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Archive for October 2008

Montreal

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Earlier this week I got to take a whirlwind trip to Montreal for my K-1 visa interview at the US Consulate. This is the visa that allows me to enter the US and marry Katie so it’s kind of a big, important thing (for us, at least). In the days leading up to the interview I was VERY nervous. The weekend before the interview was spent in a state of near panic but, thankfully, I had managed to calm down somewhat in the day or two before the interview.

My train left Chatham at 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Nearly 11 hours later, at 5:15 p.m., I arrived in Montreal. I had planned to walk to my hotel (only about 10 minutes from the train station), have some dinner, then walk over to the consulate (again, only 10 minutes from the hotel) so I wouldn’t be wandering around semi-aimlessly on Wednesday morning. As I was looking for the proper exit from the train station I saw a sign that read, “to Boulevard Rene Levesque”, which happened to be the street that the consulate is on. I changed my plans and decided to find the consulate before going to the hotel. I found the consulate with minimal trouble (I initially overshot it by two blocks) despite the best efforts of a wicked wind and a light rain.

After checking in, I ordered some room service and managed to eat about 3/4 of a cheeseburger and a few fries (stupid nerves). I checked over all of my documents (for the umpteenth time) and tried to go to bed at around 10:00. I spent the next hour wondering if I should go downstairs and get photocopies of Katie’s bank statements. The letter from the consulate said that they wanted originals and photocopies of everything but I hadn’t gotten these copied before I left Chatham. Finally, at about 11:40 I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get ANY sleep unless I got the copying done. So, I got dressed, removed the staples (with my house keys and a butter knife – not an easy task!) and went down to ask the front desk to copy them for me. Fifteen minutes later I was back in bed, trying to fall asleep. I finally dozed off around 2:00 and was awake at 5:30.

Even though my appointment wasn’t scheduled for 8:30, I had read online that the appointments are, essentially, first come-first serve. So, at 6:40 I was walking over the consulate (with the same wind and rain and a few snowflakes helping me). By 6:50 I was standing outside the doors, waiting for security to open up. A few other people showed up around 7:10 and we were chatting. At 7:30 sharp a security guard opened the door. He checked my appointment letter and passport and told me to go inside and wait in the vestibule. A few seconds later a second guard opened the inner door and again checked my appointment letter and passport. He clipped a letter “A” to them, had me empty my pockets and put the contents into a little tray for the X-Ray machine. I walked through the metal detector and put everything back in my pockets. I hadn’t brought anything that wasn’t essential with me, so that was a fairly quick process. I was then directed downstairs and told to wait for a guard to take me upstairs in the elevator.

At 7:45, a third guard came down in the elevator and took those of us with letters A through E up to the consular offices (on the 19th floor – BEAUTIFUL views of the city). At 8:00 I was called up to Window 11. A very nice woman asked how I was doing. I said, “Just a little bit nervous but mostly fine.” She asked why I was nervous. I replied, “Because I want to marry my sweetie and I’d like for you guys to say it’s ok!”. She laughed. She then asked for some of the documents I had (birth certificiate, police certificate, fiancee letter of intent, affidavit of support, photos and maybe a few others). Of the 3 inches and 2 pounds of papers I had with me, she took about 1/4″ and a few ounces of them. She then told me to wait by Window 14 for it to open (at 8:15) and pay the visa fee. With the visa fee paid, I sat down again and waited to be fingerprinted. At about 8:30 the same woman called me back to Window 11 and took my fingerprints. She then told me to wait for someone to call me for my interview.

Here comes the best part:

At about 8:40 a very happy sounding male voice called me into Room 8. I walked in and was greeted by a man with a very big, warm, welcoming smile. He asked how I was doing and I repeated the same line about being nervous, wanting to marry my sweetie, et cetera. He laughed too. He asked me to swear that all the information contained in the pile of documents (both the ones taken earlier that morning and those Katie & I had mailed when we initially filed) was, to the best of my knowledge, true. Having done that he asked me to sign the visa application form. When he saw me signing with my left hand he said, “Oh, we’ve got enough lefties in the US, I don’t think I’m going to be able to approve you”. I replied, “I think that might be grounds for appeal!” We both laughed. He asked a few questions about how Katie and I met, how long we’d been together, how often we see each other. He asked if we had a lawyer help us prepare the application. I said that although we’d met with an immigration lawyer (to explain the process to us), we’d done all the paperwork ourselves. He said that when he sees a stack of papers like we’d submitted there are usually lawyers involved. I said, “No, just two incredible anal people!” He laughed a lot at that comment! Then he said he was going to approve my application!! He said that I was an ideal candidate, complimented Katie & me on having done our homework and said he hoped that the rest of his interviews that day were as easy as mine. He asked when the wedding was and I said, “until about 28 seconds ago, it was tentatively January 24, 2009 – now it’s DEFINITELY January 24!”. I thanked him, wished him a nice day and made my way downstairs and back to the hotel to call Katie and tell her the awesome news.

Written by The Canuck

October 24, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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When was the last time anyone cared about what Madonna has to say?

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This video appeared on YouTube earlier today. It’s footage from a recent Madonna concert and, well, see for yourself:

Here’s what the poster of the video had to say:

I wonder what would happen if a conservative woman, any woman, said they were gonna kick Michelle Obama’s ass, …It would be breaking news on every channel

Written by The Canuck

October 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Another hurdle cleared

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As some of you know, I (and Katie) have been anxiously waiting to hear when my visa interview will be. (This is the interview at the US Consulate in Montreal where they decide whether or not I’ll get my fiance visa). I emailed the consulate earlier this morning and they wrote back almost right away saying that a letter will be mailed soon for an interview date of October 22, 2008 at 8:30am!!

This is earlier than I would have liked (I would have preferred something in late November) because, once I have the visa in my passport, it will be much more difficult to enter the US as a visitor. Given those difficulties, I’ll stay in Canada until I move to the US in late December or early January. That means that Katie & I will not get to see each other every weekend (probably every two weeks), but hey, it’s better than having an interview date AFTER our wedding date and having to reschedule the wedding.

I’ve got my train ticket booked (approx 12 hours each way – GACK!), got my hotel booked (only a short walk from hotel to consulate and hotel to train station) and am already thinking of what sightseeing I’d like do to after my interview (I’ll have an afternoon and evening free).

Now just waiting for the sense of relief to really kick in …

Written by The Canuck

October 8, 2008 at 1:37 pm

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I wonder?

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As I was perusing the daily news this morning (including the usual Palin-bashing), a question came to mind …

If the Democratic candidate for President was, I don’t know, Adolf Hitler, would all those on the left side of the political spectrum still demonize the Republican candidate?

Here are some of the articles I saw that got me thinking about this:

Palin ‘a disgrace to women’: Bardot

Madonna bans Palin from shows

Diddy scared of Sarah Palin

And, for those who haven’t seen it, Keith Olbermann’s uber-classy remarks from a few days ago

By the way, who cares what the f**k Brigitte Bardot, Madonna, or P. Diddy (or whatever he’s calling himself this week) think of the election. Shut up, cast your ballot on November 4, and then continue shutting up.

Written by The Canuck

October 7, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Posted in politics