Bells are ringing this Christmas, but they aren’t Christmas bells. Actually, they rang eight days before Christmas and I didn’t even hear them, because they were ringing in Costa Rica while I was in Texas.
The wedding that took place on December 17, 2011, all began with one of those stories where boy meets girl. Only in this story, boy and girl weren’t that interested in each other until they had parted ways for several years and then found each other again on Facebook. They had attended the same high school together in Guatemala and shared the common factor of being third culture kids (TCKs).
He had been born in Honduras, lived in Ecuador and Guatemala all his teen years, spent a year in Iraq as part of the National Guard and spent most of the rest of his time in and around Gainesville, Florida. His parents were both from the U.S. but had been missionaries in Latin American countries his entire life.
She was born with dual citizenship as well. Her father was from Costa Rica and her mom was from Canada. They had been missionaries in Guatemala until they moved back to Costa Rica. She had moved back to Canada.
As their relationship bloomed, there were many visits back and forth. He visited Canada. She made a trip to Florida. Then the engagement and preparations for a wedding took place. Where to wed? The answer seemed simple enough. Her family was in Costa Rica, so that was where she wanted to get married.
Briana Flores arrived in Florida early in December so that she could become Mrs. Timothy Cobb legally in the U.S. Then they had the ceremony in Costa Rica a short time after that. After their honeymoon, they will return to the U.S. and Briana will begin the process of becoming an official U.S. citizen.
Recently, a Canadian friend of mine who married a Texan, explained to me some of the complications she was going through just to get a green card so that she could start working in the U.S. Even though she had legally gotten married to an American husband in the U.S., she is not allowed to get a job until she has that green card.
“It’s no wonder there are so many illegal immigrants!” she told me. “They make it so difficult for people to become legal citizens.”
She had to visit a specialist doctor whose office was more than an hour away from home to verify that she is healthy. I guess if you are going to have immigrants, you might as well have healthy ones. There are blood tests and fingerprints and paperwork upon paperwork to legalize and notarize. And when that is all done, you have to sit and wait and wait until everything gets processed by an immigration office. Then there will be a special interview scheduled with both my friend and her husband to verify that they really did get married to each other.
When will she be able to apply for actual citizenship after she gets her green card? According to my friend, it could be about seven years.
Now my youngest brother, Tim, and his lovely bride, Briana, will begin this adventure together. Will they be able to handle it? Oh, yeah. They are TCKs. Forging the world of multiple cultures is engrained into their nature. They may not have a lot to start off with, but they’ll have each other. And they have “Emmanuel” God with them, walking beside them through every step of the journey.
Merry Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Tim Cobb! Here’s hoping “ya’ll” might come over to Texas to visit a spell with the MK Meier family someday. Ya hear? Yi-haw!