skyler-mapes-navigating-thisHoliday 2016 to 2017 Reflection

Today I want to take some time to reflect on the holiday season of 2016 and 2017. I’m still in my first year of blogging so my readers are still getting to know me.

Holiday 2016

Christmas 2016 Giuseppe and I had been back in the U.S. and married for 6 months. We were dealing with green cards papers, the DMV, and health insurance. In addition, we were both trying to find work and figure out if we were going to settle in the U.S. or Italy.

It was his first holiday away from his parents, which is a BIG deal for any Calabrian. I felt horrible for ‘keeping’ him away from his family, but we couldn’t legally leave the U.S. because his papers were still being processed.

The consequence was that we became very secluded from friends and even family during the holidays because we felt nobody could truly understand what we were going through. The only people we could truly connect with were other couples who had been through the visa process with a loved one.

We Needed Help

We often felt (and sometimes still do) the world was going to come crashing down on our heads. Slowly but surely we found a wonderful group of friends whose significant others are coincidentally from Italy. At the gym, we ran into a family friend who is also from Calabria. It was all so serendipitous.

We began to realize what we craved was a community. Giuseppe and I needed to find a group of people who had all been through what we were going through and spend time with them. We needed to ask them questions about the immigration process and let them help us transition into American life.

Giuseppe and I needed help from people that knew about our situation because as amazing as my American family and friends are, there’s only so much they can do.

We Were Grateful

Although we often felt (and sometimes still do) the world was going to come crashing down on our heads we were grateful. We had been living apart for nearly 2 years and had enough of the back and forth between countries. We were happy to be able to live in the same place for longer than 3 months at a time. I think that’s what helped us stay to optimistic.

Holiday 2017

Holiday 2017 feels so much lighter. This past year we’ve been able to complete ALL of the U.S. legal documents. We’ve also been able to plan our lives further than 1 month ahead! I’m your classic type A personality so ‘living on the edge’ and ‘expecting the unknown’ is not my thing. I like to plan vacations months ahead of time and make reservations for dinner. It may sound lame but I live for the expected. Read about how much of a grandma I am here.

We’re in Calabria, Italy with Giuseppe’s family. We were able to plan our temporary move here, and we don’t have to worry about U.S. immigration. We can focus on the important things in life, like spending time with family and friends instead of filling out paperwork.

Sometimes I feel sad about missing Christmas in the U.S. with my extended family and friends. Then I remember Giuseppe was away from his family last year and all we went through and I am more than happy to be with Giuseppe and his family in Calabria.

We Still Need Help

Giuseppe and I certainly still need lots of help from our family and friends. We are still navigating life between two countries and experimenting with new careers. In addition, we both want to help our families as much as possible which is difficult to do when you live in two places!

We are Still Grateful

We are so grateful for the family and friends we’ve made the past year. Some of the people we’ve met have helped us make huge decisions. That’s a hint that something insanely special is coming soon! I’m so freaking excited.

Thank you so much for reading! Find more holiday articles in the holiday section, gift guides for him and her.

Lipstick: here

Blush: here

Bronzer: here

Earrings: Courtesy of Harp (previously seen here)

Hair Products: Shampoo and Conditioner

xx

-Skyler

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