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May the road rise up to meet you

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2011 - Two weeks ago I made my sixth round-trip journey to Ireland - a place that, on every visit, seems a little less foreign and a little more like a home away from home to me. My numerous trips to the small island have somewhat started to blur into one collective memory of greens hills, stone walls, countless sheep and a few good pints, but this particular trip managed to stand out from the rest for several reasons: I didn't have to spend a single day in a raincoat (by some miracle, the sun shined brightly for seven whole days in a row); I brushed elbows with a couple of famous Irish rugby players in a Dublin bar (unfortunately they refused to take a photo with me, so I have no actual evidence of this encounter); and, most surprisingly of all, my Irishman asked me to marry him!

So it's a good thing I enjoy visiting the Emerald Isle as much as I do, because by saying "yes" to Colin, I've effectively signed on for a lifetime of recurring transatlantic travel. Though some people may see our back-and-forth lifestyle as a burden, I see it as a blessing -- our international arrangement should make for a life less likely to be dull or monotonous. As my uncle Ken nicely summarized it, "You guys should find an interesting life together. That's always good."

But even before we begin tackling the difficult decision of where to settle down, there is a more pressing international issue we'll have to confront: the challenge of bringing my foreign fiance into the United States for our wedding. From the details I've managed to unearth so far, this seems to be quite an involved process. There are a total of eight lengthy forms to be filled out, and a processing time range of five months up to a year or longer (if any setbacks are encountered).

Thankfully, I have an incredibly organized mother with a lot of experience handling tedious and confusing tasks like this (her meticulous attention to detail is the main reason both my brother and I were able to graduate college without having to stay for a fifth year). So with her help, I'm confident that I'll find a way to navigate the murky waters of U.S. immigration law eventually. And the lengthy processing time just means I'll have plenty of time to deal with all the other, regular drama that comes along with planning any wedding!

Megan Laux is an intern with the Beacon.

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