Saturday, May 27, 2006

Visa Interview

We had our visa interview at the US Consulate in Sydney on Friday morning. John took Thursday off to arrange the last minute details, find a place to do acceptable passport photos and hire a car. He picked me up at lunchtime to duck down to Woden for the photos. We grabbed a quick Subway lunch while we waited for them to be processed. John then picked me up soon after school finished. We had a few GPS troubles, but were soon on our way to Sydney in a pinky/purple XR6!
On arrival, we had a couple of drinks in the bar in our hotel and watched the Aussies play the Greeks in a friendly soccer match. A jazz singer was also singing in the bar so we got twice the entertainment. We went for a bit of a wander through the city, imagining (as always) what it will be like to live in New York City. It was a nice, relaxing night and we went back to the hotel, beginning to feel a little nervous about how the interview would go.
On Friday morning we woke up and got to work preparing for the interview. We suited up, had breaky and made sure we had all the paper work we needed and none of the electrical gadgets we didn't. We caught a taxi to make sure we would get there in time and we got there with time to spare. John grabbed a glue stick from a convenience store so we could glue down our passport photos and I prayed open-eyed in the lobby.
We took the elevator to the 10th floor of the MLC tower, where we lined up for a security check. They checked our ID and then checked for metal/weapons. We then waited to go up to the 59th floor where they actually do the interviews. At the top, we went through another security check where they took away any cameras or electronic devices of concern. John and I had left it all at the hotel, so it was made a lot easier for us. However, I did still screw up when it came to going through the metal detector - too hard to explain how, but I felt like a dumb blonde!!!
Once inside the Consulate, we took a ticket and found a seat amongst a number of other non-immigrant visa applicants. There was a separate section for immigrant visas and another for US citizens. I imagined the citizens section to have leather lounges and tea and coffee machines, but it didn't. It was all the same. Nice to see.
When our turn came, they asked to see our passports, receipts, applications and my Application for Labor Form. Then we took a seat again and waited. We met some others while we waited and joked around a bit with them. I think we'll miss the Aussie sense of humour. Finally we were called again, this time to a different window. The woman asked to see my credentials and my letter of employment. She asked a couple of questions about the school and then asked John what he planned to do. She checked our marriage certificate and that was it. She said "You will receive that in the post in a few days." And that was it. Done.
I thought we would have to say more, but as John had anticipated, it was more a case of tick-the-box. We had the forms we needed, with all the spaces filled in, so we passed!
We caught up with Matt at Australia Square and then had some lunch in an Asian Foodcourt. Then we drove out to visit Gran in the Nursing Home. We did some shopping at Parramatta Westfield and then by about 4pm were absolutely exhausted so headed back to the hotel. I dozed and John fiddled with the laptop to get a movie to work. We went out to Kingsleys on King Street for dinner and enjoyed our celebratory meal. We shared three entrees and then had a delicious fillet minon each. When we got back to the hotel, John pulled out a Dom Perignon champagne (very expensive and delicious) to further our celebrations while we watched a movie. It was a brilliant day.
So now, we are officially going to New York City. As soon as we have the documents in our hot little hands we will book the flights and the hotel for the first night or two. I've made a long list of things to do before August 12, so now it's just a matter of working through them all. Wow!


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