Top 8* things I realized on our first year together as a married couple (corny alert!)

*8 signifies infinity…to infinity and beyond! 🥰

  1. UNEXPECTED SURPRISES. Since we’ve in a long distance relationship before being together, I thought we already talked about every possible scenario we can imagine (that we may experience) and how we will handle it. NO. There are unforeseen surprises (good and not so good) but overall we are thankful that we seem to be doing great, given the fact that we had two moves in a year. House moving and renovations can be so stressful, tiring, and challenging. We are just so happy we are finally in our own home.
  2. I HAVE A VERY CONSIDERATE HUSBAND. I know how blessed I am but when my husband shared (just recently while we are having a long drive) all the things he considered in choosing our new home, its location, the town amenities (like the park and the safe neighborhood) and how he imagined me enjoying them, my heart melted and I fall in love again and deeper to him.
  3. GOOD VS COOL WIFE. I can be very critical of myself and even though my husband always try his best to let me know he appreciates everything I do, from cooking to managing the house, I still feel like my efforts are inadequate sometimes. I learned that it is normal to feel disappointed and frustrated (and the difference between the two). I realized I also have the tendency to nag (especially about his eating habits). I learned that even though I do it out of care (and good intentions) I should let go of trivial things. I never want to be or even seem to be controlling or manipulative.  I became aware that I can be sensitive, dramatic/emotional, possessive, clingy/needy.  I always thought I can try my best and be a cool wife but I am far from cool. LOL. I am a woman, with all my flaws and strengths and he witnessed and experience it everyday. And though I know I should focus on my blessings, I just can’t help some of the things that runs through my head (God knows how much I always pray for Him to remove unnecessary thoughts). The idle mind is indeed the devil’s playground. I feel so much better when I am busy and productive. I feel like I am in a constant training, a work in progress to be the best wife I aim to be.
  4. ALONE/ME TIME IS A MUST for both the husband and wife. Currently, since I don’t have work yet, I have all the free time in the world. I spent most days alone, unlimited ME time for me. I forget that my husband on the other hand, barely has his ME time, alone or with his friends. I am grateful that he goes home directly after work and even works on our house especially on the weekends. I always look forward to spend time with him but there are things he misses and enjoy that I know only his guy friends can provide, just like me with my girl friends.
  5. RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING, AND COMMUNICATION. Three things that helped us on our first year together and we know we need to continue working on to celebrate the same years of marriage our beautiful neighbors have. They are all married 40-50+ years. I love that we have married couples we can look up to in our neighborhood.
  6. LAMBING‘ or AFFECTION. We may feel irritated with one another sometimes but it doesn’t last long, we feel guilty immediately, say sorry, make up, and show ‘lambing‘ or affection to each other. I think it is always good to remember that we should always try to be our ‘nicest’ to our spouse.
  7. A YEAR OF JUST US FIRST. I realized how great it was to have this year with only just us. No babies yet. We were able to adjust first completely and enjoy each other company. We were able to focus on our needs and prepare our dream home together for our future family.
  8. FUTURE TO LOOK FORWARD. I can’t wait to celebrate more years with my husband. I look forward to the family we will make, with all its adventures and challenges.  I am excited to the routines we will surely have but also to more unexpected surprises life will give. I look forward to our retirement, when it is back to the two of us. I look forward to family reunions and wherever life will lead us, as long as we are together. I always pray that we remember that happiness is a choice and choose to be happy with one another. I realized how important it is to have something to look forward to. To have a goal, a dream, a target or whatever we want to call it. I hope anyone who will read this feel the same way.

 

Our Pet Peeve’s List

As a unique celebration for our two year anniversary couple today, let me share some of our pet peeves we discovered. 😣😠😤😡😁😆😂🤣

Hubby’s pet peeves

  1. Sharing his food on his plate especially when we eat outside
  2. Feet stamping/People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street
  3. Touching his armpit
  4. Too close/Too mushy or sentimental or dramatic /Too corny/Too touchy= NO TO PDA (Public display of affection)
  5. Talking to him when he is doing something and he needs to stop what he is doing to listen to me, in short I disturb him unnecessarily LOL (though this one he is now getting used to me cause I can’t really stop it, I forget what I need to say when I don’t say it ASAP)
  6. People who are too liberal/too socialist
  7. TMI (too much information) sharing especially sensitive information in public
  8. Ruining clothes through shirt pulling etc.
  9. Copying his expression like ‘Yep’
  10. Interrupting him (I’m guilty, related to #5)
  11. When people create problems or say ‘negative’ things about a certain product or anything just to scare people
  12. Not finishing what he started especially when he thinks it is urgent and necessary to finish ASAP
  13. Stopping the car when we are travelling especially when we are in big cities and the toll way
  14. Scratching his car
  15. Using some things (especially fragile) for reasons/purposes they are not supposed to (he really takes care of his things really well)
  16. Stupid/irresponsible drivers
  17. Too much pictures/too much phone time

Wife’s pet peeves (and things I just really hate, some I just realized and observed recently LOL)

  1. Chain letter/messages
  2. Careless Whisper Song (Can’t help but remember Katrina Halili & Hayden Kho’s Sex Scandal in the Philippines)
  3. People who are TH (trying hard in an exaggerated awkward uncomfortable way)
  4. Rude remarks/Cursing
  5. People who smoke around non-smoker. So insensitive smells so bad and what about the danger of second hand smoking? I wish they will just swallow everything. I am just grateful my husband and his family don’t really smoke but once they smoked a tobacco (a pasalubong from his sister’s Cuba trip, I wanted to join the fun conversation so I tried to sit beside everyone in the lanai but can I only last for so long).
  6. Wasting so much money in gambling (can’t help but feel irritated even when it is nit my money LOL, pakialamera lang)
  7. Eating chips in bed/couch
  8. Too much tickle (I can hardly breath already)
  9. Cutting nails near dining table or even cutting nails elsewhere and leaving the cut nails for me to see (Please throw it away!)
  10. Accusing me of sharing fake news (I hate fake news!grhhhh!) I checked everything before I share them.
  11. People who do guilt tripping/Subtle manipulation
  12. Ad hominem
  13. Making food wait/super late eating= NO to ULCER!
  14. Leech/User/Pest/Toxic people
  15. Believer of their own lies
  16. Unorganized (not putting back the things you moved while cleaning)
  17. Calling me BABE

Our First Christmas Letter as a Married Couple

A Merry and Blessed Christmas 2019 to all Family and Friends!!!

Last January, I had my Confirmation at St. Luke Lutheran Church, Starkville, Mississippi under the guidance of Pastor David Hartung. A week later, January 14-15, we moved to Florida for Andy’s promotion. Andy’s company has a great moving package, they hired a moving company to help us and it was great. We rented a small U-Haul trailer and put some of our important things (especially Andy’s beloved BMW car) in a storage unit as we live for a while in hotels. We visited Universal Studios Orlando (it was my first time) and I enjoyed it so much. We bought Hermione’s wand and played spell casting and Andy don’t have a choice but to take a lot of pictures of me. Bwahahaha (witchy laugh). Travelling with Andrew for work was pleasure, especially the weekends.

The month of Valentines, hearts, love and romance! February! Andy worked for a while in Miami. We visited South Beach/Miami Beach where we tried a Mojito while looking at the beautiful Miami Bay just like in Burn Notice. After that, we returned to Central Florida and found a rental place in Floral City, the town next to Inverness. Our first Valentine’s Day together was a day of unpacking (especially for me). Andy took half day at work to surprise and help me unpack our things delivered by the moving company. That Sunday, we attended the service in First Lutheran Church in Inverness (our first time) and they were all so nice especially the Pastor but we still miss our Mississippi churchmates. Andy’s parents flew into Miami before our wedding last February 24, it was a simple and intimate beach wedding in Key Largo. We apologize if we weren’t able to invite everyone. We are so glad though that Andy’s parents and my aunt’s family made it to witness our wedding. We also visited the Key West with Andy’s parents before we returned to Central Florida.

On March, Andy and I went to Hernando Sportsman’s Club for my first shooting lesson. My shooting instructor was good and so was the student. We visited the Floral City Heritage Museum and biked the Withlacoochee Biking Trail.

April was a learning month for me. I attended the New Volunteer Tutor Training in the library. I also attended a class about American History. Andy was so supportive. We also went to Brooksville Blueberry Festival.

Last May 4, there was a Trump 2020 Rally and BBQ Party here in Floral City where we met Mark “Oz” Geist from the book and movie 13 Hours. On May 25th, we went to my Aunt Bernadette’s Baby Shower at Edgewater. They are expecting a Baby Boy!

June 9 was a sad day. My youngest uncle passed away; his baby is barely one year old. We prayed for him with the whole family. We thanked everyone for their condolences. He was deeply loved and won’t be forgotten.

I went with Andy to Georgia where we visited Tellus Museum. It was my first time to see actual dinosaur fossils. When we returned, we attended Trump’s 2020 Election Kick off in Orlando, we enjoyed it so much, the rain didn’t stop us and all the people who went there. On June 21, we got our new house in Inverness, the next day we immediately start our house renovation. June 29, we joined Sam and Ryan on their visit to Seaworld Orlando, it was a fun filled day though the three roller coaster rides left my stomach upside down. Andy kept teasing me as you can imagine.

Last July, we got our Tacoma gray (Tacoma white was destroyed in an accident, no worries, we were ok) and trailer. We celebrated Andy’s birthday at home where I made him a simple cake and lasagna.

We visited South Dakota from August 15-19. It was so nice to finally meet Cassie and her husband Justin. Andy’s mom patiently taught me how to ride a horse. Santana is the best horse for a beginner rider like me. I also get to experience to drive a wagon! We saw deer, donkeys, buffalo, and antelope.

September is my birth month! After celebrating my birthday, we also went to Alex’s Confirmation in Minnesota. It was a surprise and quick visit. We succeed in surprising everyone. Andy traveled for work to South Dakota and was able to visit his parents too before his Dad’s 60th birthday.

October is full of good news! I finally got my learner’s license and I am starting to learn how to drive under the strict guidance of my driving instructor. LOL. I visited Aunt Bernadette before she gives birth and we had a great time with her son Jacob.

Baby Lucas, Aunt Bernadette’s second child, was born last November 9. We passed my green card interview last November 19 and I received it before the end of the month. We went to Pensacola, Florida for my passport renewal and visited the National Naval Aviation Museum. The blue angel jets are so cool! We celebrated our Thanksgiving with Filipino friends and their families. We enjoyed the Black Friday Sale and bought our kitchen appliances!

Last December 7, we drove to Miami to attend Andy’s company Christmas Party where he also received his 5-year service award. We are looking forward to Andy’s parents Christmas visit and moving in our house soon.

2019 has been a joyful roller coaster ride for Andy & I (though I don’t really enjoy roller coaster rides in real life), we certainly enjoy our first year together as a married couple. We look forward in sharing our next adventures with you!

Love,

Andy & Lablynn

Our Green Card Interview Experience 2019 (How we passed our interview)

It was a longer wait here in Florida than other states. Most probably the USCIS office here are processing more cases.

We submitted my Adjustment of Status (AOS) application last February (see our timeline here), immediately after our wedding.

It was October 1, 2019 when we received our appointment for the green card interview on November 19, 2019. We need to appear to the USCIS office in Orlando at 12:05 PM. It was suggested to arrive 30 minutes before but not more than that.

Included in the appointment are complete instructions of all the documents we need to bring. We followed everything to the letter. For me, it is always better to be sure and have more than the documents needed than incomplete. It also helps to boost my confidence and to be less worried.

When we arrived it was exactly 30 minutes before our scheduled time. We waited for a while and was called past 12 pm. The female officer was so nice.

She told us that she already reviewed our case and checked all the previous documents we sent and she just needed new documents that were not yet included in our AOS such as documents that are both under our names (rental agreements/house titles, bank accounts, insurances etc.)

I requested my married name to be put on my GC. I followed what we do in the Philippines where my previous last name will be my middle name now that I am married. My EAD and previous SSN are still under my maiden name. My husband decided to put everything first under my maiden name when we filled up our AOS so it will be inline with my previous documents but that is just us. Even the officer said, there is no problem in putting your new married name in the forms you will fill up for your AOS. (*Update, I received my GC yesterday under my new married name, we will wait for a week if I will receive a new SSN under my married name, if not, we will just go to the SSA office so I can update my SSN under my new married name and without the DHS restriction).

We were so happy when she immediately told us after taking my picture that she was sure already that our relationship is genuine and then she proceed on giving us further instructions about what to do after two years and how can I apply for citizenship after 3 years. As per law, the non citizen spouse of a US citizen can apply for naturalization/citizenship after 3 years from the day our green card was approved. However, married couples who are married less than two years are only granted conditional permanent resident status (good for two years).

She explained (and we were given a printed instruction also) what and when do we need to file a joint petition to have the conditional basis of my status removed (Form I-751). The petition must be filed within the (90) day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional permanent resident status, in my case the date is August 18, 2021.

My green card’s classification was CF1 because I arrived here as K1 fiancee. The officer needed to correct and reprint what she first printed because that day, we are the only one with that category. She even joked that sadly we are one of the few who followed the correct process. She initially printed CR1 which turned out to be the category of all the other couples that day, this category is for those who came here in the U.S. as a tourist and just married here after their arrival, which technically should not how it should be.

She looked at the two photo books I made and brought for the interview (our wedding and a yearbook from January to October 2019) but she didn’t get them, joking they don’t get photo books/albums/scrap books anymore as they take a lot of space in the office. LOL.

She also gave me tips on how to make proper documentation of what will happen from here onward. When we appear again after two years, she will get them from me. I just need to print pictures in a paper with details below about who we are with in the pictures, when and where did they happened.

We are thankful we weren’t scrutinized. We are glad we followed everything the proper way, even if it took longer. A shortcut is tempting. There are a lot of people who are impatient, some have their own reasons for being PASAWAY. But we knew that a good and clean record never lies.

The officer was also curious if someone helped us in filling and processing our documents. She was impressed on how we were able to follow the instructions thoroughly. There are others who hire lawyers, we didn’t. It was my meticulous husband who mostly filled up everything and I prepare and checked that we have all the requirements needed. We can’t help but be proud of ourselves. A lawyer can give an assistance but no one can give you an assurance about the USCIS decision. In the end, marriage based interviews are about you as a couple and the evidences you will present proving you are not one of those who are having fraud marriage/marriage agreement to get a green card/citizenship.

We feel like we can’t blame USCIS officers and even other people who suspect interracial couples. It can be insulting at times, even when we are both professional and accomplished in our own ways, even with a good and close age gap of two years, we know that there are always some people who may think otherwise about me and my intention. My husband’s tip was to turn it into a sarcastic joke. He joked I should say to people that “Yes, I want to have all the color cards he can offer: pink, green, and lavender (my favorite LOL)”.

Most Filipinos are not confrontational and I speak for myself too. We tend to be polite even if we feel insulted or frustrated especially to older people who we thought we need to show respect too. But I think my husband has a point. So I am learning. LOL.

This is our experience and our thoughts about our green card interview. I hope it helps in a way, even a little bit.

You can message me or comment below (if anyone will read this LOL) if you have any question that I can answer based on my own experience.

God bless us all!

 

How to get a Learner’s License (for first time drivers) in Florida

  1. Take the TLSAE – 4 Hour Drug and Alcohol Course. Visit the list of Approved TLSAE Course Providers.I took mine online at the website of Florida Educational Driving School. For those who want to talk to someone, you can visit or call your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office. I personally visited Citrus County Motor Vehicles, talked to the receptionist there and was also given a printed copy of the list of their approved course providers. I was also informed that after taking the test after the 4 hour course, it will take 24-48 hours before it appears in their system. Thus I should return a day or two after I took the test.
  2. Bring the following requirements (if like me you are a non-immigrant or still on the process of your AOS/Adjustment of Status): primary identification (EAD/Employment Authorization Document/pink card in my case), proof of social security (SSN, only give your Social Security Number/card to a legitimate DMV officer inside the DMV office), proofs of residential address (I brought a copy of our marriage certificate and asked the officer to just check in their system the house we purchased under my husband’s name, I also signed a certificate/affidavit of some sort that I really live there).
  3. Take the Permit Test. You can try to take it twice in a day. You need to get 40 correct answers out of the 50 item test, 11 mistakes means you failed the test. I passed on my second try. You can download online a copy of the Official Florida Driver License Handbook and use it as a reviewer before taking the exam. There are also apps that you can use and websites that offers FREE Drug and Alcohol Practice Test and Florida Permit Test Simulator 2019 (I tried both links).
  4. After passing the permit test, I was asked if I want to take already the ROAD TEST, I guess there are some people (not minor/underage) who are prepared already and can take the road test and get their DRIVER’S LICENSE immediately. However, if you are a first time driver like me who never had a driving experience, you may want to maximize this LEARNER’S LICENSE first and learn everything you can before taking the ROAD TEST and get your DRIVER’S LICENSE. I even told (jokingly but also true) to the DMV Officer who assisted me that I am still not confident and I still need more driving lessons from my husband. My learner’s permit expiration is the same date as my EAD but I asked and was told that once I get my green card/permanent resident card I just need to present it if I want to extend my learner’s license. Hopefully, I don’t need an extension and after a few months I can get my driver’s license already. The learner’s license looks similar to a driver’s license, I was told that I can also used it as a primary identification.

I met my husband in OkCupid and how can you meet yours too

I met my husband in OkCupid way back November 1, 2017.

I tried a lot of dating sites but I like the OkCupid app the most. I religiously used it on my phone every free time I had, after my work in the university (and sometimes after checking papers I took home) as a college teacher.

I like the PROS of online dating: free and harmless (as long as you are smart enough not to be fooled and you know how to properly investigate first before you meet someone in person which should be in public places at first of course).

I like answering the questions in OkCupid and reading the answers of other people being matched to me.

I agree on the traits this dating service showed on my profile which are based on my answers. I am proud of the fact that my husband and I are 96% match based on our answers.

Now of course, I know not everyone are as honest as us in answering these questions but either way it didn’t stop me from trying to portray myself as honest as I could. Never mind the liars, I learned to spot them along the way. I remember resting/logging out whenever I get tired (from all the pervs, fakes and cheaters I met) and returning when I feel like I am ready again to actively search for MY THE ONE.

I know that online dating sites is just a venue and it is just the first phase of knowing someone.

I enjoyed writing and editing my profile. Going back and forth from making it concise to comprehensive is a technique I already mastered by the time I met my husband.

I don’t like guys who don’t read my profile but I need to accept that not everyone have the same patience as I do in reading lengthy profiles. I can’t blame them, we all have our own preferences and we all have different reasons in finding someone interesting. I am just glad my husband and I caught each other’s interest.

I found here a good review of OkCupid that says the important things on why I like it and what I think the same reason our match (my husband and I) succeeded (not instantly though, it took me almost two years to find someone who is as honest, serious and share the same values I have).

“What is OkCupid? It’s a totally free matching service. It’s also extremely accurate, as long as (a) you’re honest, and (b) you know what you want. We don’t claim to evaluate you perfectly, but we do claim to find someone who claims to fulfill your claimed requirements, exactly.”

“We aim to be the best matching service on every front: superior technology, better math, better psychology. And of course, it’s free, unlike all the others.”

There are no better tips than those two mentioned above: BE HONEST AND KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

Just like how we can work hard in getting other things we really wanted, shouldn’t we give the same effort if not more in meeting and be with the person we want to spend our life with?

Is that a YES? Then…

Try and try until you succeed on finding your THE ONE!

Everyone has the potential but only one will put the same effort as you and work it out with you until the end!

 

P.S. I don’t get anything from suggesting this site but to anyone who asked me especially my friends, I tell them to try it and be patient. One of my closest friends just find her THE ONE also in OKC after a long search too and I am so happy for her. I made another post in my other blog about some good readings about the language, science, arts and secrets of online dating.

My Top Interracial YouTube Channels*

*These are some of the other interracial couple/family YouTube channels that I like. A proud subscriber of these channels. The About info are from their About page in YouTube. 🥰

7. MaysDiary

About: Hey guys, My name is May. I’m a mother of two sweet angels, Holy, 8 and Destiny, 1year old! and a wife to a wonderful husband. We are back to Japan now from a long vacation in the Philippines. I upload videos of our daily lives here in Japan. Basically, it’s all about sharing my experience as a Filipina married and living abroad, how I raise my kids, and many more about lifestyle. I hope you will like our videos! Thank you so much to all of you❤️ WHAT TO EXP.ECT: Mom Vlogs.Loud Kids. Cute faces:) My passion for everything that I love of doing and maybe a little chitchat video about life experiences. Overall, Its all about love. I hope you enjoy! & please subscribe and be part of my journey!! XoXo!!

Most Relatable to: Filipino Japanese couples/family who lived in the Philippines and are now living in Japan. She is the sister of the wife in The Ahern Family channel, posted in my other list of FilAm YouTube channels.

6. LikeMardons

About: LikeMardons is a family travel and lifestyle channel founded by Kendz Mardon and Jay Mardon. The channel name was inspired from “live laugh love learn” motto. LIVE well, LAUGH often, LOVE much and LEARN plenty like the Mardons. Consequently, LikeMardons was born. They met in Boracay Island, Philippines back in 2009 and kept in touch until they meet again in 2011. And the rest is history. They have been blessed with a lovely girl named Yunatifa. They believe there’s a whole load of stuff in life that is worth capturing and documenting. Follow their journey and be a part LM community. THANK YOU and WARMEST WELCOME to our NEW subscribers! 🤗 If you’re just visiting our channel and you happen to like our video contents please go ahead and SUBSCRIBE. Don’t forget to hit the notifications button to get notified every time we post a new video. 😉 To our subscribers/regular viewers, massive Thank You for taking your time watching our videos. Hope you stick around. 😄

Most Relatable to: Filipino British couples/family who lived in UK before and are now living or planning to live in the Philippines.

5. Filipino Czech family

About: No info yet

Most Relatable to: Filipino Czech couples/family. The husband is the Filipino here and the wife is from Czech Republic, they are working and living in England with their only daughter.

4. Solenn Heussaff

About: I’m Solenn Heussaff, and I’m an actress based in the Philippines. I started out in fashion design and makeup artistry, but one thing lead to another, and now you can find me in soap operas and movies. A lot call me a celebrity, but that’s the last thing I would use to describe myself. I’m just a girl who likes to do a little bit of everything—I act, design, do makeup, paint, cook, bake, make books, sing, and work out a lot—and I always, always have fun doing all that.

Most Relatable to: Multiracial couples. Solenn is a Filipina-French actress living in the Philippines with her Argentine husband, Nico Bolzico. They are a funny couple, the bullied husband jokingly calling Solenn his wifezilla. LOL. Solenn is currently pregnant to their first child.

3. Dwaine Woolley/Shanta Woolley

About Dwaine: Wassup guys?! I am 100% Australian BUT fluent in speaking 3 Filipino languages which are Tagalog, Visaya and Waray waray! I am a private Pilot, a drummer, a singer, an actor and a host! In 2015 I won 2nd runner up on eat Bulaga’s “You’re My Foreignoy” and in 2016 was a semi finalist on ABS-CBN’s “I Love OPM”. I love the Philippines and call this country my new home. In March 2017 I married the love of my life, the beautiful Shanta Marie! My videos consist of me speaking in Filipino, exploring the Philippines, and comedy skits in Tagalog, Bisaya and Waray! If you have a request for us, simply comment “Dear Dwanta” on any video with your request and we will do it!

About Shanta: I’m a Filipina from Leyte who speaks Waray, Bisaya, Tagalog, and English. A pianist and a frustrated ballerina LOL I love to laugh. I could say that I am generally a happy person who wants others to be able to achieve their dreams and be happy too.

Most Relatable to:Filipino Australian couples with no baby yet, the wife is older (but is baby face) than the husband. They live in the Philippines and visit Australia from time to time.

2. simply rhaze

About: Hi Everyone, Welcome to my channel, I am Razel also known as Simply Rhaze I am a vlogger / digital influencer with a passion for beauty, fashion and everything lifestyle I upload videos almost on a daily basis of my day to day life along with promotional videos

Most Relatable to: Filipino Australian couples with no baby yet, though they are now currently trying to have one.

1. TheMcQueenS

About: WE ARE THE MCQUEENS. We make family daily vlogs on youtube, sharing our joy and struggles of being in an Interracial Marriage, Long Distance Relationship, being parents, and just sharing everything we do under the sun. We also share lessons we learn along the way, in hope to be able to help those who are going through or might have to go through thing we went through. I hope you can join us on our journey of growing as individual and raising a FAMILY.. -McQueen Family

Most Relatable to: Filipino British couple/family. With their super cute daughter Lily and dog Vincent. They are living in the Philippines.