Yet Another Step Forward!

Howdy folks,

I have good news, and I have great news! Both announcements have been referred to before, but as they are now verified reality, I reckon they are worth a standalone blog post.

What’s happened? Well the first thing is that my driving permit has finally been validated, which means I can start driving again! Typically the weather has turned awful again (it snowed today…snowed! I thought it was over, I THOUGHT IT WAS OVER!) but I’m excited to get behind the wheel again. That’s my good news.

My great news is that my temporary work permit has also been authorized, so I can start working now too! It’s only taken six months, but whatever. Better late than never, right?

So, what’s next?

  1. Take my word permit to the DMV and use it as proof of residency. Even if I can’t take a driving test, at least I’ll be covered until my birthday (when the work permit expires).
  2. Americanize my C.V. As my qualifications are largely unknown here, I need to change my resume to instead explain what I have done, and what I can do. I doubt I’ll be pulling up trees, but hopefully I’ll be able to display my skills enough to get an opportunity.
  3. Start looking for work! As my driving permit requires a licensed driver in the passenger seat (as well as an available vehicle) any job I go for needs to suit Vanna’s schedule (which can be all over the place) so it’s going to be interesting to see what options I have. I do have preferences, but at the moment, I’m mostly willing to do most jobs. I guess I’ll just have to see who is hiring and hope for the best!

And that is largely it for now. I’ll let you know what happens.

Bye for now!

Alex

Kite Flying…Well Trying To Anyway (Pictures!)

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

On Saturday, Vanna and I went for a family dinner up in Palisade. While we were there, we attempted to fly a kite for Marley (well, I watched from the sidelines and offered support; I was too full and tired to run around like a goon…) and after that failure, we went for walk. During both activities, I took pictures. Slideshow is below. Enjoy!

Alex

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Duluth (A Picture Journey)

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Hello all,

On Thursday, we drove to Duluth for a 2pm biometrics appointment. Because two hours is a long time to drive for a fifteen minute session at the Customs House, Vanna and I decided to go up early and make it a day trip. After all, we hadn’t been to Duluth for over a year, so why not take advantage of this opportunity?

Sadly the weather wasn’t great, so we couldn’t spend much time outside like we had hoped to do. But we still managed to have fun; we went to the mall (I think we were in Barnes & Noble for at least two hours looking through all the books), bought two delicious caramel apples in Canal Park, had a tasty pizza for dinner at Old Chicago(as well as Erberts and Gerberts for lunch!) and then walked along the pier before we finally headed home. It…

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Easter Recap…And Duluth!

Howdy all,

Quick apologies for this late post; I know I said I’d post every Tuesday last Tuesday (wow, I messed up that new routine at the first possible opportunity, didn’t I?) but after spending Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday out the house, I needed Tuesday to recharge my batteries (I also had important things to do, like watch Criminal Minds, and, uh…Xbox). But I’m here now, and late is better than never, right? Right! Good, glad you agree, especially as I have big news to share!

Now, if you remember last week’s post, you’ll know Vanna and I needed to travel to Duluth yesterday for a 2pm Biometrics appointment (that wasn’t the only thing we got up to in Duluth, but I’ll talk about the full visit once I’ve uploaded the pictures!). I won’t bore you with all the details (mainly because there isn’t much to discuss; essentially my fingerprints were scanned onto the computer, a document was stamped…and then we left) but instead focus on the greatest outcome from the trip, which I’ve handily put in bold below so you know it is important!

Providing everything goes well, I should have a temporary work permit sometime in the next month. In other words, I can get a job!

I told you it was big news, didn’t I? I’m not entirely sure what kind of work I will be looking for (‘any’ is probably the correct term), but whatever job I (hopefully) get, the second income will certainly be a welcome addition to our bank balance. Of course, before I even think about jobs, I will first have to Americanize my C.V. (oh boy, that’s going to be fun!) and figure out what kind of hours I could do…but given how long we’ve had to wait to just get to this stage, this temporary permit can only be considered a fantastic step in the right direction. Fingers crossed it arrives soon!

So that’s that. I’ll probably upload the pictures from our Duluth trip later today. Until then, I suppose I should go on the Xbox while I still have time to do so!

Have a great weekend!

Alex

P.S. Oh, I mentioned Easter in the title, didn’t I? Well our weekend was mainly a nice, laidback affair. We spent most of our time in Crosby with family and friends. Sadly I didn’t have much chocolate to gorge on, but I did have an awesome BBQ burger at Ya Betchas, which I’d argue is even better…

 

 

 

An Update On Life

Howdy folks,

So I think Tuesdays are going to be my blog days, at least until excitement (well, things that are worth talking about) happens on a more frequent basis. Remember those weeks where I’d blog almost every day? Ah, happy times. Maybe that’ll happen again in the summer…

But uh, please note that I’m not complaining! At the moment life is good…just largely uneventful. Right now my creativity is at a high so my focus has to be on my book, which I’m really enjoying writing again. As a result I’m struggling to find the balance between that and WOTC. I do have some interesting things to discuss however, and I’ll do my best to cover them over the next few weeks.

So, with that in mind, what’s the topic for today? Well, it is my visa, and for the most part it is positive news. Nothing amazing – sadly I haven’t been granted full approval as a resident yet – but still worth sharing.

So late February we received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security essentially notifying us that, due to the high caseload, we were probably looking at another six months before we would be processed. And since that letter, the DHS had budgetary problems (you may have seen it on the news) meaning that date has probably extended. Who knows?

But then on Saturday we received another letter, this one informing us that I have a biometric appointment in Duluth two weeks Thursday. That’s pretty good, right? Evidently we’re moved at least one step up the ladder. I don’t expect to be processed completely before the summer but hey, we’re moving in the right direction!

A trip to Duluth is always a good thing, too. It has been a long time since we were last there, so I’m excited to go. The appointment is around 2pm, which isn’t that convenient, but we’ll try to make a day of it anyway. I’ll bring my camera, and hopefully it’ll be a nice day. Let’s see what happens.

Oh, and that isn’t the only good news we have. About a month ago I applied for a Social Security Number, because we were under the impression we needed a second I.D for my driver’s license (quick recap; I had to stop driving in October because my permit needed a status check). A number would also be very helpful to Vanna for tax reasons, as it would allow her to fill out a form that would benefit us (i.e., money heading back to us!). Applying was a win-win.

Anyway, my Social Security Card also arrived on Saturday which was pretty sweet. Of course the first thing I did on Monday was visit the DMV, because I miss driving so much and I wanna be behind the wheel for that Duluth trip! Sadly, it didn’t go too well, because apparently the DMV were not interested in a second form of I.D because they just wanted my 1-94 form (visa related)…something I’ve had since I entered the country.

*sigh*

In other words, we’ve waited all this time for no discernible reason. Had we known about this in October, I wouldn’t have had to stop driving (granted, I wouldn’t have driven at all really until this past couple of weeks) and I wouldn’t have to pay to get my permit redone. Very frustrating.

Of course, if we’d paid closer attention to the letter we would have realized the situation straight away, as it did say on the denial letter about proof of residency (though I don’t think my residency should really matter, especially when tourists with rental cars and exchange students are allowed to drive). But in our defence, we took the letter into the DMV and was explicitly told by a worker that it was an I.D issue…so this is not entirely all our fault.

Regardless, my SSN wasn’t required on Monday, and because we didn’t bring in the I-94 (an online form that the social security office accessed but DMV can’t check because blah blah blah) yesterday’s trip was pointless. We’re going to go back this afternoon with our file. Hopefully we can resolve the matter ASAP. Like I said, I want to drive again! I love the roads up to Duluth too.

So that’s our story at the moment. Mostly good, fingers crossed it’ll get better later today. I’ll keep you posted.

Have a fun week, everybody.

Alex

First Auction Of The Year!

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

On Saturday I went with Becky to an auction at Janzen’s Auctioneers in Aitkin. This was the first auction of 2015 (at least I think it was…well, it was my first one for six months anyway) and the place was packed with eager buyers…including me.

Here’s a quick recap of events.

Pre-Auction

We arrived shortly before nine (in the morning, obviously). The auction started at ten, but Becky wanted to check out a few items before bidding began.  I amused myself by taking pictures of things that caught my eye…

Auction Begins…

By the time the auction started, there were about a dozen items Becky was interested in. While she waited to bid, I ate lunch and observed the auctioning. Most items were going for a high price, probably because it was the first auction of the year (again, I’m not certain of this…but I am pretty sure)

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Lots Of Pain, Not Much Gain

Originally posted on Even More Photography On The Citadel:

Hello everyone,

Now, in my infrequent posts over the past month I’ve mentioned a few times that Vanna and I have been talking about something. This something is something that I would then never explain.  Remember that? No? Did all those somethings not jog your memory? Oh. Well we were thinking about…a gym membership.

Yup, I’m trying to be healthy! Shed some of my winter weight, tone up those muscles, add some structure to my day, motivate myself to work on my book, build up my self-esteem…there are plenty benefits to gymming (that’s what the cool kids call it) so we finally went for it Tuesday on 7 day trial. Well…I went for it (Vanna read a book).

Oh man, it was rough. It’s been seven years since I last went to a gym…something I realized about five minutes into my workout. Despite this, I think the session went reasonably…

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