On Thursday, May 8th (our 11 month anniversary of meeting), the Ukrainian and I submitted our documents to the INS (now the USCIS) in an effort to convert the Ukrainian’s student visa to a green card based on his marriage to me. On Friday, May 9th aka Victory Day in the Eastern Bloc, the USPS verified that the documents did indeed arrive at the INS offices in Chicago. Now we wait.
My Ukrainian teased me all day because it was my idea to get married right away so we could submit our application right away–yet it took us almost 2 months to get together all the supporting documentation for the application. It was his idea to propose in February, but he was thinking a long engagement. We would get married in the Spring or Summer of 2009 — or so he thought.
I agreed for about 2 minutes and then the engineer in me kicked in. His visa would expire in 2009. While he hoped for an H-1B, there was no guarantee. The economy is tanking. And then, there is this little thing I (and every working woman, it seems) wished I could ignore called a biological clock that’s been setting off alarm bells everywhere that made me call him up one day in early March and say, “Baby, we need to get married right now.”
A cautious victory
The biggest challenges in our relationship revolve around the Ukrainian’s effort to integrate into the American workforce. We had one minor victory when he was hired to be a part-time student assistant at his university’s libary this past winter. But the work is menial and the wages are minimal. Back in Kiev, he had a great job as a General Manager at a software company. He also posesses an advanced degree in Economics. While I make a decent salary and he has savings to subisidize his schooling, there is a life (and family) we want that can only be had if he finds gainful employment in the States. We are hoping, now that we have submitted the paperwork to the INS, he will receive his work permit in a few months. In the meantime, we celebrate another potential victory in our efforts: An internship at a small investment/mergers and acquisitions firm here in San Francisco. The position is unpaid, but — if the internship goes well — he will learn enough to springboard into paid work in finance in the future. However, we are slightly nervous that his English skills will be up to snuff enough to maintain the position. His first day on the job was Friday — Victory Day — we will see how it goes in the coming week(s).
(This photo is my Ukrainian on his first day of reporting into the office of his internship.)
The FSU’s celebration of Victory Day
On May 9, 1945, the Former Soviet Union formally declared victory over the Nazis. To celebrate this 63rd anniversary, Russian leaders paraded its weaponry around the Red Square for the first time since 1990. (You didn’t doubt that Russia is poising itself to become a mighty military once more, did you?)
Politics and show aside, my Ukrainian informs me that all Ukrainians must listen to the song below every May 9th in honor Victory Day.
Before I knew what Victory Day was all about, I was going to remark that the song sounds like something Andrew Lloyd Webber would compose if he were to write a musical about the (temporary) rise and triumph of Nazism. Apparently, mid-20th Century Fascist military music all sounds about the same.