Katherine's been gone about two weeks now. I'm home sick today, which just reinforces the fact that we live in a huge house when you spend 36 hours in it without your wife.
I have, however, watched a few episodes of the Sopranos (we have the series on DVD) which I promised I wouldn't do with Katherine away, but I figure sick on the couch with nothing else on TV is extenuating circumstances.
Anyway, the week has been an okay one work-wise, but I've been dealing with some things that make the whole thing not so fun.
A) I've been working with an old Lao-American for a while. He had a stroke a while back, and was better, but still had health problems, and his family was hoping the US embassy could help out with bills. They were basically sick of supporting him. Well, the US government will pay to send someone back to the US if they are destitute, which this guy technically is. Anyway, he's about 80, and his wife is a Lao citizen, who had spent over 10 years in the US illegally, making her return pretty much impossible, even if she could afford it, which she couldn't.
This guy's family (daughter) in the states doesn't want to support him either, so he's basically being sent back to be met by social services.
So on Tuesday, I had to go to his house, pick him up, and take him to the airport. It was his decision to return, we don't force anyone to take the government's money and return to the US. When I went to his house I watched his goodbyes to his wife, and equally old, sweet, Lao woman. What it must have been like to know that they were saying goodbye for the last time, most likely, and that it was basically unnecessary, if his family would step up and take care of the guy. It was heartbreaking to see them say goodbye to each other.
B) About a week or 10 days ago, a distraught young woman comes into the embassy with her family. She's Hmong, speaks no English or Lao, so I get her story through one of our Hmong-speaking employees. She's married to an AMCIT, having gone to the States in 2003. 2 kids, 3 months and 16 months old. She and her husband returned to Laos to visit her sick father. Well, about 4 days into the trip, he took off with her passport and all her other documents and returned to the US. So she's stuck in Laos because the type of visa she went to the US on requires you to adjust your status with Immigration once you get there, which she never did, and her husband never did for her. We're looking to see what we can do, but at this point, she's stuck in Laos. Anyway, she keeps saying, through an interpreter of course, that she's relying on me to get her back to her kids, and if she can't see them soon she might kill herself. I've advised against suicide, but other than that, there's not much I can do at the moment until we hear back from Immigration. It sucks.
What a week.
And it's still 9 days until Katherine comes back.