15 years away. The country and the life is not the same, either. I wish you both wisdom and peace as you approach this new beginning!!!


    1. Amy, I know that you get the reset button situation so powerfully. I know how deep in your bones it is for your and your family and how you’re living it right now. You are so on the money with talking about the obstacles ahead. And man, what you said about the dreams-that will definitely be materials for another post! Thank you for taking the time to come in and post here and for your wishes. Please know that you and your family are always in my thoughts and prayers. Un abrazo fuerte, Giselle


    1. Linda, you are such a sweet and positive person to come into my life! The magic of the Internet 🙂 You know, it is so important for me to share about my husband’s immigration story (with his approval) because he doesn’t have a “clean” or “simple story.” There was a time in my life that I thought that no one else had a husband who had been deported twice. I know now that there are unfortunately many of us. Stay hopeful, focused and strong. And your support and prayers and positivity will come back to you and your family many times over 🙂 Big Hug, Giselle


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