Something has been eating at my soul for nearly a year, and I've found it harder and harder to stay strong for my family.
A Challenge Ahead
We knew it was going to be a challenge when we left Cambodia over a year ago with the aim of getting legally married, introducing my American family to my Cambodian family and reopening our cafe long enough somewhere to earn enough money to return to Cambodia with more legal family rights.
We could've never imagined things would go so wrong before we even left Cambodia, losing $4,000 of our $10,000 life savings to a Canadian transit visa debacle.
We applied for the visa correctly, provided all information asked of us, went to meetings, did biometrics, only to be refused transit because we lacked the necessary funds, even though Canada never asked for any financial statements.
After Canada screwed us, China Southern Airlines told us we wouldn't be allowed to board our flight because our transit visas had been denied, and also we wouldn't be receiving a refund of any kind from China Southern Airlines.
It was so brutal being shattered like that by international iniquity workers before we even left Cambodia. However, it strengthened our resolve to go abroad in search of obtaining the same rights many families are given without even asking.
After all, we had already cancelled our lease, closed our restaurant, sold everything we owned except for 8 pieces of luggage.
After our transit visa denials and newly purchased multiple one-way tickets, we had to jettison 6 more bags, as 3 of us wouldn't be able to exit the various international zones to reclaim luggage on our way to Ecuador.
We Gotta Go Anyway
It was tough loosing so much before we even left Cambodia, but @Sreypov's ex-husband would be out of jail soon, and lacking legal rights as a family, he could've become a very divisive force in our lives.
We had to leave no matter how ill-prepared we now were, already knowing we wouldn't have enough money to reopen our restaurant in Ecuador.
This family is the greatest gift JAH has even given me, so I knew we had to go no matter what. I couldn't have imagined our rich and out-of-touch Ecuadorian iniquity worker, I mean immigration lawyer, was going to kick us when we were down by taking our money and cutting all communication with us.
Just Stay Together
That left us arriving on e-Visas in Suriname with no plan, no money, and also being told by the Suriname Embassy in the USA that we'd have to leave the country after my family's one month visas expired.
As it was becoming increasingly obvious to our children that we were in desperate times, we had to come clean and talk to them like adults, letting them know we were broke, but that maybe we could adapt to life in Suriname, find work, get married, and eventually get out of here one day.
The hits just kept coming: the Suriname economy descended into collapse, COVID-19 came to town, and eventually I even lost most of my online language students, our last financial lifeline.
It was so hard to hear this news, but my students were losing their streams of income all over the world, and learning languages just isn't a priority when you're trying to find ways to buy groceries and pay rent.
Setback After Setback
We had a distant shot of immigrating to the USA on a K-1 Fiance Visa, but now the US Embassy no longer processes immigration visas here in Suriname, so we have to leave the country for that hope.
I also don't have the required income to sponsor the family, but we hoped for some kind of exception to the rule because of our hardship. Well, the USA has made it clear it's the 4 of us against the world, and they will be of no help to us at all.
The @KidSisters have been out of school for over 4 months with no educational support from the Suriname public school system, and it will be another 2 months before they can return to school.
I am so overwhelmed with trying solve our crisis while homeschooling the children and making a subsistence living from our Hive posts. Our life savings are completely exhausted now, and flights back to Cambodia for the 4 of us are $20,000. Thanks COVID-19.
There are no jobs in Suriname to be had because of the economic collapse, and it's worsened by COVID-19. I just feel there aren't enough hours in the day.
The Weight Of It All
I wake up each day at 6am frantic to make sure I can finish a Hive post, have time for homeschooling, work a few hours trying to find ways out of our mess, cook a meal and/or run some local errands, and then before I know it, it's already getting dark again.
Survival is all we do now, and it's starting to wear on me. We've been living in a constant state of uncertainty for over a year, and I just want it to end, but all the imaginary lines (borders) and transportation systems are controlled by the same iniquity workers that put us in this mess.
Wait, Wait, Wait & Remember The Good Times
We used to have a thriving restaurant and school, transportation, tons of free time to go enjoy being a family, and although poor by Cambodian standards, economic security and local spending power.
Now we find ourselves stranded in a strange land, broke, with no support network, non-functional banking systems, having extracted all but the last few hundred dollars of our life savings via Western Union, just another international iniquity business.
Suriname will likely not recover from this hot mess for 2-3 years, as it's one of the least visited countries in the western hemisphere. Paramaribo has already been removed from the new business model of international airlines, and there wasn't even tourism here before COVID-19 showed up on the scene.
All that's left to do is wait and reflect on better times. I've watched countless stranded friends repatriate over the last several months, and I bet it's easier to live through this struggle on familiar territory. If we could just get the hell out of here to the USA or Cambodia, at least we'd have some kind of support network.
Bars, Bars, Bars
Even though Surinamers like to think of themselves as open and caring, we only got to know our neighbors after living here a year. In Cambodia, you are more or less obliged to win your neighbors over within the first week, or you risk alienating the village.
The bars that we now have to purchase nearly everything through here are a good symbol for our reality. We are trapped both within and without, how ironic. The best thing that happens to us now is sometimes we get a major whale upvote every few months, but that is like a drop in the ocean right now.
Just Make Peace
Making peace with our plight is the best we can do these days. Things won't be changing for us anytime soon, and Hive isn't going to solve our problems. Hive barely even keeps our landlord supplied with rent money, but it's unfortunately our main stream of income now.
We may never be able to afford a doctor visit, health insurance, house, land, or even 4 international plane tickets ever again, and we're starting to make peace with this even though it's really hard. We've hit financial rock bottom in a failing country under COVID-19, and we lack basic family rights.
I have to hold back the hatred I have for these international iniquity workers making a mess of global things for me and my family right now. I wish I could tell the @KidSisters everything is going to be alright, but I can't even say that. Instead I have to tell them things are going to get harder for us, and that it's far from over.
They already know we may soon have to cross into French Guiana illegally, hoping for some long-shot at some kind of asylum within the EU. Sometimes I really feel we are going to wake up from this nightmare, step outside, get in our tuk-tuk and go swimming, but that has yet to happen.
We're getting tired of reliving good memories, and we're ready to make some new ones, but just can't see how this is going to happen. We are learning to give thanks for what we have and not be jealous of others, but I do hope this is a life lesson a school system could never teacher our daughters.
This post went off the rails, so sorry. I just needed to rant today, and I honestly have no other place to do that than here on Hive, so thanks for being a captive audience.