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The first Notice of Action has been received. The USCIS received our petition for a K-1 Fiance(e) Visa on 17th December 2003. The stationery it was printed on still says “U.S. Department of Justice – Immigration and Naturalization Service.” They need to get their act together.

The letter indicates that this type of petition takes 150 to 180 days to process so we will start looking for the next envelope from the DHS around the end of May-beginning of June.

In the meantime, we continue to make plans and every now and then catch our breath a bit.

Woohoo! The K-1 Fiance visa application is in the mail!! It feels so good to have that off my back. Wow. It was quite a process getting everything together, but with much help from James as well as friends Jenna and Trevor (who are now at the back end of this process) and others, it’s done.

Note to anyone who is doing this: the USCIS website has lots of helpful and detailed information for putting this stuff together.

This morning I brought the whole packet to Nancy O. who works with citizenship and immigration issues at Congressman Vern Ehlers’ office. She looked through it and said it was one of the best put together application packets she had ever seen and thought that we probably have plenty of time to get this all processed in time for an October 22 wedding. She even offered to mail it for me so we could track it. It’s very nice when the U.S. Government pays the postage. 🙂

Now the waiting game begins and we start looking for the first NOA (Notice of Action – this one just telling us that they got it) in the mail.

Our fate is now in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security. How’s that for scary?!?

It’s now officially official: James has asked me to marry him and I’ve accepted his proposal. And I now have a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring as well!

I spent last week in the UK – my third trip there but first since I met James. I met many, many of his friends and finally met his parents and sister and brother as well, all of whom were wonderfully welcoming and whom I am excited to have as my own family very soon.

I had a terrific time getting to know the family and spending time with quite a few of James’ dear friends (he sure knows how to pick ’em!). We had a busy week with trips to Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Oxford and London and stops in Portsmouth, Tunbridge Wells and Tudeley.

Highlights of the week – in no particular order – included a stunning Radiohead show at Earl’s Court in London, choral evensong for Advent at Magdalen College chapel in Oxford, lunch at the Vauxhall Inn in Tonbridge with James’ parents, curry in Brick Lane (London), dinner at Graeme’s, the gathering at the Global Cafe where I finally met in person loads of folks that I had only previously met online, lunch with Matthew (James’ brother) in Portsmouth, discovering Brighton, Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford, Salisbury Cathedral, and dinner at Loch Fyne in Reading followed by James’ proposal.

Pictures of the trip (including a few of the ring) can be viewed here: