Today was Denis' US Visa interview.
I had originally thought I'd take the subway downtown to the US Consulate. However, I quickly changed my mind when I read the list of items that can't be brought into the Consulate (food, electronic car keys, cell phones, etc). I don't think I could stand to try traveling downtown for the day without my cell phone and I knew I couldn't find food Denis would easily eat in the area immediately around the Consulate, and with an 8:30 appointment, he'd be famished when we got out of there, so I drove downtown. At least I remembered that my main route south was under road construction and took another route.
Denis' appointment was for 8:30 and we were there in plenty of time and after standing outside in line for 15 minutes or so we were actually in the waiting room following security screening and 4 paper checks at exactly 8:30. The finally paper reviewer is in the waiting room, and the lady we spoke with was Russian speaking and very taken with Denis. She spoke to him and made him laugh. He was so happy he didn't want to leave her, but we had our number so we said, "Paka" and waved goodbye to her. Then the waiting and the fun started.
After the final paper review check you are told, "You can take a seat and wait for your number to be called". In security speak this means you must remain seated until your number is called.
Denis was becoming very agitated after about 30 minutes, so I took him to the window where we could see into the Consulate's parking lot . Oh my was that ever a no no. A guard quickly arrived and told me not to go near the window and that I needed to sit down.
Later Denis got away from me and ran to the entrance/exit of the room. I went after him and had another guard ask me if my number had been called, I explained that no, I was just chasing after my son, he told me that I 'must' stay seated until my number was called.
I didn't want to get us thrown out so I dutifully went and found a seat and held Denis on my lap. As you can imagine he was not happy at the idea of having to sit still. We'd been in the waiting room for about 75 minutes at this point. Now a 2 and 1/2 year old who is bored and who is being forced to stay seated will vocalize his displeasure. So what does the guard do, he comes over and tells me that the child needs to be quiet. Yeah, good idea,eh?!. Then to show how little he knew about children he pointed to a sleeping infant no more than a few weeks old and says, "That one is better behaved". I smiled and said, "Yes she is so much quieter, I'm envious of the mother" I actually was envious of the mother as I'd have loved to have held and known Denis when he was only a few weeks old.
Luckily at the 90 minute mark our number was called and we had our very quick and very nice interview with one of the staff of the Consulate. She told me her children were from Russia. The Visa will be processed over the next 3 business days and then I'll go pick it up closer to home. After all the waiting the actual interview was so easy it seemed anti-climatic. I had to ask if we were all done to make sure I was actually done, and yes we were done so finally we were out of there. I must say I said 'Thank God" when our number was called, I'm sure everyone else in the waiting room thought the same thing. LOL
Back to the car, I paid the $15 for the less than 2 hours of parking (why I hate driving downtown) and on our way to the park.
Soon Denis will have a Visa allowing him to travel to the US and next year we will attend Kazapalooza.
Oh, I was asked why I didn't get Denis the automatic citizenship. I was starting that part of my paperwork just at the time that the law was passed (2007). My agency was told that the Canadian Embassy in Russia wasn't equipped to process the new citizenship applications so I should go the sponsorship route instead. Who knew that I wouldn't travel for another 3 years. I am glad I went the sponsorship route as the 2009 change to citizenship would give children with automatic citizenship limited rights. A little time now is well worth the hassle if it saves Denis hassles in the future.