Medeltidshotellet (Medieval Hotel), Visby, Sweden

So I don’t tend to splurge when traveling. I stay at hostels. I eat with the locals. I do it on the cheap. And, in fact, when Good Man and I go to Stockholm, we’re staying in a hostel (with a private double-bed room but no bath).

But we decided to splurge on our honeymoon, when we go to Gotland.

Using Gotland’s tourism website we found a hotel called Medeltidshotellet (Medieval Hotel). Gotland’s website has even more photos of the hotel.

I wanted to stay here but worried about the cost. My new co-worker asked about our honeymoon plans and I mentioned this place, as well as how I wasn’t sure that we were going to stay there. She said, “You know, Amanda, I know you aren’t going to have kids and I know you’re going to live all over. I get that. But this is your honeymoon. And you’re only going to be honeymooning once and I tell you, the years go by fast. If you can afford it, go for it, just one night. We went to St. John’s and ate peanut butter sandwiches every day for lunch and let me tell you, I would never do that again.”

And you know what? She’s right. I’m cheap. I hate spending money unnecessarily. But being frugal isn’t just about saving money; it’s also about learning how to spend it at the right time, on the right things. I think this is one of those times and one of those things (and Good Man agrees). I wouldn’t drop the money to stay at a Hilton, but a 14th century building which has housed nuns, been a hospital, been a hotel, and an office space and then a hotel again? A 14th century building with a house ghost? Oh yeah.

We’re going to be spending our first full three days in Sweden using the Stockholm Card and go-go-going in Stockholm. And then we’re going to relax in Gotland, in a medieval hotel. We might rent a car or a bike. And we’re going to just enjoy ourselves and each other. And it’s going to be worth it.

We’re spending three nights in one of the Knight’s Chambers rooms and I am so excited!

Good Man Doesn’t Know My Mother’s Name!

We arrived at our interview at 10:00. Got through security and up to the second floor by 10:15 (appointment time). Nobody was waiting at the reception. Woman finally showed and took our appointment notice. We sat until 11:00 before getting called.

Our interviewer was calm and quiet and while we were nervous, it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it was.

Until…he asked Good Man a really easy question: what is your wife’s mother’s name?

Good Man froze. Good Man stared. Good Man looked panicked.

I said, “Did you forget my mother’s name?” This is one of those stupid “you better know it” questions.

“Yes! But—!”

The interviewer smiled and said, “Do you know where her mother lives?”

“Yes, Minnesota.”

“And her father’s first name?”


“And where does he live?”

I thought, Oh, shit, if he doesn’t know my mother’s name, he’ll have no clue where my dad lives. “Arizona.” Good job, Good Man!

The interviewer said, “By the way, her mother’s name is ‘Terri.'”

Good Man smiled. “I knew it started with a T, but I kept thinking ‘Ted Kennedy’ because of the news.”

The interviewer laughed. I suspected at that point there would be a slew of “what’s your husband’s birthday,” “what did you get your wife for her birthday last year” etc questions directed at each of us about the other person. But the interviewer just kept asking Good Man about his G-325 (bio sheet). Luckily, Good Man knew his own birthday and parents’ names. I wonder if he didn’t go into harsh mode because he could read Good Man’s face. You can’t fake that sort of horrified “oh no, I don’t know my mother-in-law’s name” look.

The interviewer asked how we met and we just bounced back and forth with a broad time line of our relationship. He asked for some more supporting documents. I gave him proof of insurance, the phone bill, photocopies of our joint credit cards. Most of it I’d already sent in. He also took the two dozen photos. He stopped at the photo of Good Man’s parents throwing the dates and chestnuts at us, so we explained what that was.

The whole time, he made lots of little red check marks all over our files.

And that was it.

Then he went down a few of the questions on the “are you a terrorist, do you plan to spy, have you ever belonged to the Communist party” list. He ran to get a print-out, came back, and we were approved! He took Good Man’s I-94 and said that Good Man would get his green card in about 3 weeks. He told us to apply to lift the restrictions in one year and nine months. We thanked him, he congratulated us, and Good Man is now a conditional permanent resident!

Interview was 30 minutes, start to finish.

Less Than Twelve Hours to Go…

Operation Immigration: Interview Prep
In addition to a copy of everything we originally sent in, we’re bringing the following things (there is some overlap)—originals and copies:

We Are Who We Say We Are Proof
* His passport
* My passport
* His birth certificate, a translation, and a letter from the translator
* My birth certificate

He’s Legally Here Proof
* I-797C Request for Applicant to Appear for Initial Interview
* I-512L Authorization for Parole of an Alien Into the United States (2 copies)
* EAD card
* NOAs and receipts for all original applications (I-130, I-484, I-131, I-765, appointment notice for fingerprinting
* I-94 (in his passport)
* I-20 (student visa acceptance letter)

We’re Really Married Proof
* Certified copy of the marriage certificate
* Letters of support from Mom, Mark, Diana, and a co-worker
* Two dozen photos of us with and without friends and family from before our legal wedding, our legal wedding, our family wedding, and after our wedding(s)
* Copies of dental and health insurance cards
* A health insurance bill for a visit Good Man made to the doctor
* Wedding invitation
* Wedding announcement
* Wedding program
* Wedding card addressed to both of us from one of the sets of grandparents
* Thank you note from a cousin addressed to both of us for a wedding gift we sent her
* Note that my sister-in-law put in with the quilt she made, explaining that it’s inspired by a hanbok
* Receipt for ring engravings
* Envelope addressed to both of us from Good Man’s sister (Christmas gifts)
* Wedding registry print out
* Photocopies of our credit cards
* Statement from his bank showing we’re joint
* Statement from my bank showing we’re joint
* Verizon bill showing we share an account
* Lease
* Copies of our Costco cards
* Copies of the e-tickets for our honeymoon (scheduled in October)

We Won’t Go On Welfare Proof
* My last tax return
* 2008 W-2
* Last three months of pay stubs
* Letter from my employer proving I’m employed at my income level

Flu-Like Princess Virus

“Wake me up in a half an hour, OK?”

Good Man nodded. “Sure.”

And hour and a half later…

“I had to let you sleep! You looked like a princess and I didn’t want to wake you up!”

Well, this princess couldn’t fall asleep again last night. From 10:30 until 4 am I tossed and turned. I ended up topping out at 100 F at 4 am. Because our county has put the fear of God into us about H1N1 and I didn’t want to be known as Patient Zero Teacher Who Made 400 Little Kids Sick, I called in sick to work and went to the doctor.

Doctor did a nose swab and came back. “Well, you don’t have a seasonal flu. You may or may not have H1N1, but since your symptoms seem pretty mild right now, I’m not going to send the swab to the state for testing. There’s another flu-like virus going around and you probably have that. Basically, rest until you feel better, don’t go in with a fever, call if it doesn’t improve in a week or if you get worse.”

I came home and told Good Man. He laughed, “OK, so you’re not seasonally dead. But may or may not be pig dead, but there’s this other thing sort of like death going around, and you probably have that. Call us if you don’t live. Yeah, I can be American doctor. Korean doctors give too many drugs, but American doctors give too little. We need third country to live in.”

Group Shot!

At the July 4th party a week before the wedding I realized that we could probably do a group shot on the lawn. The photographer agreed, and I’m so happy he did!

Everyone at the Wedding I

Everyone at the Wedding II

Mother and I were comparing our thick, traditional socks.

Mother-in-Law, Daughter-in-Law

Truth or Consequences and Snaked

Good Man: OK, I thought they were joking…about this city name in New Mexico?

Me: Truth or Consequences?

Good Man, shocked: Yeah. How did you know?

Me: Because I’m brilliant.

Good Man, jaw dropped: No, really, are you magic?


Last night after my shower the tub refused to drain. This morning I found at least a foot of standing water still in the tub.


Good Man and I rent, but we didn’t want to wait around for a plumber or worry the landlord, so we went and bought an inexpensive auger at Home Depot.

Good Man removed the overflow cover and we followed the directions. The first time we got a small clump of hair out, but the water wouldn’t drain. We tried it a second time and—



“We’re awesome! We just snaked the drain!” I yelled.

Good Man just nodded.

Slow Cooker Kimchi Jjigae

Red Peppers From My GardenI’ve been harvesting the cayenne peppers from my garden. They’re knotted on a string, drying on the porch.

Kimchi JjigaeI made some kimchi jjigae in the slow cooker tonight. It was fantastic.

I used:
5 carrots, sliced
1 leek, sliced
Bunch of scallions, sliced
Half dozen heads of garlic, sliced
3 cayenne peppers (from my garden!), sliced
~4 C kimchi, sliced, and juice
1 lb firm tofu, drained and cubed
huge dollop of red-pepper paste (고추장) (probably ~1/4 C)
~2 heaping T red pepper flakes
~1/4 C soy sauce
enough water to cover

Put in 6 qt crock, cook on high 3-4 hrs.

We ate it with some GABA brown rice. It was just the right level of spiciness. Should make for a good lunch tomorrow.