Waleska (Germany) and Fabienne (US)

Posted on June 13, 2011. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , |

I want to start by saying this is probably one of the worst and best times in my life.

Last time I told you we were trying to figure out what to do to renew
Fabienne’s visa so she can stay longer. We decided to take another road-trip to
Canada. This time to Cranbrook. I asked Fabienne when was the day her visa
expired. She told me the date without looking at her passport. I asked her
again, Are you sure? and she said yes. So we plan the trip for a day before her
visa expired. We put our things in the car, and Dude’s (my dog) and left. It
was a beautiful day and we were having fun driving. For some weird reason I was
very confident that everything was going to be ok like the last time.

We were at the Canadian border. They asked us for our passports. We waited
anxiously in the car. The officer comes back and says: we can’t let you go to
Canada because her visa is one day late and we are not sure if the USA will let
her go back. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told them we thought her
visa expired the day after. They told us to park the car and to come inside. So
we go inside and she showed us the date in the visa and yes, we were late for a
few hours. I looked at Fabienne. I proceeded to try to persuade the Canadian
border officer to let us go in Canada, I knew if we were sent to USA part there
might be trouble. But she said: I can’t let you go in Canada, you need to go
back to the USA and talk to the border officer and make sure the paperwork is
correct then you can come back. So we get in the car. I looked at Fabienne and
asked her: why you told me that we were one day early? she said she got
confused by the date since they read dates differently than in the USA. I told
her that was a big mistake and that I wish I would have looked at her visa. I
also told her, don’t worry they probably just let us go because we are late
just for hours. Inside of me I knew we were screwed but I was trying to calm
her down cause I know she gets really nervous. Her fate was in hands of the
Border Patrol officer. I was hoping we would get a good one but that was not
the case.

So we are now in the line for the US border. They asked us for our passports
and the reason why we were there. I told them that the Canadian side sent us
back to make sure she can come back to the USA. They noticed her visa was late.
The officer asked us to wait that he needed to talk to someone about it. He
came back and said: please park your car and come inside. Then the interrogation
began. I have never seen Fabienne so nervous. They asked her all kinds of
questions. Why was she trying to go to Canada? Why she was in the USA? Where
was staying at? What is her relationship with me? How is she supporting
herself? Was she trying to go to Canada to renew her US visa? Does she have a
plane ticket back to Germany? etc… They asked me a few questions as well.
There were three officers. 2 of them were not so hardcore but there was one
just trying to get any possible reason to deport Fabienne. First I thought it
was completely unfair that they did not provide her with a translator. They
were asking her all these technical questions that she had no idea what it
meant. Then they took her to a separate room and asked me to wait outside. I
knew this was bad. They asked me to search my car. I told them my dog is inside
and they said just bring your dog with you. So I did. They searched everything
and then left a huge mess for me to put back together. Fabienne was still
inside and I had no access to her. Hours passed and passed and passed. almost 5
or 6 hours later an officer came outside and told me that she could not prove
she had plane tickets to go back to Germany and that she was going to get
deported. I started crying like a little girl. I could not belive this was
happening. This was the worst that could happen…and it was happening. They
told me all kinds of lies. They said the same thing happened to another German
person a few weeks ago and he was back in the USA. They told me not to worry
but they had to do this and that she was going to be able to come back. I have
never had any kind of experience with this kind of situation. I had no idea
what to do.

Finally around 8 or 9 hours later they said I could see her before they will transfer
her to a jail. I asked why they are taking her to a jail. She is not a criminal
i said. They told me that was procedure and they did not have special place for
people getting deported. I started crying even more. They told me to wait
outside until they bring her out. He also told me that she was going to be
wearing handcuffs and leg cuffs while in the cop car as procedure but that they
knew she was not a criminal. I was in shock. I could not believe they were
doing this to her. They told me I could say goodbye to her and that I could
visit her in the jail which was going to be in Kalispell. I asked them how long
were they going to keep her in jail. They said that just a few days until they
get the plane tickets and all the procedure done. So they bring her outside and
let her smoke a cigarette with me while we say goodbye. I told her I would go
visit her and do everything I can to help her. She was very scared. We were
both crying. In fact i am crying right now just remembering this horrible time
in our life. I could not believe my country was doing this to her. I found out
how unfair and broken our immigration system is the hard way and so did she.
Please take a look for the rest of our story on my blog, Bi-cultural love and
immigration laws
on Squidoo. (photo; personal; Waleska and Fabienne;
“Fabienne and me in Germany”)

This story is
located at: http://imeq.us/our_stories/stories.html

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Claudia (Germany) and I (U.S.)

Posted on April 17, 2010. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , |

Claudia and I met over the Internet in 1996. I was in Los Angeles and Claudia was in Bergheim, a little city outside Cologne, Germany. I never thought I would fall in love over the Internet, but it happened. After chatting for hours online, Claudia called me on the phone and invited me to visit her in Germany to go to a Melissa Etheridge concert. I was nervous at first but I accepted her gracious invitation.

The flight from Los Angeles to Frankfurt felt like an eternity! From the instant we saw each other in the airport, it was love at first sight. After meeting in person for the first time it reconfirmed all the feelings we had for each other when we were just communicating over the phone or on the Internet. So begun our love story and as well all the challenges that you face being a binational same sex couple.

After six months of being apart, Claudia got a student visa and was able to move to Los Angeles. Her student visa lasted for three years and then ran out at the beginning of 2000. At this point we were faced with the most difficult decision, whether I should move to Germany or stay in L.A.. The choice was clear to me. There was no way I wanted to end the most important relationship in my life.

Doing extensive research on gay rights in Germany, we discovered that Germany was in the process of giving legal rights to same sex partners. So we packed up all our things (including our cat and dog) and moved to Bergheim. It has been very challenging moving to another country, learning a new language and essentially starting all over again.

In August 2001 Germany passed a law giving gay and lesbians the right to enter into a civil union (or legal partnership) and receive many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples have. We got legally partnered in November of that year. The fact that Germany has legal rights for gay and lesbian couples has made it possible for us to start a life and future together.

We currently have started a massage business together and one of our dreams is to open a gay and lesbian friendly day spa in Cologne.

Claudia and I know how difficult it is to be faced with the challenges of moving to another country, assimilating to a new culture, and figuring our all the laws and regulations that pertain to same sex binational couples. We feel honored to be involved with Love Exiles and we hope that the chapter here in Cologne Germany will bring other binational same sex couples throughout Germany together.

This story is located at: http://loveexiles.org/claudia+lynnette_story.htm

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Tina (U.S) & Anke (Germany)

Posted on March 20, 2010. Filed under: Stories | Tags: , , , , |

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

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LGBT Immigration Stories

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: Purpose | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Area of Interest: 

Story telling as an educational tool is a wonderful thing. So what we are proposing is to putting out requests that give the identified population a chance to share their stories and putting them together to create a collective wisdom. Our reason for approaching the subject in this manner is to give a nurturing space for creating community and access to information that will support others during a time that could potentially by one of the most stressful and difficult transitions in their lives. If you or someone you know has an interest and are willing to share your/their story please post it here or email us. Also, feel free to share this information with other organizations or individuals that may be interested.

 Would you like to share your story?

Do you have a story to tell about your experience as a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) immigrant? Are you interested in sharing it with people learning about LGBT immigration? If so, this is your chance to participate in a collective wisdom study. I am a graduate student of Antioch University Seattle and am in the process of compiling stories of LGBT immigrants. I am seeking to provide a unique opportunity for LGBT immigrants a chance to share their stories and experiences that statistics do not provide. For instance, stories that describe the adjustments / challenges experienced as you leave or integrate into another culture. What changes did you expereince/make? How did you balance the needs of your family and culture of origin with the needs of the new culture? As you made the adjustments, what worked well for you and what would you do differently? Other story possibilities may include the relationship you have with you family/spouse/siblings/children/parents? It’s your story, tell it your way. This is an opportunity for you to share your experience with others, some of whom may be in their own journey.

 

Guidelines for Submission:

(Please note that these stories are not intended to provide an opportunity for individuals or groups to insult or offend others. We ask that authors respect the privacy of individuals who may be mentioned in the stories they submit by using fictional (fake) names. We also ask that authors be respectful of others in their expression of opinions. Submitted stories will be screened based on these and other criteria. Stories submitted that seem rude, offensive, or generally distasteful
will not be accepted.) The following is a suggestion but you may omit as much information as you like.

* The author or group of authors will have immigrated from one country to another or from one region to another. 

* References to other resources should be included at the end of the story in a bibliography

* Person or persons submitting story must be the author

* More than one short story can be submitted

* It is preferred that stories be submitted in American English and am willing to accept submissions in any language

* Please verify that your contact information is accurate in your submission

* If desired I am willing to conduct or accept an audio or video interview instead of a written story.  

 

Contact Information:

Join us on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=114347011795&ref=mf

Feel free to email us at: lgbtculture [at] yahoo [dot] com

Also, You can follow us remotely or on your phone with twitter: http://twitter.com/lgbtculture
As new stories and postings are added to our blog twitter will let you know.

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