We did not immediately get married, and I settled into a routine. I went to school, volunteered at my rescue squad and worked every available shift to make extra money to take trips to see M. I kept my eyes peeled for cheap airfares, signed up for a frequent flier program, and got used to driving each time I could not find a good fare.
*As a side note, any students who might be reading, check out www.studentuniverse.com for really good airfares. You have to book a minimum of two weeks ahead of time and have to keep your eyes peeled because the fares change daily, but I got some monster good deals during that period of my life since I was working on my Master's and full time in school.*
The fact that M and I were not yet married and therefore could not start his immigration process really began to get me angry. Every spare moment I had was dedicated to either finding ways to travel to be with him, actually travelling or working so that I would be able to travel. I was beginning to get exhausted and started to blame M. After all, we could start if he could just get over being petrified of marriage after his Pakistan ordeal. On reflection, I may have been being selfish, but I knew he wasn't going to get better until things were settled. He was still horribly depressed, and this on top of everything else really stressed me out.
On the up side, school was really interesting, but didn't consume much of my time. The most difficult scheduling for that semester (Fall, 2005) was doing 30 hours of high school observation. The next semester, however, I knew was going to be absolutely crazy. The culminating project for my Master's in Teaching was a full-time (unpaid) student teaching assignment at a middle school. I would be required to work the same hours as a teacher, including all after-school assignments and parent meetings, and somehow manage to keep up with my "M travel" and work enough to keep a roof over my head. The way I did this was by working 14 hour night shifts on Friday and Saturday nights and a 10 hour day shift on Sunday. My saving grace was the November/December horse racing assignments.
That sounds funny, right? . . . an ambulance at a horse race. . .well, we were to take care of any jockeys that fell off. For this, we were payed overtime pay, 1.5 times our normal rate, no matter if it was midway through shift or if we came in specially for it. These were basically snooze assignments. We would sit on the field, watch the race, or read, whatever, and wait for something to happen. Thankfully, usually, nothing did.
Anyway, exhausted as I was, I continued all of these assignments and waited, impatiently, for M to wake up.