Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our first New Year's Celebration together...

Today as Anna and I get ready to usher in the new year we are able to look back on the last year to see what changes it has brought to both our lives.

2013 was a big year for us. At the beginning of the year our future was still filled with uncertainty. On January 1st of 2013, it had already been almost 2 months since we originally filed our petition with the USCIS for our K-1(Fiance) Visa and we were still waiting for a response that did not come until late April only after some pressure from Senator Risch' Office. Up until that moment, time seemed to drag slowly by for Anna and I. After that, things moved quickly for us.

Shortly after our petition was approved, our documents were transferred to the NVC (National Visa Center) for "processing" where it was there for almost a month before it was forwarded to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. While we waited, Anna sold various assets including a house that she had purchased with her late husband as well as other items that she would no longer be needing.

Finally, Anna had her interview at the Embassy in Moscow on July 1st. After that life became a whirlwind for both of us. I spent the next couple of weeks making flight reservations for her and the children while she packed her bags and gave her 2 week notice with her employer as well as tying up any other loose ends.

On July 21st at 10:15 AM Moscow time, Anna and the children said goodbye to Russia as they boarded the plane and headed to America. After a long flight and a brief layover in New York, they arrived in Seattle at 10:15 PM where I met them and brought them to their new home. On September 20th Anna and I were married and the rest is as they say "history".

Now Anna and I look forward to celebrating our first New Year's together. In fact today I will be able to fulfill a promise I made on New Year's Eve last year to Anna. I told her this time last year, "I promise, it will be the last New Year's Eve, you and I are going to celebrate separately."

The New Year celebration has always been a huge event in Russia. In fact the Russian New Year celebration lasts for 10 full days. Anna has spent literally weeks decorating the house for the occasion and I must say she has done an amazing job. Here are a few pictures to show some of the decorating she has done to prepare for the New Year. Keep in mind the window decorations were all printed on the computer and Anna cut each one out and glued them to the window. They look awesome!

The pictures do not do it justice. She has truly done an amazing job.  Needless to say, we are both looking forward to celebrating the New Year together. 

On behalf of Anna, I and our children, we want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finally some News...

It has been over a month since we submitted the paperwork in response to the "Request for Evidence" from the USCIS and we had not heard anything within that length of time. But it appears the ball may be finally rolling again in our case.
Yesterday we were informed that the status had changed in our case. It changed from "Under Review" to "Testing and Interview" status. It seems that they found my income was sufficient after all and now they are moving it to the next level.
Here is the information we received:
 Testing and Interview 
Your I485, APPLICATION TO REGISTER PERMANENT RESIDENCE OR TO ADJUST STATUS is now ready for interview scheduling. When scheduling is complete, you will receive a notice with a time and place for your interview. If you have not received the notice within 30 days of the date the notice is mailed, please call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance. Please check our website at www.uscis.gov for further updates on your case. If you move, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address.
If your case status indicates that you are currently in this step, you have either been scheduled for an interview or are in line to be scheduled for an interview. The amount of time your application will remain in this step will vary by office and is largely determined by the number of cases ahead of yours. The interview notice will have specifics about time, location and anything you will need to bring to your interview. If your application remains pending beyond our normal processing times (as shown below) please contact our national customer service center at 1-800-375-5283.
Please note that not every application/applicant will require an interview. In some instances, an interview is required by regulation and others an interview is requested because USCIS has determined that this is the most efficient means to determine eligibility. For a naturalization application the interview will include your taking the required English and/or Civics tests (unless exempt or waived).
This was good news and finally we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Now all we need to do is wait for the paperwork to arrive in the mail so we can prepare for the interview. Hopefully soon she will have her interview and she can finally get her work permit. She is definitely getting restless around the house all day long.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Taking it to the next level...

Anna and I have been trying to decide what we should do next.

It has been nearly 2 years since I began writing our story on this blog and Over that period of time I have created over 100 blog entries describing the events surrounding our lives. I have shared our hopes and our dreams with our readers and I even shared the fulfillment of many of them on this blog. In my opinion this blog has been a success.

Anna and I both agree that our blog has been a good start, but we are now wondering what we should do next. I am sure I could continue to write "Same ****, different day" blog entries and bore our readers to death or we can try bring it to a new level and take it in a new direction.

After a lot of discussion We both feel that the next logical step should be to write and publish a book. We have even received numerous requests from our readers indicating their interest in a book, so I am certain that there is a demand for it. But as many of you are already aware, I am not a very good writer.  My only writing experience has been in the writing of this blog and it leaves a lot to be desired. If we had to depend on my writing skills for our next meal, we would have starved to death many moons ago ;).

But on a serious note, I am certain that between this blog, our documentary and our 3800 pages of correspondence(Anna and I have over 3,800 pages of written correspondence between us from the time we met until now), we definitely have enough material for a book. But even though we both feel that we have enough material to write the book, neither of us feels comfortable trying to write it ourselves, not to mention the fact we don't have the time either. We are both certain that it would be a better idea to find someone that has a little more literary experience than us to help us with this project.

Needless to say, we are looking for someone who would be interested in helping us write our book. It would be nice if we could have Nicholas Sparks write our story. It is definitely in his genre but unfortunately I am sure it would be easier for me to gain audience from the President of the United States than it would be for me to get the attention of someone like Nicholas Sparks.

Instead I will send the request out to the world seeking anyone who may be interested in working with us on this new book. I cannot make any promises regarding monetary compensation at this time but I am certain the investment in time will pay off in the end.

If you are interested in working with us or you know someone who may be interested, please contact us using our contact form or you can email us directly at annabryan1955@gmail.com. You can also feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions or questions.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Some Good News and Some Bad News...

I have some good news and some bad news. I guess I will start with the bad news.
The bad news is, we are still waiting on the USCIS to process our application and we have no idea how long it will take for them to approve or disapprove our application.
The good news is that Anna finally received a package from Russia that we had been waiting on for nearly 2 months.
Her friend Larisa mailed the package on October 12 and we were able to track the package in the beginning but was unable to track it beyond the postal facility in Moscow. For over a month and a half the US Postal Service indicated that it was still in Moscow preparing for shipment. I went as far as contacting the US Postal Service and spent nearly 30 minutes on hold only to hear that it was still in the hands of the Russian Postal Service. Anna received a similar response from the Russian Postal Service. They indicated to Anna that it had been transferred to the U.S. Postal Service. The only thing these government agencies could do was point their fingers at each other. In essence the US Postal Service said "It's Russia's Fault" while the Russian Postal Service said "It's America's Fault".
Needless to say, Anna and I had nearly given up hope in ever receiving the package. But finally I was able to check the status on the USPS.gov website and it indicated that the package had been moved from the processing center in Moscow and was transferred directly to the local processing center in Meridian. Literally this happened overnight. One day I checked and it was still in Moscow and the next morning I check and it is in Meridian. We don't know how it happened but by some miracle it was transferred overnight.
No matter how it happened, Anna and I were relieved to finally get the package.
We can only hope the USCIS will work as "efficiently" as the US Postal Service.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Living in America...

It has been about 4 and a half months since Anna arrived in America on her 90 day K-1 Fiance Visa. Her visa expired on October 20th thus removing her legal status at that time. Given her current status she would be considered to be an illegal alien or undocumented citizen until she is issued a Green Card.

We are legally married now and we filed the required paperwork with the USCIS (US Department of Homeland Security) within the required amount of time but we are still at the mercy of the government while we wait for the USCIS to approve her Green Card. Obviously without a green card she has no legal residence in the United States.

But while we wait, life goes on. The children are attending school every day. In fact they state the "Pledge of Allegiance" first thing every morning in school. Both of them are doing very well in school and we are receiving good reports from both their teachers.

Meanwhile, Ivan celebrated his 9th birthday here and Anna made him a very nice cake for his birthday. It was delicious.

The children also had their first Halloween experience in America. I took the children trick-or-treating on Halloween and they had a wonderful time and came home with a mountain of candy.

We also had a wonderful dinner with my family on Thanksgiving, although the language barrier still makes it difficult for Anna to communicate with my family. Even though Anna is attending English classes twice a week, Anna and I still rely strongly on Google Translator to communicate.

So while we continue to wait for the approval for Green Cards for Anna and the children, Anna and the children are assimilating well to life in America.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Request for Evidence Response Review

Today Anna and I received a message indicating the USCIS Received our paperwork and now our case is back under review. Here is the notice we received.
On November 20, 2013, we received your response to our request for evidence. This case is being processed at our NATIONAL BENEFITS CENTER location. If you move while this case is pending, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address or call our customer service center at 1-800-375-5283. We will notify you by mail when we make a decision or if we need something from you. You should expect to receive a written decision or written update within 60 days of the date we received your response unless fingerprint processing or an interview are standard parts of case processing and have not yet been completed, in which case you can use the processing time information on our website to estimate when this case will be done. If you move while this case is pending, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address or call our customer service center at 1-800-375-5283.
Once a timely response to the request for evidence is received by USCIS, we review the evidence or information you submitted. If you submitted the requested evidence, we continue with the adjudication of your application or petition in light of the new evidence.
We are crossing our fingers and hope that we don't run into any other obstacles so Anna and the children will be able to receive their green cards soon. Anna can't look for employment until she has her green card or work permit. Generally the work permit is issued first but we won't know for certain until it arrives. So now we just wait....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Show me the money!

After receiving the Request for Evidence(RFE) from the USCIS, Anna and I were able to gather the requested documents and get them ready to send to the USCIS. 

I was able to make copies of their original birth certificates as well as make a copy of my 2012 Tax return that I filed with the IRS last year.

We did however have a difficult time trying to figure out what we needed to do to provide the additional financial information to them as I really had no idea what income I am supposed to have before the USCIS can approve Anna's Green Card. 

The RFE was vague and all it stated was "Based on the documents submitted with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for the petitioner/sponsor, the income did not meet 125% (100% if military) of the federal poverty line for the petitioner/sponsor's household size."

On a side note, this is the same income I reported on the original Affidavit of support when we submitted the I-129f Petition for Alien Fiance while Anna was still in Russia. Obviously the USCIS considered my income sufficient enough to approve the petition and allow her to purchase the visa to come here and marry me. But now it is not enough for them to allow her to stay here with me. I am not sure where the logic is in that.

According to the RFE, I am required to provide evidence that I make 125% of the "federal poverty line". It didn't indicate any particular number I could use as a baseline so it left it up to me to try to figure it out. 
After some research I was able to find a website with the 2013 Poverty Guidelines that showed me some numbers I could work with. 

According to information on the site, I was able to conclude that my income exceeded the amount listed but after a simple calculation I discovered my income was just a little bit less than 125% of the suggested amount for a family of 6. 

The RFE also indicated that I could include assets to make up the difference but my assets must "equal three times the difference for a spouse or child of a United States Citizen".
Fortunately, I was able to make up the difference by including a copy of my retirement fund as an asset on the Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. 

So we sent the package off to the Department of Homeland security with the hope that this will resolve the problems. We hope this will be adequate and they will approve the Green Cards for Anna and the children. Otherwise we may have to employ the services of and immigration Attorney and that could prove costly and to be honest we cannot afford that expense right now. We just spent $2340.00 for this "Service" and it is non-refundable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Request for Initial Evidence...

Today was not an easy day for Anna and I. It all started out well as we prepared Anna and the children for their appointment with the USCIS. I had taken a vacation day to prepare for their appointments with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). We originally had hoped that it was the appointment for their interview to obtain their green cards, but we were wrong. After we arrived for the appointment we discovered that the appointment was only to get their fingerprints and photos taken for their green cards.

It did not take very long and we were finished in about 35 minutes. We tried to take some pictures of Anna and the Children there for the blog but we were told we were not allowed to take pictures in front of the USCIS Office. We were able to sneak off with one photo of Ivan in front of the local office though.

Things quickly went south for us after we returned home to discover 3 letters in the mailbox addressed from the US Department of Homeland Security (USCIS). Upon opening the letters we discovered a yellow paper in each envelope titled "Request for Initial Evidence (I-485)".

The letter stated the following:

This office is unable to complete the processing of your Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, (Form I-485) without initial information. Submit ALL the information requested below at one time. Failure to do so will result in a denial. You must Submit the information within 87 (eighty-seven) days to the following Address: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, PO Box 648004, Lee's Summit, MO 64002. Include this letter with your response.
The Service will process your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (if submitted) within 90 days of the receipt of your missing initial evidence. This is pursuant to Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 103.2(b)(10)(ii).
All copies must be clear and legible. If you submit a document in any language other than English, it must be submitted with a full English translation. The translator must certify that the translation is complete and accurate, and that he or she is competent to translate. You must submit both the foreign language document and the English Translation.
If you have any question about immigration procedures, or need clarification, please call our National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833). This toll-free call center has additional information and, during their specified office hours, can connect you to live assistance in English and Spanish.

At the end of the letter it listed 3 things that they needed to complete processing of the Adjustment of status.
They are listed as follows:

Submit a complete Federal Income Tax Return submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from the petitioner/sponsor on Form I-864, Affidavit of Support for the most recent tax year.
If you were not required to file a Federal income tax return under U.S. tax law, attach a written explanation if applicable, evidence of the exemption and why you are subject to it.
For more specific information, see Form I-864 instructions, page 8, 'Federal Income Tax Information' For the most current version of Form I-864 including the instructions, go to 'Immigration Forms' at http://www.uscis.gov or call (800)870-3676.

I already submitted this information to them but I will be happy to send it again.

You have submitted an English translation of a foreign birth certificate; please submit a copy of the applicants foreign birth certificate issued by the appropriate civil authority.
See the Department of States Foreign Affairs Manual found online at http://www.state.gov/ for more information on acceptable birth records for people born outside the United States.
For more specific information, see Form I-485 instructions, page 3, "2. Birth certificate." For the most current version of Form I-485 including the instructions, go to "Immigration Forms" at http://www.uscis.gov or call (800)870-3676.
This is easy. I guess if I would have read the instructions more carefully, I would have known to send a copy of the original birth certificates along with the translated documents. This should not be a problem.

But our biggest problem is with the third item on the list.

Based on the documents submitted with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for the petitioner/sponsor, the income did not meet 125% (100% if military) of the federal poverty line for the petitioner/sponsor's household size.
Submit Evidence of assets that meet the standards listed below or obtain a joint sponsor.
Assets standards must equal the stated difference between the sponsor's household income and 125% (100% if military) of the federal poverty line.
  • Assets must equal the difference for applicant's filing as orphans or a spouse or child of an active duty military member.
  • Assets must equal three times the difference for a spouse or child of a United States Citizen.
  • Assets must equal five time the difference for all others.
Such evidence includes:
  • Bank Statements covering the last 12 months or a statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institution in which the sponsor has deposits, including deposit/withdrawal history for the last 12 months, and current balance;
  • Evidence of ownership and value of stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit;
  • Evidence of ownership and value/equity of other personal property and dates acquired;
  • Evidence of ownership, a recent licensed appraisal or county tax assessment and any mortgage/lien or lien release of any real estate.
If you decide to obtain a joint sponsor they will need to file form I-864 with a revision date of 03/22/13, provide copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Returns, all supporting tax documents (W-2s, 1099s, and tax schedules) and evidence of their status as a United States citizen, United States National, or Lawful Permanent Resident.
For more specific information, see Form I-864 instructions, page 8, "Use of Assets to Supplement Income". For the most current version of Form I-864 including the instructions, go to "Immigration Forms" at http://www.uscis.gov or call (800)870-3676.
It is rather wordy but to summarize it seems the Federal Government does not think my income is sufficient enough to support our family of 6, so they will not give Anna her green card until either my income increases, I come up with a significant number of assets to make up the difference or I find someone to cosponsor/cosign for us.

Keep in mind this is the same income I reported to them before they approved the petition required for her to obtain the K-1 Fiance visa.

If I am unable to do either of these things, Anna will be required to return back to Russia or she will be an illegal alien aka, undocumented immigrant.

I cannot understand why my income was sufficient enough for her to come over here and marry me, but it is not sufficient enough for her to stay here with me as my wife. My income has neither risen or decreased since we first filed the I-129f Petition for Alien Fiance and now they are trying to deny her Green Card because I have insufficient income according to them. Why did they let her come here to marry me if they planned to reject our application for change of status based on the same income.

I even called the USCIS Customer Service line to ask if we could use some of Anna's monetary assets but apparently we cannot include her assets because she is not a "United States citizen, United States National, or Lawful Permanent Resident". And the way things are going, she may never be. They were happy to take $2,340.00 from us though for this "Service".

I think it may be time to contact Senator Risch' office again because I don't think this is right and after another frustrating experience with the USCIS "Customer Service" (If you can call it that), I think it is time to break out the big guns so to speak.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Notice of Action...

Yesterday we finally received a Notice of Action from the USCIS regarding the change of status for Anna and the children.
The USCIS sent us a notification indicating that they have scheduled the interviews for Anna and the children next week to determine their eligibility for the green cards.
Anna and Ivan are scheduled for Tuesday November 12th and Maria has her interview on Wednesday November 13th.
Hopefully everything will go well in the interview and they will receive their green cards soon. Both Anna and I are very worried because we have heard some horror stories of couples that have still had the Green cards rejected after all the steps we have already taken. 
We are definitely keeping our fingers crossed and we hope that the interviews go well and they all get their green cards. We are looking forward to putting this all behind us soon and we definitely don't want to have Anna and the children to be required to return to Russia.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our Story is told in London...

Alan Dein sent me a message today informing me that our documentary was broadcast in London at 10:30 AM this morning. I was not able to listen to it as it was broadcast in London because it would have been 3:30 AM here in Idaho. But fortunately, it was released on podcast immediately after it was broadcast in London so Anna and I were able to listen to it after we woke up this morning.

I think both Alan and his producer, Laurence did an excellent job producing the show and I think it turned out even better than I expected. Both Anna and I enjoyed listening to it and we hope you will enjoy listening to it as well.

You can listen to it here on our blog or you can listen to it here on the Don't Log Off archive in an episode titled, "Found in Translation". You can also hear my previous conversations with Alan in other episodes as well. One is titled "Escape" and the other is titled "Hopes and Dreams".

We hope you enjoy the show.

Check out my other blog at http://www.whoisbryguy1955.com

Follow me on twitter, facebook, periscope, instagram, etc...:

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel here
In fact, I am working to raise money so I can purchase a drone for my YouTube channel.
You can view my GoFundMe campaign here
Last but not least, Check out a copy of my book titled "The Never Ending Letter" on Amazon.
Look for our novel soon.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

USCIS Acceptance Confirmation

Finally, almost two weeks after I submitted our paperwork, I received an email notification that the USCIS received our documents and sent them to the National Benefits Center for processing. Here is a copy of the email I received.
USCIS Acceptance Confirmation
Your case has been accepted and routed to the USCIS National Benefits Center for processing. Within 7-10 days by standard mail you will receive your official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) with your Receipt Number *************. With the official Receipt Notice (Form I-797) you may visit www.uscis.gov where you can check the status of your case using My Case Status. We suggest you wait until you have received your Form I-797 before checking My Case Status.
This confirmation provides notification of the date USCIS received your case.  This notice does NOT grant any immigration status or benefit. You MAY NOT present this notice as evidence that you have been granted any immigration status or benefit. Further, this notice does NOT constitute evidence that your case remains pending with USCIS. The current status of your case must be verified with USCIS.
Anna and I were very relieved when we received the message. Now at least we know our good friends at the USCIS are moving forward with our paperwork. Hopefully it won't take them as long to process this paperwork as it took the last time. I would prefer that I don't have to contact my Senator again.

I was able to sign into the USCIS and get a little more information regarding the process. I entered our receipt number and I was immediately greeted with an all too familiar image. We saw this same image with the Initial Review status for almost 6 months last time.

It gave us a little more information about the process.

On October 15, 2013, we received this I485 APPLICATION TO REGISTER PERMANENT RESIDENCE OR TO ADJUST STATUS, and mailed you a notice describing how we will process your case. Please follow any instructions on this notice. You will be notified by mail when a decision is made, or if the office needs something from you. If you move while this case is pending, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address or contact our customer service center at 1-800-375-5283.
During this step, USCIS initiates the background checks of the applicant/petitioner and identifies issues that may need to be addressed either during an interview or by asking the applicant/petitioner to submit additional information or documentation. USCIS reviews the applicant's/petitioner's criminal history, determines if there are national security concerns that need to be addressed, and reviews the application/petition for fraud indicators.
If you have filed an I-485, I-589, I-751, N-400, I-90, I-821, I-131 or I-765, you can expect to receive an appointment notice to appear at an Application Support Center to have your fingerprints and/or photographs taken. The timing of your appointment is determined by the number of applicants ahead of you that also need a biometric appointment. We try to schedule biometric appointments as quickly as possible and in most cases you will receive your appointment notice within 30 days of submitting your application. We will send your appointment notice approximately 14 days ahead of your scheduled appointment. It is important that you keep this appointment. If absolutely necessary, you can request that your appointment be rescheduled however, please be aware that rescheduling may delay the processing of your application. Please follow the instructions on your appointment notice if you need to reschedule. Occasionally, you may receive an appointment notice to appear at an Application Support Center to have your fingerprints taken when you have filed a form other than those listed above. In these situations, you may receive your appointment notice more than 30 days after submitting your application or petition.
According to the information, we should be contacted within 30 days to notify us of Anna's appointment to get fingerprinted. It does not give us an estimated time-frame for obtaining the actual green cards, but according to various resources on the internet it may take between 3 months to one year to get the green cards.

Let's hope it doesn't take too long to get them because Anna is getting bored sitting around the house and she has indicated she would like to find a job. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stay Tuned and Don't Log Off...

While we continue to wait for our documentary to be broadcast in London, the new series of Don't Log Off has started. Alan Dein sent me a message on Friday to inform me that the new season of Don't Log off was to begin on Saturday, October 19. He told me that our documentary is on the schedule to air in London on Saturday, October 26 at 10:30 AM London Time. That will be at 3:30 AM our time. It will be titled "Found in Translation". You can find it on the schedule for BBC4 Radio here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm/2013/10/26.
After it is aired in London it will be available to listen to on the podcast for Don't Log off here http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/dlo.
In the meantime, Alan released the latest episode of Don't Log Off titled "Escape" and it is available on podcast on the website. It also features a good portion of our story. Anna and I listened to it this morning and we enjoyed listening to it. We hope you enjoy listening to it also.
We are looking forward to hearing the full documentary on Saturday, October 26. Who knows, maybe Anna and I will stay up all night to listen to it as it is streamed live in London. If not, we will certainly hear it as soon as it is available on podcast. We will certainly let everyone know when it is available.
In other news, Anna is almost done with her first blog entry. She has spent many hours writing about her trip from Russia to America. We hope it will be done soon. When it is done you will be able to read it here. It will be written in Russian though but you will be able to translate it using the Google translator tool on our website. I have considered writing an English version but it will take a lot of time and a lot will be Lost in Translation I am sure. So we have decided to leave it as is.
I will let everyone know when it is available and ready to read.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Filing for the Green Cards...

Today Anna and I submitted the paperwork to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security aka USCIS(United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for her "Adjustment of Status"(Green Card).
We had to fill out the form I-145, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Not only did we have to fill one out for her, we also had to fill separate forms for the children.
Along with the I-485, we had to file a form G-325A Biographical form for Anna and I had to submit Form I-130 Affidavit of Support indicating that I will provide financial support for Anna and the children, as if I would not support my wife and children otherwise.
We also had to include in the package a certified copy of our marriage certificate, copies of their passport/visas, their birth certificates, immunization records and 2 passport style photos for each of them along with various other papers required to file.
Along with a mountain of paperwork we are required to include a filing fee for each application. The filing fee for the initial I-145 application is $985.00. Fortunately the government is generous allowing us to pay only $685.00 each for the other applications for the children since we are filing them at the same time. But that is not all of the costs we will incur. We also need to include an $85.00 "biometric" fee which is required for anyone between the ages of 14 and 78. In total it will cost us $2340.00 to submit all three applications.

This will buy us two years of legal status for all of them. I cannot even begin to estimate what it will cost us in two years for the next step in the process. It is not cheap and it is no wonder that many people cannot afford to maintain their legal status and become "illegal aliens" or "undocumented immigrants". The average person can't afford it. In fact we could not afford it if it had not been for the fact that Anna was able to sell some things before leaving Russia and saving her money. She was able to save just enough to cover the filing fees for their green cards.
I only hope the Government shutdown does not affect our application. According to one source the USCIS should not be affected because it is funded through the fees it collects but it may be affected by other agencies that may be closed during the government shutdown.
"USCIS is the main body that handles petitions and applications filed for most immigration cases, accepting filing fees for the majority of these filings.  USCIS can continue to run because it is funded by these fees.  However, USCIS also relies on duties carried out by other parts of the DHS and on other agencies and bodies outside of DHS.  This means that some of the work USCIS does can be slowed down or even stopped because another agency is not running or has reduced capacity."
Hopefully we will receive their Green Cards because Anna is ready to find a job so she can get out of the house. She is getting bored sitting at home all day while I am at work and the kids are in school.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What's next for Hello Anna...

People, including Anna are curious and are asking me What is going to happen next. 
The truth is, I don't know what the future holds. All I do know is that this is not the end. This is only just the beginning. The future is filled with endless possibilities and opportunities for us. Neither of us knows what the future has in store for us.
The next few weeks will be very busy for us as we begin the process of filing with our favorite government organization, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service(USCIS) for an adjustment of status aka "green cards" for Anna and the children. 
Their visas expire on October 20th and even though we are married now, the Federal Government requires that we file for their green cards before the expiration of their visas or they will be required by law to return to Russia. We don't want that to happen so we must submit the necessary paperwork and of course pay a significant sum of money for her to maintain her legal status and give her "permanent residence" in the U.S. Otherwise she will become a statistic and lumped in with all the other millions of "Undocumented citizens" aka "illegal aliens" that currently reside in the United states. It will be a long and expensive journey on their pathway to citizenship but it is something we have to do to remain within the boundaries of immigration law.
Next week we will also register Anna for English Second Language(ESL) classes that begin in October. She will be able to attend free classes that are offered by the College of Western Idaho(CWI) two nights a week. Hopefully this will help her learn English quickly. Coincidentally, one of her daughter's school teachers will be teaching the ESL class. She is from Ukraine and is fluent in both Russian and English. It will be good to have someone we already know teaching the class for her.
Some of our other plans include holding a reception to celebrate our wedding with friends and family. We have not set a specific date yet because it will be a while before we can afford the reception we want to have. We would like to have Anna's family attend as well and that is an expense we cannot afford at this time. Maybe one of the major networks will like our story and offer to help with the expense in exchange for the opportunity to do a story. Personally, I think it may make a great Valentines day special for the Today Show(#TodayShow) or Good Morning America(#GoodMorningAmerica), but that is just my opinion.
Anna and I have also discussed the possibility of a reality show in our future but it has not went very far. At this time we don't have any plans of pursuing this. If we are contacted with an offer, we will certainly discuss it but for now this is not something we are actively pursuing.
Anna does plan to start her own blog soon and in fact I have already purchased the domain name hellobryan.com. It will be similar to this blog but it will be written in Russian and it will be written from her perspective of all the events that have occurred since we met over 2 years ago online. We will also try to provide an English translation for all our followers. We hope that she will start writing her blog soon but for now you can have a sneak preview at www.hellobryan.com. Anna doesn't think her story will be very interesting but I think it will be much better than mine.
We don't know what the future holds but at the very least we hope to publish a book soon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wedding Ceremony and our Vows

Anna and I were a little nervous when we first arrived in the courtroom but the judge was very professional and we began to feel more comfortable as the ceremony began.

Judge Reardon began with the following:
We have the honor today of witnessing the marriage of Bryan and Anna. This is not a matter to be entered lightly or selfishly. So, I ask you:
Have you come here freely and without reservation to join together as husband and wife?
Do you both understand that the promises you will make to each other are among the most sacred and serious commitments a person can make?
Anna had a difficult time understanding some of the judges questions but Katya was able to interpret for her and she was able to respond to them quickly. 

He continued...
If you are ready to make this commitment, please join your hands and repeat after me.
I, Bryan take you, Anna to be my Wife. I promise to be true  to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. Take and wear this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity.
We all chuckled briefly when Anna began to repeat, "I Bryan take you, Anna".  She blushed a little from embarrassment as she realized her mistake and we continued.
I, Anna take you, Bryan to be my Husband. I promise to be true  to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. Take and wear this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity.
Anna again became slightly embarrassed as she had some difficulty putting the ring on my finger. 
You have declared your intentions before me and these witnesses so by the power vested in me as a Magistrate Judge for the State of Idaho, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss.
The entire wedding ceremony only lasted about 15 minutes. It began at 1:15 and ended around 1:30.
After the ceremony, Judge Reardon, Alan and Laurence signed the marriage certificate and we were left the courtroom as Husband and Wife. It may have been very brief but it is an event that changed our lives forever and Anna and I will never forget.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A weekend to remember.

Anna and I had a busy weekend to say the least. It was busy, wonderful and unforgettable all wrapped up into one brief weekend.
It all began on Thursday night when Anna and I began to rummage through our closet in an attempt to pick out our clothes for the wedding that was scheduled to occur on the following day. While we were busy trying to find some clothes that would be suitable for the event, I received a call from Alan Dein informing me that he was in town and he wanted to come over and meet us in person.
Alan arrived at the house at around 8:30 with his producer Laurence Grissell and we had a brief introduction period before stating to record our first interview in person. We spent almost an hour with them and they left the house at around 9:30. This was just the beginning of an exhausting weekend filled with interviews for our future documentary.
The following day, Anna and I had to wake up early to get ready to go to Ivan's school to meet with his teachers at 8:45. The meeting went longer than expected and the meeting finally concluded at 10:30.
After the meeting with the teachers, Anna and I had to rush to the store to pick up a bouquet of roses for the ceremony and some doughnuts for breakfast.
We arrived home just before Alan and Laurence arrived with a Russian interpreter named Katya to help interpret for Anna during the interviews. She is a full time student at Boise State University who came from Russia a number of years ago and has only recently become a naturalized citizen. We had a very informal interview around the kitchen table as we drank tea and ate doughnuts.
Unfortunately we lost track of time and didn't even notice that it had already past noon. We had to hurry out of the house at 12:15. Worried that we could be late for our own wedding, Anna and I didn't even have time to get dressed in the clothing we had picked out the night before. We only had one hour to pick up her son at school and be at the Ada County Courthouse at 1:15 to get married.
Alan, Laurence and Katya followed us to the school and then to the courthouse. We arrived with only 5 minutes to spare. Just as we arrived to the courthouse Anna became visibly distressed as she noticed that she had forgotten her camera for pictures. Fortunately, Alan found a camera in his bag that he allowed us to use to take the pictures.
I can't even begin to describe the level of emotions that filled the courtroom as the honorable Judge Michael Reardon entered the courtroom. We were nervous, happy, excited and scared at the same time. I don't think the judge was expecting a radio crew there to record the event but he did not seem to mind and he also seemed relieved to know we had brought an interpreter with us.
The ceremony itself only lasted about 10 minutes and we were able to get a few pictures taken during the ceremony and we hope we can post some of the pictures soon. I must admit Alan was surprised that I had listed him and Laurence as our witnesses so they both had to sign our marriage certificate as witnesses to the event.
After the wedding, we all enjoyed a quick lunch at a small cafe at the courthouse before we had to be at Maria's school for a meeting with her teachers at 3:00.
Alan and Laurence followed us to the school and waited until we were done with the meeting with her teachers. After the meeting, they were able to spend half an hour interviewing one of her teachers before we left. Finally at 4:00 Anna and I were free to go home, exhausted after a long day.
Saturday started early for us as well. Anna and I had planned to go to an estate auction that started at 10:00. Alan and Laurence met us at the house for a brief interview before we all left to go to the auction where we met up with Katya. We spent about 4 hours recording and bidding on items. I was able to purchase a sofa and love seat for $15.00 and Alan wanted some vinyl records to add to his collection so I was able to purchase a box full for $20.00.
I must admit people looked at us strangely as we walked around the auction followed by a small crew with a microphone in our face. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
The rest of the weekend was filled with interviews and Alan and Laurence finally left at 4:00 on Sunday. It was an exhausting weekend and Anna and I were glad to finally be able to rest after about 20 hours of recording.
Now Alan and Laurence will spend the next month editing all the audio for the 30 minute documentary that will be broadcast in London, England on an episode of 'Don't Log Off' in November. Hopefully it will be available on podcast shortly afterward. I will definitely post it on our blog as soon as it is available.
Here are some pictures we took over the weekend.

Anna and I holding a cake Katya bought for us.

A picture of the cake

Alan Dein interviewing Anna and Ivan while Katya interprets

Anna and I sitting on the sofa I bought at the auction

Alan Dein and Laurence Grissell leaving to return back home to London.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tomorrow is the big day!

Yesterday we received our rings from the jeweler after getting them re-sized. We purchased them this last weekend and we were a little concerned that we would not have them back in time for the wedding. Fortunately we received them yesterday and we will have them for the wedding. They may not be the fanciest rings or the most expensive but they were all we could afford and they will work fine for us.

Tomorrow Anna and I will have a very busy day. We need to be up bright and early for a meeting with her son's school teacher at 8:45 for parent/teacher conference at the school. After the meeting with the teacher, Anna and I will need to return home and get ready so we can be at the County Courthouse to get married before the honorable Michael Reardon at 1:15.
Hopefully it won't take too much time because after we get married, we need to rush to another school to meet with her daughter's teacher for another parent/teacher conference at 3:00.
Immediately following the parent/teacher conference with her daughter's teacher, we need to rush back home to meet Alan Dein with BBC4 Radio and his producer Laurence Grissell where they will be waiting for us. From there we will begin a full weekend filled with interviews for a documentary they are producing about us. Look for it soon on BBC Radio.
So much for a honeymoon after the wedding... We will be lucky if we can go out to a restaurant for a nice dinner to celebrate.
We hope we can have a more official ceremony and reception in the near future so we can have some friends and family celebrate with us. And of course it would be nice to have a honeymoon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A slight change of plan...

Life has been a whirlwind for both Anna and I since Anna arrived in July and time has passed very quickly since her arrival.
It has been a significant adjustment for all of us and has been difficult at times to adjust to our new lives together.
Even though Anna is here on a legal visa, we only have 90 days to get married from the date of her entry into the country. Otherwise she will be required to return to Russia. Our plan has always been to get married so that she can remain in the country with me as my wife. We originally planned to have a nice wedding ceremony on September 21st in front of friends and family but it has been very difficult to plan an official wedding ceremony with a formal reception in such a short period of time and given the fact that we are operating on a very small budget.
It has created a lot of unnecessary stress for all of us. Not to mention Anna is still very uncomfortable around large groups of people and understandably so. I can only imagine how difficult it is for her to stand in a group of people who speak a foreign language while trying to understand what they are saying let alone taking part in the conversation.
So Anna and I decided it would be best to have a private ceremony in front of a judge. I contacted the judge and was able to schedule the wedding for Friday, September 20th in the early afternoon. We feel that this will alleviate a lot of the stress associated with planning a large wedding in such a short period of time. We do hope that we can plan a large reception sometime in the near future but for now we will do only what is necessary and give ourselves more time to plan a larger ceremony in the future. Who knows, maybe we can even get David Tutera to help us plan our reception for a future episode of his television show.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Three weeks until the big day...

With only three more weeks until our wedding Anna and I still have a lot to do and unfortunately with school just getting started we have not had much time to prepare for the wedding. But now that the children have started school we can dedicate more time to planning the wedding.
We have decided to have a simple wedding. We had originally considered having a large wedding and invite a lot of people but unfortunately we are operating on a very small budget and we won't be able to afford a large wedding with lots of guests. I even tried to contact David Tutera to see if he would be interested in helping us plan the wedding for a future episode of his television show "My Fair Wedding" but unfortunately his schedule would not allow for it. So we decided we will keep it very simple. Maybe one day we can afford to have a large ceremony with many invited guests and a nice reception to follow but for now it will be Anna, me, our officiator, maybe some of my family and Alan Dein with BBC 4 radio will be there with his producer from London.
We already have a location and we have someone to officiate the wedding. My friend Dave has offered to let us get married in his backyard and we will employ the services of the Honorable Judge Michael Reardon of Ada county.
We have an appointment to meet with Judge Reardon at the Ada County Courthouse on September 9th at 1:00 P.M. He will discuss with us the details of the ceremony with us and we will pay him $150.00 and he will plan on performing the ceremony for us at 1:00 PM on the 21st.
Anna has picked out a nice dress for the ceremony but I have yet to find some good formal attire for the big day. We also need to purchase the rings but it seems all the wedding sets are too expensive and don't fit within our budget. Hopefully we will find a set that we can afford soon because it would be nice to be able to exchange rings during the ceremony.
Time seems to be moving quickly and we only have 3 short weeks before Anna and I finally get married. We have signed up for a gift registry at Walmart so if anyone wishes to purchase gifts for our wedding you can find our registry in the Boise Walmart stores.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The First Day of School

Today was a very stressful day for our family. School started today in our district and we had to get up very early this morning to prepare all of the children for their first day of school.
There were mixed feelings throughout the household while we prepared to send the children off to school. Anna and I stuffed three backpacks full of school supplies while the children got dressed for school. Both of Anna's children seemed excited to start school but Anna was very worried about their first day at school.
We had to see her daughter off on the bus at 6:15 this morning and she had to spend over an hour on the bus just to get to her school that started at 8:05. Fortunately we were able to call the school and confirm she arrived to school safely and on time.
At 8:00 We had to take Anna's son to his new school to meet with his teacher and get him settled into his new learning environment. His teacher seemed nice but I think he may have been a little surprised to learn that he would be trying to teach a child from Russia who doesn't speak any English. I hope he is ready for a challenge. Fortunately there are other language teachers there to assist in teaching him English and we feel very fortunate that her daughter has a teacher who is fluent in both English and Russian. Hopefully they will start learning quickly now.
They managed to survive the first day of school and already came home with homework. Now I can only hope Anna and I will survive the homework. I can't say that typing assignments into Google translator so the children can read them is the most exciting thing to do on a weeknight. But unfortunately all of their assignments are in English and there is no Russian version of the assignments. Hopefully they will learn to read their assignments soon or I will get carpal tunnel typing their assignments so they can read them.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Preparing the children for school

With less than one week until school starts, Anna and I have spent a lot of time trying to get the children registered for school. 
We have had to take the children into the main district office to get them tested in their English skills so that they can be placed into an appropriate school that will best suit their needs.
Fortunately we have been able to get them both registered for school so they will begin school at the same time as other children in our district. It seems our school district is very accommodating for them. In fact they will both receive specialized instruction from multilingual teachers to help them develop skills in English.
I can't say the children are very excited to start school but I don't think many children are very eager to start school so this is normal. Whether they like it or not, they start school next Tuesday.
We are both happy to know that the children will not need to miss any school and We hope the children will adapt well in their new learning environments.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The "Longest Recorded Conversation" rejected by Guinness...

Today we received an email notification from Guinness regarding our attempt to set a world record for the worlds longest recorded conversation.
It seems they have decided to reject our application. You can read the message we received from them below.
** Please do not send a response to this unmonitored email address as it will not be read**
Claim ID: ********Membership Number: ********
Dear Mr Bryan ********,
Thank you for sending us the details of your proposed record attempt for 'Longest Recorded Conversation'. Here at Guinness World Records we are always thrilled to hear about new and exciting record breaking proposals.
Unfortunately, after thoroughly reviewing your application with members of our research team, we are afraid to say that we’re unable to accept your proposal as a Guinness World Records title.
Our team of expert Records Managers receive thousands of new record proposals every year from all over the world which are carefully assessed to establish if they meet our stringent criteria. Every record verified by Guinness World Records must be measurable by a single superlative, verifiable, standardisable, breakable and also present an element of skill. Check out www.guinnessworldrecords.com and explore the records featured on the website, you may be able to find something that inspires you.

Whilst we fully appreciate this is not the decision you were hoping for, we trust that you will understand our position. However, if you have any further record proposals please do make another application, we would be delighted to hear from you again.
Once again thank you for contacting Guinness World Records.
Kind regards
Annie Nguyen
Records Management Team

If you feel we have misinterpreted your application, please login onguinnessworldrecords.com and send us an enquiry clarifying your points, we will then review it and respond in less than 15 working days.
Please be aware that as your record application has not been accepted, Guinness World Records is not associated in any way with the activity relating to your record proposal and does not endorse this activity in any way. If you choose to proceed, then this is will be of your own volition and at your own risk. Guinness World Records will not monitor, measure or verify this activity. 

** Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email address. This message is related to your application on guinnessworldrecords.com. To reply to this email, please log in on www.guinnessworldrecords.com, select your claim and click on “Make an enquiry”. - Alternatively you can call our office in London on +44 207 891 4500 from 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM GMT. **
Honestly, I don't know why they rejected it. The message does not give very specific information. Perhaps they are too busy counting the number of naked people at certain events to set records in their book. Or maybe they are busy measuring fingernails for the next attempt at that world record for the person with the longest fingernails. Maybe it is because our attempt did not "present a measurement of skill" whereas standing naked in a crowd of people or growing your fingernails without trimming them for a long period of time presents a lot of skill. And of course it takes a lot of skill to cover your body with tattoos and piercings to set a record that is "measurable by a single superlative, verifiable, standardisable, breakable" .I may decide to contact Guinness to ask them to provide more detailed information as to why our application was rejected but it is not going to be high on my priority list. I have a wedding to plan. Besides, whether or not Guinness chooses to publish it does not change the fact that we have nearly three thousand, five hundred pages of correspondence between us and I believe it is a world record. I challenge anyone to try to produce more written correspondence than that. In fact our correspondence continues to grow on a daily basis because we still rely a lot on Google translator to communicate.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An attempt at a world record.

After almost 2 years of conversation with Anna through Skype, We have almost 3500 pages of documented correspondence through Skype. In fact we have almost 2,000,000 words that are documented in Skype.
I decided I would check with Guinness to see if there is a record for the longest documented conversation. I don't know if there is a current record holder or if there is even a category for this. So I filled out an application with Guinness to see what they come up with.
Today, I received an email back from Guinness that states

** Please do not send a response to this unmonitored email address as it will not be read**
CLAIM ID: ********
Dear Mr Bryan ********,
We are pleased to inform you that your record application has been transferred to our internal system.
You do not need to do anything further at this stage.
At Guinness World Records, we take great care to evaluate every claim we receive. Before we accept or reject a new record proposal, we always carry out claim-specific research, which may require the expertise of external consultants.
We will process your claim within 6 weeks if you are applying to break and existing record, and within 12 weeks if your application is a new record suggestion.

For further details on the Guinness World Records application and record-breaking process, check out the attached document General Information on Record-Breaking. 
Once we have considered your record suggestion, we will contact you with our decision. In case of success, we will send to you the current world record, the guidelines you must follow and details of the evidence you must compile.
For urgent claims which require an immediate answer, you can use Fast Track which ensures that your record application is assessed by our expert team in just 3 working days. To upgrade to Fast Track please log on www.guinnessworldrecords.com, select the claim number ******** and click on 'Upgrade to Fast Track'.
If you’d like to start record-breaking right away, why not join our Amazing Feet challenge? Amazing Feet is a unique record-breaking experience for record fans of any age, anywhere in the world. We need 50,000 people to help us set a new Guinness World Records title for the Largest online photo album of feet. 
All you have to do is upload a picture of your feet to our website: http://www.officiallyamazing.tv/Amazing-Feet.aspx. You can share a picture of your own bare feet or print out a foot template to colour-in or decorate. Everyone who takes part has the chance to get into the next edition of the Guinness World Records book. 
Thank you for contacting Guinness World Records.
Best regards
Records Management Team
Guinness World Records
If you wish to contact us, please log in on www.guinnessworldrecords.com, select the claim ID ********, and click on 'Make an Enquiry', we will reply within 12 days.
** Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email address. This message is related to your application on guinnessworldrecords.com. To reply to this email, please log in on www.guinnessworldrecords.com, select your claim and click on “Make an enquiry”. - Alternatively you can call our office in London on +44 207 891 4500from 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM GMT. **

Apparently they have decided that it is a valid request and they have forwarded it on to the next level. It will take about 6 weeks to reach a decision as to whether we are eligible for their record book. But To be honest, I don't think anyone else in the world can produce 3500 pages of written correspondence that covers almost 2 years. So hopefully within 6 weeks we will be able to gain the title of record holder for the "Worlds longest documented conversation."
We will let everyone know when we learn the results.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The wedding date has been set.

Anna and I have finally decided on a date for our wedding. We decided to schedule our wedding for September 21st. We had originally planned to have a simple wedding in front a judge but our plans have changed since we became aware that our story has gained the interest of the BBC Network in London, England. 
Yesterday I spoke with Alan Dein with BBC 4 Radio in London and he informed me that he would like to schedule a time next month to fly here with his producer and possibly a camera crew to interview Anna and I in person. I have had numerous interviews via Skype with Alan over the past year and a half and we felt it was time to meet in person. He also indicated that he would be interested in the possibility of attending the wedding ceremony.
He decided that September 20th would be a good date to come for the interview and since we had not yet set a date for the wedding, Anna and I decided it would be a good time to schedule the wedding.
We are still trying to work out all the other details but at least we now have a time frame that we can work with. I wish I could say we had the financial resources for an extravagant wedding because I would love to give Anna the wedding of her dreams but we are working with a very small budget. We are currently looking for sponsors willing to work with us in exchange for advertising on the blog and/or at the ceremony. It would also be good to have a wedding planner that may be willing to help plan the ceremony.
If anyone knows someone who may be interested in working with us or if you have any suggestions please feel free to contact us at annabryan1955@gmail.com or you can submit a comment.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Vacation is over...

Anna and I have been very busy the past 2 weeks making improvements around the house and getting her and the children situated in their new home. In fact I have replaced the flooring in more than half the house over the past few weeks.
We have been so busy that two weeks passed in what seemed to be only two days. Today was my last day of my two week vacation and I must return to work tomorrow. I only hope Anna is ready. I haven't spent more than two hours away from her since she arrived and tomorrow Anna and the children will be at home by themselves for almost ten hours. I am sure it won't be easy for her. It's not like she can take the children for a drive if they get bored. Fortunately there are several stores within walking distance that she can go to if she gets bored and need to get out of the house.
On my final day of vacation we decided it would be a good opportunity to go to the Ada County courthouse and apply for our marriage license because it may be difficult for me to get another day off soon to take her there. Now we have our license and all we need to do is set a date for the wedding. It will need to happen within ten weeks though or she will be required to return to Russia.
Neither Anna or I have any plans for her to return to Russia so I am sure we will schedule the wedding day soon. We are still not too sure as to what we will do for our wedding. Because we don't have a lot of money for a large wedding, we may just have a simple, private wedding in front of a judge and plan a large reception in the future when we get on our feet. But we aren't sure how soon that will be but we will certainly post it on our blog when it does happen and of course we hope to get plenty of pictures for all of our followers.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Anna's first week home...

It is hard to believe it has been a week since Anna arrived to her new home here in America. Anna has had a very busy week getting settled in her new home. After spending three days traveling and staying awake for over 24 hours straight, Anna and the children were completely exhausted when we finally came home. They spent most of the first day trying to catch up on sleep after they arrived.
But it was not long before Anna and the children regained their strength and began finding places for their things in their new home. Anna also began the process of converting my bachelor pad into a home that everyone can become comfortable living in. She spent many hours deep cleaning things that I have overlooked over the past few years. We also spent many hours shopping to replace the T.V. dinners, Ramen Noodles and Macaroni and cheese with food that actually contains something more than just artificial flavoring, artificial coloring mixed with salt. I can't say that I have ever been much of a cook so those meals have always been my specialty.
To my credit, I did make a failed attempt to help her clean house but I think I was less helpful and was more in her way of getting things accomplished so on Thursday we decided it would be best if I took the children to the river for a few hours.
We had a great time. I took them to Eagle Island State park and we enjoyed our time together swimming in the cold water on the hot summer day. While we were there, my friend Alan Dein with BBC Radio in London called me for another brief interview to find out how things were going. Hopefully you will be able to hear our conversation soon. Alan has told me that he has recorded every conversation and he hopes to have our story on the air in London soon. After that it should be available on podcast from his website.
But now our cupboards are full of food that actually has nutritional value and my sons and I are eating better now than we have in a long time. Not to mention the house is cleaner than it has been in years and slowly but surely we are all bonding together as a family.
And of course every day is brighter with Anna by my side. Now we must begin planning the wedding. Time is moving very quickly now and we need to set a date for the wedding. If anyone knows someone who is good at planning weddings and is looking to get their name out there. Please feel free to email us or leave a comment. We are looking for people and/or companies that are willing to help us plan this event for advertising on our blog because to be honest we don't have much of a budget for the wedding We are saving as much money as possible because we will be required to pay a significant amount of money to immigration services immediately after the wedding to get Anna and her children their Adjustment of Status which will give them their green cards enabling Anna to go to work if she desires and allowing the children to attend school here. If anyone ever tries telling you immigration is cheap, they are lying through their teeth. Both Anna and I have payed a lot of money just to get her here.
So please let us know if you or someone you know may be interested in offering their services. You can email us at annabryan1955@gmail.com or post a comment. Thanks.
Here are a few pictures I have taken. Hopefully we will get more soon.