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?
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.