Sometime last year, Akemi and I started the process that would hopefully see her gain permanent resident status here in Canada. It’s been a looooong and winding road and it seems that, every time I think we’re “almost there!”, we encounter a speed bump or, more appropriately, somebody who waves us down to inform us “Oh, you’ve still got a ways to go.” So it was back in Tokyo when I received notice that my sponsorship of Akemi had been approved (Hurrah!) only to learn that this was only a preliminary step in the process (Boo!). And so it was when we were directed to forward Akemi’s fingerprints to the embassy in Asia for a police check, what I thought would be the final step in the long journey. But no. Today, we received an email from our immigration lawyer informing us that the embassy has requested more documentary evidence of our relationship: proof of travel together, joint accounts, letters from friends and family regarding our ongoing relationship, and maybe a couple of blog entries.
Letters from friends and family regarding our ongoing relationship? Blog entries? How about all in one?!
I mean, who better to provide written declarations on my relationship with Akemi than the people who are privy to its details – our outings with the dogs, our trips to Tokyo, our dinners together, the amusing/curious/awkward adventures we’ve shared. I’m talking about YOU GUYS!
Take a moment to leave an Akemi-related comment. When did you first read about her here on this blog? What was your favorite Akemi-related blog entry? Why do we make such a great couple?
A little overview of our relationship:
I was with my ex for about 11+ years before splitting up with her in February of 2009. At that point, it was just me and the dogs. Now, I can’t speak for the dogs and I certainly don’t know if they preferred one living situation over the other, but I will say that they seemed pretty happy to finally be allowed to sleep on the bed. And so, we settled into a routine. Every morning, we would wake up and head downstairs where I would take them out, feed them, workout and shower, then drop them off at the doggy daycare on my way to work. After work, I would pick the dogs up, bring them home, feed them, feed myself, do a blog entry, then cap the night off with a second work-out and a little reading. I’m a guy who grows quickly accustomed to routine and while, on the surface, it may have seemed like a solitary existence, I was quite content.
Ten months later, it was time for my annual culinary journey to Tokyo. It’s a trip I’d made in the past (and many times since) that inevitably involve me checking out a host of fabulous restaurants with the friends I happen to make over the course of my travels. One of these dining companions was Akemi who I met through our mutual friends, Moro-san and Keiko, at the Pierre Marcolini Cafe where she worked. I asked her out for dinner, she (warily) accepted, and we ended up going out on our first date (November 30, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day $6 – Ginza La Tour, Michel Troisgros).
In my remaining days in Tokyo, we got together a few more times, for a stroll through Shibuya (December 1, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #7 – Gordon Ramsay, Mo Shibuya Stroll, Ishikawa (and I mean it this time!), more memorable meals (December 4, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #10 – Quintessence, Monnalisa Marunouchi, I hit the wall – and I’ve still got 11 restaurants to go!), culminating in a bittersweet goodbye yakinku (December 9, 2009, Part II: Final Feasts and Fond Farewells). I was a sad to leave her but suggested to Akemi that she consider visiting Canada some day.
Fast-forward two months and Vancouver was celebrating the Olympics. I also had cause for celebration because Akemi had decided to come visit for a week or so. This time, it was my turn to play host (February 16, 2010: Playing Host). Akemi met the dogs (February 17, 2010: Dog time! Dim sum! And your Olympic update!), made herself comfortable in the kitchen (February 20, 2010: Gusto di Quattro! We get cookin’!), enjoyed the sights (February 22, 2010: Out and about! Ganache Patisserie! Bistrot Bistro! Narrowing down our next book of the month club pick! And an Olympic update!), and checked out some of my favorite haunts (February 23, 2010: Akemi calls the shots! Tojo’s! We do lunch!) before heading back home (February 25, 2010: Goodbye, Akemi!) and then on to six weeks in Perth to learn English.
But she wasn’t gone for long. After those six weeks of Aussie language school had concluded, she hopped on a plane, returned to Vancouver, and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve enjoyed the Vancouver nightlife (June 27, 2010: Night Market Report!), attended foodly events (October 28, 2010: Refuel’s Annual Whole Hog Dinner!), celebrated her first Christmas in Canada with my family (December 26, 2010: Christmas snaps! Another mailbag!).
In 2011, when I got a job in Toronto, she moved with me. We settled in and, in no time, we were having dinners with old friends (June 21, 2011: Chat and Chow with Alaina Huffman!) and enjoying the local eats (August 21, 2011: Daredevil Eats at the CNE! The Return of the Weird Food Purchase of the Day!) while she continued to learn suspect English from me (April 5, 2011: Joe’s School of Language!) and worried about her visa situation (July 5, 2011: Sad Rabbit).
Eventually, we bid Toronto a fond farewell (September 26, 2011: The Final Goodbye Dinner!) and moved back to Vancouver where we became reacquainted with the city (October 28, 2011: The Great Vancouver Food Truck Tour #3!), entertained friends from out of town (November 22, 2011: Either a power line’s down or someone’s coming to kill you! A leisurely day with the Europeans!) and did a little cross-cultural learning (October 29, 2011: Things not Japanese! Or maybe they are!).
Akemi got her first taste of Canadian winter (December 24, 2011: C-c-c-c-c-cold! Home cookin’! Maximus chills! Dark Matter tidings! And my Snow Monkeys on the verge of a championship!) when we went to Montreal to spend the Christmas holidays with my family – and, of course, check out some of the best my old hometown has to offer (December 28, 2011: Welcome to east coast winter! Garde Manger!).
We kicked off 2012 by going back to Tokyo where I met her family (February 3, 2012: Tokyo Day #7! Braving the cold! Kaiseki! Football Avenue! And it’s all business! Sort of!), then settled back in to life in Vancouver with Akemi showing off her cooking prowess (March 17, 2012: Kitchen triumphs! Out and about! How to treat a migraine?! And a mini mailbag!). In April we celebrated her birthday by having her favorite chef come to the house and cook us a very special dinner (April 27, 2012: Akemi’s Birthday Dinner!).
And those 2+ years were just the beginning!
So help a couple out. Leave a comment!