Next Monday, at about this time (6pm GMT roughly), I will be returning home from London with my dad, after what I’m hoping was a successful and life changing interview at the US Embassy (granted, I probably won’t know if it was good at that point). Currently, I’m excited and nervous for the interview in equal measure. Although I’m confident about our chances, and I know in my heart that our relationship is legit, there is still no guarantee that I’ll be granted the visa. And even if it was nailed on, I’d still worry because I worry about everything, regardless of whether it worth worrying about or not. One of my desirable traits, that.
Anyway, I’ve been preparing for Monday’s mission today, and my current worry of choice is our backpacks. As my appointment is at 9am, it would be impossible (well, very difficult) for us to get to London the same day, so we’re staying overnight in a hotel. Now, the embassy is very strict on what is allowed on the premises (laptops are a no, as are guns, explosives, sharp objects), which I can fully understand. I have no intentions of causing any problems in that regard; my laptop and weapons will definitely be staying at home (joking about the weapons by the way! I got rid of my cap guns years ago). But as well as warning us against all that there is also a section on luggage, which could either be construed to include a ban on all backpacks, or just those over a certain limit.
Obviously, this got me panicked, hasn’t it? I love the English Language at times, but whenever it leaves room for interpretation, especially in circumstances like this, I begin to worry. Will our bags be okay, or will we be stopped at the door? If the bags (small ones just to carry a change of clothes and perhaps a book) aren’t allowed in, we have a problem.
You see, we won’t be able to leave the bags in the hotel room (we won’t be back in time for check out), and the places they suggest for storage probably won’t be open when we’re walking by them. Train stations have baggage places and they would be open early, but the closest to us are over thirty minutes away AND in the complete wrong direction to the embassy. Not ideal, especially when we’ll be pressed for time that morning. So what do we do?
Well, hopefully either the hotel or embassy will offer a solution; we’ve emailed them both to see what they can do for us. Fingers crossed they’ll get to us soon.
Edit: Both the embassy and hotel got back to us after I’d drafted this up. The embassy just directed me to a Q & A (they don’t answer questions on Facebook; I forgot that from the last time I asked them something, so my fault there) but the hotel informed me that they have a concierge service, so we’ll just leave the bags on our way out and pick them up on the way back. Panic over.
Other than our luggage problem, most of my preparation has been smooth. Vanna’s folder containing our evidence and certain forms arrived last week in one piece, which was a relief. Between that and the documents I have, we should have more than enough paperwork and evidence to support our case. And if the interviewer allows me access to their PC, I can show them further proof via this blog, which has more or less covered all of mine and Vanna’s relationship. But I’m not planning on doing that, and hopefully it won’t be necessary.
I have to say, Vanna did a great job with the folder. It is well-organized, and has everything in it that we need. All I had to do was print off a receipt and then add all my paperwork. Otherwise, Vanna had sorted everything out. While I was fretting over luggage and travel arrangements, she was busy making sure the most important thing was ready for me. Very impressive, and it’ll make my job a lot easier in London, which I’m greatly appreciative of. One less thing to worry about.
I’m not being patronizing to Vanna (‘oh the dear, she actually did something right!’) there, by the way. If I had to do the folder, it would be a mess. Why do I say that? Because all I had to today was add four pages to it, and I, uh, struggled to do it.
In my defence, it isn’t entirely my fault. I don’t know if any of you know this, but America does things differently when it comes to ring binder folders. While us normal, English folk have either two or four rings, those across the pond, for some bizarre reason, have three rings in their binders! Why? I have no idea people, but I can tell you it is very inconvenient to have a three-ring folder when you check your stationery drawer and find out you are ill-equipped for an odd number of rings.
I’m not very good with hole punchers in normal circumstances, so I didn’t exactly appreciate this new challenge. There I was, holding my double hole puncher, trying to punch (I’ve used punch so often, it no longer looks like a word…) three holes into a piece of paper. It isn’t easy, especially when the ring gaps don’t line up with your puncher (for example you can’t just punch centre and bottom, then centre again and top). Consequently, I had to turn the paper at an awkward angle for every punch because if I didn’t I would end up putting a random hole in the paper (which is what I did that the first time, because of course I did). Like I said…no easy.
And if that wasn’t enough(!), British paper is bigger than American paper, so the folder wasn’t actually long enough to fit my documents. That’s just what I need isn’t it, another problem to solve. I did manage to get everything hole punched and put into the correct place eventually, but it took longer than I’m willing to admit to. Consider my experience a warning to all of you thinking about emigrating to America; turns out filling out all the forms and paying all the fees is the easy bit. Filing, that’s where they get you.
But, issues aside, I’m done now. I’m ready. Roll on Monday.