Qian and I arrived back in Xi'an today after an incredible week in Beijing. Despite my crotchetiness with the young backpackers at our hostel, the four days we spent in Beijing were delightful.
The highlight of the trip for me was renting an electric-powered motor boat and taking that out on Houhai with our friends Richard and Ling. We got into the boat at sunset and cruised out on the water as Houhai and the bars surrounding the lake went abuzz with the darkness. A surreal experience.
Other highlights included watching Qian see Tiananmen Square for the first time (I'll post some goofy pictures of her there in the coming days), the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall at Jinshanling and Simatai, hanging out with a number of different friends we know in Beijing, and having a cup of coffee with probably one of, if not the best, China blogger on the internet.
As great as our few days in Beijing were, the biggest news for me at the moment is the news Qian and I received this morning.
When Qian and I got back to Xi'an a few hours ago, we checked her email. Yesterday we'd sent an email to Guangzhou asking about the status of her visa to America.
Well, today the consulate in Guangzhou responded that they'd received all of the documents they needed, had reviewed our case, and have given approval to Qian for a visa to the States! Wooooohooooo!!!!!!!!!! The Land of the Free (and adjustable rate mortgages), here we come!!!
The final step will be going back to Guangzhou again in the coming weeks (Ramesh, Qian and I would love to buy you dinner) to get the visa in Qian's passport. We then will have a party for us here in Xi'an (an event with bells and whistles celebrating our upcoming marriage, but without an actual marriage certificate or anything official... we need to still be unmarried upon entry to the States) and then going to America.
Today, July 3rd, 2009, is a good day. We sent in our first application for Qian's visa to the States on May 26, 2008. So only 403 days after initially sending in information to the United States Customs and Immigration Services, we've received confirmation that Qian can come to America on a fiancee visa.
Someday in the future, I'm going to give a detailed plan for how to get through this process. We made a few mistakes and it cost us a significant amount of time. I'll try to type up something clear and simple explaining how one should go about this K1 visa process.
Until I do that, I'm going to enjoy life as much as possible here in Xi'an, wrap up all of the loose ends that I'll need to after being in China for more than three and a half years, and Qian and I are going to do our best to prepare for the insanity that will be getting married and going to the US in the next couple of months.