"Where did you meet your wife?"
"At a concert."
"That's cool. Who was it?"
(her eyes light up)
And that was how BILL BERRY! helped me get my US visa. And that’s how long the interview was. Shorter than our wedding ceremony, even. Though the wedding had less sitting around in a waiting room and fewer machine guns.
It also turns out that the Underground is really pleasant at 7a.m., at least on the Central Line. No huge crowds on the platform, plenty of seats available on the trains, and as it’s still early, it’s not quite as hot (I’m scared for how hot the Metropolitan / Circle lines are going to get when their fancy new trains are introduced). If it wasn’t for the sudden downpour that caught me before I got to St. Paul’s, it would have been perfect.
I’ve been looking at various visa forums for the past month to get an idea about what to expect at the interview (as a bonus, got subjected to enough ‘Britain is going to the dogs with all these immigrants and scroungers’ to make me swear, once again, that I won’t turn into that type of ex-pat), and they all said that no matter what time it says on your intervew letter, turn up as early as you possibly can. Upon arrival at the Embassy, seeing the other three people waiting, I thought I could have had an extra hour in bed. Ten minutes later, fifty other people had joined the line. I did feel a bit sorry for the guy in front of me who failed the ‘have you got any electronics on you?’ test - turns out that people forget about their USB memory sticks.
(not entirely sure what they could get on that stick though - perhaps trying to hook into the bank of screens telling you what visa numbers are being called?)
To be honest, it was all a bit of an anti-climax; after bringing photos, emails, books and the like for the interrogation, I needed none of it. Although, as my host in the Barbican pointed out the night before, it may have been just as well that I didn’t have to justify our Pac-Man wedding (beyond “IT WAS AWESOME”).
But I came out with the visa approved, and I went back for one last lool at the South Bank. Oh, Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall, how I’ll miss you and your glorious concrete ways. Sod you, Prince Charles - the kids love the skateboarding and the water fountains, plus the Festival Hall is a great place to stop and watch the world go by. OH! AND THE BOOKS! PELICANS! PENGUINS!
(that was one thing about the Barbican that I was a little sad about - in comparison to the South Bank, the skyways are almost always empty. They feel like they should be bustling with the complex’s children at play, street vendors, and so on, but no, it’s just empty and a little eerie)
As of this afternoon, I have my visa and the mysterious white envelope that cannot be opened. This is really going to happen. Next week, I’m going to the USA.