We dragged our bodies out of bed at the crack of dawn on Monday morning
and we hit the road to the American Embassy at 6 A.M.
It was foggy, cold and damp. It was hard to even see the road in front of us and my eyelids kept closing in exhaustion. I had only slept 3 hours.
Four and a half hours later we reached our destination.
The American Consulate is like a fortress. There are American flags everywhere and it's surrounded by tall electric gates. There is military everywhere and the minute you approach there is a uniformed man in front of you pushing against your chest with the palm of his hand.
"I need to see identification
Once he saw my American Passport, his features relaxed and he smiled "Welcome
After going through questioning, a metal detector and having all our bags searched, we were given a number. There is a large room with about 200 chairs. The place was filled with people. there was a portrait of a smiling George W. Bush next to all the panoramic views of U.S. Locations. (Washington D.C., New York City and the Grand Canyon)
After a long wait our number was called. We approached an old man slumped over and shifting through papers behind a sheet of glass.
I explained our situation. "We came here 4 months ago
, we were given some forms. We sent them in and we've been waiting. Can you tell us the status on our application and what the hold up is?"
He took our name and disappeared from view. He was gone for what felt like eternity
. I glanced nervously at Eric and he took my hand.
Then the man returned. He slooooowly
eased himself back into his chair. He cleared his throat and then leaned shakily towards the microphone. He glanced at Eric. "Your application was approved 2 months ago
I just stared at him incrediously. My jaw dropped and for a moment I was speechless. "2 months ago??
!", I repeated in shock. "But..we weren't
"You should have received a package with forms and information concerning stage two
"Well, we didn't
", I said "We called here at least once a week, we left messages on the machine.. why didn't anyone call us back to let us know?
"That's not how we operate...
", he said matter-of-factly with a tired expression. He shifted his weight on the chair and stared at us blankly.
"But we've been waiting!!
The lease ended on our flat and we had to move into our boss's basement!
We have hardly any money left and we're stranded
here in Germany!"
"I'm going to just transfer you to someone downstairs so you can take care of all of this, okay?"
So we ended up in front of a new woman behind a new pane of glass. "Okay, here is a bunch of new forms.", she slid them under the glass "I need you to fill all of them out and fax them to this address. We also need an additional 359 dollars
. Once we receive that. We'll schedule a date for the interview and health exam."
"How long with this take?
" I explained the urgency of the situation. I told her about my father serving in Iraq and my Mother's health issues.
"Okay, I see that this is pressing. I'm going to have this expedited and put on the top of the pile. You will receive a call in for the interview before May 13th
. Everything should run smoothly and you'll be back in America in no time."
That's a relief. If we hadn't
made that trip on Monday, we'd be still
in the dark. Now we just have to come up with the extra money...
But at least I know I'll be going home on May 13th. Things are finally moving... Okay, So it wasn't the "Ideal scenario
" but it wasn't "the dreaded scenario
It's funny when I think back to how naive and clueless I had been about this process 6 months ago. "Oh it should be a piece of cake. I'm an American
, Eric is married
to me. He'll just fill out a few papers and they'll just hand him a Green Card. Just like that" (yeah...right
The ride home was relaxing and the sun finally emerged from behind the clouds.In only a few weeks I'll be back in the States with my family!
One last thing, Special thanks
to everyone that shared links to articles that shed a little light on the story behind the construction worker photograph I posted in my previous entry. Apparently I'm not the only person that is curious about this. I noticed there was a bizarre increase of visitors to my photoblog. When I looked into it I discovered that over the past few days, there have been tons of google search hits
from people on the internet searching for the exact same information