On September 23rd we walked into the US Embassy in Vancouver. We were intimidated. You can’t bring your cellphone or any electronics — not even the remote key fob for your car. Armored guards screen you and escort you up to the floor dedicated to visa processing. “Use the bathroom down here, there’s no public facilities up there,” the guy in the kevlar vest warned.
I envisioned the actual interview process to be akin to a 50s police interrogation — they’d whisk Lyndsay away to some bleak room with a large steel desk and harsh light streaming through the half-shuttered blinds. A severe man in a suit and tie would unwind the string on a huge manila folder, take a long draw on a fresh cigarette and say “So… tell me how you know…. Tom Lommel.”
The truth of the matter is, it’s like going to the DMV.
There’s a little row of windows. There’s the LED counter on the wall that says NOW SERVING and which, of course, is never used or updated.
There’s some bland industrial carpeting and a small horseshoe of uncomfortable chairs.
We both walked up to the window for the interview (a surprise since I didn’t think I was allowed to participate at all) and after 10 minutes of fairly mundane questions, it was over. “Ok, well, your visa is approved. Go back to the other window and they’ll have some more paperwork for you,” the main behind the glass said matter-of-factly.
And that was it. We walked out the door, retrieved our phones, and had mac & cheese for lunch.
It was weirdly affirming and anti-climactic. You put so much time and effort into making sure your application is as close to airtight as you can get it. Tax returns, photos, countless screenshots of Facebook postings and chat logs. Because even though you know nothing SHOULD go wrong, something could. Someone you have never met gets to sit down and in ten minutes, fifteen minutes — less than an hour, less time than you spent on the plane to get there — they decide if you can get married.
“Ok, well, your visa is approved,” he said flatly.
Ok, well, great, I thought.
I don’t think it really started to sink in until we got on the street and congratulations starting pouring in online via Facebook and Twitter.
In fact, it’s happening very, very soon: one week from today we pile the last of Lyndsay’s stuff into a shipping cube, load the dog and an iPod full of Rush into the car, and start driving to L.A.
That’s its own type of intimidating. Traffic, weather, finding a dog-friendly hotel. 1700 miles of road to navigate.
We hope to keep you updated with tweets and vines along the way. If you are due a beer consultation from Lyndsay, that will be forthcoming after the trip.
But in the meantime, thank you for your generosity and support.
With any luck, our next update will be “Ok, well, we made it.”