Week 10 – Road Tripping

Week ten and Mieke and I feel back in 2009. We have arrived at our first great National Park of the west: the Badlands NP. Once upon a time, we set out on a four-week road trip to the great National Parks of the west (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, Joshua Tree) together with three of our best friends: Fanny, Lara and Moritz. A trip that we will never forget and that has romanticised road tripping the United States in our minds for eternity. It’s been ten weeks, and it finally feels like we are really getting started! Gonki has become a real home to us. Routines have established making our daily lives with two toddlers facing constant excitement manageable. Responsibilities are clearly defined, as we start to drift into a blissful tomorrow. Cut off from civilisation by limited connectivity we don’t have much more to report than our own adventures – or do we?

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Week 9 – Westward Journey

We successfully posted our I-539 application to extend our nonimmigrant status. It turned out that the most significant challenge was to arrange for the required payment of the $ 370 processing fee.

The check or money order must be drawn on a bank or other financial institution located in the United States and must be payable in U.S. currency.

Is it only me, or does it seem rather contradictory to ask a nonimmigrant to make out a check from a bank located in the United States, as this requires to open a bank account with them? And does anyone born after 1980 know what on earth a money order is?! It’s a piece of paper that looks like a check and that the U.S. postal service can issue on your behalf. Took me and Benni a visit to a local bank to reveal this rather useful piece of information. Now we can only wait to see whether our application will get accepted. We should know by the end of June.

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Week 8 – Assumption is the Mother of all F***-Ups

I probably don’t need to break this to you, but assumption is the mother of all f***-ups. Let me share our most recent excursions into the world of why you should always verify your assumptions.

Assumption 1: Due to the length of our trip we applied for a B1/B2 multi-entry business / tourist visa. This visa allows you stay in the U.S. for a total of 180 days within a single calendar year. We thus planned our tripped around this limitation, assuming that our visa would be revalidated when exiting and reentering the U.S. upon our travels through Canada.


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