B is for Boxes: moving into the city (and more visa news)

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Thank you for contributing towards Waciwi’s immigration fund- your donation is going towards the $1225 premium processing fee to expedite Waciwi’s visa. The sooner she gets her visa, the sooner she can work. She couldn’t have done it without you, so thank YOU 🙂

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I moved into Denver proper (still hard to believe…it’s been different from anywhere else!). Thankfully, I’ve got amazing friends (yay for a bored housewives, a dangerously sarcastic fellow youth director, and the spunkiest community organizer) who show up to help when they say they’ll show up 🙂 Between the three of us, we got a U-haul, got our workout in for the day, and packed everything into my new 500 square foot studio.

I can’t tell you what it means to me to have my own space. This little studio is my sanctuary. That’s after uncomfortable months of being in transition. Can you imagine staying from home to home, packing every few weeks, and hauling your pantry with you each time? Since moving to Colorado, I’ve moved every year. Affordable housing is an issue here, especially if you’re only hired to work part-time (both my last and current church). Why don’t I have a full-time job? Because the ones I applied for went with other candidates, because the church is super interesting in their financial priorities especially when it comes to youth ministry leadership, and because to hire me, each new employer would have to start a brand new visa application.

All that to say, in the middle of not knowing if or when my visa will come through, I cherish my new home. It’s safe space because it’s mine: I use my own dishes, I can do things like composting, and I can make decisions that are in line with my values, like using cloth napkins to reduce landfill waste. It’s safe space because I don’t get judged here. It’s safe space because I can start again with one of the most fundamental aspects of loving others: inviting people over for dinner. I’m within walking distance to my personal church (where I worship and get hugs from people I love). So I’m thrilled that my friends can come over after worship and grab a bite to eat after liturgy.

Speaking of the visa, here’s the most recent news: my attorney said that USCIS officially accepted my expedited request, and they followed up with asking for more evidence. I shot off what they needed to my attorney, and when she sends that in, we’ll see how USCIS responds. USCIS notified us within the 15-day deadline  (remember, this is the second time we sent the expedited request to them), so I don’t know what that means for when USCIS makes a decision about the visa.

In the meantime, I’m clumsily navigating public transportation, figuring out how to do simple things like get quarters for laundry, and settling into my place. What’s unique about this place is that it houses both students and alumni of an urban program. The apartments aren’t open to the general public, so applications are only submitted if you’ve been recommended by the director of the program. There are cool opportunities to get involved with this community, especially with social advocacy.

Today was a great example of why I like my new location: I walked 20 minutes, in beautiful autumn weather, to attend a brainstorming session on the intersection of income inequality and future jobs being occupied by artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (IA). Two attorneys, several pastors, and a buddy who works with our denomination’s regional offices spoke together about what we can do to watch out for future generations’ jobs (think about it- at a grocery store, you can check out your items, you don’t need a cashier to do that), how to address the shame around not being employed, and how we can use our voices and ideas to produce a resolution. This is an ecumenical group (that means multiple churches are represented) and we will present and ratify this resolution at our denomination’s next gathering and throughout other circles.

I’m interested in reducing my carbon footprint, so walking to things, being forced to not used my car, and having bins to recycle and compost has been important to me. I’m really looking forward to getting to know my surrounding areas- cheers to being hopeful while going through a shitty waiting process 😉

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