My Heart // Our Story


To You,

It doesn’t take much. A quick thought; a small memory; a reminder of where I’m from. It doesn’t take much for me to feel every emotion rush to my eyes that then smile with pride, while tearing up over lost time. Every memory leads to a story over someone truly wonderful and giving and wise.

No one person is perfect, that’s just not a thing. But he shined in his imperfections like every star that fills the night sky. He was and is my star, and even though he’s gone, he’s never left me or my family behind. The pride I have over his name, his voice, his fight and his smile is what solidifies my strength, my kindness, my mind and my story. He held tradition high, yet could step back to make criticism over the wrong doing of a country. He may have missed many family dinners, but he was busy working three jobs to spread food amongst all the tables. He may have broken my heart the day he didn’t come home, but he’s helped it grow every day since he passed.

In a time where people are hateful towards fellow humans; judgmental over skin color or gender or love choices; and ignorant towards refugees, immigrants, and minorities — All I can say is that my father was an Asian man; He was stateless at one point and an immigrant a few times over; He washed dishes throughout med school and helped so many when needed. My father epitomizes what so many are fearful of, and that carries on in me and my siblings. He was my father on earth and my angel since June 8, 1992. And so every year I re-introduce my father to you, because his story is ongoing and we’ll never let it stop.

Dad – as with every day that passes, I love and miss you, now and always xoxo

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

1,348 days worth raising your glass to


To You,

Time goes by pretty fast when you’re having fun. Or so I’ve heard. Apparently, it can also go by pretty fast when you’re asking yourself “what the hell am I doing here” nearly everyday for a few months, followed by another few months of, “I cannot believe I moved here..”, to “how did we make it this long apart?” So, to each their own, you know.. time passes in happiness and misery.

[What a useless life motto, eh?]

..But, in the end, we are here. And I did move here. And we did somehow make it this long apart.

One thousand three hundred and forty eight days.

I started dating Patrick in June 2011. We were together nearly everyday from then until September 2011 when I moved to England for my postgraduate studies. And we didn’t live in the same country until those 1,348 days later.

[My well spoken husband just chimed in with, “Yeah! F*ck you, cheaters!” He’s sweet like that. And committed. And does not take kindly to anyone who uses long distance as an excuse for their infidelities.]

Today marks one year since I was legally able to immigrate and move to the United States (seriously – I still have to look at this handsome bloke’s face beside me to remind myself why sometimes). It has been a difficult year for me (sometimes, his pretty face doesn’t do it… that’s when I remind myself that airports still exist to take me places away from here). We were married nearly 1.5 years before we moved in together for the first time, and that in itself is amazingly euphoric. Like, euphoric as in when you take some hallucinogens, and everything is sparkly and floaty and bright, and then the walls start caving in and zombies are taking over the neighborhood and have already claimed your right leg as their own. (My husband just reminded me that I can’t speak from experience. But I’ve had some gnarly cold medicine before.. and ooo boy lemme tell you stories!….)

Long story short, I cannot put our relationship into words. I cannot rationalize our time spent apart. I will never be able to explain the pain and stress and complete exhaustion we endured to get here. People who know me know that I do not take marriage lightly. I don’t take relationships lightly. And when I left Patrick in Chicago O’Hare Airport in 2011, I did not say good-bye lightly.

In reality, we are not meant to be. We’re not “soul mates”. We did not promise to make this work, no matter how long it took. We took each day just as that – day by day. And each day that we built upon a strong foundation of trust, we committed to each other that much more.  It was hell. It’s still not easy. But, as my husband gives me a bouquet of flowers and simply states “I’m glad you’re here”, it reminds me that we have come a long way. Only few can appreciate this. But they’re a good few. 🙂

Thanks for having me, babe.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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2011, Chicago O’Hare

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June 2012, London, UK

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February 2014, USA

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February 2014, USA

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May 31, 2015 – U.S. Border

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April 17, 2016 – USA

Long-Distance: How Sane People Turn Crazy


To You,

I never would have imagined years ago that whenever I was to be wed that my first year of marriage would be spent as stressed out as this one has been. Immigration provides you with one hell of an unpredictable timeline to say the absolute least. I have no issues with the offices or employees involved in processing our paperwork, but more so the nature of which I have never had a clue as to when this would/will culminate. People from the start have asked me “So, how long will this take?” and I have never been so unsure in responding to a query before in my life. I said the hope would be 8-months, but the reality could extend to beyond a year. It’s horrible, the waiting process. Just miserable.

People have always asked my husband and I, typically in separate situations, if we have any tips for long distance. I mean, I think we are a testament to the power of trust, respect, and communication in that we were only dating a mere few months before our distance expanded in September 2011.. and now we are married, and moving towards ridding of any distance ever again. But in the end, I would never recommend this to anyone, nor can I tell anyone how to make this work. I think both of us have truthfully told those inquiring that it’s a pain in the ass, requires top-notch communication, trust, and respect, and that the little things in a ‘normal’, close proximity relationship may be huge things when doing long distance. But again, some people are so laid back that their need for consistent communication may not be the case, but it was for me and him. In the end, I do not recommend long distance, I still wince at the notion of it, but all the same we have created a friendship, partnership, and relationship based off of the least superficial of necessities. Sure, my husband is the studliest of studs, but when you’re apart trust and communication trump that pretty face. But my oh my, is it ever gorgeous 😉

I love my husband more than I could possibly explain. He finds ways to nurture me from afar, and he encourages my strengths ten fold. In long distance you truly gain a best friend, because they are the only one who understands the painful moments of missing one another, the stresses that occur between you that explode to larger proportions due to long distance, and the angst of wanting fewer miles between you. No one else can listen to me cry, and weep, and sob out of loneliness and get the fact that I just want to hold his hand and be hugged by him alone. No one else can listen to me endlessly complain about the same stupid things about this process and understand the magnitude of my pain. No one else can begin to comprehend the joy in my face as it lights up when I get to sit down in front of my laptop and see his face on Facetime. But he can. And he does. That’s the beauty in our ridiculous tale. We completely like each other. He is my bestest of best friends and in the most loner-tone of honesties, knowing I can’t see or hang out with him, most days I’d much rather cozy up at my studio flat on my lonesome than hang out with others for the sake of not being alone.

Our relationship is founded in the endless effort we had to make to survive this type of situation together. Our communication would have never been so strong had we not gone through these years apart. Our trust would not have stood to be as solid as it is now. And the effort we had to make to show each other our commitment through distance would have never been as evident. For us, long distance has forced two people who hate phone conversations, have introverted characters (me more so than him), a pile worth of baggage, and dwindling trust issues from past experiences to challenge each other to grow selflessly, improve on our flaws, and build a kickass friendship.

But don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a huge pain in the ass. 😉

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

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There Can Always be One More Day


To You,

I have just returned from my latest visit to my husband and step-daughter in Indiana. And although I will give a more appreciative recollection of my travels in a later post, right now I am rather frustrated with the ongoing obstacles of immigration and lack of clarity amongst those who call these trips ‘holidays’.

Before I continue, I will clearly state that Yes, I do understand the process of immigration, and comprehend the wait times, extreme precautions they administer, and the overall scheduling of these required steps in order to verify that any immigrant be admitted legally into the United States.

Now, that being said, I will state what may have been obvious to many, but not diligently expressed to myself or my husband throughout the beginning stages of this process:

On October 8th, I entered U.S Customs at the Pearson Toronto Airport at 4:30AM prior to going through security to await the boarding of my flight south. Unfortunately I was pulled into their interrogation quarters and learned that this will be my last visit to the United States until I officially receive my visa in the many months to come. I was nearly denied entry on this trip, and was firmly warned that once I had received my application receipt in May 2014, that that was silent notification that as a traveler with the ‘intent to immigrate’ I was officially inadmissible to the U.S until my visa is issued to me.

People constantly comment on my trips to see my husband and step-daughter as to how 6 days is a long visit, much longer than the last; they call these trips holidays, or vacations, and time-off. I could have extended my original travel dates by one extra day, which is considered no big deal adding an extra day to my ‘holidays’. But my frustration and anger at the moment is directed to the improper notions that my time with my husband is a ‘vacation’, ‘time off’. No, my time with my husband is time, quality time. I never take sufficient time to see my family due to work conflicts, working around other people’s schedules, and guilt that I have more time off than others (which is untrue since I work 6 days per week every week). I am frustrated at the notion that people do not understand that I work here, and my travels to Indiana are me going home, for 3 days, 5 days, or the luxurious extent of 6 days. This trip could have been extended for one more day, but post-booking a work change occurred and I was no longer needed at work on a certain date, and so would be coming home a day before I actually needed to be back, something that would have gratefully given me one extra day at no cost. Instead, me being a little nuts for my husband, a few hours before my departure flight back to Toronto I made the decision to book another flight the next day to give me one more night and morning with my husband.

All I’ve ever wanted with my husband and his daughter is time. That’s it. We don’t vacation, or go on holidays. This trip, I went to her soccer game. We all cooked Canadian Thanksgiving together. I helped my step-daughter with her cursive writing. I fell asleep next to my husband, and we drank coffee in bed the next morning. I drove him to work, and did his laundry because when I’m bored I clean. I rearranged his apartment some of which to his disliking, but like I said, I clean when I’m bored. We visited with his family and we went grocery shopping. I was not on holiday, I was at home. And to those of you who state how 6-days is a long time: You try it and you tell me that this is a long time at home. Tell me over the next few years how a few days every few months is sufficient. Tell me how you would feel if all of a sudden you had no idea when you would next see your family, because after this visit of 6 whole days you would be inadmissible to visit for months to come.

6 days is not a long time. However, yes we make it the most quality time possible of which includes arguments, fighting, loving, laughing, hugging, sitting, eating, joking, driving, and just being.

But do not – DO NOT tell me my ‘vacation’ to see my husband was a long one, because I’m typing now after a day of holding back tears, my heart and stomach wrenching with ache and my head unable to translate my fury over others’ misinterpretation of my time with my husband and family. It’s time, the most wonderful and beautiful version of time that I am now inadmissible from holding for an undetermined amount of government appointed time.

I could have had one more day. There can always be one more day, but instead there officially is not until I receive my visa.

IndyOct2014-17_smallPowering through,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A New Post Redirected Back at Life


To You,

Seasons are usually a tell tale sign of time flying by, memories collected in the snow, on the sandy beaches, running through piles of leaves, and basking under the crisp reddening sun. This past year, seasons have been obsolete and time has  been difficult to trace and at times, appreciate. It’s hard to explain standing here in what to most is still considered my youth and watch time fly by and not even care. 

For what feels like ages, I have been sitting and waiting for U.S Immigration to process my visa papers in order for me to follow a life in the U.S with my husband. And I am exhausted, but I have to be in order to remain distracted and aloof as to how much time these days feel like to me. I work 6 days per week in order to lose track of the days. I have one day off per week which means my time off is merely there for me to rest, sleep up, clean up, and get back to the next day. I cannot give myself time to process that this is all taking so long. 

Honestly, I am a woose because this paperwork process has only been months, but having been in a long distance relationship for years, immigration is dragging out the final days of our distance due to the anticipation for this to be done and Part II to commence. I miss my husband, I want to create a steady local relationship with my step-daughter, and I am tired of having to wait to understand what home will feel like. 

In complete vulnerability, I am not doing well. Hence the lack of writing in the past few months. I have moved into my own flat and yet I am married. My belongings here are mine; there is no “ours” here. I’m feeling distant from a lot, and unenthusiastic about much. I’m mad and uninterested in many, and impatient towards most. I’m tired. Exhausted. I’m constantly kicking for emotional survival, and it’s becoming harder each day.

People tell me to wait, be patient, this isn’t forever. But it has been long enough, and although rationally I understand that this too shall pass, emotionally I am just plain tired.

It’s been a rough few months, and it just feels like that none of this will be alleviated soon. 

Breathing in and out,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Hello Face, Meet Mallet.


To You,

I haven’t been doing all so great these past few months. I’ve been rather down in the dumps miserable, and each and every day I try to find the gusto to pick myself up and forge onwards for the bigger and better, and then I get smacked in the face with a mallet. Since October I’ve become engaged, started the researching process into immigration, eloped, filed for immigration, felt like my life is being put on hold due to immigration and its unknown processing time span, had to search for a new apartment (again, a little stressful when I require a lease without a year-long contract), realized that a job I would love to pursue is only possible as a Canadian (a.k.a federal government work that I can’t do in the U.S since I won’t be pursuing citizenship)… I feel like a pawn on a multi-player chess board.

For the past few years, I have fought to reclaim independence. And since then, I’ve also felt like I’ve been compromising that fight for this life I’ve found myself within. The life of a long-distance relationship, immigration, and stress. You know, all of this right now is why I cannot recommend long-distance to anyone – it’s definitely a “pursue at your own risk” type deal, and although it can be wonderful it is not easy, at all.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my husband otherwise I wouldn’t have married him. But, I feel like I’ve been loving myself less. Due to long-distance and the overwhelming personal commitment that it requires to formulate a trusting long-distance relationship, I feel as though I haven’t been able to create a balanced life of my needs and wants versus our relationship’s needs. Lately, I’ve been more and more annoyed, irritable, and uninspired. And this is all based on me. I have put my life on hold for everyone else, and whether that has been a mistake or not, it’s been exhausting. I hate thinking about it. I am so uninspired with my life right now, not because I’m unappreciative of what I have but because it doesn’t feel like I’m me within it. I am not used to remaining stagnant for a relationship’s requirements (the expenses of immigration and the unknown limbo it’s put me in within its unpredictable time frame leaves me without much wiggle room for adventures). Nor am I used to putting my travels on hold to save up for immigration. Traveling is me, it is what my heart and my mind survive on. And in these past four or five years, I haven’t been me. And no matter the elements, when you don’t feel like yourself, and you’re exhausted from sustaining a lifestyle that doesn’t feel like it’s conducive to your inspiration and self-worth, it’s saddening. Maddening.

I don’t know who I am, nor what defines me. I feel as though people are focusing on me as a wife awaiting immigration, and nothing more. To be honest, it’s been hard for me to see more than this. The good person, the committed partner and step-parent, the intellect, the strong woman, the independent woman, the adult, the adventurer, the reader, the artist, the thinker, the risk-taker, the crazy-person, the wonderer – will I ever get her back, or is that not a part of the plan?

I am human and I’m having a hard time. It’s not a day-to-day type problem to deal with because tomorrow it will still be the same. I don’t feel appreciated as who I am – I’m appreciated as a wife and human being, but I don’t feel celebrated as me. When was the last time we raised our glasses to who we are, who our partners are, what we’ve been through – what we’re going through? When was the last time that we received gifts that were out of recognition of who we are – not getting a TV, or jewelry, or cell phones, but a book, an adventure, knowledge, a new experience?

Like I said, I’m rather unfulfilled and dumpy right now. Have been for a while, and I’m struggling on my own. Life is throwing me an adventure, that’s for sure, but it’s not mine. You know, I exist within all of this too- as me- and I feel like that’s been forgotten.

Keep calm (and pour me a drink).

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A Simply Beautiful Elopement


To You,

On February 13th, 2014, me and my fiancé became Mrs. Wifey-Face and Mr. Husband-Face in an intimate elopement ceremony in Indianapolis. We will have a larger celebration down the road, but for now we are happily married as husband and wife, and our lengthy immigration process has commenced! It’s been a crazy whirlwind of events, but to let it speak for itself, here are a few photos from one of the loveliest of days: the day we said I do.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

 

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xoxo

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Dress: Boutique 1861 (Belt: Anthropologie)
Hair: Be Salon, Indianapolis, IN
Photographer: David Morris, Indianapolis, IN
Officiants: Same Day Weddings, Indianapolis, IN
Photo locations: Indianapolis City Market and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

IRI’s, CRI’s, K-3’s, Background Checks, Lawyer Fees: Lovey-Dovey Talk of an Immigrant Wedding


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To You,

It’s an odd thing what happens when you become engaged. Other people start to quickly ask you post engagement if you’ve set a date yet – it truly bewilders me how people have a date and venue planned days (or even hours) after they’re engaged, and three months into our engagement we have much larger questions on our plate than a date for a wedding celebration. Our main concern is immigration. Our budget is currently for immigration. Our priority is to be married, to move towards starting a partnered life together, and call each other husband and wife. Long distance sucks, but what I truly appreciate are the conversations we have that are based off the idea of a marriage and not a wedding. This isn’t to say that I won’t be excited to plan our wedding in the next year or so, but I am so much more excited to start our marriage together and working towards finalizing immigration details.

We don’t have a date planned yet. Not for the wedding ceremony and reception, that is. Our process is going to be very different in that things have to become official for us to complete this process of immigration much faster than what an official wedding ceremony filled with family and friends (of whom come from near and very, very far) could provide us. And although there are days when I feel like I’m missing out on planning our ‘wedding day’, my wedding party, our decorations, etc., I get reminded that I’m truly not when my excitement is evident when talking about meeting with a lawyer, about filing paperwork, and about becoming legally capable of seeing my future Mr. Husband Face on a daily basis, having dinners together, coffees together, and many, many frustrating annoying moments together!

I couldn’t care less about DJ’s, flowers, colour themes …right now – At some point I will be so excited to plan my wedding, especially when I know we can celebrate our long, dedicated journey to reaching that point together with our close family and friends. I understand that many can’t relate nor imagine having to put aside wedding planning to make room for paperwork and legal strategies. But in all honesty, I can’t ever imagine spending over $10,000 for a venue, hundreds of dollars for flowers, thousands of dollars on a dress… so I ask these individuals to remember, ‘To each their own‘.

Our marriage is much, MUCH more valuable than our wedding. And I’m so excited to start this long, painful process towards reaching something beautiful.

Sweet dreams,

Love From, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork: The Life of a Newly Engaged Couple


To You,

Since becoming engaged, life feels as though it has taken a shift. It’s strange to be honest with you, because we’re not becoming swamped in wedding dialogue or anything of the sort – rather, paperwork has taken over every inch of my mental capacity. People have dreams of weddings, bridal showers, engagement parties, etc., but in my case all I want is for this border in between our logistical separation to disappear. And for that to happen, paperwork must be filled!

And, Oh! Filled it shall become!!

Yeah, no – it’s not as magical as that. It’s beyond overwhelming to comprehend the costs, the process, the list of to-dos, and the government standards to be met. Wedding, shwedding – I want us in the same place, plain and simple. People spend an insane amount of money on their wedding, but for us, budgeting for filing visa petitions is priority. It’s less romantic, but much more real. And I want real – everyday, every week, every year. Our budget isn’t just for one day of celebrations, but for everyday of experiencing our life together. You know what? Hell, it is romantic! It may just not feel like it for a while.

I’m not crazy, and I will not second guess this process. It’s going to be harder than anything else we’ve experienced throughout our relationship and mainly because we’re not in control of this process. We know what we want, and we’ll go through months of frustration to get there, because this man makes me happy – and I don’t know many who have said that they wouldn’t fight for their own happiness. I don’t know if I can ever put into words how lucky I find myself to build something wonderful with someone who is the quintessential definition of a partner. You’ve read about our beginning, you’ve read about the distance and the struggle, and now you’ll be reading about our immigration funtimes.

Who knew that when I started this blog in September of 2011 that it would turn into the evolution of a love story? 😉

Keep the love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Some Old Posts to Reminisce On xoxo

Holidays circa November 2011

All my lovin’

The anticipation of meeting again…

An appetite for the mundane daily lovelies

T-bone, With love. One of my favourite memories to date.

Another time of anticipation celebrated with a Scrubs clip.

Lovely tunes.

‘Home’


To You,

One of the things I’m thankful for is on a clear night being able to look up to the sky and staring at the stars. The clarity, the vast depth of a sprinkling of sparkles over a black sheet of velvet allows my mind to get lost, take a time out, and breathe. To say life has been stressful as of late is an understatement. I’m overwhelmed with what’s to come, with what is, and what’s already past. I’m overwhelmed with amazing changes and unknown circumstances. I’m overwhelmed with life happenings, both wonderful and not, and everything that needs laid out to walk a steady path in the next year.

I know people are sick and tired of hearing me declare my level of overwhelmed-ness, but I’m feeling stuck. I’m feeling, well, rather alone in all of this. And I think what’s making this hard for me to deal with is that everything about myself that I tend to look towards when I’m stressed out feels more and more out of reach. What I wouldn’t give to go to the airport and ask for a random destination flight and just go. I miss traveling. It’s a huge part of my mental stability and mental clarity, and this past year, traveling has been put on hold to put other portions of my life into perspective. But I feel as though I need a rearrangement of sorts, because I’m not content in any of this. My logistics, my level of inspiration and motivation, my happiness – it all feels stuck. This past year has been about getting myself back in shape, in every aspect, and I think I’m just hitting a hump of being tired.

Most recently I was asked what could be done to make a place home – for me. Right now, I don’t know, because it’s not about possessions, but about the mentality that flows through a space. I don’t know how many times I’ve stated it in the past year, but I need a day or two for me. And I don’t mean a spa day, or anything of the like, but a day where I can talk about life right now with someone in a way that feels comfortable for me. No rush, no hurry, no impatient remarks.. just a day filled with laughter, hugs, coffee, starlit skies, the outdoors, and comfort. For me to have a place feel like home, I need to know that I can be me in that home. I haven’t felt that in a long time, because I’m always between ‘lives’ – my daily life where I work and sleep and my relationship is handled from a distance, and my relationship life where I swing in for a quick visit, am taking time off work, and I’m living out of a suitcase. My idea of home is about mentality – where I can continue to work towards building a life with my future husband in a space filled with creativity, knowledge, and openness, where I can sit in my corner with my cup of coffee and sketchbook, where after a bad day I feel as though I can recluse in my homely haven and feel re-centered. I want to be home. But right now, home is a goal, not a present possibility (due to the whole lovely process of immigration).

I have a goal in mind, but the stress as to how to get there, when I’ll get there, and what I need to do in the meantime is clouding my brain of said goal. In a sense, I’m lost in Limbo.

Bisous,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A Toronto Event on Immigration, Identity, and Race


To You,

Oh hey, look! It’s time for a little self-promotion! ;o)

On Sunday, June 2nd I will be speaking at Toronto’s F-You Project‘s event, “You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Unless You Know Where You’ve Been” on immigration, race and identity.

As a Third Culture Kid, and having lost my father at a young age with whom represented not only a huge portion of my identity but also the minority characteristics with which I was questioned upon throughout my childhood and into my adult years, I hold an interesting perspective on the lives of an immigrant family. A first generation Canadian, I am looking forward to touching upon my experiences of my family’s story and the first hand education I have been privy to as a mixed race individual, a child of immigrant parents, and citizen of the world.

F-You: The Forgiveness Project

You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Unless You Know Where You’ve Been
Sunday, June 2nd 2013,
6:00PM @ The Remix Project, Toronto, ON

To check out the event’s Facebook page, please click on the following link 🙂 CLICKITY CLICK CLICK!

I am very excited (and yes, nervous). Wish me luck and if you can, come and check it out!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo