Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.

In Sep. 2018, we applied for my wife’s green card to live in the U.S. We thought we would go about it the right way, so we sent in our money and waited. Then we waited some more. Then we waited some more. In between all the waiting, we spent time in the U.S. with her tourist visa. By Sep. 2019, we still hadn’t heard anything, and we decided to book a trip to New Zealand. It would be easier to get to than if we flew from the U.S.

In Oct. 2019, we heard that our paperwork was transferred to the NVC. We paid more fees and went to New Zealand. In Dec. 2019, we heard that our paperwork was incomplete, and we needed more before they could send it on to the embassy in Moscow. At the end of January 2020, we heard that the paperwork was complete, and we would have to wait for notification of when our interview would be.

Our interview was scheduled for the first week of March. Coronavirus was in the news, but the U.S. and Russia were still open, and it looked like we would be able to come in under the wire. Our application was accepted, the visa for the Green Card was approved. (There is still one more interview when we get to the U.S.) We left my wife’s passport at the Embassy, so they could add the visa and send it to us. We got back home, slept off the time difference, and woke up to a whole new world.

The next couple of weeks are a blur. We had to get our cat vaccinated and chipped, which could only happen on Saturdays or Sundays, and we would have to wait for 30 days before she would be allowed into the U.S. under normal circumstances. I paid the fees required for the Green Card assuming that we would be able to leave. The number of cases in the U.S. exploded. The U.S. economy screeched to a halt, and we were hearing stories of lack of supplies, in-fighting between the feds and the states, and the horrors of the shocking deaths. One person was charged $20,000 for his coronavirus treatment. Another person, on his deathbed, asked who would pay for the intubation.

By the time my wife’s passport had arrived from the U.S. Embassy, Moscow and the U.S. had shut down. Flights headed to the U.S. were canceled by the Russian government, and lines to get through the immigration services area in the U.S. were four to five hours long if we could get there.

Putin has recently admitted that Russia may not be prepared for the coming pandemic. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

Jenya and I were going to move to the coast. We were going to open up a shop that focused on indie authors, creativity, and penguins. There would be classes in becoming more creative, indoor archery, and a reading nook. It may not have happened all at once, but I had already started recruiting some indie authors to get their books and other items into the store. With all non-essential stores shut down and people told to stay at home, there is no way for us to be able to do this, and from mid-March on, as people keep going out, not taking the virus seriously, and infecting others, we realize the economy isn’t going to open for non-essential businesses in the near future. If it does, it will cause a spike in infections and expose people needlessly to getting ill.

So, we thought we would try to ride out the virus and head to the U.S. when things become more stable. Jenya has a job as a doctor, so she will continue to be employed. I could still work on improving my freelance business, which really isn’t going anywhere. I’ve had my main gig and three side gigs cancel on me in the last month. We could work on selling our penguins and getting people to join our Patreon, buy my books, and read my blog. The choice we face isn’t that difficult because right now, there’s no way to get out of the country, and if we did, we would have no way to make a living when we get to the U.S. We would also be exposed to the threat of hospital bills if we were to get sick.