12/7/00 11:08 pm
It went ok. Everyone seems to say they are there until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I was out before noon, with the visa. Maybe they have changed the process. I had the interview and he said it would be an hour while they added the visa to my passport, it wasn’t. We were out of there in record time. 🙂
I went with my Mom. We stayed at the TravelLodge. It was small in a cute way but there were cobwebs on the ceiling, the shower curtain was useless and the first room was mildewy. We changed to a second room without the mildew, still cobwebs. But the room was cute. Two little twin beds, one counter and the TV hovering over us on the opposite wall. A very small room but cosy. I liked it.
There was a free breakfast, it didn’t start until 7:00am. We went for it. Didn’t get to the consulate until near or a bit after 8:30. Here is a hint for those still going to Montreal. Its actually a side door on St. Alexander Street. You can get free parking behind the building if you ignore the french signs telling you its reserved for something or other. We didn’t have a clue what they said. But we didn’t get towed or have a ticket. 🙂
The security ladies checked our purses. I had already emptied mine of everything but the essentials. This made things easier. We removed our coats and those were checked too. Don’t keep anything embarrassing in your purse/ wallet. After they are scanned they go through them physically too.
After that she gave me a number (18) and we went up a flight of stairs and came to a room where people were in line. The elevator to the ninteenth floor was past the lineup. I wondered if this was where we paid the US$. But we passed it by and took the elevator. It was the right choice. Everything is up on the 19th floor, including the cashier. When the elevator gets to 19 (there is only 19 and 22, no other choices but down) you turn around and get out. Sit in the area for immigrant visas and wait for your number to be called. You will hear your number where ever you sit but you might meet someone to chat with if you are in the right section.
The place is beige on beige. For some reason I was expecting new looking blue padded chairs. I don’t know where I latched onto this idea but its stuck with me all along. 🙂
Anyway, you will see windows 7 to 13 I think. I know it starts at 7. That is where you will be called to hand in your paperwork. First you are called there. You hand in your number and the letter from the consulate giving you the appointment date and time. Once he has that you are sent to the cashier. You get a receipt and go right back to the window. He looks over everything and tells you what is missing. I had only one copy filled out of the little form so I filled out a second one at the window while he sorted through the other papers and asked me how I met Todd. He asked a couple of other questions like what Todd does, how much money I make as a freelance writer. I had forgotten to sign my passport so I did that. Then I wrote my passport number and the dates on the small forms. I hadn’t done that before. Anyway, that was pretty much just making sure I had all the papers. Although he made me nervous I covered it by getting chatty. Told him about the Yahoo Club here. He was interested. So we started talking about how much I know ahead and what I might be wrong about.
The main thing I was wrong about was the time it took. I said I would have the interview and be told to come back after 2:00 to pick up the visa. He said I would be out of there by 11:00 and I nearly was. 🙂
After giving him all the paperwork. The only other thing I hadn’t done was to get a copy of my long for birth certificate. He mentioned that a lot of people don’t bring the long form birth certificate and it was good that I had. He was quite nice once we got chatting a bit. Not quite so intimidating.
Then it was a wait for them to call my name. Not a very long wait. I watched other people ahead of me being called. But the order doesn’t stick to when you were up there with your number. Some people who had a number ahead of me never got called for the interview by the time I left.
Not a very long wait and then my name was called for Room B. I went in and there was a tall guy in a white uniform shirt. He looked like Canada Customs but aren’t they supposed to be American? I guess they just have the same look. 🙂 He was very nice, as everyone seems to say. I yacked so much he hardly asked me anything after “How did you and Todd meet?” I told him about meeting Todd when we were penpals at 14 years of age. Then I went into our face to face encounters and the personal triumphs we have made together. He said I have had a good influence on Todd’s life and he was granting the visa. I said thank you and asked a couple of questions. I wanted to know about crossing the border, if there would be trouble after the bad time I had before. He said it should be no problem as I was now crossing with the visa. A whole different situation. Before I needed to show I was coming back, now I need to show I don’t plan on coming back.
I also asked about other places to get the green card. I had found a local SSN office and asked if we could do the green card there. He said no. They are different departments. But he said we didn’t need to go to Chicago. The green card department is federal and not by state. So you don’t have to go to an office in the same state you will be living in. This was great news as St Louis is 2 hours away and Chicago is five or more hours away. We might not even need to make an overnight trip. But, Todd read a site which says we do have to go to Chicago so we are not ahead in this question. 🙂 The immigration interviewer did tell me the best place to find out was when I crossed the border and talked to the Immigration people there. They could tell me where I need to get the card. So, thats the plan now.
There isn’t much left to tell now. After the interview he said it would be an hour for them to put the visa in my passport. I was called up in about 20 minutes. My passport was returned folded to the visa page with THE sealed envelope inside. There is a big note about not opening this. The lady at the counter also made sure I knew and that I checked the visa before I left. Being me I gave it a cursory look before smiling to my Mom and getting the heck out of there! lol
We went for a lunch at a Chinese buffet in a small town outside of Montreal. Actually, Montreal was nice this time. Usually we leave there fuming at Montrealers and french speaking people in general. This is the first time in a very long time that we came away thinking well of Montreal and french speaking people in general.
Now the plan is to leave early on Saturday morning and cross the border at the Windsor tunnel. I’m nervous about that after my last experience there. This time I am hiding my diary somewhere. Likely I will keep it in my purse and just hang onto it if they want to check my purse. Its taken me to just this week to feel like writing in it again. 🙁
Anyway, things with the visa were ok. My picture in the visa is another thing altogether. lol
Good night and Todd said to tell you all he is a good guy, a hard worker and a loyal companion. Of course, he is all those things and more. Why else would I leave everything and everyone I care about pack up some furniture, books and etc and live down there in the last country I ever thought I would be living in. 😉