Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Friday, January 25, 2013

back from Montreal

Since we last met, dear readers, I have been to Vancouver twice and Montreal once. The first time to Vancouver was on January 18th to see the immigration doctor to make sure I didn't have any communicable diseases, mental illness, STDs or chronic illness. I went back on the following Monday to retrieve my official documents once the results of my chest X-ray and blood tests came in. Guess what? I'm healthy.

I stayed in Vancouver for a couple of days and really enjoyed myself. The friends I stay with there are Chinese and live above the Chinatown SkyTrain station. We had a kick ass meal in their home the night I arrived on the Thursday, then off for a HINF reunion (see previous post) on the Friday night. The reunion was at the same Korean restaurant we went to last year on lower Robson, ApGuJung. I had kimchi chigae, it was AWESOME.






Earlier in the day, after my doctor appointment, I found my way to Granville Island, where I had only really gone to for the first time when Dan was here in the fall, and even then, most things were closed as it was night time. For those of you not local to Vancouver, Granville Island is the home of a huge arts, food, and craft culture. The Emily Carr School of Art & Design is there, as are a number of other smaller schools. I wandered around looking for art stores or at least a place to look at yarn, and stumbled on a couple: one was a silk weaving studio, the other was a fiber dying supply shop that had a small but good selection of yarns. I bought two skeins of bulky Manos del Uruguay to whip up a mitts/hat/cowl set for my trip to Vancouver.



I wasn't using a pattern so it's a bit clumsy, but I managed to get this finished on my way to Montreal, this photo was taken in the Calgary airport! When it came time to leave Granville Island, I found my way to the Aquabus to go from GI to Science World (about 15 min) for $5.50. Just before departing, I and a few others had noticed a seagull who had found a starfish and was trying to eat it without much success.



On Saturday I returned to Vancouver Island with my friends who, expecting their first child, bought a 2009 BMW X5. It had leather seats and was very comfortable to be a back seat passenger in. Bach was playing on the stereo, it was a lovely ride!


I went back to Vancouver on Monday to pick up my documents, since I didn't feel good about leaving the fate of my documents to a courier when I only had one day for them to arrive before flying to Montreal. I caught the 11:00 ferry, met Dan's older sister and her youngest daughter at a SkyTrain station and we went for Dim Sum. That was awesome. I should have taken a picture of the banana pancake because I really have been thinking about it for days. After lunch I took another train and bus to Surrey to get my document and realized I would have to catch the 7:00 ferry, not the 5:00 like I had hoped. Oh well, I had knitting with me that day. I was pretty tired when I got back and Sam sure was happy to see me!


Fast forward to Wednesday, January 23rd, which also happens to be Dan's birthday. I woke up at 3:50am, Dan's father picked me up an hour later, and off to the airport we went to catch my 7:00 flight to Montreal via Calgary. Since I had a 2h 45m layover in Calgary, I had hoped that my mum and sister could come down and meet me for coffee, but as it was more than 150km away and they were both busy, it didn't happen. Sigh. The flights were bumpy, but as we were traveling from west to east, they were quick. An hour from Victoria to Calgary, three and a half hours from Calgary to Montreal.

Brother-in-law Thor met me at the airport in Montreal, advising me on how cold it was. I soon discovered that the lovely hand-knit trio above was inadequate to protect me from that cold, so I wore my other set underneath: two hats, mitts over fingerless mitts, scarf under cowl. Montreal public transit was easy - I bought a 24-hour pass for $9 and it served me the whole time I was there. YAY. It was a quick trip to Thor's flat, then down for some not awful Chinese food downstairs. My internal clock is all mixed up because I had been getting up 10 minutes earlier every day until my 4:00am wake up on the day I flew to Montreal, so I had a hard time getting to sleep in a strange bed in a noisy city with lots of light. But I slept well enough to have some crazy dreams. When I woke up on the morning of the 24th, I remembered: "two hours until my interview!"

I had a map and Thor took me to the Metro station on his way to school. It was -24 degrees Celsius, and even though I grew up in Alberta, I don't really have the right weather gear for those kinds of temperatures now. People in Montreal have no qualms about looking unfashionable for the sake of being warm. You either dress warm or you die of exposure. I did take a wrong turn or two in looking for the consulate (it is a nondescript building with no signs), and when I got there I was told I needed my Loomis number. What? That wasn't in all the "how to prepare for your interview" lists I read. Or was it? I had registered, but I didn't know I needed to bring that with me. The agent gave me a sheet, and told me to go find a pay phone or use my cell phone (which I wasn't allowed to bring, actually), to call this number and get it.

Around the corner in the same building, there were two pay phones, both being used by people who, like me, didn't have their number. For them, however, neither of them had pre-registered and neither of them spoke English very well, so it was clear the Loomis people were having a hard time understanding. I must have waited 20 minutes to use the phone. When it was my turn, I had my number in under two minutes, and back to the consulate I went.

I had to go through a small room that had airport-like security. Pass my stuff through the machine, walk through the thing, beep, get the wand passed over me as I stand with arms and legs spread. Then I was told to go down the stairs and take the elevator to the XXth floor. Once in the elevator, I saw it was the only option.

The signage wasn't great so it wasn't immediately clear where I was supposed to go. Turns out I needed to line up to take a number. Turns out everyone was told to show up at 9:30, about 60 of us, and taking a number didn't guarantee first-come, first-served access, but just that we would be seen. I had C50, and it was disconcerted when they called C34, C27, C41, C30, C51, etc. I had no idea how long my wait would be.

I got my C50 at about 10:15, and I was called up to Window 2 (out of about 15) at 11:45. She asked for my passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc. All the things that were on my checklist. Then she told me to have a seat, that "It shouldn't be long".

I don't know what she meant by that. In my books "shouldn't be long" means maybe 10 minutes. But if you compare an hour's waiting to, say, how long it took from the time my immigration was approved (May 2012) until the interview eight months later, then yes, it is no time at all. But really she meant "about an hour". Did they take a break for lunch?

When I was finally called up again at 12:50pm, it had been five hours since I had eaten, I hadn't slept well for several nights in a row, was a ball of nerves/anxiety/anticipation, and was downright twitchy without my cell phone. She gave me back my documents, I swore an oath, answered a few questions "where did you meet your husband?", and told me my visa was approved. I was too exhausted to be excited. No really. It was more of a "Oh that's nice" reaction, though really I had no doubt I would get it. I should have my visa within the week, I can travel immediately upon getting it, my green card will be sent when I cross the border. Done.

Back to the bracing cold to get back to Thor's to eat all the things, tell the Internet my news, and perhaps have a lay-down. Thor got back from school, we went for lunch and a celebratory daquiri, then I was off to the airport to fly back to the coast.

Traveling is exhausting, and I have had four travel days in the last eight days. Flying east to west takes longer because of the spinning of the earth and thus the winds, so my Montreal to Calgary was four and a half hours, Calgary to Victoria was an hour and a half. Not to mention a one-hour delay in Calgary as we waited for the late flight from Winnipeg. My plane landed at midnight, local time, I had been awake for seventeen and a half hours, and I still had to get back into the city so I could go to bed.

I was in bed by 1:00am, I think. Promised I would sleep in today. Do you think I could sleep past 8:00? Good grief.

So anyway, it's done, my visa is approved, Dan will be here in three days and we leave in a week. Now we just have a thousand details to sort out.

Thanks to everyone for their support, good wishes & vibes, prayers, congratulations and other kind words. It has meant a lot to me to have so many friends in the world!

:-)

3 comments:

  1. I'm thrilled that finally you've got the paperwork done (except for the visa coming), and hope that you can really start getting excited about your new life!

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  2. Oh, Stacey, I'm so glad to hear that it's almost over. You've kept me on pins and needles since I first heard about your plight. Many congrats, and I can't wait to hear about your adventures in he U.S.!

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  3. congratulations on your visa and everything getting taken care of.

    ReplyDelete