Thursday, January 2, 2014

Going Home

A few weeks ago, I was able to go visit my family {AND friends!} for 10 days. I had such a wonderful time and it went by so fast. Good times DO tend to fly by :D

The flight was the best one yet, mainly because my friend Sarah and her two cuties were along {they were visiting Grandma} and I wasn't focused on surviving the flight, but having fun.

My friend Jake and I did some Christmas shopping. We stopped in two of my favorite stores ever: Bath & Body Works, where I got a mint chocolate candle {smells divine!} as well as some hand soaps, and Chapters {a bookstore...similar to Barnes and Noble in the States} where I got my Mom and sister a cookbook. I really wanted to get this beautiful wood cake pedestal from there, but I refrained from impulsive buying :p

Before leaving on our trip, my friend Sarah invited me to go Black Friday shopping with her and her family. But, I had one little problem--I wasn't allowed in the States {see this post}, or so I thought...and was told...and read online.

Anyway, she told me just to phone them {which for some reason or other, I never did back in 2011} and find out. It took some doing, but I finally got reached the Bluewater Bridge, which in turn got me a border patrol officer.

I told him my situation and if it was possible for me to do something that would lift the ban.
He had no idea what I was talking about.
Seriously, he kept asking me who had given me this information--an immigration lawyer in WI.
Wait, what was the ban for again??--because I stayed in the States longer than the allowed period of 90 days and teaching in a school...all without a permit.
{which, by the way, I don't regret the teaching--I absolutely adored my students, but I do regret not having done things fully/right.}

Basically he told me that I would just have to try going across the border. He didn't quite understand why I had been told I was banned and informed me that passports only get swiped when you enter the country. So, my passport was swiped when I went into the States July of '09, but they never knew when I actually left. The next time I'm recorded entering the States was for Black Friday Shopping. Apparently, the Canadian and American border patrol people don't share information, which I always thought they did. I was paranoid that sirens would go off and I would be escorted to an interrogation room by a bunch of burly, sour looking guys where I would be unmercifully questioned and fingerprinted and...well, I thought I'd get thrown in jail or something horrible! So, I never tried just going over.

But, now? Now, that I know--for sure--that I'm not banned...well...possibilities are endless :D

I also got to visit with my good friends, Rob and Jenn and see their pretty little girl in person. Jenn had 3 more months left to go when I moved out to Alberta, so I'm really glad I got to meet Baby A. We had good conversations, great food, and lots of laughs. AND, Rob was nice enough to do my taxes...yes, I hadn't got mine done yet ;) In my opinion, he's the best guy out there for the job. Very thorough and high business standards! Taxes are slightly different from province to province, and he read up on Alberta law and then explained things to me in a way I could understand all that "mumbo-jumbo". 

This year, I'll be doing my taxes early. At least, that's my New Year's resolution. I decided that just now :D 

I got to visit with Sarah and James and their beautiful little girls. Baby V is such an adorable butterball, and little M is a fun girl. Loved spending a little bit of time with them. 

And, of course I loved seeing everyone at church again. There were some things that had changed--they new building was complete {and it was SO pretty with all the Christmas decorations!} and I enjoyed seeing in person what I'd seen in pictures--but it still felt like home. 

It was a wonderful visit and I'm already looking forward to my road trip back. Although, that won't happen for several month ;)

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