Finally together

Couple reunited after 11 months, piles of paperwork and 10,000 miles

Eleven months after their wedding, Evi Orgeron was finally able to join her husband, Kevin, in Luling in March.

Kevin flew 10,000 miles to Jakarta, Indonesia last year to marry Evi after a two-year courtship that included only one face-to-face meeting. The two met in 2008 through Facebook, an online social networking Web site.

Since their wedding, the couple has been waiting for the day when Evi would join Kevin in Luling. But before that could happen, Homeland Security had to approve the couple’s family immigrant petition, the National Visa Center had to approve Evi’s visa application, and the couple had to be interviewed by U.S. officials about their relationship multiple times. The entire process took about 11 months, during which time Evi had to remain in Jakarta while Kevin had returned to Luling.

Now that she is here, Evi said she is very homesick for her family.

“I miss my sisters so much,” she said. Evi and her family still talk using Skype, a video messaging program that she and Kevin used to use for communication. She said that her family never expected her to marry an American and her younger relatives do not yet realize that she is thousands of miles away.

Despite missing her family, Evi said that she is glad to finally be with her husband.

“It was a long wait, but now that I’m here it feels like it was nothing,” she said.

The couple said that while Evi’s family misses her, they were anxious for the two to reunite because it is tradition for the wife to follow the husband wherever he goes to live.
“Her family didn’t like us being separated for the 11 months after the marriage,” Kevin said.

“My mother said it is not good for a wife to be away from her husband for so long,” Evi said.

Since she arrived in Luling, Kevin has been showing Evi everything that Louisiana has to offer. They have visited Audubon Zoo, gone to operas and even visited an Asian Heritage Festival where they met other Indonesians living in the New Orleans area.

“There are a lot more Indonesians here than we thought,” Kevin said.

But Evi said that her favorite part of Louisiana so far is the food.

“Louisiana food is just…wow,” she said. “(Indonesians) eat rice every day, but we don’t know you can make pudding from rice.”

She plans to take a lot of recipes home the next time she visits her family.

Evi said that there are many differences between her hometown of Jakarta and southeast Louisiana.

One difference is that massages were so inexpensive in Jakarta that a masseuse came to the house often to give massages to the entire family.

“Besides my family, I miss my massage the most,” Evi said, laughing.

She said that many things were much less expensive in Jakarta, like haircuts and gas. But some things, like shoes, are much cheaper in the United States.

She also misses the big-city feel of Jakarta because she was able to go anywhere using cheap public transportation or walking. Now she feels a little tied down by having to use the car to get everywhere.

Evi said she also misses working. In Jakarta, she was an English teacher for kindergarten students. She said that she did not expect to get a job teaching kindergarten right away in the U.S., but she was searching for a job teaching pre-kindergarten or preschool to gain experience teaching American children. She finally landed a job teaching students at Boutte Christian Academy.

The couple hopes that their experiences with long-distance love and immigration will give hope to others.

“The process was very long and tests your patience…but it was worth it,” Kevin said.

The couple decided to settle down in Louisiana after Kevin became ill and was taken to the hospital when he visited Indonesia for the first time.

Evi is the middle child of five and was the last to be married. She never imagined that when she did marry, it would be to a foreigner.

“I pictured myself being around my family for the rest of my life…but life is so unpredictable,” she said. “I feel even happier. Wherever he is, that’s where my home is.”

 

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