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Cross Border Love

Couples battle geography and the immigration system to be together.

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So instead, they went to Mexico.

"I had always said I would never marry a man until I had travelled with him," says Sarah, chuckling.

For two glorious weeks they surfed and lived it up in Mexico before reality hit and they had to go their separate ways. Eric headed to Ohio to do an internship with his father in blacksmithing, while Sarah drove north to Squamish.

"That was the second time our hearts got ripped apart," says Eric. For another two months they were separated — a time period they agreed was the maximum they could stand to be apart.

Sarah agreed to visit Eric in Ohio over the July 4th long weekend — a make-it or break-it trip, they noted — and their relationship passed with flying colours, as she mingled with his family and shared in the holiday celebrations.

The infamous Burning Man festival in Nevada was on the agenda on their next two-month self-imposed deadline, where they combined the festivities with a celebration of their own. Within what's called The Playa — an area in the middle of the desert looming with large, funky art installations and a large dome structure — they got married in a colourful and exuberant wedding.

But, before they knew it, they were once again forced to separate.

"That was heart wrench number three," says Eric.

Knowing that Eric wasn't going to be able to return to Canada anytime soon, they proceeded to Salt Lake City two months after getting married. After working on it all winter, they submitted his permanent resident application to the case-processing centre in Buffalo.

"And, as it turns out," says Eric, "somewhere in the process, I find out if I try to go to the border and get a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) issued to me... it doesn't jeopardise my case in Buffalo, so I think, 'Hell, I've got to try, why not?'"

It is now May 2011 and they set off for the Canadian border on a mission. Eric is issued a visa for six months, which helped relieve a lot of the pressure off Sarah who was coping mostly alone with their house-building project in Squamish. Now Eric could jump in and deal with the contractors.

"We found out that on the same day, ironically enough, that I was granted the TRP, Buffalo rejected my permanent resident application, so had I been one day later I would not have been allowed in. The mail crossed each other," he says.