Friday, April 25, 2008

A License and a Visa

I've had a busy couple of days. I did not blog about it much as I was not ready to announce or talk about it.

I've been on leave from the office since Wednesday. I went to the Land Transportation Office and applied for another (my third!) student license. This time, it was clear to me that the license validity is only for one year and I can switch to a non-professional license in a month's time. Desperation made me do it as we won't have a driver for a month and my in-laws will be out of the country. I won't have someone who will drive me to the shuttle station every morning and fetch me from the station in the evening. Well, there's my husband but I don't have the heart to wake him up everyday at 7AM (he gets home past midnight) so he can drive for me.

I enrolled at A1 Driving School for a refresher course. I drove yesterday for 5 hours straight and my left knee and thigh are still hurting. I chose a manual car as the practical exam for the non-pro license requires us to drive a manual car (an owner-type jeep). I drove through EDSA AT RUSH HOUR!!! The gentle slopes that defined EDSA felt like mountains to me as my "hanging" was sorely tested. My parking still needs practice and my lane changing. According to my instructor, I have the tendency to jerk the wheel whenever I get nervous (e.g. when a bus or a truck drives alongside). So I need to calm my nerves and ensure I don't drink any coffee before I drive.

This morning, my husband and I had our interview at the US Embassy for our Non-Immigrant VISA and I'm happy to say that we were approved! After 21 years, I'm going back to the US of A! I can't wait to see my mom, my sister and her new baby on September (and my brother-in-law and other relatives, of course)!

The interview was relatively painless. She just asked us some questions--who are your immediate relatives in the US (me - my mom and my sister; leo - 3 sisters of my mom), what other countries have you been to other than the US (me - singapore and thailand; leo - singapore, thailand, and europe), how long have you been working for your company (me - 8 years; leo - 1 yr), how much do you earn (ay secret na yan. hehe) etc etc. I took out the documents that I painstakingly prepared and photocopied in case she asks for them but she did not ask for anything! The consul said that we're a good risk and gave us the yellow paper (it felt like American Idol. It's the Golden Ticket!) which indicated that our application/renewal was approved.

We were only inside the embassy for less than 2 hours. However, it tooks us half the day (we were there at 7AM and left 11AM) as the travel agency inadvertently gave us an expired application form (my husband's) wherein the payment was made January 2007! When the pre-screener discovered this, it was only 730AM. :( So we had to go out, wait for the bank to open and for our agency to pay for the application fee again. By the time we got back inside the embassy, it was already 930AM and we were at the tail-end of the crowd.

While waiting for our turn for the consul interview, we were listening to the other interviews (we couldn't help it. There were speakers outside each window so you could hear whatever the consul was saying). There was an interview where the appplicant was too honest:

CONSUL: Why are you going to the US
GIRL: To visit my boyfriend
CONSUL (with humor in her voice): To visit your boyfriend?
CONSUL: Is he an American Citizen?
CONSUL: Has he been here? How long?
GIRL: Yes ((can't hear how long. I think it was a month)
CONSUL: Who's going to pay for your ticket?
GIRL: Myself
CONSUL: How much do you earn?
GIRL: ((can't hear but it was either minimum or she doesn't have a job))
CONSUL: What other income documents do you have?
GIRL: ((can't hear what she exactly said but she can't seem to present anything))
CONSUL: You should've known about it when you paid for your visa application. How long will you stay there?
GIRL: A month or so.
CONSUL: How will I know you're coming back?
GIRL: I'll be coming back.
CONSUL: Yes, but how will I believe that you will be coming back? You might stay there for 6 months or so and you won't be coming back.

Anyway, I don't know how that interview ended as it was our turn already in another window. I have a feeling though that she was declined.

There was an old couple though who were granted visas and the old man was crying. The consul was consoling him. She was saying, "It's ok, Sir. It's ok." Maybe he will finally see his children who he hasn't seen in years.


romeo macapobre said...

be confident. and make it look like you're not really interested to stay there.

Sunshine Sangalang said...

tapos na, max. approved na kami. hehe :)

Rene David said...

Wow mabibisita mo na si Claudine!!!

Norrie Blackeby said...

WAY TO GO SUNSHINE!!! Hang in there with the driving!
When are you going to visit me in the UK then? Di ba you promised?

Sunshine Sangalang said...

sasabay kami sa 2010? hehe.

Norrie Blackeby said...

Yehey!!! I have enough room for you and Leo. :-) I am sure your Dad and your Ninang will be soooo excited too!

mommy cess said...

go go go sunshine!

pa cheeseburger ka naman! cheeseburger! cheeseburger!

JC Sobejana said...

Congrats Sunshine, see you soon!


JC Sobejana said...

Leo & Shine - Congratulations! We are so happy that you could come and visit us here. I know baby Sobejana is also very excited to see you both as you two are also excited to see her. Yung agency nyo....hindi ba nakakainis yon? sabihin nyo na mali ang form na pinamudmod nila snyo. hmp! naabala pa tuloy kayo. With regards to you driving...OMG i can still remember how I learned how to drive. hahahaha! Jeff was so scared while I was driving in the Turnpike. Pagdating nya sa destination namin eh halos akapin nya ang lupa sa sobrang haba nya. hahahahaha! but, I'm pretty good now except na kung minsan eh sumasabit....minsan lang :) hehehehe! we are getting ready sa pagdating nyo...we're planning to exchange our car to a hybrid one para menos sa gas. super mahal ng gas dito. as in....maliit lang house namin but we'll make sure we'll all fit in...mas masaya ang mas masikip dahil magkakasama tayong lahat :) gaya ng dati....tabi tabi ang kutson sa lapag sa iisang kwarto :) i'm so excited. i hope you could aslo convince our brother and sister and of course dad to join you two on sept para mas masaya tayong lahat :)

JC Sobejana said...

Dad, hindi mo ba bibisitahin ang favorite mong anak ( atin atin lang yun ha) at ang pinakamaganda mong magiging apo? (hwag mo ng sabihin ke chloe yun..hehehe!) sana makapunta ka rin mas matutuwa ako kung lahat kayo makikita ko ;)

Sunshine Sangalang said...

claudine - re the agency, sobrang hiyang-hiya nga sila kasi suki sila ng mother-in-law ko. napagalitan tuloy sila ni mama. as for convincing the others, ah ikaw nalang. kasi wala ako panlibre sa kanila ng pamasahe. hehe.
by the way, my in-laws left already today. call them on sunday or next week.
as for the rooms, ok lang yan basta may tutulugan kami. :)
see you soon! excited na ako.

jennie smith said...

Ako rin excited na. Sama lang ng timing- malamig na yon at meron akong school. But, we'll see. Absent na lang ako. Congratulations! And yes, you should learn how to drive.

cathy mariano - domingo said...

great! may babysitters na si claudine. hehehehe!

JC Sobejana said...

hindi ka naman manlilibre eh....taken cared na ang pamasahe. your role is just to convince and remind them :) ok lang ba?

Sunshine Sangalang said...

we'll see. :) plano ko ulit sila invite over for swimming. tanungin ko sila.