Help Out a Classroom in Need! :)

I know it’s hard to think of, especially for my friends who just got out of school up in the Northern states, but it’s nearly back to school time! Florida starts August 10th! If anyone wants to help out my classroom, I’d truly appreciate it.

I teach 3rd grade at a Title 1 school in Florida which gets 30% less funding than the public schools. 100% of our students are eligible for free lunch which means they are at or below poverty level, so I’m trying to provide them with the an amazing education experience. Any and all help is appreciated. Thank you all. I try to increase their access to diverse books, give my students comfort and a release for their fidgets, as well as continue to educate myself. I appreciate any and all help 😘❤️ Thank you all!

Click here to check out our class wish list.
I currently have many of the Who Was series on there as well as a decent selection of diverse books. I also am trying to help my students focus more and I’m starting to turn my classroom into a flexible seating room so that they can study where they feel most comfortable.

 

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Journeying to the States: I-130 Stage

 

The first step in coming the US is proving your relationship. Start gathering evidence as soon as you can. Don’t throw away tickets with your names on them. Go back into your hotel reservations, etc. Take as many pictures as you can. Document everything. Save old chats and Skype history.

Form I-130 is filling out basic information about you and your spouse. You’ll need your Social Security number or your A number (in order to bring your spouse to the United States you must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder), your address history for the last five years, your employment history and addresses etc, as well as your spouse’s, and so on. The updated I-130 now has biographic information on it as well (hair color / race / eye color. When I filled out the forms and submitted them I had to fill out forms G 325A for my spouse and myself, but now you fill out for I-130A instead.

Also, try to get your name/ your spouse’s name changed as soon as possible so that you can provide the updated ID, passport, and Social Security.

Here are the updated links to the current forms that you’ll need to fill out:

I-130 Form and Instructions: Petition for Alien Relative
I-130A: Supplemental Spouse Information used instead of G 325A

If you’re having trouble filling out the forms, do not neglect the instructions that are given with them. I know that it’s extra reading, but what’s ten extra minutes of reading compared to a few extra months of waiting because of a silly mistake?

When submitting evidence, be sure to include a cover page detailing everything that you’ve included in the packet.  See the following images. I’ve added some notes on the side.

Cover letter pic 1

Cover letter pic 2

Cover letter pic 3

My summary of our story included how and where we met, places we’ve been to, important dates, our jobs and education, etc. Everyone’s story is unique. Try to keep it to one typed page. I also stated that I moved back to the states and have already secured a job etc even though that information isn’t necessary until NVC gets involved. You want USCIS to know that there is a steady income over a certain amount so that they know the immigrant will not be a burden on the US. This information usually isn’t required until the NVC stage which typically won’t be until at least six months later (earlier if you’re super lucky or had an expedite approved) or much later (like in our case – nearly ten months and we didn’t even have any missing documents). Unless specifically stated, do not include originals of documents. Copies are fine.

When I was including pictures in my Word document (later saved as a PDF and then printed in color, one sided), I made sure to add the date that they were taken (digital copies usually have the date encrypted in them), where they were taken, and who was in the picture. Pictures of your wedding and engagement are very good evidence. Especially if you have photos of you signing your marriage certificate / book. Pictures with your spouse and their family / your family etc are great. I probably went a bit overboard, but I included about thirty pages worth of pictures and explanations. I also included the link and screenshots of our wedding website, Facebook events that I had made for the wedding and bachelorette party etc. I included copies of airline tickets going to see him and even our university transcripts to prove that we were there at the same time. Anything that has both of your names on it especially a rental agreement or something of the sort is wonderful evidence. Do not include CDs or USBs etc. They will not look at them.

Photo evidence 1

Once I triple and quadruple checked all of the documents and signed the I-130 and other forms (make sure your documents are signed or your application will be rejected), it was finally ready to be sent off to the USCIS. Don’t forget the money order for the I-130 fee which is currently $535.
Here are the addresses to send your I-130.

Once you submit everything, you should get your first notice NOA1 which will be the receipt that they received your package and are reviewing it. Don’t lose this receipt number. You can use it to check the status of the application.

There are a few sites that are great for help and questions as well.

VisaJourney.com  is great for creating your timeline and tracking other timelines of those who may have similar cases to yours.

The Facebook group (you’ll need approval to join) “I-130 filers Immigration Visa Group.” is also great for asking and answering questions.

Search around on Facebook as well for groups that pertain to the country that your spouse is from because the information may be more beneficial to you.

Keep doing your research while you’re waiting for you approval. Start getting your documents ready for the NVC stage. I’ll write more about that later. The wait time is probably the most frustrating and painful time. We got our first receipt from USCIS September 8th, 2016 and didn’t get our approval until June 29th, 2017 – that was 295 days or 9 months 22 days.

Journeying to the States: Intro

 

My husband and I met nearly six years ago at college in New York. He was an exchange student and I was a junior trying to figure out if and how I could study abroad. When we started dating, we were both trying to figure out how it would work, I mean I didn’t even have my passport yet! What an ordeal it was for me to get that (that’s another story).

In short, he was just the push I needed to help me pursue my studies abroad. If you’ve been following me for the past few years now, you’ll know that I went to Pisciotta, Italy for a summer semester then visited Istanbul for the first time in the summer of 2012 to stay with my husband (then boyfriend) and his family. After my fall semester in Urbino, Italy we both met up again at our university in New York and graduated together that spring. We were stuck on how to continue seeing each other though. After all, transatlantic relationships and plane trips aren’t exactly cheap and easy.

Then I figured it out. While working a waitressing gig, I also took a TEFL course and powered through it in order to go back to Turkey with him that fall. I started teaching English to kindergartners and preschoolers in August of 2013 in Istanbul. My second year there, I moved to a different school and my husband and I moved in together in our own apartment. We adopted some kitties, got engaged, and then got married. It all just seems peachy-keen, right?

Wrong.

Here comes the hard part. We decided it’d be best for him to get his U.S. citizenship. Now, for anyone currently doing this or who has been through this process, you know this is no walk in the park. It’s a long and grueling, expensive, lonely, stressful, and damn near cruel process. The U.S. does not make it easy for people to immigrate here. In order for him to immigrate here legally, I have to prove domicile (a place to live), a steady job with a certain income, and our relationship. Seems easy enough you say? Just wait. Even once all the items are gathered and double, triple, and quadruple checked, it then takes months  and sometimes and years for everything to be checked over by the government and when you try to call to ask for a status update, no one has any sympathy. I will write about the process in steps to try and help others who are going through the same thing.

Fidgets…

Hello all!

It’s been way too long since my last post for sure. The school year was beyond busy, crazy, emotional, and everything else you could imagine. I’ve been trying to relax this summer as much as I can since I know come August 3rd, I won’t see the light of day until the following June.

Teacher summers are never long enough! Now isn’t that the understatement of the year?

Now, like most teachers, I am not a fan of fidget spinners. They were a huge distraction this year and there were no observable benefits that I saw with the kids who did have them. They mostly just wanted to show them off.

I did, however, find an item that really kept my kids busy this year (or rather a set of items), was this IQ Challenge Set. I swear, even my most fidgety kids could sit for hours trying to get these puzzles together. Especially the cube. It kept their hands busy, and a few were even able to “play” with it during class. It worked for all ages as well. Normally, I teach 3rd grade, but I did tutoring after school and would have 2nd graders in my room. Both grades enjoyed them as well as the other students and siblings that would pop in the room. I even had some middle school siblings who would come in specifically just to try and figure these puzzles out.
I definitely need to order another set of these. This time though, I need to put each one in it’s own baggie labeled with what it is and perhaps how many pieces there should be to it.
I had a few students who figured out the sphere and the metal puzzle as well. Some got close to figuring out the cube, but, alas, they could not. Perhaps this year I will have a student who will be able to figure it out. Check them out for yourself in the link below!

I’ll keep you posted!

IQ Challenge


IQ Set

 
Don’t forget to check out other back to school needs as well my fellow teacher friends!
 Shop Amazon – Introducing Education Supplies for Teachers

Following in the family’s footsteps…

I’m starting to sell Avon. My grandmother, my two aunts, my two uncles, and my mother have all sold and still sell Avon products. As a strapped for cash college student, I figured, “Why not?” I have nothing to lose and it could be a good opportunity for me to make some extra cash. So, anyone (in the United States that is) want to help me get started? Everything is online (make sure you see my name up there), ordering, the products; it’s pretty simple to navigate.There are really great sales going on right now because of the New Year and the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. Looking through the things that they have, mostly cosmetics and perfumes  and colognes (I’m currently in love with Bon Jovi’s new perfume Unplugged which is also available as a cologne for men, Mark’s Celebrate, and Derek Jeter’s Driven is a great classic men’s cologne smells amazing), but also other interesting knick-knacks like jewelry and children’s products, the prices are pretty amazing, especially when you compare them to drug store prices such as CVS (I previously worked at CVS as a Beauty Associate so I can personally attest to the price differences). Growing up in an Avon household, I can also assure you that the products are of top quality, and I use many of them myself. The Mark products on the website are geared more towards our age group if that interests you more. Anyway, take a look and let me know what you guys think! Thank you all so much! Also, if you have any questions, let me know!
Please and thank you!

When will something be done?

When I first came over to Europe, we talked about stereotypes in each other’s cultures. Apparently, the main American stereotype is that every American has a gun and we just like to shoot things for fun. This didn’t just come from one person’s mouth, it came from people who were from Italy, Germany, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, England, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, and Spain. At first, I was surprised at part of this stereotype (growing up in an area where we actually had the first day of hunting season off slightly prepared me for this), but after following the US news from Europe the past few months, and, most recently, the past week, I can now certainly understand why.

After hearing how hard it is to get a gun in other countries, how low their shooting crime rates are, and how ridiculously high ours are, I personally believe that gun laws should be tighter in the United States. Even before this, I had the same feelings. It is much too easy for someone who is mentally unstable to just go into a store and purchase a gun. There should be more regulations behind this. People should have to be mentally evaluated before they are able to purchase a gun. Now I know that many people are opposed these regulations, but is it really that much of an inconvenience to be mentally evaluated before purchasing a firearm? And then a possible reevaluation every so often should also be considered.Would you rather put a weapon that, in the hands of a mentally unstable person, could potentially kill and/or critically harm other people and children? Have we not had enough of these instances in the past few years, months, weeks, and days? Why must it always take a tragedy such as yesterday’s to make people think twice about these things? Even now, reading friends’ statuses they say that it’s not the gun’s fault and that regulations do not need to be tightened. It is quite obvious now more than ever that sanctions needs to be tightened; they are much too lax in this country. How can one not see that? How?

Did you know that the United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world? For every 100 people there are 88 who own guns. Take a look at this.

I’m not saying to take away “the right to bear arms,” because with the amount of Americans who are enamored with their firearms there would end up being another civil war, but I am saying that rules do needed to be tightened. In most other countries, such as England, one must spend hours upon hours filling out papers that prove to the police that you are not a threat to society. In countries where gun crime rates are significantly lower than ours. Let’s take a look at the countries that I listed above:

Average homicides by firearm per year:

Belarus: 12
Austria: 18
England & Wales: 41
Germany: 158
Belgium: 70
Ireland: 21
Northern Ireland: 5
Hungary: 7
Italy: 417 (You think that’s bad? Just wait…)
Spain: 90
Ukraine: 100
United States of America: 9146

Now people will argue that America is a bigger country so of course the number is expected to higher, but this ridiculously higher. We are on the same level as developing countries where crime rates are expected to be higher. Something needs to be done, and we should take a page of Europe’s book because they are obviously doing something right that we aren’t.

My heart is so heavy right now…