The continuation of my blog: The U.S. Embassy, My Family and I – Part 1 “When one door closes another door opens”
After the interview, I slowly put the blue letter into my transparent envelope. I don’t know what to do. My knees can’t step forward, and for a second I thought that this is just a dream. I walk straight and don’t look at other people sitting down and waiting to be called.
I didn’t leave the embassy; I sat down at the same angle of Window #10. Then I read the letter where it says, “You did not establish that your social, family, and economic ties outside of the United States are sufficient to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent.” “You did not establish that you are qualified for one of the nonimmigrant visa categories as indicated in the INA.”
I thought I can stay strong; I did my best to be strong. But, upon reading, I look at my son’s pictures, and I didn’t notice my tears falling down.
Then, without noise, I started crying, my tears continuously flowing (Even up to now, while writing this blog, because the pain is still fresh in my mind). I ask myself, “what kind of ties they are looking for? Isn’t it enough that you don’t need to be far with your son and your family to earn money? Wouldn’t anyone love to be that way?” So many things comes to my mind, I’m thinking, what did I say wrong to the consular. Is it because I earn too little money and that lead his result to refuse me to have a visa?
I look down while covering my face with my very long hair; I’m thinking of why I belong to a family with no luck and no assets. I feel like I’ve been cursed but even if I would have a second chance to live, I’d rather be this way because nobody knows what our family has been through. No way could you imagine it exists like that.
I know I’m not the only person who failed, I know the fact that there’s a failure and there’s a success. But it is not easy to accept a failure that isn’t appropriate. It’s not appropriate to make an opposite decision when I know that I am right. When I know that I wouldn’t stay in the United States and go there for trainings only. Sometimes, the consular doesn’t see it in my eyes, my sincerity of showing how I love my homeland, my family and especially my son, he didn’t give me a chance to show it.
It never comes to my mind to Immigrate in the U.S.A. and that the only thing that keeps me going is my son and my beloved parents. If they base their result to other Filipino’s who lied and never came back, then I am not one of them. I would like to fight for my rights and to show them how sincere I am of coming back. Coming to the United States may give me culture shock but it won’t lead me to stay because of their technology nor money. My son needs me during this stage of his life; I don’t want to be too far from him. I can’t even sleep without him beside me in my bed.
I’ve been sitting there for more than 30 minutes, my eyes won’t stop crying, I don’t even have a handkerchief, I use the end of my sleeve to wipe my tears and nose. Still, can’t believe what happened. I stare at each window except to window 5, 6,7,8,9 because I can’t see them. Windows are starting to close one by one because there are no more non-immigrant applicants. The guys wearing blue shirts that are assisting applicants already left. I think they know what happened to me and they let me sit there and cry.
Then, after couple of minutes, a woman came by with her kid in a stroller.
Woman: Why are you crying?
Me: Because they denied my Visa
Woman: What kind of visa are you applying?
Me: B1 For business, training.
Woman: Don’t cry, you know my mom has been denied for 6x now.
Me: (I didn’t speak)
Woman: You can re-apply again. (Then, she strolled her kid)
After couple of minutes, she came again with her American husband. My eyes are continuously crying. Like never ending…
Woman: This is my husband
Man: Are you going to the USA for tourist?
Me: No. I’m going there to have training with the current company that I’m working with
Man: Nowadays, it’s very hard to come to the United States. I’m already an American and petitioning my wife wasn’t easy.
Woman: Yeah, so many papers needed before we finish fixing everything
Man: Don’t cry, you know what we’ve been trying to get my wife’s mom a visa but they always denied her. Until now, she hasn’t got a visa yet.
Me: Is it really hard to travel to USA with B1/B2 Visa?
Man: Yes! Because some Filipino says they will come there for tourist then they will get married. So Embassy is very strict with application.
Me: But I am going there for training =(
Man: Why did they refuse your visa anyway?
Me: (I showed my blue letter)
Man: (Reading…) you failed because of economic ties. You know what, United States, what to see that you will come back to the Philippines.
Me: But I have my son, and I am the Head of my Family now.
Man: Even though you have your family in the Philippines, that’s not enough for them to prove that you will come back. You need to have monetary things that they know you can’t leave behind when you come to the United States. We are talking about money here.
Me: (I cried so much) but, why it’s very unfair. They didn’t even ask for any of my documents to show that I will come back to the Philippines. I have my son, and I won’t leave him behind in my country.
Man: The best way to come to the USA is the K1 Visa. You should find a husband that can bring you to the United States
Me: (I didn’t speak) I look down.
Woman: Are you already married?
Me: Yes = (Then I cried so much… (To be honest, this is the first time I admit to the internet that I am married)
Woman: Where is your husband?
Me: We have been separated. We only lasted for a couple of months after marriage, not even 6 months. I don’t love him, and I was only 18 at that time. I don’t think about it much, all I think about is that there will be someone who can be shown as the father of my son. He is not the real father of my son. I just signed a paper and the marriage ceremony didn’t even last for 5 minutes.
Woman: Where is your son?
Me: He is living with me, in addition to my parents and 2 siblings.
Man: (He comes closer face to face)
Me: (I keep crying) Then look at my envelope
Man: Look, don’t lose hope… Remember this saying, “When one door closes another door opens”. It is not always bad. Have faith in him. (He repeats it again) “When one door closes another door opens”. You are very pretty woman and there are so many men out there who can help you. Believe me, see we can hear and you didn’t end up with anything and yet you meet us.
Me: Thank you (I stop crying and started to wipe my tears)
Man: (He made a joke) Anyway, what kind of man you are looking for? White, black, short or tall? (Then he laughs)
Me: (I laugh, and I said) It’s my birthday today.
Man & Woman: Wow! Happy Birthday
Woman: O wag ka na magmukmok jan. (Stop sulking) You can always try again. Or find a husband and help you to fix your papers
Me: Thank you ate (ate is use to respect older woman than you although the English term is sister)
Woman: Come with us, there is no people here now.
Me: (I stand up, and come to the place where they are sitting; those guards are looking at me. Maybe they wonder why I didn’t leave my seat in the Non-Immigrants area)
Man: How old is your son?
Me: Four. (Then I showed him the picture)
Man: Nice, He and my son can get along.
Me: (I smiled. Then I saw the woman’s older son.) Is that your son?
Woman: Yes, he is my son to my first husband before I get annulled.
Me: How much did it cost you?
Me: Why it is cheaper? In my place, it’s around 200k and more.
Woman: Maybe because I live in province.
Me: I can’t afford to do annulment because I am taking care of my son and my family.
Woman: Don’t lose hope, look; my husband helped me to fix it and now we are here and filing out immigrant papers for my older son.
Me: Your sons are so lovely and handsome. You are so lucky.
Woman: Time will come, don’t worry.
Man: I see in you that your intent is just business. But if you change your mind, we can help you.
Woman: Do you have Facebook?
Me: Yes. (I wrote my email address and gave it to her)
Woman: I will add you later so we can keep in touch
Me: Thanks Po. (They are so nice)
They are at the US Embassy because their petitioning her older son for Immigration. Then their number was called and they told me to stay there or wait. The girl is very lucky, and upon staying there, I also saw another woman with an American husband. I’m thinking, is that the easiest way to go to the U.S.A. when you don’t belong to a rich family, when you don’t have assets and everything? When they are finished at the other window, they come back and said that they will be called again. I asked where the comfort room is because I need to wash my face and go pee pee.
The woman I met is also inside the comfort room; she is changing her son’s diaper and making something to drink. Me, I washed my hands and keep staring at the mirror and also at them. I don’t know what to say, I can’t say anything. Then, she said she will be leaving the CR now and they are just in the Immigrant section at the other side. She said, come with me. I said, I will follow in a bit. A few minutes later, when she’s gone, I am staring into the mirror and looking at myself.
As I stare at myself, my eyes start to cry again. Then when someone will come by, they will look at me but I don’t look back, and I keep crying. I feel like not going home. I have so many plans like; this will be the beginning to earn enough money so I can bring my mom to a hospital to do some check up with her growing tummy. Nobody knows what’s going on in her tummy, after they remove her right kidney, her tummy keeps growing. I need plenty of money so I can have her general check up and operation if necessary. Then a young kid came in, he went pee pee and then when he washed his hands. He looked at me, we see each other eye to eye, and he didn’t leave. He looks into my eyes and sees the tears falling down slowly. He didn’t leave and he stayed for 2-3 minutes and kept looking at me. I stopped crying, because I know he wonders why I am crying, and I look at him as my son and as a mom, and I don’t want my son to see what’s going on. He is so very young to be involved in nature’s life.
After he leaves, I started to get going. I didn’t know how much time I stayed at the U.S. Embassy. I walked outside the Comfort Room slowly and tried to look for those people that I’ve met, but I think they left and they might have thought I left too, because I stayed very long in the CR crying. Thank you to that kid, whoever you are, you gave me strength
Upon walking, I’m trying to leave all the pain inside the U.S. Embassy, staring at the road while walking to the Pedestrian Lane. I normally bring a camera + mobile to take an Image of all the walks I’ve been. But since every kind of electronics is not allowed, and I had to leave them behind in my brother’s car, I feel incomplete from not taking pictures of the places I’ve been.
I don’t have anything with me and no money; I tried to find a bank to withdraw some money. Then, I don’t know where to start, don’t know where to go. After getting money, I asked some people where to ride to go to Monumento, Caloocan. Finally, I saw a Jeepney, and I ride and paid the driver using my 500 peso bill. I’m so shy to pay with it because I don’t want him to think I’m just trying to exchange it. When he gets the money, he asks for a smaller bill. I said I don’t have any I’m sorry. He kept the money until he has enough php to give me my change.
I dropped down to BDO Caloocan, and asked about a Checking Account. Luckily, I have all the documents with me, DTI, Mayor’s Permit, and ID’s. I’m so sleepy while I am talking to the teller. She explained everything about the Checking Account. Then after 1 hour of waiting, they gave me my new checks =] Well, I guess after a very long day at the U.S. Embassy, there’s a compensation reward to make me happy.
I went to Malabon, and go to my sister’s house. I told my brother that I will be there by 12:30pm after the Interview. But since it’s very hard for me to leave the Embassy, I stayed longer. I only saw a letter on their door saying, “We already left the house Neng, and the kids were starting to cry”. I can’t blame them for leaving me because it’s around 2:30 when I get to Malabon, longer than they expected me to be. So I leave their house and I go home by myself to Bulacan.
I feel so tired, and very, very hot. Imagine I am wearing a long sleeve shirt and blazer plus slacks.
Then, when I ride the Bus, there is no seat available. (LOL am I being cursed this day) And yes, OMG, no one is even kind enough to stand up and give me their seat. No gentleman that day, I stand up from the start of NLEX up to the Marilao Exit. Am I being the gentlewoman? Whenever there’s an old person even a male on a Bus who doesn’t have a seat, I normally stand up for them. I think guys in the Philippines forgot the term “Gentleman”.
After a long drive, finally I arrived at the house. They all have a very big smile on their faces, waiting for me on the 2nd floor. They said, she’s here, she’s here… Then I look above them and do thumbs down. Then from a very blissful face theirs turns into very heartbreaking faces.
Everyone sat down and listened to me, except my nieces and nephew who don’t understand the surroundings yet. I explained to them everything, and at the very end of my story they give me this sad and happy look. They didn’t tell me how much they are thankful of me trying my best, but I can tell. They said, maybe it’s not for me yet. Just don’t give up. It is a very heart-breaking moment. Every member of my family wasn’t being able to be lucky enough to have a better path in life. Each of us lives a normal life where you can have food to eat everyday and send your kids to school and that is enough. But even we live that way, and we are happy. And those people who live a better life, where their parents can give whatever they want are very lucky. Some of them don’t really treasure life, however.
I am at the edge of a life that wants to make sure that there will be a better future for my family. I am dreaming to have a very good business in my country and have my parents fulfill their dream of which they didn’t make, having our own house. My dream is very simple; to show my parents how I love them and to have a simple house that can fit our whole family.
Here is some shots of a simple feast that my mom made for me after a very long day.
Sometimes, I am thinking, during the time when money doesn’t exist, you are able to travel from one place to another. This land that we are stepping on right now doesn’t belong to us. Everything is now based on a “Piece of Paper”. Money, Land Titles are just made of pieces of paper with a person who has authority to sign it. Because of people’s selfishness and desire to conquer the world, the wars started. If only everyone on this planet can give and take and help people rise and not push down. Wars will stop and peace will be on earth. I don’t know why I said this, but these things are also related to me.
Being sincere about coming back to the Philippines is not only based on what things can be seen, or what money can be showed, but also the relationship between families that remains unseen and beyond vocabulary which will guide you back to where you belong.