As of September 11th of this year, my husband is a permanent resident of the United States of America. Cue applause! 🙂 Also, start with Part One if you haven’t already read it.
The morning of our interview, we were feeling lots of different emotions. We had given ourselves over an hour to make the 30 minute drive but still almost ended up being a few minutes late! There was an accident on the highway and in a city that never has traffic, and we were barely moving 5 mph for most of the trip. It was bad.
We were also nervous because we had no idea what to expect and had only heard one first-hand account of what actually happens in a green card interview. We were confident in our love and our marriage but who doesn’t get nervous before a big, life-changing event? Would they ask us what color toothbrush our spouse uses? Would they inquire about towels on the floor or our last two birthday presents to each other? Would they be kind and easy-going or stern and scrutinizing? So many thoughts.
Despite being a Wednesday the place was busy and we had to park on the street even though it was only 8:30 in the morning! The building was dingy and old. We passed our personal affects through a metal detector as the guards at the door greeted us with big smiles. We headed back to the waiting area and placed our letter in the interview box to signal we had arrived.
I have to say it was a bit odd to be in a government building on 9/11. They had their TVs playing the commemorative newscasts for the 12th anniversary and I found myself getting teary-eyed watching family members talking about the loved ones they’d lost in the tragedy. We live in an amazing country, and on 9/11 in a tiny building in Kansas City I was surrounded by immigrants excited at the chance to be a part of this vibrant nation.
Due to the no cell phone policy I was forced to be with my thoughts instead of browsing Facebook. It was calming and overwhelming at the same time. The reality of the situation was that if my husband didn’t get a green card he would have no guarantees of staying in this country permanently. With our future jobs, home, and children on my mind, the thought was sobering.
After about 35 minutes of waiting we were called in to meet with our detective. She was really nice and told us to stay standing as she swore us in and we promised to tell only the truth.
The questions began right away and were very straight-forward, albeit fast-paced. We were asked the names of our in-laws, our SSN’s, our birth dates, each other’s birth dates, and our address (which was more difficult than you’d imagine considering we were freshly moved and still memorizing it). At one point she completely changed topics and abruptly said, “Who is the man sitting to your left?” It caught me off-guard and I wanted to reply with, “OH that guy? He’s the most obnoxious cough-sneezer I’ve ever met!” But I didn’t think that would go over so well so I simply said, “My husband.”
She asked for our how we met story and we got to tell a government official we met in a bar. Checking that off the ol’ bucket list! Then she inquired about the proposal, and after that we offered up the story of when The Scottish met my family for the first time. Who else has to meet their girlfriend of a few month’s family while sitting in the audience watching her make-out on stage with another dude? You can’t make this stuff up.
The real kicker came after she asked The Scottish about my favorite color (easy, purple). She asked him what my hobbies were and he faltered. “Umm, well she likes shows and theatre and stuff.” “Yea, hunny, that’s more like a career than a hobby but whatever” (I figured my snippy wife voice was appropriate in this situation). “And, she watches a lot of TLC, or she did when we used to have cable.”
Awkward. THAT’S NOT A HOBBY. That’s the answer to, “Why does my wife has a big ass?” At first I was all, how rude! He’s making me sound like such a loser. It’s not like I discuss TLC shows in great lengths on my blog.
But then it hit maybe the problem wasn’t him, maybe it was me. Do I have any hobbies? Does taking pictures of myself count?
In the interview, I threw him a bone, and asked him what I do at my computer every day and he said, “OH YEA, she’s a blogger.” Saved by the wife.
In the middle of one of our stories, the detective interrupted us to say our interview was complete and we’d hear something in 3-5 weeks. We passed on a few more documents we’d brought and she made a copy of our new lease here in Kansas and we were on our way.
Driving home we replayed every silly mistake and confusing comment we’d made in the interview. We felt weird but there was nothing we could do but wait. Later that night, we checked our status online, and miraculously we’d already been accepted! They acknowledged our marriage as being real and granted The Scottish his conditional permanent resident status. YAY!
To clarify, being a permanent resident does make The Scottish a US Citizen. That’s a process called naturalization and he’s not eligible until he’s had his green card for five years. The Scottish has not even decided whether or not he will pursue citizenship. It’s a very personal choice, and something he has plenty of time to figure out.
Two days later he received his beautiful green card (yes, it’s really green!) in the mail. All the months of waiting, the months of acquiring paperwork, and the worry was over, it was official.
Which leaves us with only one more major obstacle to jump… I must acquire more hobbies! Since The Scottish can apply to get the conditions removed from his green card in two years we still have to keep proof of our life together (is document hoarding a hobby?) and prepare for yet ANOTHER interview.
This means I have two years to dabble in a plethora of new hobbies. What should they be? Remember, I don’t like cooking. I collect quotes but have no desire to collect actual objects like stamps, shot glasses, or any other trinkets. I’ve not into sports and I keep my working out limited to walking and core strengthening. I dislike most outdoor activities and I hate crafting. I enjoy reading but not enough to make it a hobby and shopping doesn’t count! Help!
This might be our biggest challenge yet…