Saturday, 23 June 2012

Coming to America: my point of entry

It'd been a series of weeks that were rich with emotion.

I'd been in London (again) to work on another TV show, and during that time I had a pricey medical, gotten approved for my visa, been told by folks in TV that if I wasn't leaving they'd go out of their way to get me into the industry proper, said goodbye to my grandparents, said goodbye my dad and his family, packed up my things, sent boxes for shipping, visited many friends, been in a movie, and almost thought my cat was going to die (it turned out she had a blade of grass stuck up her nose for a week. No, really. I had to pull it out).

Then I had to say goodbye to my mum and get on a plane.

And not only that, but when I got to the departure gate I realized I was dressed like a hipster. That's probably not a surprise to most of my friends, but I swear it's not deliberate. Do accidental hipsters exist?

To make things worse, those tights are actually blue.
I was feeling pretty emotional for the whole seven hours of the flight: Good, bad, nostalgic, excited, petrified, eager to see my husband, sad to leave the Old World, desperately sad about saying goodbye to my mum.

When we landed, I headed to the US citizen/Permanent Resident queue for the first time. They escorted me and my mystery brown envelope (MBE) to a windowless room where I could listen to other people talking in 'interrogation rooms'. 

They took my passport and the MBE and I sat and waited.

It was a fairly casual and open set-up. A Lithuanian guy was told off for not previously declaring that he'd been arrested for committing a crime of moral turpitude. A German soapstar was queried about her travel intentions, and an older lady came to collect her passport (I think she'd left it in a bar). I thought I heard the staff refer to me as 'the immigrant lady'.

And I waited.

After an hour or so, someone at the front desk called my name, took a fingerprint and asked for my signature. I said "is that it?"

"Yes, that's it ma'am!"

And that was it. I was free to find my baggage and my husband (and that too, was rich with emotion).

I'm just an Old World girl about to hit the New World…
That's a Met Office T-shirt, by the way.

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