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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Tuesday/Wednesday Retrospective


Now that I've pulled myself out of my post-election funk to some degree, I'll try and go over some events in more detail.

Tuesday left me exhausted. I performed in a student matinee of The Tempest (too early) in the morning, and since downtown Harrisburg parking is horrendous and/or expensive, I rode my bike to the theater. As much as I appreciate the exercise, I'm still the most unfit skinny girl in America. After half an hour of peddling, and with only a two-week hiatus from cycling, I reached Market Street almost as sweaty and dizzy as I was the first day I rode downtown. Well, all right, I wasn't quite that bad, but my exertion was shameful nevertheless.

Note to self: cycling for half an hour, then performing a physically demanding play, then cycling for another half-hour is an adequate recipe for exhaustion. But the day didn't end there.

Of course, I can't vote yet. In fact, I probably won't be able to vote next election, since the citizenship process will take at least another four or five years (on an aside, it's amazing how many people have asked me since Wednesday if I can vote now that I have a Green Card. Pfft! Americans.). Instead, I operated the teleprompter during WITF's election night coverage.

An interesting discussion took place between guests and analysts in the TV studio, and we cut regularly to the WITF-FM newsroom for updates on election results, but I miss being in a real TV news studio. I laugh at myself saying this, because Channel Ten in Sydney was hardly "real" TV news - the example I always cite is the afternoon I watched the news producer drop a story about warfare in Israel in favor of a live cross to the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial. Nevertheless, I adored being on the inside of the news, reading the wires as stories are posted, and watching the mayhem from the center of the tornado. There's mayhem at WITF, but only because they don't produce daily live broadcasts and every upset precipitates a feeling of panic.

The election night coverage ended at 10pm, and I was already dreading the result. I drove home, trudged back into the house, and set about packing for the infamous Adjustment of Status interview.

We should have been more organized. Matt only checked alt.visa.us.marriage just before we left, and with horror, we learned that, along with all our other evidence, we needed a letter from Matt's employer stating his salary and terms of employment.

We were so much more organized last year although we had more forms to fill and hoops to leap through. I guess success has made us blase and careless.

So, after driving down to Philly with only one wrong turn (why the hell isn't the turnpike called I-76 the whole way!?), we woke up the next morning at 6:15 and braved the biting Philadelphia air, armed with a confidentiality agreement and paystubs from Affinigent, and hope.

They confiscated my knitting needles at the security checkpoint of the BCIS office. The officer remarked on autopsy photos she had seen of a man attacked with a knitting needle.

After a wait of around 45 minutes, we were invited into the interview with officer Garcia, a man with a very muted sense of humor and an unnerving shake in his hands. I pointed out the mistake on our interview letter, and with a quick phone call he corrected our record - as I suspected, someone in data entry had captured the wrong field. Thankfully, they didn't expect me to marry my father, or bring him to the interview.

Then he moved onto the questions. Both Matt and I can't recall most of them, but we do remember:
What were the circumstances of our meeting?
When and where did we get married?
Matt, what is Melissa's birthday?
Are you still fans of Nine Inch Nails?
Melissa, where do you work?
Where do you live now?

The questions were pretty mild, but perhaps this is because our relationship isn't suspicious in any way, so we didn't need to be grilled.

Of course, then he asked for a letter from Matt's employer. The confidentiality agreement and paystubs were not enough. Matt had to call Affinigent and have them fax a letter to Officer Garcia while we waited. It was nailbiting, and we were both pretty angry at ourselves. Matt was even more down because his income last year didn't quite reach the minimum requirement for a sponsoring citizen, and if it hadn't been for my assets, we wouldn't have made it.

But there's no sense in beating ourselves up, since everything worked out. My passport was stamped, and I was informed that my physical green card would arrive in the mail in five to seven months.

I can't figure out why it takes five to seven months to send me a slip of cardboard either. Very strange.
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