Thursday, August 9, 2012

H4: the housewife visa

We crossed over the border a few days ago, and I am now the official owner of a H4 visa (so is baby H.). I was pretty excited when the border guard handed us our paperwork and told us that we were all set and that we were able to work. I had a quick and puzzling vision of Heiko in a factory, but then I realized what he was saying: we could work? Of course he was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I'm not presently able to work in this country. If I want to do so, I'll need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor me through the visa application process.

All this is not unexpected. I have been preparing for this for a while now, and I wasn't planning on working before Heiko's first birthday. Still, that little piece of paper stapled inside my passport eats away at me a little. Combined with the fact that the year-long maternity leave is something of a Canadian invention, and I'm feeling more like a housewife, a homemaker, a SAHM ("stay at home mom," an acronym that I like because it looks like WHAM).

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, and there is certainly nothing wrong with this role, however it is labeled. I want nothing more than to spend this time with the little H-man while he is this little. But it does represent a big change for me, and there are several questions looming on the horizon. This is only an unofficial maternity leave, since technically I'm unemployed. So it isn't really a leave from anything except the career track I was on. Should I try to find an academic position? Should I think about re-training (the one thing the H4 visa does permit, though I'm kind of maxed out on "training" at this point)? Should I become (somehow) a WAHM (even more like WHAM!)?
(CSU trial gardens)

So you can see that I have lots of questions. The good news is that I also have lots of time to think through these matters, and ease into my role here. And lots of time to stop worrying about it all and hang with this little fellow.


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