Had I But Known the Price of My Marriage

I married a Scotsman. Yes, with the brogue and the kilt and the family castle. (Unfortunately our castle is in ruins, as shown above, and belongs to the Scottish Historical Society. My only request—since I can’t reside there—was to get free admission into the place because I bear the name of Urquhart…they wouldn’t budge. Cheeky buggers. Incidentally, that body of water is Loch Ness, so technically we could have Nessie as our pet. Just sayin'.) Anyway, when first launching into marriage with Jonathan—that's his name, by the way (we can do formal introductions later)—the world was pinked and fresh and blissful. Especially considering that I have sworn from my adolescent years onward that I was born in the wrong country. At heart, I am a Brit. I love rain and cloudy weather. I love the cold and the wind and the rolling, lush green countryside. And I love tea. (Ask Jonathan, he'll tell you.)




Yes, there’s a but.


In order for me to keep my new husband in this great country of ours, we had to go through the long, tedious, and tortuous process involving the U.S. Immigration Services—a.k.a. the INS.  Now, the INS is used to dealing with people who struggle with the English language, who struggle with adapting to our culture and pace of life, who struggle with mere common sense. Jonathan and I are not those people. We are law abiding. We speak English. We are in a committed, lifelong relationship. We are delightful. But clearly the INS had its doubts.


We drove to Philadelphia to submit the dossier (their word, not mine) filled with reams of paper, our signatures written so many times our hands withered with carpal tunnel, and hundreds of our hard-earned dollars. This dossier represented months of preparation.  It took us forever to locate the INS building in down-town Philly (without a GPS), find a place to park where we weren’t in fear of our lives, shuffle through security, and then settle into a room packed with people of every nationality imaginable. It was like sitting on one of those packed buses you see jouncing across the dusty African countryside with people hanging from the roof and out the windows, the bodily smells, the strange sounds. I was just waiting for a chicken to land in my lap and poop.


We sit in the waiting area for about an hour for our number to be called. Finally it is, but a man who had been hovering along the wall, runs up to the booth ahead of us and starts asking the officer questions and handing her papers. We stand behind him until he has accomplished all he had hoped too, and we then step up to the booth expectantly. The officer glares at us.


“Can I help you?” she says, her voice clearly stating,  And what do you think you’re doing stepping into the air that I am breathing without my say-so?


Jonathan and I look at each other.


“Um,” Jonathan begins. “You called our number.”


“I most certainly did not call your number. I did not call any number.” Again we look at each other. I try to help.


“You did.” Anna, you’re an idiot. “You called 107 but then that man jumped in front—”

“I did

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