Anke and I met online in 2007 through a women’s group that I had created in an attempt to make friends in the lesbian community. She was one of the total five women who joined and the only one interested in getting to know me better. I always tell Anke it was fate for us to meet!
We didn’t start exchanging emails until a few months after the group was created, but needless to say when the emails started, they never stopped. It was an instant connection neither one of us could deny nor stop. The only problem was that she lived in Germany and I in the states.
Later after many emails, phone calls and chat sessions, it was very clear to us that we had to meet. Anke flew to Seattle in September 2007 and stayed with me for a month. From that point on, we realized that we couldn’t be apart. Anke flew back to Seattle that year a few times staying each time for about a month. Saying goodbye was torture! On her last visit in March 2008, we decided it was time for me to fly and experience Germany.
In July 2008 I flew to Germany / love of my life, to decide if I could live in Germany in case we weren’t able to win the green card lottery. Unfortunately, we lost and had to make the choice, or rather sacrifice, of giving up my life and our dream of living together in Seattle.
At the end of July 2008 I flew back to Seattle and started preparing for my move to Germany. It would be five months before we would see each other again. After giving up practically everything I own and many goodbyes later, Anke flew to Seattle in December 2008 to pick me up so we could fly back to Germany together.
A few days after arriving in Germany I was enrolled in language classes (a requirement of the government to marry and live here) and in March 2009 we married legally (this was, of course after I popped the question in Paris during my July visit). I continued my language courses for 8 months (another requirement of the government) in order for me to get an extension on my visa. Only after three years, even though we are legally married, can I apply for permanent residency here, not citizenship, just the right to permanently reside here.
Even though we are legally married here in Germany, life is not always easy for us. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 13 years caring for elderly people who have been afflicted with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and my wife works as a fund accountant. Although I am allowed to work here in Germany, my license does not translate here and my language skills are not enough to work in that particular field. We are forced to live off of one income at the moment, which thankfully is enough.
I know it’s only been a year since I have lived here in Germany, but I miss my life back home (the country my wife considers home), my career, friends, family and the American culture, however, being apart is not an option for us. We both have given up alot but refuse to give in! We will keep on fighting until we make our dream come true. We are thankful to be together knowing what the months apart felt like.
We hope the laws will change soon before anyone else has to give up their entire life and be separated from their loved ones. Our journey has been an emotional roller coaster but we have each other and that is the most important thing. We hope everyone will continue to fight and support each other even if things get tough. We all deserve freedom and no one should be allowed to dictate that fundamental right!
Written by Tina and co-written by her step mother Imelda