Tag Archives: love

Bergheim or Bust… Again.


Well Uncle Sam, you can go fuck yourself.  I’m getting up out of this bitch.

As you might have heard over the past couple of weeks, Ms. Müller recently applied for a tourist visa to come to the U.S. to spend a few months with me.  And you also might have heard that said visa application was denied.

While the American government might have won the battle, they certainly haven’t won the war.  While they apparently gave more than ample consideration to the ridiculous notion that Ms. Müller might have defected to our great nation, they failed to take into consideration was my extensive collection of frequent flier miles and my propensity for jumping on airplanes to fly around the world with little or no notice.

When the visa got denied, I almost immediately started working with my boss, who was incredibly kind to work with me, to figure out a way we could maneuver a mutually beneficial trip to Germany.  So here I am, back at DIA on my way to Frankfurt.  I got a one-way ticket to Germany for about 100 bucks and a meager 30,000 of my 200,000 miles.  I’ll spend the rest of this week and the following two on vacation hanging out with Ms. Müller and her crazy family.  While I will have to endure a shitload of sarcasm and more German than I can take, there will be no power plants at all, and I think that’s a pretty fair trade.  Then, I’ll put in a week or two of work in the area before a brief layover at home.

Yes, those impersonal bastards at the immigration offices dealt me a pretty good blow, and it took a week or two to come to terms with it. But I suppose it’s a just setback, and to be trite as shit about it, all things worth having are worth fighting for.  So with an anchor I pulled up years ago, and an extensive collection of loyalty program and credit card benefits, I have some options.  And I plan to explore them.

After she has a semester or two of college under her belt, those bastards might be more easily convinced that Ms. Müller will in fact return to Germany, and as such they ought to be more amenable to giving her permission to enter this exalted land.  And, in the mean time, I’ve done my homework, and several universities in Germany offer MBA programs in English, and I could afford them.  There might be an opening for a semi long-term position in Germany at the Company to be Named Later.  If nothing else, I can fly myself back and forth to Germany 3 more times before I have to spend a penny, and that’s if I stop flying today, which we all know won’t happen.

So today, I’ll be flying to Germany of my own volition for the first time (by the way, bloody mary’s seem to cost more today, for some reason), and I’ll do my best to enjoy the shit out of the next couple of weeks.  After that, who knows.  I sure as hell don’t.  But I do know that this thing ain’t over.

Don’t be a stranger.

-B. Littleton

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Filed under The Road

Moving Right Along…


Ok.  So yesterday I told you that Ms. Müller’s visa was denied, and any real chances she has of coming out here have been put off until further notice…  So, now what?

Every day is a struggle.  It’s hard to like, care about shit.

The first two days were brutal.  I was on the road, and I had to keep working.  I spent them in a sweaty and dirty haze, and did my best to actually get my crap done, and to put on a happy face for our customers.  I stayed in the hotel bar into the wee hours of the night sipping Jim Beam, eating my dinner of onion rings and staring off into space.  I didn’t really sleep much.

I suppose it was only natural of me to think that getting home would help.  So I did my best to hold it together, and surprisingly, held it together well enough to finish the job and get back to Pittsburgh for the flight home.  I got in pretty late on Thursday night, and went into the office Friday morning.  I talked with my boss, who was kind enough to work with me so I could get out to Germany as soon as possible, and I booked a ticket using my miles to head out there next week.

Then, with the week’s work finished, and and my damage control efforts behind me, there wasn’t much else to worry about.  No power plants, no part shipments, no planes to catch or flights to book.  I was just at home.  And the next year or so of my life was staring me in the face.  I thought I’d feel better at home.  I was wrong.  I’ve outlined before that home is sort of a quixotic Holy Grail anymore.  When I’m travelling, home sounds wonderful.  When I get home, I realize it’s just an empty apartment with a handful of non-perishable goods and a TV.  I don’t ever really feel at home any more.  As I put it in an earlier post:

“When your life is on the road, not at home, the road becomes your home, and your home becomes sort of a mediocre hotel room that’s just another dot on the map.  I’ve mentioned before that without even realizing it, I almost always refer to whatever hotel I’m staying at as ’home.’   I don’t know what that makes actual home, but I don’t really care for the sensation.”

I think I handled things better for those couple days when I was working, and had at least some modest distractions.  I spent the weekend pouting more than anything else.  I drank too much, and I didn’t eat enough.  Looking around the apartment that a few days before I’d been incredibly excited to prepare for Ms. Müller’s arrival, I couldn’t find the motivation to so much as go to the grocery store and prepare myself a decent meal, let alone start on the laundry from the last two weeks and actually get the place cleaned up.

And Ms. Müller and I struggled to find the time to talk.  On Sunday we both had an overlapping half hour, so she called me on Skype.  And it sucked.  For the first time since we started this crazy transatlantic relationship, I wasn’t like a kid on Christmas when I saw her face.  When she popped up on my screen, the sight of her laying under her covers was like a punch in the stomach.  “This is it” I thought, “this is going to be our relationship for the foreseeable future.  Skype.  Fuck.”  I stared off into space and she gave a futile effort to engage me in conversation.  After about 10 minutes we gave up and said goodnight.  Ms. Müller said it was the first time that she’s ever felt worse after talking to me.

Now Ms. Müller will be starting school soon, and I’m really happy for her.  Not only because college is an amazing experience, but also because right now she has something to look forward to; something to plan for, and after having our hopes dashed, that’s invaluable.  College was her back up plan just in case something exactly like this whole visa thing went down.  So she’s spent the last week registering for classes, looking at apartments, and getting ready to move to the city.

And while it makes me happy to know that she has that to look forward to, it stings like hell that I feel like I’ve been left behind; I feel like I’m stuck on the platform and I’m watching her train pull away from the station.  As soon as we knew for certain that her trip out here was dead, she began her preparations for the next phase of her life.  I just went ‘home.’

This relationship just got a whole lot harder.  The next several months just went from what promised to be an incredible and unforgettable chapter in my life, to another difficult year in power plants and hotel rooms.  But it’s not going to be difficult if I don’t get my shit together.  It’s going to be downright impossible.

So I guess what’s next is finding my big boy pants (they’re undoubtedly  hidden unlaundered in a suitcase somewhere) and doing my best to focus on the fact that I still have this chick, not that I just had 7 months with her taken away.  I need to move forward, and like, be there for her while she does her best to do the same.  It’ll be tough, but at least I’ll be seeing her at the end of next week.  I’m sure that will help.  I hope it will help.

It has to help.

-B. Littleton

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Filed under Randoms

Denied


Well…  Fuck.

We had it all planned out.  And it was a pretty awesome little plan…

Ms. Müller was going to get a tourist visa and fly out to Denver, CO on September 2nd.  She was going to spend 6 or 7 months out here with me.  I had taken 2 weeks off of work, and we were gonna have like, a vacation or whatever, and do what we could to get her set up for her time in Colorado.  We were going to get her a cheap old car, and try to find something to keep her busy when I had to travel.

One day a few weeks ago I spent some cubicle time chatting with Ms. Müller and daydreaming about the things we could see when she got out here.  I hit up Google Images and started giving her the virtual tour of her new temporary home.  Here’s what I came up with (I took NONE of these.  They’re all stolen or borrowed or whatever):

And that’s just part of what I had on the agenda.  We were going to introduce her to my family, who as of yet knows just about exactly as much about her as you do.  I was thinking of taking her back to the family farm in Ohio for a few days.  I looked at cashing in some miles for a little trip to New York City.  And when we weren’t out and about?  I was looking forward to that even more than whatever little adventures we decided to take.  Quiet Tuesday nights making dinner and watching Breaking Bad on the couch.  Ya know, normal life shit, but like, with the girl I love.

After her little stint out here, Ms. Müller would return to Germany around March of next year, and start studying at the Univeristy of Cologne.  In the mean time, I’d work on getting a position in Germany.  The Company to be Named Later has a lot of work out there, and more coming relatively soon.  It’s already being discussed that we’ll need a full-time guy out there sooner rather than later, and I’ve already made clear to every manager that will listen that I want the job, and they’ve been receptive.  I think it’s mine for the taking.  There are 3 guys around here that could do it, but only 1 of them doesn’t have a wife and kids in Colorado.  Me.  And, I want the position.  A lot.  And I have extensive experience working out there (9 trips in the last 24 months).   And turns out probably 80 – 90% of our work in Europe is within an hour’s drive of Cologne.

Pretty perfect right?  So assuming that everything went well with her stay out here, and that I got the position I’m pretty sure I could get, we’d consider getting a place together in Cologne.  She’d study, and I’d be the new lasery-measurey-thingy European Service Manager, or something flashy like that.  It was a solid plan.  I liked the plan.  We liked the plan.

But…

Last Tuesday I woke up and read the news: Ms. Müller’s application for a visa was denied.  Now it’s recently become readily apparent that I don’t know shit about this whole process, but I guess the American government deemed that she couldn’t provide ample evidence that she would be returning to Germany after her visit to the states.  I guess having a family, a part time job, and being accepted to numerous German universities was all part of an elaborate ruse on her part to fool the American government so she could defect to the land of the free.

And it gets better.  After we learned that her visa was denied, we did a little more research and figured out that she could come out here for up to 90 days without a visa at all, she just needed to get a visa waiver, which is apparently quite easy to get if you’re from a country that isn’t on America’s shitlist.  Germany is our homeboy, so that shouldn’t be a problem.  So Ms. Müller set about applying for the waiver, and we spent a day anxiously awaiting the response.

Finally, she gets the following email:

Dear Ms. Müller.

We submit the attached approved ESTA authorization, issued by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Recalling that the expiration date of the document is shown at the top of the document, we invite you to print a copy and hold it between your travel documents.

In any case, you can request for a duplicate at no additional cost.

Attached you find the invoice issued for the amount paid.
Thank you for choosing our services, we wish you a pleasant stay in the United States of America.

Kind regards.
ESTAONLINE.EU
Customer service

She immediately wrote me with the good news.  She was coming after all.  We would have to amend our plans a bit.  I’d have to fly her home in December and back out in January, but all things considered it wouldn’t be too bad at all.  We’d still get some real time together…

Then, after about an hour on cloud nine, she opened the “attached approved ESTA authorization.” It stated that since she had been declined a tourist visa, she was no longer eligible for the waiver program, and is barred from setting foot on American soil.  Some approval…  She wrote me with the bad news this time, and I was reduced to tears on the roof of the power plant du jour.  That’s it.  We’re fucked.

So all that shit is out the window.  Our nice little plan is gone.  Ms. Müller will begin attending classes this fall, and frankly, I don’t know what happens next.  I have a ticket out there to see her for those two weeks I’d already requested off, which is wonderful, but it hardly seems an adequate consolation prize.

And it hurts.  It hurts that I won’t get to start a life with this chick.  Not yet.  It hurts that we’re again limited to skype and facebook when we both happen to be awake, but not at work, at the same time.  And it really hurts that our plans, our nice, neat little plans are fucking gone.  For the first time in a long time I knew what I wanted to do with the next few years of my life.  I had like, goals and aspirations and shit.  I’ll still be trying for that position in Europe, and I still know that I want to be with Ms. Müller come hell or high water, but for now, I’m back to the status quo.  Suitcases and loneliness, hotel rooms and whiskey, plane tickets and a depressingly empty apartment.  And that shit hurts.

Denied.

-B. Littleton

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Filed under Randoms