Victas to SD // California Dreamin' Or, the Bittersweet Reality of Leaving Home



Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Iron and Wine, and Judah and the Lion are playing in the background. These musicians  stir up all kinds of emotions--and I have plenty of those--as I write some thoughts about this impending immigration deal.

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We're currently in the thick of academic work and visa application is in full swing, even though we haven't set up an interview appointment yet. It is largely up to us when we set it up and we want to do it as soon as possible, but there's just so much to do over the next two weeks for school that I can't give the visa process 100% of my attention.

Regardless, I've been thinking about it more than usual lately especially whenever I update my mom. I think of my family. My friends. My hometown. This seminary. The slow pace of things encourages such thoughts to linger:

Life as I know it will change; life as I've experienced it will be imported, altered, appropriated. And I will be transplanted to put down roots in a foreign land in a couple months (hopefully shorter, because The Hubs really misses carne asada fries and fish tacos).


The Hubs is confident I'll adjust well to the culture. When it comes to language barriers, it really won't be an issue. People I meet for the first time, especially Americans, are always taken aback when I converse with an American accent even though I've never set foot in the US (maybe I can post a video sometime to demo?). I'd like to think I have the best of both worlds in that I'm very Asian, but I'm also quite Western in many ways.

I've studied some cultural anthropology and experienced adjusting to a few different (sub)cultures when I worked as a researcher. I had a taste of culture shock during my first few experiences on the field, but living in the States is not like a week-long stay in Thailand or Cambodia.

This is a different beast.

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I know there's no reason to be afraid. I've been denied a US visa (tourist) twice before--my first attempt was for a conference and the second one was for work; even when the organization I worked with made clear that they're paying for everything, the consul rejected my application. The Hubs reassures me that the immigrant visa is completely different and that I would only be denied if we falsified anything or if I'm a terrorist.

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I refuse to be stressed out. We're still on top of things and I have to be careful when I juxtapose the requirements for immigration with my long list of grad school work left to accomplish. I need a change in perspective. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).

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While this whole process involves leaving behind everything, there is a great newness up ahead. The future is ripe with new adventures, new learning, and new opportunities to push my limits and chip away parts of my character that do not look like Jesus.

This post is one of my attempts to mentally and emotionally handle the transition. The experience will be bittersweet, and in some ways it's not even in the future tense anymore.

But I'm looking forward to the sweet side and I know it will be sweet indeed, not because it's America the Land of the Free, but because I know that's where God wants me to be.

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